Monday, 15 August 2011

A perfect play of spirituality and vacation...

Dua'en boht soch ker aye they
Tere Dareechey per sab bhool gayeen
Duniya ki takleefein leker aye they
Teri chadar ki siyahi mei kho gayeen
Jitni kami thi zindagi mei
ek Teri kami se puree hueen
Barrey josh se ayee thi Tere darr per
Ye jalwa dekh ker behosh huee 
[Fizza, at Kaabah, 24th July 2011]

Ankhon mei ansoo hain pathar
Kitne paani mei hai aimaan aj dekha
Dil mei sakhti hai jese pathar
Kitna ishq e Ilahi hai aj dekha
Rongttey kharey hain jaise mimbar
Tere ghar ki shaan kia hai aj dekha
Dil bekhaufee se hai khaufzada
Momin ka munafiq hona aj dekha
Siyaah to hai ye chadar o aswad
Dil ka siyahh hona magar aj dekha
Tere habib to phirtey hain idhar
Gunahgar ka tawaf magar aj dekha

(fizza , at kaabah, 24 Jul 2011)

Kash mei kuch saal peechey chali jaun
Ek masoom bachi bann ker Tere darr per auun
Gunnah ho mera buss zam zam ka girna
Dua ho meri bus gurriya ka milna

Kash mei Mohammad (SW) ke zamaney mei chali jaun
Jo aye na samajh kuch to Aap (SW) se puchney aun
Gunnah hota mera buss chaadar ka urrna
Dua hoti meri shahadat ka milna

Kash na hota mere dil mei ye bojh
Dhoungee kesey itney gunahon ko soch
Farishta ek hee kaafi tha mere kaandhey per Mola
Duujey per dala meine korey kaghaz ka bojh

[Fizza, 26 July, at Kaabah]

(Beyond the humble attempt of expression above, I have no words to do justice to the spiritual experience of the holy cities and pilgrimage, but a mere factual account is described below)

Its been quite long since I blogged, but better still, I had been traveling so much that I gathered some more substance to blog about. Well, last month I was in Saudi Arabia, for the shorter muslim pilgrimage (Umrah). The pilgrimage takes place in Makkah but once you're in the country, almost every one (muslim) makes it a duo trip to Makkah & Madinah. Madinah is where the last Prophet (Pbuh) spent most of his lifetime post the revelation of the Holy Quran and so his (pbuh) tomb is also in the same city.

It is quite an experience for a believing muslim to visit these sacred cities. We have since childhood read about the stories of the spread of Islam and the sacrifices of early muslims and the followers of our beloved Prohpet (pbuh). One expects and also desires that once you set your eyes on the Kaabaah or the Masjid-e-Nabvi your eyes will burst into uncontrollable, unintentional, spontaneous tears and one would feel that their soul is still alive and in touch with its spiritual self. To me that moment took some time to come, and inititally i was embarrassed and a bit disappointed in myself. But later when I shared my experience with other people, many said that it sometimes takes time in sink in the fact that you are at that holy place. And at other times, some believe, our souls are so soiled with the weight of our daily small and big ill-deeds that it takes time to wash those off and soften our hearts so that we could see from the eye of the soul. I felt, guilty...that I might be from the latter group. 

However, leaving me aside, what I was totally impressed with were the arrangements at both Makkah and Madinah. From my childhood story books I had something very ancient in mind about this whole experience, e.g I had assumed that the walk between Safa and Marwa (the two symbolic hills in Makkah) would be open air, with rocky and sandy land beneath our feet and the scorching sun above our heads - you might say that was very naive and rather stupid of me; I should have at least done that much of research before going. Well to my benefit, I had mustered up a lot of will power to walk these hills in the conditions I had imagined but actually I found that these hill points were now indoors, air-conditioned and all floored with cool marble. Another beautiful technological advancement are the 'umbrellas' and 'sliding Domes' at the Masjid e Nabvi (In Madinah). So when the sun is out, these umbrellas open up wide to include the outer open air area of the mosque under a cool shade so people can pray outdoors as well. Towards sun set, these beautiful umbrellas collapse back. Similarly the beautifully painted, carved Domes that make the roof of the inner mosque are also movable and adjust according to the angle of the sun. 

Inside both the masjid e Nabvi and the Kaabah, you have air conditioned prayer places. There is an unlimited supply of 'zam zam' , the spring water that is meant to heal any disease or ailment, other than death. But the most amusing of all scenes is the 'cleaning mechanism' at the Kaaba. One, the cleanliness standards are out standing! Very frequent cleaning and very well done; but more interesting is the process. So the cleaning runs like a supply chain process; first a group of uniformed guys enclose an area with the red ribbon, then comes a little car carrying a drum of soapy water and a guy spills that water, then comes an army of men with wipers, wearing socks sliding and skating over the soapy water to spread it across (it almost seems like they are performing some kind of a choreographed exercise!), then the next row of 'men with mops' comes running mopping away every single inch 'squeaky clean'! It is surely a sight to watch! And this is all done bit by bit in every patch of this huge mosque, so that prayers are not disturbed yet all sections of the Kaaba are kept fresh and clean. 

Another noticable experience is the level of tolerance and diversity during and around the pilgrimage. People from all countries, cultures, languages - all gathered and almost greedy to get in first for every act of worship, yet patient, yet considerate of their other muslim brethren. Whenever someone would be praying in a rush area, others would voluntarily build a wall around him/her so that those rushing  in their way do not bump into or hop over the praying person. Yes there are places like the 'Haj re Aswad' (the stone from Heaven) where people would push and pull and knock you off to get in first, but even there I observed that most people were advising others not to hurt each other for a chance of worship, for such an act of worship would have no weight in the eyes of Allah. 

The reason I named this post 'perfect play of spirituality and vacation' is because, this actually was like a vacation - a vacation where you have limited activities to do so you actually rest enough too. We were there for ten days and all we did was eat, sleep, pray - eat, sleep, pray... and the element of praying was so fulfilling to the spirit that it was an enjoyable activity.