This was not a regular Jum’ah for many of us as our day began with Namaaz-e-Shaab and Fajr Jamaat in our Jamia Masjid. The majority of girls shortly dispersed back into their rooms, the handful that remained took the initiative of dedicating the final precious moments of the night to our Master, Imam Mahdi (ajts) with a truly heartfelt, passionate recitation of Dua A'hd and Ziyarat for Imam Mahdi (ajts) by one of our inspirational mentors.
Thursday 4th August 2016 - The Insight of Purity!
Today was a really emotional day and like every day I got the chance to have new experiences and new opportunities. I am just in love with this trip, not just because I'm having fun but also because I can feel that I am changing - it's so good to see that we are getting closer to Allah (swt). First, we went to the Haram of Sayyeda Masuma where I cried a lot and recited duas. I am thankful to Allah (swt) for giving the love of the Ahlulbayt (as) in my heart. It is such a precious gift for me.
Then we had an awesome dars (lesson) with Sheikh Asad Dharsi about ethics and morals, and how they connect with history. Following this, in the afternoon we went to Ayatullah Khoemeini's house which was so simple. I understood that we do not need luxuries to be happy, all we need is a happy family and love for Allah (swt) and the Ahlulbayt (as).
After this visit, we went to Gulzare Shuhahada where I became so emotional. With every step I took, I got more tears in my eyes even though they were not my friends nor family. The only thing that we had in common was that they were also the lovers of the Ahlulbayt (as), like myself alhamdulillah! Agha Shaf'ee explained some of the stories of the Shuhadah that were there. I was amazed by the courage and the love that they had for Islam. I also saw the mother of a Shaheed who was happy to see all of us. I was crying like a baby when I saw her and she hugged me, kissed me and gave me so many duas. It highlighted the rank of the Shuhadaa mashAllah.
As night drew closer we headed to the Haram of Sayyeda Masuma (sa) for Namaz and Dua Kumail. There was so much rush and how many people were rushing do her Ziyarat. Dua Kumail was absolutely marvellous - I never cried that much in my life and I hope that when I go back to my hometown that all my sins are forgiven and inshAllah my duas accepted.
One thing that I am sure about, is that this will be the most amazing, cherishing trip of my entire life!
Imane Fatema Nourmamod, AFED - Bab Participant
Saturday 6th August 2016
A Beautiful Day Through Hamadan
Alhamdulillah on this blessed journey; so far many life changing experiences have taken place.
Anaam says "MashAllah a week has passed by and it feels like only a few days. Yet the friendships we have created feel like friendships that have lasted years upon years! It is very spectacular to know that I am spending these last two weeks with people who have similar spiritual and religious goals as me."
We are currently in Hamadan for the weekend and have just returned for a picnic on a hill top that overlooks the entire serene city of Hamadan.
SubhanAllah, the beauty of this country is outstanding. We left after Fajr and went on an extremely detailed tour of various sites in Hamadan. Our first stop was the Ali Sadr Cave. Ali Sadr means Imam Ali's heart - this cave is the heart of Ali because all the creations love him so much. This cave really reflects the majesty of Allah (swt). This was then followed by salaah, the Avicenna museum where I purchased a miniature Avicenna sculpture and finally our picnic.
Today was filled with tons of tourist attractions and history on Islam which we all enjoyed! These few days have been filled with endless blessings, especially as we were able to visit the haram of Sayyeda Masuma (sa) twice during the wiladaat of her belovedness! Alhamdulillah!
Nur & Anaam El-Abeid, London, Ontario - Madinah Participants
Monday 8th August 2016
An Amazing Experience!
Our first day in the Jamia.... An amazing experience! The birds were chirping, the sun shining brightly and it's breakfast time already. After breakfast we grabbed our notebooks and headed to class.
An amazing feeling all this way. We had Sayyed Mohammed Kazmi who enlightened us with his knowledge. He spoke about the different types of nafs and how we should control it. Time passed so fast and the class came to an end - if only we had more time...
After class we performed Salah and then ate lunch. We then had rest time where all talked, laughed and chilled - making the most of the opportunity to nurture our new beautiful relationships. Most of us then went swimming at Jamia's pool with a jacuzzi, which was lots of fun and it felt like we had a miraculous time there!
After some time we went to visit the Holy Shrine of our beloved Imam's sister, Sayyeda Masuma e Qum. The feeling cannot be explained. You are engrossed in your duas and prayers, you have that connection and you feel her presence. You are content, free of worry and in peace - after all this place is home!
Zamena Suchedina from India - Bab Participant
Wednesday 10th August 2016
The Morning of Frightening & Enlightening Realisation
As we began our day standing at the base of Mount Khidr for our twilight session with Sheikh Nadir, we watched the sunrise over the city of Qum - a beauty which no words can do justice! We imagined ourselves in the state of Barzakh with Qum representing the dunya below and Mount Khidr representing the Aakhira above.
