Burning passion required to accomplish…anything worth accomplishing

Umrah’s Life Lessons #7: Burning passion required to accomplish…anything worth accomplishing

I have always been the expert in child-rearing in the family, but in matters of prayer and Quran, my husband surpasses me by far. While I think of creative ways to enforce prayer, he would be calling them to stand with him and giving them attention and demonstrative love after each prayer; while I tried to write up the best memorization schedule, his daily sessions with them after every fajr had gotten them hooked. Every so often he plans a spiritual experience “to improve the prayer of so-and-so” or “encourage so-and so to memorize more”.  I respect and admire this in him, so when he announced that the main reason he was thinking of Umrah was to get Fatimah working on her sunna prayers and to increase her focus in prayer in general, I couldn’t object. But, I was ill-prepared. There was so much going on in my life. What with my daily worry about each member of my family, the deadline for a project I am part of a team for, the girls I was seeing daily for taraweeh, I couldn’t feel excited. But then, there was very little chance that it would come to be. Ramadan had begun, we had no reservations, my mother-in-law who is extremely attached to my husband was very sick, and my husband was surprised with a sudden trip he had to go on.
Ramadan passed in peace, until one day the travel agent called my husband and asked him if he still wanted to go. Within 12 hours, we had plane, hotel, car reservations and the blessings of my mother-in-law. I figured my general apathy was a sign of old-age, you know, like they say your hearing and sense of taste start to fade, and one loses the feeling of excitement about life. I was soon to find out that desire, burning desire, was a prerequisite for such a trip.
In Medina, the visiting times for women are just after Fajr and just after Thuhr. We arrived around Asr the first day, and to think I was in the self-same city the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, lived in was astounding.  Since I’d  been working on a project related to seerah, everything I laid eyes on took on new shades of meaning. This was the climate the companions were first faced with, this is the landscape they saw, “Fatimah, we are walking and looking at what the Prophet salallahu alayhi wasallam walked on and looked at!” I drove our driver crazy with questions, ‘Is this new? Where does that water come from? What is that mountain called?’ I envisioned us going around in the next few days looking up all the places I had been reading about. Then we arrived at our hotel. It was a disappointment, especially for its location. Although it was but a ten minute walk to one of the gates of the Masjid, and although that entrance had a beautiful view of the green dome, yet the walk to the women’s door of the Masjid was an exhausting, burning, forty minutes all around the Masjid in a wide circle, too, because if you got too close to the building you ran into the dividers that were set up at a distance from each door.  I felt my excitement drain away with the anticipated physical fatigue.
So the next morning we pray fajr on the gleaming marble area surrounding the mosque and then we set on our trip. Inside the Masjid finally we are herded into groups according to country of origin. There is barely enough room to sit, we read Quran and wait. Three hours later and several failed messages to my husband not to worry, we are told it may be another three hours. So, I decide to go back to the hotel and come back for the noon visit. I get to the hotel just in time, my husband thinking our visiting was similar to the men’s who are neither grouped nor lectured, is distraught. I am shook up that the visit didn’t come to be but taking it in stride; so after a short rest,  a change of clothes and some soul-searching, we set off on the long journey again. I try to distract Fatimah from the distance and the heat. It is noon, remember, and we are fasting and this is our third long walk today, “Some of the companions came all the way from Mecca on foot, Fatimah. And they walked in this self-same heat, and when they got as close as we are, they couldn’t stand the excitement and they forgot about their thirst and they found themselves walking even faster…”
But we are turned away at the door, “It is simply too crowded today, we have cancelled the women’s noon visit.”
“This is a no ordinary person we are visiting,” I say as much to myself as I do to Fatimah, “It doesn’t come easy and it doesn’t come free. We have to spend the night praying and we have to beg Allah to allow it to happen. Actually in the Quran, it instructs the sahaba who want to converse privately with the Prophet to precede that with a sadaqa! Did you know that? So plan on finding someone for yours.  Also, let’s not forget to make dua when we break our fast and in every sujood during our taraweeh tonight.” And I am reminded of the person who asked his teacher for a prescription that would help him see the Messenger (saw) in his dream.  “Make yourself a dinner of kibbe (a middle eastern dish that is made with bulgur and meat and which makes one very thirsty) add a whole cup of salt to the recipe and make sure you do not drink before you sleep,” is the strange response he receives. The next morning the disappointed student describes the springs, rivers and lakes he has dreamt of, to which the teacher answers, “My son, when your thirst for the Prophet (saw) comes close to your desire last night for water, you will see him!”
In matters of dunia as well as in matters of deen, real interest, sincere desire and passion, are perhaps of the most important elements for one’s success or permission to do. The Messenger peace and blessing be upon him says, “Pray the prayer of farewell.”  And scholars have long recognized that knowledge makes itself accessible only to those who approach it with appetite. It is not enough to do what you must, you are responsible for your attitude and emotions as well. There is a saying that goes, “I feigned crying until I wept.” If you find your reactions to be healthy your spirit’s vital signs ok, alhamdulilah, and if not seek out and fake the correct feeling that you may be granted it.
The wait, anticipation and longing to visit him (saw) this time began as soon as we were turned away at noon. It continued through the night, and was heightened with each passing hour after fajr. By the time it was our turn to be moved to the courtyard just outside the Rowdah, Fatimah and my heart were literally hopping with excitement, but it would be another hour before we were let in.
Standing before the Prophet sallalahu alayhi was sallam and greeting him is a place words lose their ability to function. It is a place you are overwhelmed with feelings for the single human being that did the most for your personal happiness and Hereafter safety. Where would we be if we didn’t know what pleased Allah or how one ought to live one’s life? Where would we be if we didn’t have his example and his words of longing for us, who believed in him, but never saw him? It is a place one is humbled by others bringing him long caravans of offerings and gifts.  Finally it is a place one receives new assignments of further work for Allah. May Allah bless our lives with making His Messenger peace and blessing be upon him, more beloved to us than our very selves!

Read:  Umrah’s Life Lessons #8: To teach: understand…experience…respect


One response to “Burning passion required to accomplish…anything worth accomplishing”

  1. sommieh flower (Um Tahera)

    Have been to hajj twice but the second time did not include a trip to Medina, and am so hoping to go once more, maybe for umrah, Insha’Allah.

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