My respected Shaykh, Hazrat Maulana Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar Saheb (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh), mentioned, in his poetry, that our value is dependent on our Nisbat (connection) with Madina Munawwarah.
When anything is purchased and brought from Madina Munawwarah, then a lover of Nabi (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) will naturally appreciate and value it – no matter how small or how cheap. Why? …Because it has a connection with the city of the Beloved (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam). It has been touched by the air of Madina Shareef, or it has been produced from the blessed land of Madina Shareef - and this is what has made it special.
The residents of Madina Shareef are the neighbours of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) and they are the envy of the heavens, because they have such extreme physical closeness to Nabi (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam). They are the envy of all of us as well – for we too desire the honour of being in such proximity to Nabi (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam), at all times.
Allah Ta’ala, in His infinite Mercy and Grace, does not want to deprive anyone of us of this blessing of being close to Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam), so He has given us a simple recourse to always being near to our Beloved Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam). This nearness is attained via our Nisbat with the A`maal of Madina Munawwarah – i.e. the Sunnah (way of life) of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam).
Our value, in the sight of Allah Ta’ala, is dependent on our relationship with His beloved Rasul (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam).
Allah Ta’ala has informed us of this in the Qur`aan Shareef :
“Say (O Muhammad (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam)) : If you do love Allah, follow me. Allah shall love you and forgive you your sins; And Allah is Most-Forgiving, Very-Merciful.”
[Surah Aal-Imraan 3 : 31]
And my Shaykh had presented the same message in poetry form:
The footprints of the Beloved of Allah,
Nabi Muhammad (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam),
is the road to Jannat;
The Sunnats of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam)
connect one with Allah Ta’ala .
It is a misconception that a person’s repeated performance of Hajj and Umrah and repeated visits to Madina Munawwarah is to be taken as the yardstick of piety. The yardstick of piety is not how many Umrahs or Hajj, a person has made.
The present day scenario is saddening to say the least, since Umrah and Hajj have become a holiday, a shopping spree, and a “tour” for the majority. …The deficit is in “sincerity of intention”. As has been said: “The visitors are many, but the pilgrims are scarce.”
For many, these trips are now for business and trade. And for others, each trip is another “feather” in their caps – which must be made known and announced to the world. There are those that boast of their yearly trips, whether for Hajj or ‘Umrah, or both, updating us on the number of visits they make to Makkah Mukarramah and Madina Munawwarah.
We have heard people say : “I have made Umrah/Hajj for the past 20 or 30 years and have never missed out one.” …Yet, the reality is that we cannot count our Umrahs and Hajj. We cannot say how many have been performed, because we do not know how many have been accepted. Those Umrahs and Hajj that are accepted are the only ones that we can count. And we will only come to know of their acceptance on the Day of Judgement.
Despite the frequent visits to the Haramayn Sharifayn, there is generally not much improvement in our spirituality. If we have not brought a reformation in our lives: If we have not fulfilled the rights of people, if we have not returned to people that which is their due, if we have not asked forgiveness from those whom we have wronged, if we are not punctual with Salaah, and if our zaahir (external condition) and our baatin (internal condition) do not reflect the purity and spirituality that come with visits to the Haramayn Sharifayn, then we should truly be concerned as to the quality and acceptance of our Hajj and Umrah.
I have mentioned many times that the “maal” (wealth/material goods) of Madina Munawwarah is not what is available in its market places, bazaars and shopping complexes. Unfortunately, when we visit Madina Munawwarah, then more often than not, the objective is the “maal” of Madina Sharief.
The majority of those visiting Madina Munawwarah forget the purpose of their visit once their gazes fall on the commercial centres of Madina Sharief. Many who do know about the material commodities being sold, plan in advance – that there will be an exchange or purchase of gold, there will be this commodity and that commodity bought. …Whilst in Madina Sharief, the talk is the latest technology, the cellphones, the best gold shops, cloak shops, and so forth.
The intention and pursuit becomes the “maal” of Madina and not the A`maal of Madina Munawwarah. And this is how our stay of seven or eight days passes : “mauled by the malls” . Our Imaan, our love for Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam), our time, our energy, our money are “mauled” in the obsession we have of shopping. We forget, and sometimes we do not even care to give any kind of attention or express any kind of appreciation to our host, Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) because we are so caught up in material purchases.
Instead of filling up the pockets of our hearts with the wealth of the Love for Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) and with the wealth of his noble characteristics, we fill up suitcases and suitcases – many a time, even purchasing more suitcases – for filling up the material commodities of Madina Sharief.
I am not saying that it is Haraam to shop there. It will be meritorious if a person makes purchases with the intention to support the businessmen and traders of Madina Munawwarah.
The Hadith also makes mention that when we are on a journey, we should bring back gifts for our families no matter how small or how cheap – because there is always an expectation from those who remain behind, at home, that the person on a journey will remember his loved ones and bring back something for them – but this should not be misconstrued.
Shopping is not meant to be the “be all and end all” – especially of our visit to the Haramayn Sharifayn. The person should purchase a few gift items a day or two before departure. And the gifts that we should be appreciating most are the Duas of the Haramayn Sharifayn, Salaam at the Raudha Mubarak, the Zam Zam of Makkah Mukarramah and the Kajoor (dates) of Madina Munawwarah.
Almost everything else is made in China, Taiwan and Japan and can be purchased anywhere else in the world, including our own country, or city or town. However, the Haramayn Sharifayn offer a different “market” where such spiritual bounties are obtained, which cannot be obtained anywhere else in the world.
The true lovers of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) make this trip to fill their hearts and lives with the ‘A`maal’ of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) - with his beautiful Seerat and Soorat, with his kindness, forgiveness, mercy, compassion, generosity, abstinence and the treasure trove that we know of his noble life.
The visit should be purely to visit Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam), to make Salaam to our Beloved Nabi (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam), to spend time in his Mubarak city and glean from our visit, those virtues, those qualities that will be the medium of bonding with him and being the means of our own value increasing in the sight of Allah Ta’ala.
If all the visitors to Madina Sharief were to return home with the true “maal” and wealth of Madina Sharief – i.e. the Akhlaaq (character) and A`maal of Nabi (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam), then the value of the entire Ummah will increase.
The Sahabah were the “stars” of mankind – guides and leaders for all nations and people. They had to thus make the great sacrifice of leaving Madina Sharief to spread the religion of Islam. Despite them being distanced from their beloved Madina Sharief, they traveled with the Nisbat of Madina Sharief. This was the key to their success. Wherever they went, there was progress and success.
On the other hand, we put price tags on ourselves by looking at our material possessions. What are material possessions? …Fanaa (annihilation and destruction) will come over them.
Let us introspect and consider our value in the light of the Nisbat that we have with Madina Sharief. …The reality is that we have discarded our nisbat with Madina Sharief, and as such our value has decreased. Today, the Ummah as a whole is being sold very cheaply in the markets of the kuffaar. This is our own doing and downfall.
If we have to re-connect with the way of life, the actions and characteristics of Nabi (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam), then most definitely, we will fetch a high price in Allah Ta’ala’s esteem, and we will be successful in both worlds.