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Where are the “No Smoking” signs in Medina? – Shaykh Hamza Yusuf – Sandala Productions

Where are the “No Smoking” signs in Medina? – Shaykh Hamza Yusuf – Sandala Productions

Note to readers: I want to thank everyone who wrote recently and inquired about my health. I had a terrible fall a few weeks ago and had a mild concussion from it. I appreciate the wisdom of wearing a turban more. I am better, and the headaches have subsided – thanks be to Allah.

Unfortunately, it prevented me from writing much. I have been in Medina and am traveling to Turkey for the Rihla program. Please keep me in your prayers. I appreciate it greatly. I want to write soon in a more substantial way, in sha Allah. But for now, I would like to share my thoughts on some unpleasant recent developments and also share some observations from my recent stay in Medina.


I have been troubled by the attacks made on several notable scholars, especially the slanderous material written about my own teacher, Shaykh Abdallah bin Bayyah. He never pays any attention to them, but I have lived with him and witnessed his piety, decency, virtuous character, and genuine love for the Prophet’s Ummah, and I fear for those people who so lightly attack him, or who attack others, like Shaykh Sa’id Ramadan al-Buti, simply because they disagree with them.

We ought to know that such criticism of learned people is not a good sign. As recorded in al-Hakim’s Mustadrak, the Prophet of God, peace and blessings be upon him, is reported to have said, “When the Muslims begin to loathe scholars and are preoccupied with commerce and its development, obsessing over accumulation of wealth, God will then direct at them four tribulations: loss of productivity, oppressive rulers, corrupt justice systems, and enemies who find them easy prey.”

Islam has been a knowledge-based tradition from the start, with the first word revealed: “Read!” And scholars, more than any others, have carried that tradition forward through the centuries. Inquiring minds should peruse Franz Rosenthal’s Knowledge Triumphant: The Concept of Knowledge in Medieval Islam, a wonderful study on the centrality of knowledge in the Islamic world. When Abu Dawud narrated hadith, it was said, hyperbolically perhaps, that as many as 70,000 inkpots filled the mosque. Men and women from rich families and poor ones vied to be students of knowledge. Books were written in gold ink with stunning calligraphy, and are now displayed in Western museums as great works of art. Scholars filled our community centers, and a love of language, literature, and all things shining – thus Islamic – was the hallmark of our lost Muslim societies.

This is well documented in the travelogues of scholars such as Ibn Jubayr, which is available in English. About Damascus, Ibn Jubayr recounted that the sound of Qur’an recitation was akin to the buzzing of bees in their hives due to the vast numbers of people reciting. Circles of knowledge covered the mosque, and he was surprised to find that even the ordinary folk were listening to high levels of discourse. In other words, people strived to learn and increase their knowledge and understanding, and they looked to the mosques and community centers to quench their thirst.

In today’s mosques, we often hear stories of the righteous that are related in an attempt to inspire people. Imam Malik, however, did not allow storytelling in the Prophet’s mosque; he saw it as an innovation and as antithetical to real knowledge, which is incumbent upon every adult Muslim, male and female, according to the well-known hadith related in Ibn Majah’s collection. Today, however, such a position is often viewed as “elitist,” and scholars are expected “to get down with the common people.” Things have become topsy-turvy. In the past, it was understood that the common people needed to seek knowledge and be elevated – Shaw’s Doolittle had aristocratic pretentions to speak like Higgins, whereas today Higgins is wearing designer torn jeans and speaking in the debased vernacular of Doolittle, pretending to be hoi polloi. Today, the burden is on the scholars to downgrade their discourse so the common people can “get it.” Hence, rap replaces poetry, music replaces the maqams, stories replace study, and ideology replaces creed.

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Photoessay: Distance and Closeness in Madina – almiskeenah

Photoessay: Distance and Closeness in Madina – almiskeenah

Understanding closeness to Allah through reflecting on distance and photography of urban architecture of Madina.

…while wandering the Madanian streets, a stream of swirling thoughts tend to take over…what struck me here was ‘distance’…the physical distance between this street scene and Masjid Nabawi, tucked in behind the newer buildings…the technological distance spanning the engineering and construction of these contrasting buildings…and what of the distance these satellite dishes span, bringing the entire world in front of one’s eyes, whilst simultaneously having the potential of totally distancing one from reality…as well as divorcing one from He Who promises to run to us if we walk to Him…Whose Presence can be felt without any external dish by fine tuning our heart to shorten the distance, bringing Him into pristine focus…Ya Rabb, Ya Lateef, Ya Wadud!!

