Saturday, February 18

Umrah 2012, Day Six: The Ziyaraat Circuit

The ziyaraat circuit is pretty essential, and that possibly moreso in Madinah than Makkah. All the stories Muslims have been brought up on, from both the Quran and Seerah, are suddenly brought to life by visiting the locations in which they happened. It's more striking than it should be, but I guess every person of faith is a romantic of some sort too.

The typical itinerary in Madinah is to start at Quba Mosque (the first, and so oldest, mosque), then move onto Qiblatain Mosque (where the Prophet was commanded to change his direction of prayer from Jerusalem to Makkah), then the location of the battle of the trench and the seven mosques that lie around it and then finally to Mount Uhud (including the climb of the mountains where the archers let the side down).

As usual, the landscape here had changed too. Of course it was busy, but I also found it to be developed too, with major highways now running alongside each location instead of them being perched in isolated outskirts as they used to be. Although it's great that more people are visiting these places, I do miss the peace and quiet. And I'm really starting to dislike organised tours now.

Back in the Prophet's Mosque, it turns out that the Library has now been moved. It's always been an essential visit for us, and is more so now it's in the new, bigger, location. I could spend hours in there, or perhaps just the lull between Maghrib and Esha prayers flicking through the books, and that despite the majority of them being in Arabic.

After hours, Madinah will always mean gold shopping. In contrast to all the changes, this is one thing that I believe will stay the same. At least this time around I had Where's My Water. Phew.

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