Episode 3 : Makkah to Al Ahsa

Uploaded by MuslimWorldTour on 06.12.2012

In the previous episode, I took you with me, and performed Umrah, the smaller pilgrimage
I stayed a few more days in Makkah, to learn more about the city. It is truly incredible to spend a few nights there.
“Say, (O Muhammad) If you love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you and will forgive your sins;
Indeed Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” Quran 3:31
It was as if every morning waking up, the dream followed - an indescribable dream, breaking reality.
The first thought to pop up at this time is not to have breakfast, but to visit the Holy Mosque, or to visit the city.
The Prophet (pbuh) was sent from here, Makkah al-Mukarrama (the Noble Makkah),
and he was known, from childhood, for being born different to others :
He didn’t prostrate to idols, he didn’t drink alcohol, and he never strayed from the natural purity (fitra)
He was a pure, clean, believing, trustworthy, honest person. Everybody loved him, and they all saw these qualities in him.
It's under a scorching sun that I'm heading towards Jabal al-Noor,
the mountain on which the Prophet (pbuh) received his first revelation. 
The mountain climb takes about 20 minutes.
With my guide, Abderrahim, we took a few breaks.
On the rocks, and on the path, you can see writings from all over the world.
Visiting this mountain is not part of the pilgrimage, but you just have to do it in Makkah.
This is where everything began.
We enjoy the view looking down. This is what the Prophet saw when he came to meditate here.
He never liked the life of those people, driven by ignorance and oppression and desire.
So he would go to a cave in Makkah, probably one of the highest spots in Makkah
he would go there almost as if to distance himself from people,
from oppression and ignorance and desire and conflict,
because he was a pure person. He wanted humanity to ascend.
We know that the Prophet spent consecutive weeks in this spot, before revelation.
And after the visit from Angel Gabriel, he never returned here.
Everything started here, one night in Ramadan , in the year 610.
Mohammad (pbuh) was handed prophecy. He became the carrier of the message for the whole world.
At the top of the mountain, we can see Cave Hira, where the Prophet stayed,
is miraculously oriented towards the Ka’bah, visible from afar.
And as if he had an organised meeting with a loved one,
as if he was waiting for something from the sky
Gabriel came down onto Mohammad at the top of that mountain, in the cave, then held him close
and told him, “Read!” And the message of Islam began with “read”,
a word meaning knowledge, and enlightenment, and its importance.
The message of Islam did not begin with “beat”, or “bomb”, or “kill”, or “slaughter”, nothing like that.
It began with “read”
it is a religion of light, knowledge, guidance.
The light started in that cave, and the Prophet (pbuh) began to invite the people,
and he faced hostility, conflict and harm, lots of it.
He remained; 13 years inviting people just to say “there is no god but God”.
For every Muslim, Makkah is this amazing region that no human being can explain.
The place of pilgrimage. This holy city, the most sacred in Islam,
is also, in a way, our museum.
A museum that every Muslim dreams of visiting.
Tens of metres from the Haram home to the Ka’bah,
is the house where the Prophet (pbuh) was born, today converted into a library.
The increasing number of pilgrims,
coupled with the continuing extension work to the Sacred Mosque,
have not allowed for the conservation of the old monuments that characterised the city
Not forgetting the Saudi authorities’ strict regulations regarding cult and idolatry of ancient relics.
The story of the Prophet (pbuh) in Shiib Abi Talib is one of the most powerful stories.
The one calling to Islam, the truthful, the person who wants the best for humanity,
endures all the resistance that he faces.
Because he has a supreme goal to which he is working
- that is, the salvation of mankind, and the guidance of humanity.
And the Prophet (pbuh) was subjected to much difficulty,
much harm - he was attacked, he was fought against, he was beaten.
Shiib Abi Talib is the plain where the Muslims rejected from Makkah took refuge,
after a decree started by the disbelievers of the time.
Hung up inside the Ka’bah by the Quraishis,
the decree intended to keep the Prophet (pbuh) and the Muslims out of the Holy City.
The Quraish’s scribe, Mansur ibn Ikrimah, after having written the treaty,
found his fingers paralysed with no apparent explanation.
Amongst the tens of Muslims occupying the plain with the Prophet (pbuh) were his wife Khadijah,
his cousins Ali and Ibn Abbas - they lived in a camp close to where these kids are playing today.
Salam alaykum!
Wa’alaykum salam!
One of the biggest examples of these attacks and troubles faced by the Prophet (pbuh) is the boycott.
And this is a tactic always used by the opponents of truth, good and success.
Not just an economic boycott, but also a social and personal boycott.
From all angles, in all ways, a strict boycott.
So they forced it on the Prophet (pbuh) and those with him from the clan of Bani Hashim.
The reason they imposed it on even the non-Muslims of the clan,
was to pressure them to hand the Prophet (pbuh) over
to the disbelievers so they could get rid of him, or kill him or exclude him.
And also under the boycott with the Prophet was his uncle, Abu Talib,
who never became Muslim, he died a non-Muslim.
