.بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
مَا كَانَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ يَهُودِيًّا وَلَا نَصْرَانِيًّا وَلَٰكِن كَانَ حَنِيفًا مُّسْلِمًا وَمَا كَانَ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ
Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was one inclining toward truth, a Muslim [upright monotheist, submitting to Allah]. And he was not of the polytheists.
— Qur’an, (3:67).
My parents, and my brother, are currently in Saudi Arabia (for Umrah). They will be returning tomorrow, In Shaa Allah.
Personally, I did not go with them this time, as a result of a timing matter. But, AlHamduli Llah, I’ve been for Umrah three times before: the first time, aged about five. Memories from this particular trip include: getting myself locked in the hotel bathroom somehow. Being too lazy to walk that much, so a wheelchair had been hired for me and one of my relatives who had also come with us. Playing with toys we’d bought from the market, and which we had gotten out of crisp packets there.
Also: fairly specific things, like how… at restaurants in Saudi, they seem to serve bottles of drink with plastic cups placed upside-down on the lids. Sheikh Sudais’ recitation, also: just beautiful, Maa Shaa Allah.
My brother is currently nine years old, and this is his third time going to Saudi. To (Jeddah, and) Makkah and Medina. Yesterday had also been his first full day of fasting, Maa Shaa Allah, Allah hummabārik.
The little man has also been getting paid: before they had left for Saudi, our relatives had been giving him money. He’d also received a nice gift hamper from our aunt, our Khalamoni. I think my brother had made a cute remark about how: he’d just been sitting there, and he got given money for it.
Some people: when they see the Ka’bah for the first time… they cry. They can’t help it. Some people, I think: even if you didn’t really expect to cry, maybe… Allah opens up something in your heart, and the tears just know to fall. And:
You go to your Lord’s Open Door as you are. Broken, breaking, sinner, and the rest. You go with fears, and wants, and confusions. You, in yearning, in peace, in optimism: make Du’a there.
The rain falls. That is a blessed place indeed.
In life: you’ve slipped, inevitably. You’ve tripped up. You’ve been lost, and then found. Distant, fluctuating, unsure, and, at times, alone. And your Lord calls you
back home, where:
The men, be they, in worldly terms, royals, or servants… wear their white shrouds. The women, be they: Nigerian, or Danish, or French, or Emirati… cover their heads, and wear their loose, flowing clothes. And:
You go there, precisely as you are. With things upon your shoulders that might well be… heavy. And with your hopes, and with your fears. And with a heart that will starve if it forgets to remember its very Maker. It’s reflection, it’s purification, it’s renewal.
Wherever you are, may be: just start. Trust Allah, and sow even ‘just’ a single seed: like how Ibrahim (AS) had laid the foundations for the Ka’bah, and for the holy pilgrimage(s). Had he known that… this is what it would look like, today?
Or did he, even in his personal, very-human, not-knowing, simply decide to follow the Voice of his Creator, no matter what? A Muslim, a believer, a close friend of Allah.
And for those steps that he had taken towards his Lord:
Allah had returned him with more, and more, and more. And: with better, and better, and better. Yesterday, for example: a little boy who lives somewhere in London had spent his first day of fasting in that Holy, Blessed city. Like how the footsteps of Ibrahim (AS) have been safely and unwaveringly preserved in the Haram, [Maqaam Ibrahim is an actual (guarded,) preserved stone on which Ibrahim (AS)’s footprints are imprinted] I hope the memories that my brother is currently making while there last and last and last.
وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ دِينًا مِّمَّنْ أَسْلَمَ وَجْهَهُ لِلَّهِ وَهُوَ مُحْسِنٌ وَاتَّبَعَ مِلَّةَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ حَنِيفًا ۗ وَاتَّخَذَ اللَّهُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ خَلِيلً
And who is better in religion than one who submits himself to Allah while being a doer of good and follows the religion of Abraham, inclining toward truth?
And Allah took Abraham as a close friend.
— Qur’an, (4:125).