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Secrets of the Prophetic Chamber

Secrets of the Prophetic Chamber

A rare first-hand account of being inside the chamber housing the blessed body of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him).

The Conversations of Tears and Reverence

I still remember the conversations with the two old men in Mecca, while looking at their weaving. I was in Mecca, so I headed toward the factory of the covering of the Kaaba, and there I learned that the factory has another honor, for it produces also a covering for the Prophetic Chamber.

I met at that time- several years ago- with men who partook in the production and installation, and I didn’t want to waste that opportunity as their youngest was in his sixties and I feared that they would leave this world before I could document this work.

I recorded with them conversations that were mixed with tears and reverence; sometimes words would betray them, and at others, their emotions would choke them, as they spoke of their unique experience. Their limbs shook from just the memory- as if it happened yesterday- and not a quarter of a century ago.

Shaykh Muhammad Ali Madani, head of the automated weaving division of the factory at that time, was generous with me. I learned from him that he was one of those who took part in weaving and installing the covering of the Prophetic Chamber. I said to him, tell me about the covering and the Prophetic Chamber- describe them to me.

His sight wandered far, as if he was bringing those treasured memories before him. Then he answered: On that day, I felt a state of complete amazement take over me. It is a grand spot- of utmost grandeur. I do not know its exact circumference, but it seemed to me that the Prophetic Chamber was 48 meters in circumference.

The awe of the place was so overbearing that nothing attracted my attention. I was so dazzled that I only saw the lamps hanging from the chamber ceiling, which were old gifts that would be given to the Mosque of the Prophet in ancient times. I was told that there were some Prophetic relics that were kept in another place- I don’t know where- but I do know that some historical items were kept in the chamber of sayyida Fatima al-Zahraa- the same place that she lived in.

He added: the chamber covering is a weave made of pure silk, green in color, padded with a strong cotton cloth, and it is crowned by a belt similar to that of the covering of the Honored Kaaba, except that it is red in color. A quarter of its space is taken up by an embroidery of noble Quranic verses from Surat al-Fath, made of lines of cotton and wires of gold and silver…

The covering of the Prophetic Chamber is not changed every year like the covering of the Honored Kaaba, because it is kept inside the chamber and far from the hands of the people and of the elements, and so it is only changed when needed.

Then I met shaykh Ahmad Sahirty, head of the embroidery division of the factory. It was apparent to me – back then- how old he was, and how weak his vision. He took the initiative, saying: How can I speak to you about my feelings at the moment I entered the Prophetic Chamber… I can’t.. That is a speech above my abilities of speech, and I never thought that I would one day be asked about this experience. And I guarantee you that I will not be able to go through it again.

When the Doors Were Opened

He drew nearer to me and added: Look at the lenses of my spectacles- and he pointed at their thickness- and look at my white hair and the weight of the years that I carry. My age I do not count, but I’ve heard them say that I was born in the year 1333 A.H. (1917 C.E.). And in all those years, I did not know a single hobby other than the love of beautiful scents and perfumes. I’ve spent such a long period of time in those years that I’ve lived, trying to satiate that voracious appetite that is still with me; I traveled much and learned much, but I can tell you this with confidence: that I have my own special blends that you will not find with anyone else, and that no one else could ever make.

And I tell you this because I discovered my inability and the meagerness of my knowledge on that blessed night, when the doors were opened to us, and we entered the Prophetic Chamber, and I inhaled perfumes and scents that I have never known before, and have never known since. I still do not know the secret of its composition: it was a scent above scents, an aroma above and beyond aromas- something else that us people of expertise, the people of the trade, have never experienced before.

When I asked him to describe to me the Prophetic Chamber, a slight chill struck him and coursed through his body. And he said in a faint voice: I believe that the chamber is 11 meters in height. Below the green dome is another dome on which is written: “The tomb of the Prophet, the tomb of Abu Bakr al-Siddeeq, and the tomb of Umar ibn al-Khattab”. And I saw also that there was another tomb that was empty, and next to the four tombs was the chamber of sayyida Fatima al-Zahraa, which is the house in which she lived.

