26th-28th April 2011
We arrive in the city of the prophet p.b.u.h Medina much after night prayer isha at 10:30pm,stopped twice on the way for prayers at Saudi services...(dis)advantages one gets is the (bathrooms Indian style ) for better are the availability of prayer areas.The way between Mecca and medina is mostly desert land with dark stones all across the distance.
Medina was the city initially known as yatrib where the prophet chose to migrate to, for safety of life and call of islam when life became unbearable by the people of Mecca the polytheists.. the call of Islam was to call to worship and submission to one true GOD....
It was medina that the prophet found allies and was supported by the people known as "Ansar" ( literally meaning supporters). He p.b.u.h made it his home, even after the conversation of Mecca to Islam the prophet preferred to stay in medina.
Medina a city.. is full of Islamic history,the first mosque built in Islam by the prophet was at quba ( a few minutes drive from medina just in the outskirts) masjid Qibla-tain ( mosque with two Qibla-prayer direction) is another where the prophet pbuh received revelation during prayers ordering him to change the direction of prayer towards Mecca instead of jereuselum,of note this Devine decision wasn't liked by the Jews at the time.
Attached to the prophet's Mosque is his house where he is Buried,his two most loved companions Abu-bakr and Umar (pbut) joined him later
Across the mosque at east side is Janat ul Baqee ( grave yard where the family of the prophet and companions are Burried)
Including the third caliph Othman Ibn affan.
First things first after arriving in the city of tranquility we prayed our due prayers at the prophet mosque and visit his burial site to pay our respects (we say "Salam" ( peace be upon you O' messenger of Allah).
We stayed at another spectacular minus two star... This was no surprise to our getting used to the hospitality of some of the hotels... During the trip we had seen the top five dirtiest toilets some were where one would rather avoid even sniffling of nose.
The more the merrier we were bunduled five into one room while other four into room two... Not even place to keep the bags it was push and pull every morning... Set the alarm clock for 3:00am we have to be at the pre-predawn prayer at the mosque... Jingle bells alarms going off all over... imagine five guys with weirdest of alarms tones on the phones set up on snooze!! As jamshed or tanvier said... If you snooze you loose!
Every morning we have been getting up hoping the next one would be the one to go to bathroom first so we can catch another minute of snooze... Why? well we have been shopping as usual... the night before... trying to haggle stuff we eventually are going to walk away from..buying as we called them DishDashas ( White long Arab shirt) and head scarfs this time for men! I admit i have been wearing a yemeni scarf my self.. But you do.. really, when the sun is shunning at 45*plus on your bald head! I some how realised even the sun glasses have to be the darkest you can get for Arab countries... My fancy sunglasses didn't cut it here.. Arab land means business!
Food had been an expedition in it self... Arabs lack spices so I was pretty much at home.. This who know me know well spices is not my comfort zone..
Being in a Muslim country and Halal food not an issue we try say hello to the usual KFC..not impressed with burger king in Mecca this wasn't an award winner as well... We stick to hardies for a few days. We do how ever try the local cuisines as well..
Medina is the city where tranquillity overcomes, one finds peace in it's abode. It's either prayers at the grand mosque,sleeping and recovering from the pilgrimage struggle or shopping that occupies ones time.
We do the same....
Time on our hands in medina.. There is not much to do apart from treating each day the same and yeah the occasional dare devil staying up till late then the alarm band wars at 3:00am
The remaining days are mostly spent with saying our five daily prayers at the mosque, eating and relaxing, in pilgrimage the visit to the holy city of medina is not an obligation but the faithful visit out of their love for the prophet and his mosque. It is a high time for business community as well and shoppers looking for deals, with plenty of gold shops, clothes, watches, electronics and many more we try to bargain our way as much as we can, Urdu has become the second language in most places but we have sheikh Yaqoub to use Arabic where ever needed to haggle... Arabic we make up is barely past asking for directions or ordering food.
We stayed close to sikaifat bani saedah (shelter)
The city was known by a number of sheds including the one mentioned, because of the great historic event which was swearing alegience to the first caliph after prophet pbuh to Abu-bakr Assiddiq. This shed is located to the north west side of the grand mosque and was among the houses of the tribe of Bani saedah Alkhozrigiah, companion Saad Bin Maaz r.a was from the same tribe
We plan to move off on 29th Friday at 10:00pm...
We have to head home, soon