|Meeting of lovers|
Love is a symbol of devotion, the dedication that one has for a divinity, an ideal or another person. The heart is the seat of love. For example the love of an exhausted mother who instantly forgets her delivery pains as soon as she casts her first glance on her baby.
This intense feeling of affection, by its very presence, makes lovers unaware of the reality of things around them. Love expresses itself in many ways, and lovers express their love by means of love letters. However, it is the intensity of this noble feeling that urges us towards a meeting with our beloved.
That was the reason why the companions travelled over thousands of kilometers to Madinah only to see, admire and meet the leader of men: Muhammad (saw).
We can send our blessings daily on the prophet (saw) as missives through postmen who none other than angels. Our intense love for the prophet (saw) urges us forward to go and meet him. The most ardent love in all its dimensions is that of Allah Ta’ala who desires that it should be a reciprocal love.
Allah Ta’ala has stated: “Believers are the most fervent in their love for me.” (2: 165). Prophet Muhammad (saw) has said: “I swear that Allah Ta’ala is more merciful towards His servants than a mother can ever be towards her child.” (Bukhari). Love must be developed in the form of obedience to and sacrifice for, Allah Ta’ala and His prophet (saw).
Love for prophet Muhammad (saw) is compulsory: “None amongst you will be worthy of belief as long as I am not dearer to him than his own parents, his children and the rest of the people.” (Bukhari)
It is their very love for the Prophet (saw) that motivates us to visit Masjid-e-Nabawi and the Baargah Mubarak of Prophet Muhammad (saw) one day. Even if it does not form part of the hajj, a visit to Madinah Munawwarah is of paramount importance.
Virtues of Madinah Munawwarah
The prophet (saw) has chosen Madinah as his final resting place. He has encouraged believers to reside in Madinah Munawwarah until their death. “Whoever has the possibility of dying in Madinah, let him do so, as I shall intercede in favour of whoever dies there.” (Tirmizi, Ibn Majah)
According to a hadith reported by Bukhari, the last believers on the earth’s surface shall be in Madinah Munawwarah. It is the only city which holds the title of “purifier”. (Bukhari). Those who proceed to Madinah must be patient.
Those who observe patience in the face of difficulty or illness in Madinah will benefit from the Prophet’s intercession. (Muslim). Although Mecca is more sacred than Madinah, which is the second most sacred place in the world, the prophet (saw) has exhorted us in favour of Madinah in these words: “Madinah is better for them.” (Bukhari)
Madinah commands our respect. Its inhabitants deserve respect and honour as the Lord will deal with those who wish to harm them. (Muslim)
The city of Madinah is spared from plague epidemic and it is a fortress which is out of reach of dajjal. (Bukhari). That is because that city has welcomed with open arms the religion of Allah and of His prophet (saw). The effects of emigration and welcome will ever remain engraved as a red-letter day in that city.
Recommendations on arrival in Madinah
On arrival in Madinah, it is recommended to take a bath, wear perfume and proceed to the masjid. There, one should enter with the right foot and make niyyat of Eitekaaf. Then, one performs two rakaats of tahiyyatul-masjid before proceeding to perform salaam and meet the prophet (saw): Assalaamoualikoum yaa rasoolAllah (saw).
Afterwards, one proceeds to perform salaam on Abu Bakar Siddiq (ra) and Umar Farooq (ra). Here, there is an exception for ladies to visit graves. Otherwise, they are prohibited from visiting graveyards. However, only men are authorized to visit Al Baqi graveyard where the wives of the prophet (saw) and his companions lie, for example, Hazrat Usmaan (ra).
It is a sunnah to pay a visit to Mount Uhud in order to pay our respects to the martyrs. Spend some time there and gaze at Mount Uhud. It is a mountain that was highly regarded by the prophet (saw) because that mountain had a reciprocal love for him. (Bukhari)
Among the masaajid of Madinah, the one of Taqwa (Qouba) has a distinctive characteristic: A nafil prayer of two rakaats in Masjid-e-Qouba is equivalent to an Umrah. (Ibn Maajah). The ‘ajwa (shifa) dates are most effective as a protection against sorcery and poisons. (Bukahri). Whereas, it is sunnah in Madinah to eat rutab dates during meals.
So then, you will agree with me that, without a visit to Madinah during Hajj or Umrah, one has much to lose. During your stay at Madinah, there are quite some visits and rites to accomplish, and you will have to do so during your whole visit there.