From our awe we didn’t know how to remove the special pieces made for the dome- our fingers would shake and our breaths would race. We stayed 14 full nights working from after the Isha prayer until the first adhaan of the Fajr, in order to finish our task. We kept removing the pieces, untying the knots of the old covering, and cleaning all the dust and pigeon feathers that were stuck in that pure place. This scene goes back to the year 1971 C.E., and the covering that we changed was old: it was 75 years old according to the date that was weaved on it, and had never been changed since.

I was the first to enter, with the Sayyid Habib, one of the notables of al-Madina al-Munawwara, As’ad Sheera the director of religious endowments of Madina at the time, and Habib Moghrabi from the factory management, and Abd al-Karim Flomban, Nasir Qari, Abd al-Rahim Bukhari and others. We were 13 men, I don’t remember most of them, for they have left unto the Mercy of Allah.

We were accompanied by the chief of the Aghas who kept the keys to the Prophetic Chamber, and a number of the servants of the Chamber. Whispering was our speech, and that was if signaling was not sufficient. I was, and still am, suffering from weakness of vision and these spectacles have not left my eyes since those days, but in that chamber I was another person… I felt it, and the difference was clear to me.

Strange Happenings

The shaykh Sahirti swore, saying: I used to put the thread into the hole of the needle without my spectacles, despite the dim light in which we worked. How do you explain that? And how do you explain the fact that I didn’t feel the allergy that I suffered – and still suffer- from? Because I cough severely from the slightest bit of dust. But that day, I was not affected by the dust of the chamber, or the sand flying into the air. As if sand was no longer sand, and as if the dust became a medicine for my ailment. I used to feel all during those nights that I was a young man, and that youthfulness had been given back to me.

Another strange thing happened to me whose secret I haven’t understood until today. We had to take out the old covering, and it was carried by whoever carried it. The embroidered band, 36 meters long, remained. I said to them wrap it and leave it. I went up to it, and despite my weakness, carried it over this shoulder. I went out of the Prophetic Chamber with it, without ever feeling its weight. But after that, they came with five young men to carry it from where I had put it down and they couldn’t.

The shaykh began to weep silently and continued, while sighing: Someone asked who carried it and brought it here. I replied saying: me. They didn’t believe me. I said to them: Ask Abd al-Rahim Bukhari, the famous calligrapher of the covering.

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[Source]

And may Allah continuously whelm the Messenger and his family with Salawaats, Peace, Blessings, and Light, until the day in which his brother Messenger, Isa son of Mary, is buried in that fourth empty grave of the Prophetic Chamber, and yet even after that, and forever.

Supplicating for Death in Madina & Burial in Baqi

Answered by Sidi Abdullah Anik Misra

Question: Is it praiseworthy to ask to die in Madina and to be buried in Jannatul-Baqi? What is the significance of being buried in a place like Jannatul Baqi?

Answer: In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful,

Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatullahi wa baraktuh,

This is an excellent question, and one that has more to do with living than with dying, as we will see later in this answer inshaAllah.

The short answer is, yes, it is praiseworthy to ask Allah Ta’ala for a death in the city of His Final Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace), the illuminated Madinah. There is also a great significance in being buried in the al-Baqi’ graveyard.

Affectionately called “Jannatul-Baqi'” by some, Baqi’ al-Gharqad is the proper name of the graveyard of Madinah, which is the sole resting place for the city’s Muslim inhabitants since the time of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace). Imam Malik is reported to have held that 10,000 Companions are buried in al-Baqi’, including most of the wives of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace), his son Ibrahim, and many senior Companions such as ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan, Ibn Masud and others, may Allah be pleased with them all.

Along with this best generation, descendants of the Ahl al-Bait, pious scholars and saints, and countless devoted pilgrims have been buried there over the centuries till this day. As the graves of each true believer are “gardens from the gardens of Paradise”, this blessed company alone, of course after the fact that one is a neighbor of the Best of Creation Allah bless him and grant him peace) who rests not far away, immediately tells us there is good reason to ask to be buried there. Still, we can explore further why Madinah has been singled out for this distinction.

The Status of Madinah

In order to understand the significance of dying and being buried in Madinah, one must understand the city’s status. Although the virtues of Madinah cannot be done justice to in such a short space, it would do us well to recount some of its distinctions to give us a sense of its importance.

