It is Maghrib, the changing of the guard; the day angels are departing, the night ones are standing in the wings to take over. Just like the sign out session by the residents in the hospital, each patient is carefully signed out in detail. Perhaps my day angel is signing me out to my night one too. I feel cherished and protected.
The gas lamps at the Hateem have been lit, the blazing field lights of the Haram that turn night into day are not yet turned on. The gentleness of the red sky over the scattered homes over the hill can be felt from across the Haram. I feel no connection to the world out there. Here in the courtyard of Allah’s House I am safe, and time is of no consequence except for the time of salaat.
We have completed our salaat al Maghrib with all the thousands of muslims in the Haram, and yet it feels that He (SWT) was particularly attentive to me. Waiting for me to do more. Why I do not know.
My companion on this Ummrah is Haifa. She says in her usual gentle manner, a question urging you into action. “ Would you like to pray Salaat-e Awwabeen?” I am immediately ready. We are in the women’s section immediately behind the Muqaam e Ibrahim, and we begin our Salaat e Awwabeen, or the Salaat to return to Allah subhanwa taala. With each sajda we take another baby step returning back towards Allah subhanawataala.
Usually I am impatient for results, I want Him to do things quickly, but this evening the prayer is sweet and the destination sweeter. I am patient, I am in front of the Kaaba, the Muqaam e Ibrahim marked by a golden grilled structure stands between me and the Kaaba. Here is where the Khaleel (friend) of Allah once stood. The night is swirling its dark cloak around me gently and protectively, calling me to return to Allah.
It is maghrib again and I am home, thousands of miles away from the House of my Lord. This evening I am going to perform my salaat al Maghrib like Imam Malik. He was very fastidious and his preparations for prayer entailed a personal preparation as well as preparation of the ambience. He would after wudu. dress in clean crisp clothes and put on perfume and light the incense sticks to ready himself for his salaat and to relate the Hadith. He felt that when such beautiful words were related, the environment had to reflect the beauty of the words in every sense.
I don’t have incense handy so I light my scented candle and let the pink glow of the sunset fill the room, As I finish my salaat al Maghrib, I see the dancing shadows on my musallah created by the flame of the candle as the room darkens.
I never leave the musallah as the night darkens and the candle spreads it flickering light scented with a scent of some exotic flower, I decide to return to my Lord and begin my Salaat e Awwabeen. In the fading light I feel Him (SWT) waiting patiently and with affection as I start my journey back to Him.