It is not with a heavy heart that I am leaving my beloved homeland for about three weeks. It is never easy not to feel nostalgic away from home. But I am in a state of anticipatory exhilaration, as I have mostly been in the past whenever I have planned a trip to the land which is the spiritual home to the world’s thirteen hundred million Muslims. It is every Muslim’s belief that Makkah houses the House of Allah—known as Kaaba Sharif. Pilgrimage to the House of Allah followed by a devotional visit to the final resting place in this mortal world of the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) should be every devoted Muslim’s life-time dream. In fact Hajj happens to be one of the five basic pillars of Islamic faith. With the Grace of Allah the Beneficent I got this dream of mine fulfilled in March 1999 alongwith my wife and daughter. Since then without any conscious intention or effort on my part I have developed an uncontrollable urge to go back again and again to the captivating, inspiring, scintillating and marvelously fulfilling environment of those holy places which bring alive on daily basis those epoch-making years when the face of the mother earth was lit up by the Final Message of God, delivered to the mankind by His Last Prophet. In Makkah and Madina I somehow mange to make myself feel the presence all around, of those first believers who had been driven by an invincible longing to carry the Message of Allah and His Prophet (PBUH) to each and every nook and corner of the world. I even manage to alert my ears to the exhilarating voice of Hazrat Bilal calling his compatriots to prayers—-to submit to the Will of God—body and soul.
Submission to His Will is what characterizes Islam—-and in the worlds of Allama Iqbal—-one all-important ‘sajda’ that liberates Muslims from all other forms of enslavement.
I have, in my wife’s company, performed Umra three times (2002, 2004 and 2005) in the past. In 2005 I celebrated my Eid in Madina after passing Ramzan-ul-Mubbarak in Makkah. Prior to that, in 2004, I had performed my Eid in Makkah, as I am hoping to do this year as well.
Being away from one’s near and dear ones is not easy. But then to a conventional and old-fashioned Muslim like me, nothing can be nearer and dearer to the heart than the feel of the surroundings where we were born as an Ummah more than fourteen centuries ago.
It will also be a good occasion for me to pray for the disappearance of the dark clouds that appear to be covering our beloved Pakistan. I am one of those diehard optimists who fiercely believe that Pakistan has a date with history — that it is destined to become the launching pad for the Renaissance of Muslim Power.
Let my secular, earthly and realistic friends laugh at my day-dreaming. But glory was never won by those who lacked the urge to dream.
I may not be able to maintain touch with the readers of NHT on regular basis, but I’ll try to send my reflections from Makkah and Madina as often as I can.