Thursday, April 14

Madinah Reminiscing

I recently wrote about how blessed I feel at having had the opportunity to visit these places of worship previously. That I first came over three decades ago is also a blessing, if only because I remember a time when access was total, security was low and crowds were non existent.

Two examples come to mind: for congregational prayers, we would be able to head to the mosque on hearing the adhaan, and getting the 3rd or perhaps the 4th row doing so. Coming ten minutes earlier would have gotten us a place on the first row. Now, if you come 20 mins before hand you might get a place in the first extension courtyard - you wouldn't even be allowed any further since the classic mosque space would have been fenced off by that time.

The second example is regarding paying salutations to the Prophet. We used to be able to casually do this as a family - and in family I'm including my mother. Now ladies will not be allowed less than 15 metres and a corner from the shrine, and that only during two phases in the day. And even if we leave aside the access for ladies, as a man it's not much easier: we tried visiting after Asr and it was a big mistake and almost pointless. Even if you manage to ignore those taking photos, the behaviour of the masses is just insane - if I'm feeling particularly uncharitable I would describe it as just jahilness. This isn't even a numbers thing really - Madinah is pretty dead on the whole outside the mosque. No, this is about behaviour and approach, things which seem to no longer have a place in these modern times.

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