Heading towards Bibi Masumah (sa)’s Haram for Salaatul Layl and Fajr Jamaat was incomparable to any other morning. Upon completing my Salaatul Layl and Fajr Jamaat Namaaz we proceeded towards my Bibi (s.a) to recite her Ziyaraat, following all etiquettes. Gazing up with my face full of tears streaming down, I sincerely prayed for Sayyida Masumah (s.a) to be my intercessor so that I can enter Jannah, inshAllah. My heart shattered further and I was truly broken as I stood in the magnanimous courtyard pleading and expressing my hajaats (wishes). Returning back to Jamia that morning was difficult but a heartfelt conversation with my mentor was soothing as everything was brought back into perspective, for that I thank her greatly. This emotional day was far from over as we visited the prestigious Masjid-e-Jamkaraan of our Imam, Imam Muhammed Al-Mahdi (ajts) that evening.
Jamkaraan, the prestigious Masjid of our Imam, Imam Muhammed Al-Mahdi (ajts). What can one say about this place that does it pure justice? In my humble opinion, there are simply no words sufficient to describe its true beauty. It is an experience in itself! To think that our Imam (ajts) is present as we recite Dua Tawassul, seeking the intercession of all the Imams (as) one by one as their tragedies are narrated, is unfathomable. We are lost in hope that he will listen to our hajaats but we fail to realise that our hajaats are selfish. Recognising this and the sheer magnitude of his munificence where he selflessly prays for us hurts me greatly. I tearfully reflected on the painstaking words of Dua Nudba “Where is the investigator of the blood of the Martyrs of Karbala?” He is ready for the curtains to be lifted; it is me, my sins and ignorance that prevents this becoming a reality. To have any chance of meeting my Imam (ajts) I must change myself and make an effective effort to improve my understanding of him, in turn strengthening my connection.
As we approached our final days in Qum amidst the mixed emotions, our inspiring teachers took it upon themselves to remind us how we were now reaching the climax of our journey; the purpose of our physical presence here in Iran, that is the Ziyaraat of our 8th infallible, Imam Ali-ibn-Musa Ar-Redha (as) in Mashhad. They emphasized the importance of understanding his life (alongside all other infallibles); how lucky we were to be entering into the presence of Baabul Hawaaij, with the permission of his beloved sister Bibi Masumah (sa); and how we should ask from the depths of our hearts as we vowed not to waste any precious opportunities in the time we had left. Sister Naajiya then played a beautiful Farsi video that helped us bring all our thoughts onto the same page; her translation of it was special and moved us all to tears. Sister Naajiya’s inspiring words and this video continue to resonate in my ears till today, and I know this is a feeling that will last forever.
With my dream almost at an end, Mashhad left me in complete awe as I was finally reunited with Shah-e-Khurasaan (as), Imam Redha. Setting my watering eyes on the glistening golden dome of the haram of Mawla Redha (as) filled me with inspiration as I recalled his generosity. Where he himself says, “If one visits me, despite the far-ness of my place, I will come to him on three occasions of the Resurrection Day so as to save him from the horrors of these occasions: when the book of deeds are thrown right and left; when the Discriminating Bridge (Siraat) is tried to cross; and when the balance of deeds is set up.” Our classes continued within the sanctity of the Jamia Razavi Courtyard and were a superb continuation of those in Qum; focusing on Maarifat-un-Nafs and the biography of Imam Redha (as). After many heart-rending nights, I was privileged to be in the presence of Imam Redha (as), commemorating the Shahadaat of Imam Jaffer-As-Sadiq (as). As I sat in Azaadi Courtyard reflecting, my heart strings were tugged by the Farsi Masaib of Sayyida Fatima (sa), the tears flowed down my cheeks and my heart ached as the similarities of the tragedies that befell Imam Ali (as) and Imam Sadiq (as) was something I was not aware of. For days, whilst sitting with the majestic view in front of my sinful eyes, I was lost in a peril of thought, struggling to comprehend one concept, how did the Shuhada-e-Kerbala deal with all that befell them as they succeeded in achieving closeness to the Almighty (swt), the Jihad of the 6th month old, and above all the unwavering loyalty of Abul Fadhl Al-Abbas? As I placed my head in Sujood, my heart skipped a beat and tears filled my eyes as I remembered Imam Hussain (as) as he lay on the burning sands in his final moments with Sayyeda Zainab (as) looking on with a broken heart. Deep inside, I acknowledged that there are several events such as these that I will never feel the same about, feelings that have affected me spiritually.
Leaving these blessed lands and the dream I lived for three life-changing weeks was emotionally unbearable. The memories of this experience (my ziyaraat, my sisters and the knowledge gained) and vows made will be cherished forevermore, and I pray wholeheartedly that Allah (swt) grants us the tawfeeq to fulfil these vows. Imam Ali (as) states “Opportunity passes away [quickly] like clouds, so seize good opportunities when they arise”, and with my hand on my heart I can say I am truthfully grateful for seizing this opportunity.
The Madinah Al-Ilm and Bab Al-Ilm short summer courses have been running successfully for the past 10 years. If you would like to know more information you can visit our website here.
To read Part 1, click here