Imam Alhajji Sheikh Abdoulie Fatty was narrating the story of an extraordinary man, whose name and the religion he propagated was met with stiff resistance in the infamous jahiliyya period. With patience and a bit of spiritual dexterity, the Master of the seen and the unseen, the Creator of all that exist, God, the Almighty, appointed Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, the Messenger of Islam.
The epic story of how the Messenger of Allah traversed the Arabian Peninsula, preaching and propagating Islam albeit in difficult and dangerous situations is tantamount to counting the particles of soil at Mount Uhud. I was ‘not yet to be’, my parents were not, perhaps my ancestors may have lived through that era, only God knows all, sees all, and is able to do all things. Tears dropped from Imam Fatty’s eyes as he narrated the sublime and extraordinary jihad spearheaded by this Messenger.
As he paused to wipe his tears, Imam Fatty asked a rhetorical queston: ‘How many of us can put up with painful conditions?’ While I keenly tried to decode and encode the message, my mind flashed through the eyes of destiny. Why did come here, what am I doing here? I can only end my mirage and remain steadfast, praise God for making it possible for me to come so close to a place where Islamic civilisation was planted, watered and cherished. I was not only emotionally touched by what I read and heard from the imam but I was also reacting to what I saw with my own eyes. When Muhammad, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was hounded from his native Makkah, he fled to Al-Madinah-al-Munawara where the seeds of Islam flourished exponentially.
Lest I forget, my attention to a piece on The Standard newspaper by Sheriff Bojang entitled, ‘Ya Muhammad” published on Friday 26th September. The lines that caught my eyes are thus: –
‘Show me your face
Son of the desert
Take my hand
Lead me to the wadi
To quench my thirst
Let me climb
On the howdah of Qaswa
And ride with you
Over the dunes
To the parting of the mountains.’
What an epiphany! Having spent eight days in Madinah, I was thinking exactly along those lines. I don’t know whether it was by design or just mere coincidence. I am almost tempted to say, great minds think alike…. May be it’s actually true.
I will end this piece with a summary of great historic sites that caught my eyes in the city that accommodated the Messenger of Allah when he received hostility from Makkah. In my next piece, I hope to continue, but I have to leave you with these lines from me.
Fresh air penetrates you
The visitors, that stranger
These people, those worshippers
Silos of rows, are they going to bed?
This is the spirit here, we are called,
Sobs and tears and men who are pious
The women join at their place
We listen but the sound of peace wave through,
Fortress piety, welcome brother,
This is home too
As it was
In the beginning, one man
One by one they came years later,
Resting in peace
As salam to you the Messenger of Allah
The crowds swell, of the peaceful push
I went to al-hijrah Gate No. 4c
Musing and munching
Of the happy pilgrim
This is home of peace