The City of Light: Medina Munawarrah

Inspired by the class on Seerah by Sheikh Mokhtar Magraoui, Uskudar, Turkey

How often I have dreamt and hoped to walk the road from Mecca to Medina in the footsteps of our Prophet pbuh. I have been daunted by the idea to do so as a woman. At every Ummrah that I performed in the constrictive environment,  on my flight to Medina from Mecca, I would look out of my plane window while flying over the mountains. I would see the weaving road curling through mountains and desert bypassing the harsh lava rocks with not a tree in sight; I have often wondered if I could ever make that journey which is obviously physically grueling and spattered with human predators.

At My last Ummrah which took me to Medina from Mecca by road, a feeling of heavy darkness hung over the car as two women had been ambushed on this road in a car going to Medina just days before us. There was a deadly silence in the car all the way to Medina between the three passengers : all women.

I watched the road unfold with only one stop for water at a small café and nothing for miles as the car climbed up and around the hills, till finally the sunset greeting us and we were at peace in the outskirts of Medina which silently offered us its sanctuary.

I never imagined that two brave women with impeccable and unshakeable faith had set out on this journey long before it was even a longing in my heart.

The first was an Abyssinian slave bought by the household of Prophet Muhammad pbuh and became his beloved baby sitter, I often wonder what he felt when he gazed as a child at the ebony skin of this woman so different from his mother and Aunt. She came to be known as Umm e Ayman.

The order for Hijra or migration to find sanctuary to practice the Deen of Islam in peace came to the general Muslims of Mecca and they gradually began to migrate to Medina. The Ansar of Medina had a stronghold of peace and understanding between the pagans and the Jews to respect and protect the incoming refugee migrants. They had offered their own homes and their lives to protect those coming from Mecca.

After the Prophet had left for Medina, Umme Ayman an ebony colored slave girl set out on foot from Mecca to Medina………… As the sun rose to its zenith so did her thirst till a point came in her travels when she lay down on the hot stones to die, she knew that her hijra to Medina would never be completed and she accepted it as a fact as the sun sucked out the last vestige of moisture from her body.

She states that when she lay down, a bucket with a rope descended from the Heavens above her and she drank from it again and again till she was satiated. It gave her an immense energy that propelled her to continue her Hijra to Medina over the hills, mountains, rocks and desert through sandstorms to where her beloved Prophet had marked out a sanctuary for her.

She said that since then in all her life she never felt thirsty again. The Divine gift of water on her journey to Medina had forever quenched her thirst.

She was promised Jannah by the Prophet pbuh when she reached Medina, covered in the dust of sandstorms, feet swollen but alive and eager to have reached him.

She was a comfort for Amina the Prophet pbuhs mother and then for him………always till he died. She said she was sad because “with him the revelation had ended”.

medina  silouette in dua

May you rest in Jannah in peace Umm e Ayman. You are a pillar of strength for all women who are chained by their past, by their limitations of being a woman, some by the darkness of the color of their skin, some by their history of bondage, some by the fear of the agony of traveling alone to seek the destination of our Deen.

May you be the inspiration to each of us to break these chains and set on the journey of freedom to Medina on foot , alone with the confidence that Allah is our Wali and Protector. May the Medinas of our lives offer us sanctuary as The Medina of the Prophet pbuh offered sanctuary to you and which to this day oozes peace, love, and freedom welcoming all with open arms…….


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