13. “Small gestures” (The Hajj Journal)

On the rooft of Masjid An-Nabawi

September 13, 2015

When I went to maghrib prayer I decided to go up and pray on the roof. I was running a bit behind for [congregational prayer], and didn’t want to go through the crowd inside—and the courtyard was blocked in certain areas—so I decided to go up, knowing fewer people would be there. On the way up, I passed by a brother who said salams. Then he gestured that he needed help. He had his sandles in one hand and was trying to open the plastic bag they give you to put your footwear in, while also holding a tablet. He had a friendly, thankful smile. I tried to open the bag, but it was a dud (I got a few myself, [where] the plastic just does not open). I took the plastic bag I had on my sandles and gave it to him. He looked so thankful. We walked out on the roof together. He pointed at his tablet and mimicked taking a picture. [He gave me his tablet] and I pulled [it] out [of its case] and took a few pictures of him on the roof. Then he pointed at me, then him, then towards one of the custodians. I quickly knew that he wanted to take a picture with me. We gave the tablet to a custodian and got our picture taken together. We repeated the same process with my camera. We didn’t speak. The only full conversation we had was this:

Me: “Canada.”

Him: “Egypt. JazakAllah khair. (May God reward you)”

Me: “Waiekum. (And you as well)”

And then we parted with a smile.

The city is full of these small gestures. Whether it’s a simple “salam alaikum”, sharing your prayer rug with the brother beside you, giving an orange to a poor child, or buying a brother you just met some tea.

And we are told, “Any good you do, God is fully aware thereof.”

Continue reading “13. “Small gestures” (The Hajj Journal)”

7. “A gift from God” (The Hajj Journal)

The courtyard of the Prophet's Mosque

September 11, 2015

I got to pray at the Prophet’s (p) Mosque today. The first time was for maghrib (the sunset prayer), and there was no more space inside so everyone prayed in the courtyard. It is one of—if not the—most beautiful buildings I’ve ever seen. It’s sprawling canopies cover the courtyard worshippers, and the interior (from what I saw at isha (the evening prayer)) is [decorated with] intricate marble and arabesque designs. I got to pray on the rooftop—a massive white [floor] with domes and giant minarets that unabashedly sound the call to prayer and prayer itself. Then, as we started to pray, something beautiful happened: it rained. I prayed on the roof of the Prophet’s mosque in the rain, and the moment was truly a gift [from] God.

Continue reading “7. “A gift from God” (The Hajj Journal)”