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Visiting Madinah: The Inner Dimensions

When your eyes alight on the walls of Madinah, remember that this is the town which God, Great and Glorious is He, selected for His Prophet (peace be upon him) and made it the goal of his migration.

Remember that this was his home where he promulgated the binding decrees of his Lord, Great and Glorious is He, established his own exemplary precedents, strove against his foes, and proclaimed his religion until God Almighty took him to Himself.

It then came to house his tomb, and the tombs of two of his aides who upheld the truth after him (may God be pleased with them).

Envisage the footprints of God’s Messenger as he went about the city. Be aware that his precious feet have trodden in every place where feet may tread, you must walk with dignity and caution.

Think & Reflect

Recall how he used to walk about its streets, picturing to yourself his humility and his graceful gait. Think of the tremendous wisdom God, Glorified is He, entrusted to his heart, how He has exalted his memory along with His own, even linking remembrance of him to remembrance of Himself and how He frustrated the work of those who showed him disrespect, if only by raising their voices above his.

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Reflect then on the great favor God, Exalted is He, bestowed on those who enjoyed his fellowship, and who were fortunate enough to see him in the flesh and to hear him speak.

You should feel a great regret at having missed his companionship, and that of his Companions (may God be pleased with them).

Remember that it has not been given to you to see him in this life, and that to see him in the life to come is to place yourself in jeopardy. For it may be that you will grieve when you see him, having been prevented from being accepted by him because of your bad deeds, for as he (peace be upon him) said:

God will raise certain people to me and they will say:

“O Muhammad!”

I shall say:

Lord, these are my Companions.

But He will say:

“You do not know what practices they introduced after you had left them.”

Then I shall say:

Let them be far removed from me. (Al-Bukhari)

At the Prophet’s Mosque

In the affirmation of faith, you say:

“There is none worthy of worship but God, and Muhammad is the Messenger of God.”

If you have ceased to respect the sanctity of his law, be it only for one instant, you have no guarantee that you will not be barred from him because of your deviation from his way.

Nonetheless, you should have great hope that God Most High will not keep you from him after He has granted you faith and sent you forth from your homeland in order to visit him, not for purposes of trade or worldly gain, but purely for love of him and longing to see his traces and the wall of his tomb.

Since you embarked on this journey for that reason alone, having missed the opportunity of seeing him in the flesh, you surely deserve the compassionate regard of God Most High.

On reaching the Mosque, you should recall that this is the site selected by God Almighty for His Prophet, and for the first and most virtuous of the Muslims.

Remember that the laws decreed by God, Glorified is He, were first observed at this spot, and that the best of God’s creatures, living or dead, have gathered here.

Be most hopeful, therefore, that God Most High will mercifully bless your entrance, and make that entrance in all humility and veneration.

Excerpted from the author’s book: Inner Dimensions of Islamic Worship

(From Discovering Islam archive)

About Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali
Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali (1058-1111) is one of the greatest Islamic Jurists, theologians and mystical thinkers. Al-Ghazali wrote many works on theology and philosophy like al-Iqtisad fi'I-i`tiqad (The Middle Path in Theology), al-Risala al-Qudsiyya (The Jerusalem Epistle), Ihya’ ‘ulum al-din (The Revival of the Religious Sciences)