But his strength, his bravery, his courage, his love for the Prophet (pbuh)
caused him to sacrifice, to be patient and endure everything by the Prophet’s side.
So this boycott continued for almost 3 years. They didn’t sell to them,
buy from them, or deal with them in any way, to the extent that hunger
and poverty hit the Muslims so hard that one of them
started eating leaves off the trees, so much so that their mouths changed because of it.
But after this very difficult test, this huge struggle,
God Almighty willed for His Mercy to descend and relieve the Prophet (pbuh) and those with him.
So a few of the Quraish felt the injustice of their actions, and asked themselves
“for how long are we going to do this,
and how can we do this, as Arabs, the people of compassion, protection, and manners?”
and other such qualities, that they were known for.
So people started to loosen the siege, until the Muslims were freed.
This was one of the most difficult times the Prophet (peace be upon him) faced.
that boycott in that plain.
So after this boycott, things got too hard, the worst was happening, and people could not handle it,
God Almighty wanted the religion to spread, so the Prophet ordered the migration (hijra),
so he left Makkah, feeling sad about it, saying
“By Allah, you are my most beloved of lands, and if your people had not made me leave, I never would have left”.
So he went south of Makkah, to the cave of Thawr, he stayed there for 3 days and nights,
from there he left with his friend Abu Bakr to Medinah,
and there began the journey of Islam to the whole of the world.
During my travels in Arabia, I brought my bedside reading with me:
a biography of the Prophet (pbuh) in my language, written by Professor Hamidullah,
the most comprehensive French writing on the Prophet’s life.
Returning to the source,
and here, I keep reminding myself, is where everything started.
I walk on the footsteps of Allah’s beloved (habibullah)
Through his biography, I’m sharing the moments of his life: his joy, his pain.
Here, in front of those same mountains and hills, I started to feel the 14 centuries that separate us.
No mountain passes without me telling myself “the Prophet was there”.
Not a valley passes without me imagining a companion, before, on my steps.
I had questions about interpretation in Islam.
Who can interpret religion? What are the conditions that allow you to interpret Islam?
So I went to visit a student of Islamic sciences, right to his home in Riyadh, the country’s capital.
The four Sunni schools of thought in Islam are the references for interpretation.
Historically, every geographic region followed a school.
In the Maghreb, Europe and West Africa, we mainly follow Imam Malik’s school.
In Egypt, East Africa and South-east Asia, the school of Imam Shafy’i.
Part of Arabia follows Imam Ahmad.
Turkish world and Indian subcontinent follow Abu Hanifa.
Some differences of interpretation can exist between the four schools
“And those who are to their trusts and promises attentive.
And those who are in their testimonies upright.
And those who (carefully) maintain their prayer:
They will be in gardens, honoured.
So what is (the matter) with those who disbelieve, hastening (from) before you, (oh Muhammad),
(to sit) on (your) right and (your) left in separate groups?
Does every person among them aspire to enter a garden of pleasure?” Quran 70:32-38
After a night there, I leave Riyadh, an industrial city, not very interesting.
I rent a car, and head west, towards Al Ahsa Oasis
Historical Bahrain wasn’t what we know today, which was then called Awal,
but it was all of the east of Arabia, where Arabia got its agriculture.
The largest oasis in the world
Despite its distance from Makkah and Medinah, Bahrain accepted Islam very early.
In this land, lived the Banu Abdul Qays tribe,
known for their courtesy and proud of their history.
I’ve just left Riyadh, and I’m on the way to Al-Hufuf, Al Ahsa,
a city with one of Arabia’s oldest mosques,
a mosque dating from the Prophet’s time.
I’m driving and there is a sand storm, I'm slaloming between trucks and cars.
What’s important here is that, in Al-Hufuf,
all four schools of thought are represented.
There are Malikis, Shafy’is, Hanafis and Hanbalis.
And it’s interesting to see a city like this where the 4 schools co-exist.
And it’s in the home of the descendants of this same tribe : Abdul Qays
that I found hospitality, and the Imam told me the thousand-year old story of this region.
The tribe of Abdul Qays is one of the Arab tribes that lived on this land,
named Hajar, or also named Bahrain, the whole eastern region
and this is how it's named in the books about the Prophet’s life and sunnah.
Al Ahsa was part of Bahrain
Hajar was its capital and centre, where the leaders lived, and inside it is also a village
that we will talk about, called Juwatha.
This tribe had strong connections with the old monotheistic religions.
Their leader, even, al-Mundhir ibn A’ith, when the time came for the Prophet to arrive,
he knew straight away, from the Bible, the Gospels, because he was a Christian.
He took a family member, and sent him to Medinah, and said to him
“it is now time for a Prophet to come, and we have here signs in the Bible,
so go and check that these signs are found in him, and if they are, come back and inform us”.
So he went to the Prophet (pbuh), and sure enough, he confirmed the signs.
He returned and told al-Mundhir about this,
so al-Mundhir became Muslim immediately and went to the Prophet, without being invited,
without needing to be told or have people sent.
