The Man Who Wanted to Go to Madinah

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is adapted from Signs on the Horizons by Shaykh Michael Sugich.

“When I first arrived in Makkah, I kept company with a friend from America who was living with his wife close to the Holy Mosque and studying Arabic at Umm Al-Qurra University.  One day, during Ramadhan, he mentioned that he had given money to a poor man to visit the mosque and tomb of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) in al-Madinah al-Munawwarah.

When he said this, I thought, ‘What a wonderful thing to do – to send someone to Madinah.  I wish I could do that.’  For some reason I cannot explain, I developed an overpowering desire to send someone to visit the Prophet (s.a.w.).  I did not mention this to anyone but loved the idea of doing it and kept thinking about it.  A few days later, I made the lesser pilgrimage, ‘umrah, after the night prayer with a friend from England.  When we finished our rituals, we were relaxing in a circle in the mathaf between the Yemeni corner and the Black Stone.

While we were sitting, a man approached our circle.  He sat down across the circle from me between two of our companions.  Clearly, he was looking for a handout.  He asked the group something.  I was not paying much attention and, in fact, found his intrusion annoying.  I looked across without much interest and asked what he wanted and my friends told me he wanted alms, swadaqah.  As I had my money rolled up in my ihram and difficult to get to, I made no move to give him anything.  All the others reached for their purses or wallets.  It was Ramadhan after all, and a blessed time for giving.  But the man stopped them and called across to me.  Pointing to me, he said, ‘No, him!’  I looked up, nonplussed.  ‘You!’ he said.  I felt embarrassed because I had no intention of giving anything to this fellow.  Then he looked me straight in the eye and said, nodding with a meaningful grin, ‘I want to go to Madinah!’  With a jolt of recognition, I unrolled my ihram and pulled out the bus fare to al-Madinah.  He took it, refused anything from the others and disappeared.

As Shaykh ibn Atha’illah as-Sakandari (q.s.) said, “No deed is more fruitful for the heart than the one you are not aware of and which is deemed paltry by you.”


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