Madinah is the city (formerly known as Yathrib) that is said to have been “conquered by the Qur’an”, as most of its inhabitants accepted the message of Islam through the beauty and truth of the Qur’an before the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) even set foot there. As a safe haven for the Muslims from persecution in Makkah, the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and the Makkan believers were ordered to migrate to Madinah to preserve their religion. The migration (hijrah) to Madinah was so significant as a turning point in the survival of the nascent Muslim community, that the Islamic dating system begins in that year rather than the year in which revelation began or when Makkah was re-opened to the Muslims

Madinah is where the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) built his own mosque, in which one prayer is worth one thousand times more than a prayer in other than it, except for the Noble Sanctuary in Makkah and the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. Imam Ghazali said that this implies the multiplying of rewards for any good deed, not just prayer, in all of the Sanctuary that is Madinah, not just the mosque. [al-Ghazali, Ihyaa’] The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said:

“Indeed, I make inviolable and sacred [the land] which is between the two lava plains [on either end of] of Madinah…” and he said [regarding those people who leave the city to live elsewhere], “Madinah was better for them, if they only knew; no one leaves it [Madinah] desiring some other place except that Allah replaces in it someone better than them, and no one bears the hardships and strain [of living there], except that I would be a intercessor, or a witness, for them on the Day of Judgment.” [Muslim, Sahih]

The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) prayed for Madinah to be blessed in every way, as well as for his new home to be more beloved to him than Makkah, when he said “Oh Allah, make Madinah beloved to us, like our love for Makkah or even stronger, and make [Madinah] healthy, and bless us in its weights and measures [for trade and food], and transfer away its fever and send it into al-Juhfa.” [al-Bukhari, Muslim]

Also, the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “Oh Allah, put in Madinah double what you have put in Makkah in terms of blessings and increase.” [al-Bukhari, Muslim]

Of course, the biggest means of blessings for Madinah was not the prayers for its increase, or the inviolability of its earth, but rather the presence of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) himself. That state of overflowing blessings was “when he (Allah bless him and grant him peace) was on the surface of Madinah, so what about after he was laid to rest in its earth?…thus it is impossible to encompass the virtue of that, and measure its worth.” [Ibn al-Haaj, al-Madkhal]

There are many more things that can be mentioned to emphasize that Madinah is one of the two most blessed cities in the world, but we will proceed to examining why a death in Madinah specifically is more desirable than a death even in Makkah, regardless of the differences of opinion that the scholars (and even Companions) had over which of the two cities was the holier one overall.

To Die in Madinah

A clear, authentic and decisive narration that establishes the virtue of wanting to die in Madinah states that the son of `Umar (may Allah be pleased with them) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said:

“Whosoever is able to die in Madinah, then let him die there, for indeed, I will intercede for the one who dies there.”  (Ahmad, Musnad; Tirmidhi, Sunan)

Another narration which supports this, though not as strong in authentication, narrates that the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said,

“One who intentionally visits me [in his life] will be beside me on the Day of Judgment, and one who settles in Madinah and bears with its trials, I will be a witness, or intercede, for him on the Day of Judgment, and one who dies in one of the two Holy Sanctuaries (Makkah or Madina), Allah will resurrect him amongst those granted safety on the Day of Judgment.” [al-Bayhaqi, Shu’ab al-Iman]

Not only did the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) tell others to try to achieve their last moments of life in Madinah, but he had the same desire for himself..  Imam Malik, in his Muwatta, narrates on the authority of the successor (tabi`i) Yahya ibn Sa’eed that:

“The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) was sitting by a grave as it was being dug in Madinah [in al-Baqi’], when a man looked inside the grave and remarked, ‘What a wretched final resting place for a believer!’ So the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) replied, ‘What a wretched thing you’ve said [because a believer’s grave is a garden from the gardens of Paradise]!’ So the man said, ‘I didn’t mean that [about the grave itself]… I only meant a death in the way of God [far away from home, is better].’ So the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: ‘There is nothing like dying in the way of God, but there is not, on the face of this earth, a piece of land more beloved to me that my grave should be in, than this [Madinah].’ [He repeated that] three times.” [Malik, al-Muwatta]

