My respected Shaykh, Hazrat Maulana Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar Saheb (Daamat Barakaatuhum), has mentioned, in his poetry, that our value is dependent on our Nisbat with Madina Munawwarah.
When anything is purchased and brought from Madina Munawwarah, then a lover of Nabi (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) 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 (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam). 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 (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) and they are the envy of the heavens, because they have such extreme physical closeness to Nabi (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam). They are the envy of all of us as well for we too desire the honour of being in such proximity to Nabi (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) at all times.
Allah Taala, in His infinite Mercy and Grace, does not want to deprive anyone of us of this blessing of being close to Rasulullah (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam), so He has given us a simple recourse to always being near to our Beloved Rasulullah (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam). This nearness is attained via our nisbat (connection) with the A`maal of Madina Munawwarah i.e. the Sunnah (way of life) of Rasulullah (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam). Our value, in the sight of Allah Taala, is dependent on our relationship with His beloved Rasul (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam).
Allah Taala has informed us of this in the Qur'aan Shareef :
Say (O Muhammad sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) : 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 has presented the same message in poetry form :
The footprints of the Beloved of Allah,
Nabi Muhammad (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam),
is the road to Jannat;
The Sunnats of Rasulullah (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam)
connect one with Allah Taala.
It is a misconception that a persons repeated performance of Haj 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 Haj, a person has made.
The present day scenario is saddening to say the least, since Umrah and Haj 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 Haj 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 for the past 20 or 30 years and have never missed out one. Yet, the reality is that we cannot count our Umrahs and Haj. We cannot say how many have been performed, because we do not know how many have been accepted. Those Umrahs and Haj 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 Shareefayn, there is generally not much improvement in our spirituality. If we have not brought a reformation in our lifestyles : 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) does not reflect the purity and spirituality that come with visits to the Haramayn Shareefayn, then we should truly be concerned as to the quality and acceptance of our Haj 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 Shareef.
The majority of those visiting Madina Munawwarah forget the purpose of their visit once their gazes fall on the commercial centres of Madina Shareef. 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 Shareef, the talk is the latest technology, the cellphones, the best gold shops, cloak shops, and so forth.
The intention and pursuit becomes the maal (wealth) of Madina and not the "a`maal" (actions) of Madina Munawwarah. And this is how our stay of 7 or 8 days passes : mauled by the malls . Our imaan, our love for Rasulullah (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam), 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 (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) because we are so caught up in material purchases.
Instead of filling up the pockets of our hearts with the wealth of Love for Rasulullah (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) 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 Shareef. There's a limit to the amount of weight we can carry in our suitcases, but the wealth we can bring back in our hearts is limitless.
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 make some effort to 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 Shareefayn. 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 Shareefayn, Salaam at the Raudha Mubarak, the Zam Zam of Makkah Mukarramah and the Khajur (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 Shareefayn offer a different market where such spiritual bounties are obtained, which cannot be obtained anywhere else in the world.
The true lovers of Rasulullah (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) make this trip to fill their hearts and lives with the A`maal (actions) of Rasulullah (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) - with his beautiful seerat (characteristics) and soorat (appearance), 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 (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam), to make Salaam to our Beloved Nabi (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam), 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 Taala.
If all the visitors to Madina Shareef were to return home with the true maal and wealth of Madina Sharief i.e. the akhlaaq (character) and a`maal (actions) of Nabi (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam), 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 Shareef to spread the religion of Islam. Despite them being distanced from their beloved Madina Shareef, they traveled with the nisbat (connection) 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 (connection) that we have with Madina Shareef. The reality is that we have discarded our nisbat with Madina Shareef, 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 (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam), then most definitely, we will fetch a high price in Allah Taalas esteem, and we will be successful in both worlds.
(Taken from an informal Majlis (gathering) of Hazrat Maulana Yunus Patel Saahib (رَحْمَةُ اللهِ عَلَيْهِ), conducted during his last visit to Madeenah Munawwarah, prior to his demise. May Allah fill Hazrat (ra)'s grave with Noor and elevate his ranks by the second, and enable us to benefit from the numerous pearls of wisdom he has left behind. Ameen)
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