As we discussed our thoughts we came to the frightening realisation that most of us felt regret: regret of not remembering the temporary nature of this world; regret at becoming so attached to our materialistic possessions; and at so much wasted time which we wished to have spent remembering Allah (swt).
Yet, unlike those who have entered Barzakh, we realised that we still have time to change. But nobody would know how much time this would be, which is why it was so important to make that change from now. And so, despite normally being fast asleep at that hour, I realised that I had never felt so truly awake.
Fearing that the rest of the day could not live up to this morning, I never realised how wrong I could be! Our workshop was focused upon the seeking of knowledge in Islam. We learnt the differences between the knowledge of our brain and the knowledge of our heart. Consequently, we learnt the frightening reality that when we are in our grave, despite our brain knowing the answers if these answers have not been engraved into our daily lives then our hearts will be incapable of responding.
We also discussed the three keys to success: Ikhlaās, meaning the sincerity of our actions; tawakkul, relying solely on Allah (swt); and the Dua of our parents. Thus, before any action, it is so important to ask ourselves who we are performing this good deed for and why we are doing what we are doing. No matter how good the deed is, if the intention is not pure than no rewards can be gained from this.
Finally, we ended our day just as we had started it it for Fajr, in the haram of Sayyeda Masuma (sa). The incredible sense of peace and tranquility you feel is unlike any other such that when you leave, all you can feel is a longing to return.
Fatemah Dewji, London, UK - Madinah Participant
Friday 12th August 2016
Temporary Departure From Our Mother
Today was our final day in Qum. Although we only spent two weeks here, it felt like home. It was heartbreaking having to leave the city where Hazrat e Masuma was buried.
This morning we went to the shrine of the beloved Hazrat e Masuma and recited our farewell ziyaraat. Saying goodbye to this beautiful personality left me with an indescribable ache in my heart. After we had done our farewell ziyaraat we proceeded to leave the haram. I remember seeing the haram for the first time and feeling instant peace in my heart. Even though I was sad to leave Hazrat e Masuma, I once again felt peace in my heart. It felt as though I was leaving my mother. I am forever grateful for the opportunity I had to visit the shrine of Hazrat e Masuma.
We then went back to Jamia for our last lunch before we had to leave Qom. Leaving Jamia was also very saddening, in the short time we stayed there I made life-long memories, with amazing people.
Shortly after, we began the two hour journey from Qum to Tehran. Upon reaching Tehran we boarded the train to Mashad and alhamdulillah we had a fun yet relaxing 12 hour journey!!! Towards the end of the 12 hours, the excitement began to sink in - Soon I would get to visit the shrine of the 8th Imam, Imam Ali ibn Musa ar-Ridha (as).
Sayyidah Hameer, Birmingham, UK - Bab Participant
Tuesday 16th August 2016
A Spiritual Tuesday in Mashad
And here we are, passing our last Tuesday in this holy city of Mashad. We went for shopping in the morning to buy gifts for our loved ones back at home and spent time resting in the afternoon.
As the afternoon proceeded we had the honour of visiting Ayatullah Safi Gulpaygani at his house. Alhamdulillah this was a truly wonderful experience, to see a true servant of Allah (swt) at the age of 100 years who is still filled with so much Noor, warmth and wisdom. He was extremely overjoyed to see the diversity within our group and was proud to see the level of hijab the sisters were wearing. After hearing his words of wisdom we headed towards the Haram.
We went for Namaaz Maghrib in the haram of Imam Ridha (as) and we decided to dedicate our night to him. We stayed overnight in the haram and found it spiritually elevating - we enjoyed every bit of it! We listened to a beautiful recitation of Dua e Tawassul which helped us to connect with our Ahlulbayt (as) more!
Following this, myself and some girls wanted to try something new so we made our way to the Urdu section of the Haram. When we reached the Urdu majlis we were all surprised to meet a famous Nawhakhaan. He recited some manqabaats and it was just amazingly beautiful mashAllah!
After the Urdu majlis we ate dinner with all our friends which was amazing. It was a pretty good day. Alhamdulillah, we are very lucky that have had such a unique and great opportunity of spending a few days in this holy city of Mashad. We are praying and hoping that all of you will be granted the opportunity for Ziyarat soon inshAllah! Ameen!
Samana Haji Djivan, Azmira Lakoubay, Sheila Tehsinaly & Faeza Zahir, Madagascar - Baab Participants
The morning had been a usual routine with classes followed by Salat at the Haram. However, today we have been scheduled for every girl’s favorite activity – shopping.
In the name of Allah the most merciful and the Most Gracious.