Repeating the desire to be buried in Madinah three times, and to use the words “beloved to me”, is to convey its unimaginable significance to the listener, since, as Ibn al-Haaj says, “he (Allah bless him and grant him peace) used to prefer things commensurate to how much Allah Most High preferred them, and that itself is enough of an exhortation.” [Ibn al-Haaj, al-Madkhal]

It is also a clear refutation to the one who tries to downplay a Muslim’s desire to be buried in Madinah. In the early days of Islam when the critical battles like Badr, Uhud and al-Ahzab were occurring, many Companions considered it shameful or un-manly to die in the comfort of one’s home rather than outside in battle. This is why the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) acknowledged the reward of their sacrifice, but then through demonstrating his own love, showed his preference and corrected any misconception that people may have had.

This is also why the second Caliph of Islam, `Umar ibn Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him), is reported by al-Bukhari to have made a supplication (du`a) that encompassed both of those virtues when he said: “Oh Allah, make me a martyr in your path, and grant me a death in the city of your Prophet.” [al-Bukhari, Sahih]

It is among his divinely-granted miracles (karamat) that both of these seemingly contradictory prayers were answered, as he was assassinated by a Magian slave in Madinah, giving him the status of one wrongfully killed, which is martyrdom, and then buried in Madinah beside the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and Abu Bakr (Allah be pleased with him).

Ibn al-Haaj says, “…By his interment (Allah bless him and grant him peace) into the land, his blessings (baraka) diffused to all of those buried in it, and those who were not buried in it, and so his blessings (baraka) upon the living is well known, and likewise, upon the dead.” [al-Haaj, al-Madkhal]

Since anyone who dies in Madinah aside from those three is buried in al-Baqi’, except for ‘Isa (peace be upon him) when he returns to the world and dies, we will next examine some of the narrations concerning the significance of al-Baqi’.

Baqi’ al-Gharqad: Resting Place of the Believers

Before Islam, the residents of Yathrib used to bury their dead in various places around Madinah. After the 5th year of Hijrah, the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) buried the first companions in al-Baqi’: Uthman ibn Ma’dhun (may Allah be pleased with him). The area, which was known for its many boxthorn trees, was cleared and thereafter the area became the graveyard of Madinah.

The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) would often rise in the last part of the night, and slip out in the darkness, leaving his wife and home, to go visit the people of al-Baqi’ and make supplication specifically for them.

‘Aisha (Allah be pleased with her) reported that whenever it was her turn for Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) to spend the night with her, he would go out towards the end of the night to al-Baqi’ and say: “Peace be upon you, abode of a people who are believers! What you were promised will come to pass tomorrow at a fixed time; and God willing we shall join you. Oh Allah, grant forgiveness to the inhabitants of Baqi’ al-Gharqad!” (Muslim, Saheeh)

In fact, we learn from another narration that the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) was actually ordered by Allah to go to visit them, and make supplication for them:

A’isha (may Allah be pleased with her) said, “…I did not say anything to him until morning, and then I mentioned it to him and he explained, ‘I was sent out to the people of al-Baqi to pray for them.'” [Malik, al-Muwatta]

Aisha also narrated: “… So he [Gabriel] said in the middle of the night to the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace), ‘Indeed, your Lord orders you to go to the people of al-Baqi’ to seek forgiveness for them.’  She said, ‘I asked, ‘What should I say to them, Oh Messenger of Allah?’, so he said, ‘Say: Peace be upon the people of these abodes from amongst the Believers and Muslims, may Allah have mercy on the ones who have gone ahead of us, and those who will go after us, and we are, inshaAllah, following right behind you.'” [Muslim, Sahih]

This last narration establishes that the prayers for the deceased apply to all of the believers buried in the graveyard, whether before or after the lifetime of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace).

The significance of being buried in al-Baqi’ is not only that the deceased is included in the Prophet’s Allah bless him and grant him peace) special supplication. In a narration in Tirmidhi, the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said:

“I am the first for whom the Earth will burst open [on the Day of Judgment], then Abu Bakr, and then ‘Umar. I shall then come to those who are buried in al-Baqi’ and they will be gathered along with me. After that I shall wait for the people of Makkah so as to be gathered among the inhabitants of the two sacred cities.” [al-Tirmidh, Sunan]

What an enormous blessing, to be gathered with the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and so many of the pious believers on that day. However, the significance does not end at that.