The first city to believe in the Prophet (pbuh) after Medinah.
The first.
Yes, there were Arabs believing in the Prophet (pbuh), who lived in deserts,
coming from the desert, believing and returning back home,
but a whole city believing, converting to Islam.
The first, after Medinah, is this blessed land.
I have a meeting with Sheikh Talal, who took me to visit one of the oldest mosques in the world:
the Juwatha Mosque.
The foundations of this mosque are, to my great surprise, still intact.
This is mud, and this is made from plants to keep the mud together.
They call it Tibin.
- They built it like this before? - Yes. It was built like this.
So this area is Juwatha, it was the village of Abdul Qays tribe,
who went to the Prophet in Madinah more than one time,
they became Muslim obediently, voluntarily as narrated in records.
And when they returned in the 7th year after hijra, they built their mosque, Masjid Juwatha
said to have been where the second Jumu’ah prayer was performed after the Masjid of the Prophet (pbuh).
This was narrated in the hadith of Abdullah ibn Abbas (ra),
“the first Jumu’ah done after the one in the Prophet’s masjid was in Abdul Qays’ masjid in Juwatha”,
this hadith can be found in Bukhari collection of hadiths
reflecting the enthusiasm of this land’s people in Islam.
This area is North-east of Al-Hufuf by 20km.
Its people moved because it is an area of sand creeping.
Somewhere nearby, three participants of Badr are buried.
Badr is the most important and most significant military battle in Islam.
Abu Huraira, one of the Prophet’s companions, and reporter of his narratives,
was a governor of this province for 2 years.
He must have prayed in this mosque.
Back to the city, the imam is showing me the mosque’s architecture.
He tells me some more about his family history.
600 years ago, the princes of this country were the Al-Juboor tribe.
This tribe followed the Maliki school of fiqh (interpretation)
And yet, its leaders would bring scholars from all the schools.
Proof? They brought an imam of the Shafy’i school, called Nasrullah al-Ja’fari,
descendant of Ja’far ibn Abi Talib (ra),
they brought him from Medinah to teach and built him this blessed mosque.
They made him an imam of it, teaching in it,
and nobody led prayer here except for this scholar and his children.
And sure enough, here is the masjid and still nobody gives speeches here or leads prayer except
the descendants of that scholar 600 years ago
and I am one of his children.
My ancestor is that Shafy’i scholar Nasrullah al-Ja’fari
who led here around the year 880 hijri (1475 C.E.).
This blessed mosque is proof of the love between the four Islamic schools,
since the Maliki that built it brought a Shafy’i from Medinah to lead it.
The schools spread in this land, and that is what stands out in this region,
that knowledge spread from the four schools, and it’s rare to find that.
There could be one school, two schools,
but for the four schools to exist in one land, is very uncommon in Islamic lands,
but is found here.
The Islamic schools and their followers and scholars referring to and adding to them,
through great love and strong connections.
And they had meetings together, several days a week,
gathering and discussing hadiths and each one talking about his school,
having been asked questions, saying
“a lay person asked me this question, I see the best option for him from this school, so answer him”.
Or another sheikh of another school, “...answer him”.
The Prophet (pbuh), when Makkah was harsh on him because of its people,
he wanted to migrate (hijra) to another city
So where would he go?
The Prophet (pbuh) said, in a hadith narrated by Tirmidhi and Hakim,
“Allah decreed on me one of these three is your place for migration:
or Bahrain - this land, Hajar its capital, Al Ahsa
or Qinnasrin - a place in Aleppo, Syria”.
This is a wonderful highlight, that the Prophet was given the choice for hijra (migration) to this land.
And the Prophet (pbuh) also said in a hadith narrated by Bukhari and Muslim
“I saw in a dream that I migrated from Makkah to a land where there are palm trees”
which could be Yamama, or Hajar.
And in another hadith,
“I saw your land of hijra, a salty land”
so it could be Hajar or Yathrib (Medinah).
That is amazing, that the Prophet and his people could have come to this land.
So he loved the land, and wanted to come here.
But Allah destined for him the journey to Medinah
After having spent over a month in Arabia, I am getting ready to leave the country.
I’m taking advantage one last time at Al-Baik.
The best chicken in the world - with a secret recipe!
Whoever has visited the Arabia of Aal Saud and Ibn Saud would tell you that
the three things most worthy in this country are:
and Al-Baik
A final Umrah for the road.
I hope to see Mekkah again in 2 years,
after the final episode of Muslim World Tour, in Medinah inshaAllah.
I would have loved to stay in Mekkah much longer
but I promised you I’d tour the world and meet Muslims...
On my last day in Arabia, I’ve finished with an Umrah,
and as everybody asked me to,
by email, Facebook, friends, family, texts, harassments...
I’ve brought you zamzam water, there’s enough for everyone!
There we go, keep following my blog muslimworldtour.com,
keep sharing my videos,
and I’ll see you very soon inshaAllah, for an episode in Dubai.
Salam alaykum