Part V: Pilgrimage (Al-Hajj)

Chapter 38

Visit to Madinah

         Although visit to Madinah is neither any rite of Hajj nor is it any essential act connected with Hajj, yet a pilgrim is attracted by the love of the Prophet to visit his city, his mosque and his Rodhah (tomb or grave).

Al-Madinah, its sanctity and excellence

         Al-Madinah, which was called Al-Yathrab previously, came to be called Madinatun-Nabi or Al-Madinah when the Prophet migrated to it from Makkah in the year 622 A.C., the year from which Islamic Hijra calendar starts. It lies at a distance of about 275 miles to the North of Makkah. This city is also called Tayyba, Tabah or Taiyyibah also which means pure and pleasant. According to a tradition, it had been named Yathrab after Yathrab, one among the children of Prophet Nuh, who had inhabited it. The population of Madinah in the times of the Prophet was reportedly about 15 to 20 thousand which is now about 13 hundred thousand including the city and the suburbs. Today this town is capital of the province named Madinah.

         Madinah remained capital of the Islamic state during the times of the Prophet (PBUH) and caliphates of Abu Bakr, Umar and Usman. About the sanctity and excellence of Madinah, the Prophet is reported to have said:-

1)            Prophet Ibrahim declared Makkah to be a Harm (sacred territory or sanctuary); I declare Madinah to be a Harm; the whole area between the two passes of Madinah is included in Harm. No blood shall be shed here, and none shall be attacked; even the leaves of trees shall not be shaken off except for fodder (Muslim).

2)            O Allah! Ibrahim was Thy chosen servant, friend and Prophet. I am also Thy servant and Prophet. He had prayed to Thee for the well – being and prosperity of Makkah; I pray to Thee for the well-being and prosperity of Madinah in the same measure, rather more (Muslim).

3)            Any follower of mine who settles in Madinah and bears its hardships and rigours happily, I will intercede for him on the Day of Judgment (Muslim).

4)            By Him in Whose Hand is my soul! There is cure for every disease in the dust of Madinah.

5)            I shall intercede for the person who dies in Madinah (Tirmizi)

6)            Ajwah date of Madinah is a fruit of Paradise and in it there is cure for poison (and magic) – (Tirmizi)

Prophet’s Mosque, its merits and excellence

         After his migration to Madinah in the year 622 AC or 1 A.H., the first thing the Prophet did was that he got some land purchased for the purpose of a mosque and with the help of his companions he himself worked for its construction. In a few weeks, the mosque was constructed whose walls were of stones and clay and roof was of palm wood and palm leaves. The Prophet himself offered prayer in this mosque during last ten years of his life. This mosque came to be known as the Mosque of the Prophet since the Prophet had called this mosque as his mosque.

         This mosque has been renovated, rebuilt and extended from time to time during the last one thousand and four hundred years. Today it is one of the largest and most beautiful mosques of the Islamic world. It is said that four to five hundred thousand believers can pray in congregation in this mosque at a time.

         Following are some of the Ahadith of the Prophet which highlight excellence of this mosque and rewards of praying in it:-

1)            Anas reported that the Messenger of Allah said: A man’s prayer in his house is equal to one prayer (in reward); his prayer in the mosque is equal to 25 prayers; his prayer in a mosque where Jumuah prayer is observed is equal to 500 prayers, his prayer in Masjid Aqsa is equal to 50,000 prayers; his prayer in my mosque is equal to 50,000 prayers; and his prayer in the Masjid al-Haram is equal to 100,000 prayers. – (Ibn Majah)

2)            Anas reported that the Prophet said: He who offers forty prayers in my mosque consecutively without missing a prayer in between will secure immunity against the fire of Hell and other torments and also against hypocrisy. – (Masnad Ahmad)

3)            The place between my house and my pulpit is garden from the gardens of Paradise and my pulpit is upon the fountain of Kauthar (Bukhari, Muslim). This place is called Riadh-ul-Jannah.

Rodha (Tomb of the Prophet)

         Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) breathed his last on 12 Rabiul Awwal 11AH i.e. 8th June 632 AC on Monday. Next day he was buried in the apartment of his wife Hadhrat Ayesha. When Abu Bakr died two years after him and Umar died twelve years after him they were also buried near his grave. There is space for a fourth grave as well, and according to traditions, Jesus Christ will be buried there when he will come to the world again, defeat and kill Dajjal, the king of the Jews, and then die his natural death.

         It is the greatest desire, rather a big dream of a Muslim that he should visit the grave of his beloved Prophet and send Darud (Allah’s blessings) on him. Following are some of the sayings which are attributed to the Prophet’s grave:

1)            He who performs Hajj and then visits my grave will be regarded as if he had seen me in my worldly life – (Baihaqi).

2)            He who comes solely for the purpose of visiting my grave, has a right on me that I should intercede for him (Ilm-al-Fiqh)

         Keeping in view the above traditions and the practice of some of the companions of the Prophet, some jurists hold that a believer must visit the grave of the Prophet at Madinah if he has gone there or if he is on Hajj to Makkah and can afford to go to Madinah. According to Malikis, visit to the grave of the Prophet is Wajib (essential) and according to Hanafies, it is Mustahib (preferable). But according to Imam Ibn Timiyyah and some Hanbalis, it is not right to go to Madinah with the sole purpose of visiting the grave of the Prophet. However, if one intends to go to Madinah for the purpose of visiting Mosque of the Prophet, one can visit the Tomb of the Prophet.

         One should keep in mind that the Tomb of the Prophet is not a place of worship. So one must only invoke blessings and mercy of Allah on the Prophet (Darud and Salam). He must not do anything else which shows or which gives the impression that he is worshipping the Prophet or calling him for help or begging wealth and children from him. There are many Ahadith of the Prophet in which he has forbidden his followers to make his grave a place of worship as the Jews and the other ancient communities had done. Some of these Ahadith are as under:

1)            Beware! The people before you had made the graves of their Prophets places of worship. I warn you not to do so. – (Muslim)

2)            Allah has cursed the Jews and the Christians as they had made the graves of their Prophets (and saints) places of worship. – (Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmad)

3)            O Allah! Do not make my grave idol. Allah has cursed those who made the grave of their Prophets places of worship. – (Ahmad)

4)            Allah has cursed those women who visit the graves and those persons who build mosques on the graves or who put lights on the graves. – (Tirmizi, Abu Daud, Nisai, Ahmad)

Ayesha says that the Prophet was buried in my apartment instead of in an open plain as he feared that because of love and devotion his followers may not make his grave a place of worship. – (Shibli, Seeratun Nabi).


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