It is narrated from Umm Qays bint Mihsan, an early female companion (may Allah be well pleased with her), that she said: “If you had only seen me and the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) [as he led me] through some of the side-streets of Madinah and the dwellings therein, until we reached up to Baqi’ al-Gharqad. Then he said, ‘Oh Umm Qays!’ I answered, “At your service and good pleasure, Oh Messenger of Allah!’  ‘Do you see this graveyard?’ he asked.  ‘Yes, Oh Messenger of Allah,’ I replied.

So the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, ‘Seventy thousand people will be resurrected from it, their faces [shining] like the full moon at night- they will enter Paradise without any reckoning.’  So a man [‘Ukasha, Umm Qays’s brother] got up and said, ‘Oh Messenger of Allah, and me too?’  He said, ‘And you.’  Then another man got up and said, ‘And me, Oh Messenger of Allah?’ He answered (Allah bless him and grant him peace), ”Ukasha beat you to it.'” [Tabarani, Mu’jam al Kabir; al-Hakim, al-Mustadrak]

Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani mentions this narration as evidence while commenting on similar but stronger narrations that mention the 70,000 without indicating where they will come from, and he states that, “the seventy thousand are from those who will be assembled from the graveyard of al-Baqi’ in Madinah, and that is another special distinction…. and it is a great privilege for the people of Madinah.”  Also, Ibn Hajar mentions that the second man in the narration was a hypocrite and as such was denied this honor. [Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari]

It’s About Living, Not Dying

After all of these virtues and exhortations about dying in Madinah and being buried in al-Baqi’, one may be wondering how difficult it must be for those who live elsewhere to time their death to coincide with their presence in Madinah to achieve these merits.

The answer is that these narrations are not just telling us to die in Madinah, but to live there and experience its blessings- to frequently visit it, to spend time in it, and to move to it if one can.

In commenting on the aforementioned narration “whoever of you is able to die in Madinah”, al-Zabidi interprets the Prophetic encouragement “to die” in Madinah to actually mean “to take up residence there till death overtakes one”, and that the narration rhetorically mentions the resulting effect, namely eventual death there, while actually intending the means that one must take to reasonably ensure the desired result. His proof is that, “Allah Ta’ala says, ‘And do not die except that you are Muslims'”, meaning one should live their whole life as a Muslim, and it does not mean to simply accept Islam at the time of death, because no one knows when death will come. [al-Zabidi, Sharh Ihyaa ‘Ulum al-Din]

Mulla ‘Ali al-Qari, commenting on the same narration which mentions intercession for those who achieve a death in Madinah, says that, “the intercession here is for the wiping out of bad deeds for the sinful, and the raising of degrees for the obedient, and the meaning of ‘intercession’ here is specific to its people [separate from the general intercession for all Muslims], and is not meant for those who do not die in [Madinah]…

…and because of that, it is said that the best thing for the one who reaches old age, or one whose end becomes apparent through spiritual unveilings and the like regarding the nearing of his appointed time, that he settles in Madinah so that he can die in it.  Evidence for this is the supplication of ‘Umar (Allah be pleased with him) [for a death in Madinah]… and that is because of the superiority of the land of al-Baqi’ over al-Hajun (the graveyard of Makkah), either for its being the grave of most of the noble Companions, or due to its nearness to one who is lying there (Allah bless him and grant him peace).”  [‘Ali al-Qari, Mirqat ‘ala al-Miskhat]

Look at the Neighbor before the House

Although we have read about the many blessings and rewards for those who make Madinah their home in life and after death, the primary motivating factor that makes Madinah so special to be in is not the land itself, or even the blessings of increase or the benefits promised after death.

Rather, it is the fact that it is the home and resting place of our beloved Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace), the best of creation, one glance of whom is worth more than one’s wealth and family and all the universe contains. Our love for him should make us want to be near him; indeed the scholars say that the actual earth that contains his blessed body is the holiest place in the heavens and the earth simply because of his presence.

However, even to get to the point where one desires and strives for a death in Madinah for this purpose, we must first develop our love for the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace), through things such as learning his life, following his sunnah, and sending blessings upon him. We ask Allah Most High to increase us in love for His Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace), and to grant us his company in this world and in the Hereafter.

Wasallam,
Abdullah Anik Misra

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani