By Syed Faraz Luqman
This is what was bequeathed to us by our forefathers.
Day 1: Ramadhan 20 1433 AH/ August 08 2012 Continued –
The time for iftar approached and I stumbled to the rooftop on the 2nd floor waiting for the canon fire and the Azaan which would signal the end of the day.
I sat down amidst some brothers who had brought dates and filled some water bottles with Zamzam and had a Laban bottle also. Beautiful thing about masjids the world over, there is always provision for Iftar.
After the long and tiring day and umrah, my iftar was a handful of the finest Arabic dates and lots of ZamZam. And trust me, after all I went through today, it has been one of the best iftar’s I had ever had. Makes me wonder and think, our iftars at home are almost banquets and yet it doesn’t feel this peaceful. In the simplicity of this Iftar, I found contentment and my energy was topped up when the Iqamah for Salah was given and the voice that led the prayer was none other than Shaikh Abdul Rahman As-Sudais.
I realized that there are many reasons why we are attracted so strongly to the Haram. The Ka’bah. One of them came to me as a thought while I stood and stared at the magnificent black cube which stood here, in the middle of the uncultivable valley deep in the heart of Hijaz. This building, this house, is part of a grand legacy.
The first architect and builder of the Ka’bah was none other than Adam (A.S.). The father of mankind.
After Nuh (A.S.)’s flood, the building washed off but the foundations remained intact. These foundations were built upon by Ibrahim (A.S.) and his son Ismael (A.S.) who rebuilt it under divine inspiration from Allah.
Ibrahim (A.S.) is regarded as the first philosopher whose thoughts and wisdom was guided into the monotheistic faith amidst the Idolatry practiced in his time. He is regarded as the father of the men who would form 3 faiths or tribes. Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
His son Ismael (A.S.) (who helped him re-build the Ka’bah) is the great great grandfather of none other than Muhammad (PBUH). And Muhammad PBUH was the man in whose age the Ka’bah was re-built using stones only made from legal money, and he being the Al Ameen (The Trustworthy) of Makkah, was given the honor of placing the last part, the Hajr-Al-Aswad (The Black Stone) into its place, thereby completing the construction of the Ka’bah as we know it.
So in this I realized, that this building, this house of Allah, has been built by our fathers. From the first man and first prophet on the planet, all the way to the last Prophet and Messenger PBUH, this building has been built as milestones in the legacy of humanity.
This is our legacy. Seeing this, touching this, Praying to Allah facing it is like a bond with our legacy…with our history.
This is what was bequeathed to us by our forefathers.
After the iftar and Magrib Salah, I went to my locker, picked some clothes and my small carry bag and went to the wash-rooms below to change into an Arabic robe and tracks. The 2 cloths of my Ihram were packed inside the bag and this made a good pillow. One of the Ihram cloth would later serve as my sheet to sleep on. I made it back in time for Isha and Taraweeh and this was led by the 2 newer Imams in the Haram’s quartet. The 20 rakaats seemed really long though. And I could feel my soles turn rough as I stood there rooted in Prayer until 11 PM or so.
After the taraweeh I lay down on the same carpet I was praying on and instantly fell asleep. I woke up at about 5 minutes to 1 am and realized everyone was rushing about for wudhu. I remembered the Qiyam al Layl (The Night Prayer). Tonight is the first odd night in the last 10 days of Ramadhan. One of the 5 last odd nights where the Quran was first revealed. I ran to the nearest ZamZam well and made my wudhu. The prayer started without Iqamah. And it was led by Shaikh Saud Al Shuraim (my favorite Imam)
The Qiyam Al Layl went on for almost 2 hours. I wasn't aware that it would be 10 rakaats of prayer unlike the 20 rakaats of Taraweeh (In Dubai I think it is 8 so I didn't know)
The Qiyam al Layl was something I wasn't entirely ready for at that time. My legs were sore, my knees and soles hurt and I was tired beyond words. Yet, I stood through 8 rakaats. After that I was entirely drained and didn't want to stand up again. Then I looked to my left and saw a 60-65 year old man smile and stand for the next rakaat of prayer. I felt ashamed at my youth and I stood up too.
After the 10 Rakaats of Qiyam, I shook my head and my body told me, “Dude you are done !! you have bitten off more than you can chew. You couldn't last 10 hours here” Then I heard the Imam (Shaikh Sudais was back from Rakaat 7 onwards) stood and prayed the 3 Witr rakaats for the customary closing of the night prayer. So I knew it was almost over so I went on with it. In the final Witr rakaat, when he stood for Dua before the Sajdah, I heard his duas responded with a united cry of “Aameen” from everyone in the masjid. This loud unison of voices shakes you from your soul and you realize how desperate everyone (including the Imam) is. And you realize how desperate you are. And that is when the first tears well up. In the middle of tears and pain, I felt a connection with myself and I felt a conversation beginning with my lord. The doubt to quit which had hounded me less than 5 minutes ago, was washed away in those tears..and I realized…This is what I had come for.
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