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This is a special series of Blogs which describes my time and experiences during Hajj this year.
DAY 4 – 24 July 2019
We were again five people in the room in Madinah Munawarah, but these were different people. They had all come from Faisalabad. They were all nice people and we got along well.
The number of elevators in the building was less in comparison to the number of residents. After every prayer and at meal time, there were long queues in front of the elevators. It could take even up to one hour to go to the room from lobby. This was quite cumbersome.
The building management took some corrective measure. The meals were served at every floor for that floor, so no one had to come to common dining hall. They also allocated elevators for various floors; for example, elevator one will go to 1,3,5,7 floor only, elevator two will go to 2,4,6,8 floor only and so on. It did reduce some pressure, but the relief was limited, and queues continued.
After Fajr prayer, I went to Jannat ul Baq’ee graveyard which is adjacent to Masjid Nabawi. The graveyard is spread over a fairly large area and is enclosed by a wall on all sides. The notice board said that the graveyard has over 10,000 graves. In the first place, grave design in KSA is different from Pakistan; the raised hump is not made there. Secondly, there are no names or signs. Although many highly notable companions of Prophet are buried there but you cannot identify who is buried where. I saw some people pointing to others about various notables’ burial place. I don’t know how they got the information. Anyway, Jannat ul Baq’ee is a place to be visited and prayers should be said for the departed souls. The graveyard is still functional, and people are continuously buried there.
City administration of Madinah Munawarah has started two new bus services. There is a hop-on hop-off kind of open roof, double decker tourist bus which takes you around the city and then to Uhud Mountain, Masjid Qiblatain and Masjid Quba. Masjid Qiblatain, as you know, is the site where the change of Qibla was ordained by Allah during prayer. Qiblatain literally means two Qiblas. Muslims started praying towards Ka’aba tul Musharrafah, leaving Masjid Aqsa.
Masjid Quba was built on the site where the camel of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) stopped by itself when he entered the city limits while migrating from Makkah under duress. Praying two raka’at in each mosque carries blessings.
The tourist bus ticket costs 40 riyals and is valid for 24 hours. The other bus goes from Masjid Nabawi to one point only, like Masjid Quba. You can go and come back on the same bus as it stops there for some time. A round trip ticket costs 5 riyals.
DAY 5 – 25 July 2019
We are blissful that we are able to spend most of the time in Masjid Nabawi. All praise be to Allah.
The space between and around Roza e Rasool and the pulpit of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) is known as ‘Riaz ul Jannah’. It had been said by the Prophet (Peace be upon him) that this space shall be included in Jannah on the Day of Judgment. This space has been distinguished by green carpets while the rest of the Masjid has red carpets. Praying nawafil in Riaz ul Jannah is considered highly significant and big blessing. For this reason, all pilgrims desire to get some time and space in Riaz ul Jannah, and the crowd builds a lot of pressure.
Last night, I planned to get into Riaz ul Jannah. The security personnel keep this space cordoned off with several barriers. They open the barriers at intervals and let batches of people in. As soon as the barrier opens, a flood of people presses to get inside. Getting seriously hurt in this process can happen easily. Fortunately, it does not happen mostly.
When I reached at about 2.00am, the space was clear and closed. It was being cleaned. Many people were already standing; no queue, just a crowd. We waited. After about 45 minutes, the barrier was opened. We all rushed in and just landed wherever the crowd force threw us. I was fortunate to get a clear space near the wall of Roza e Rasool (Peace be upon him). Prayed nawafil, Qiyam ul Layl. Then it was Fajr time, so offered Fajr prayer. We were actually stranded in this space because barriers were again erected on all sides. We did not mind at all at this trapping, we felt good. After Fajr, the security staff said, they will let us out after Shrooq (Ishraaq) prayer. So, we spent another one hour and then finally came out. A portion of this place is closed for men and opened for women at fixed times during the day.
Shopping is another favorite activity in Madinah Munawarah. Dates are the biggest local produce and are a great gift of the city of Prophet (Peace be upon him). It is preferable to buy dates from Madinah Munawarah because of greater variety and lesser prices. I think all of us bought dates; of course, the quantities varied hugely. Gold and Gold Jewelry is another big attraction particularly for ladies. Whatever one could afford to buy is fine. Besides, prayer caps, prayer mats, tasbeeh (rosary) are oft-purchased items. People were seen purchasing many other items which would be a long list. The summary is that generally, more shopping is done in Madinah Munawarah, and less in Makkah Mukarramah.