Student ID # VA2711-38 My experience and notes from Umar Ibnul Khattab educational Se
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
Wa salaatu was salaamu ala Rasool'Allah
"And whoever fears Allah - He will make for him a way out, and will provide for him from where he does not expect. And whoever relies upon Allah - then He is sufficient for him. Indeed, Allah will accomplish His purpose. Allah has already set for everything a [decreed] extent."
[Surah At-Talaq, part of ayah 2 - ayah 3]
I first learned about the Umar Ibnul-Khattab Educational Seminar from my mosque email list in Iowa. I was interested in the fact that there were lots of scholars, whom I did not know of aside from Abul Aziz Al-Shaykh, the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia who gave the Hajj sermon. At that time I was trying to find the best umrah trip and the most affordable for me, and that was most suited to my needs. It was very confusing as I had never been on umrah before and was relying on seconnd hand information. By Allah, I did not know what to do, had loans, and also barely was getting by with money. As time grew on the in the summer, because of my situation I thought that I would have to withdraw from the seminar. I told Zahid it was completely not about money and explained to him. He told me not to worry and to just come. I will not get into details, lets just say that when I remember what Zahid said I refer to it as the "Ode to Umrah" and I thought the first time I would see Zahid I would cry and hug him. However I did not, and he is probably glad about that.
Going to Mecca and Medina had been my greatest dream, particularly since high school when I had watched "The Hajj" on ABC showing Michael Wolfe on pilgrimage. Since then and forever insha'Allah, my greatest goal in life was to get to that city. Nothing else in this world mattered.
And so, because of my situation at the time of taking the trip, I still recall how things fell more and more into place as the time for the trip arrived, and how I amazed I was that I was actually at the airport in NY. What am I doing here, this is amazing, should I really even be here and is it really happening? I know the meaning of the verse qouted above, and I pray that Allah makes me and all of us amongst those who fear and rely on Allah. My mother said that I was invited by Allah. It was meant to be.
Our first major stop was Medina, the city of the the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. The first thing I wanted to do was head straight to the masjid, as it was the practice of the Prophet pbuh that when he returned to the city, he would go to the mosque and pray. We were told to get rest and eat. Due to circumstance, I did eat since the eating period was about to out and I also put my bags in my room. I then headed straight for the Prophet's masjid, which was right accross the street. As you can imagine, it was the best thing that ever happened to me up to that point and I walked all the way to the front of the masjid, managed to pray 2 rakat in the Rawda - the area between the original mimbar and the house of the Messenger of Allah peace be upon him about which the Prophet said was one of the gardens of paradise. Then I went to visit the Prophet's grave, which is right nearby to the left. Alhamdullilah, this was a great experience. May Allah guide us to follow his example always, ameen.
We spent about 5 days in Madina learning from the shaykhs and scholars at the hotel. Lectures were given on the seerah, the four imams, dawah, and much more. I enjoyed all the different personalities that the people of knowledge had, and their humility, and some of them their seriousness. I also witnessed one of the most amazing presentations I had ever seen. The shaykh divided his talk in the introductory portion into points he would talk about, and then after explaining a point he would go back to the next point and explain it, following his outline all the way through to the dot. I attended university, Alhamdullilah, and had some of the best professors in their field, and the shaykh was more accurate than they were during a power point presentation, mash'Allah. What was especially amazing was that he did it not only in the main lecture, he did it during questions and answers. May Allah continue to bless him and us all with beneficial knowledge, and teach us knowledge that will not be forgotten, ameen. Maybe I will put those notes up some time.
This was the city that I felt I had been waiting for all my life. We put on ihram and made inention for umrah at Dhul Hulayfah. On the bus, I reviewed my umrah notes and reviewed with others so that we would insha'Allah perform the umrah properly. Brothers recited the talbiyyah loudly and prepared for - what was for me, the greatest experience of my life. You are both nervous and excited at the same time, and the feeling is very intense and you want to carry that with you during the actual umrah.
When we arrived late night at Mecca, I got a glimse of the outside of the haram and what I thought may have been the Kaba. I did not know because I had never been there. We put our bags in, and my roomates tried to help us arrange so that we could perform umrah together and where we could meet after tawaf. We set the plan and went off for umrah. Masjid Al-Haram was right out the backside of our hotel, mash'Allah.
We walked down left past Bab Uthman and too the big courtyard area on the Sa'ee side of Masjid Al-Haram. We walked in the masjid, and I kept my eyes down as we treaded the walkways of the interior. I knew the Kaba was there but wanted to see it in full view, and not in passing glances. I lift my eyes and there it was. Mash'Allah, simply beautiful. The bright lights shined on it and it had a glow to it. Everything I ever wanted was right there, Alhamdullilah, and it was time to do umrah.
We started tawaf and as expected we lost each other in the crowd. I payed close attention to try and perform the particulars of tawaf correctly. Next I went to the meeqam of Ibrahim (upon whom be peace) and performed 2 rakats as was the sunnah. I then headed to a zamzam water container as well and drank some and also poured a little on my head. I looked at the meeting spot where the brothers said we could meet and I did not see them. Perhaps they thought I had already left to perform Sa'ee, running between Safa and Marwa, and so I did go.
I was on the first level, and started off at Safa and said the sunnah duas and also personal duas in between as was the sunnah. I then walked to marwa, and lightly ran in the area between the two green lights, which is for men. Along the way, one can make dua, thikr, read Qur'an, and as with tawaf and in general refrain from unecessary or idle talk. I completed the seven circuits between safa and marwa and then went to get my head shaved to complete the umrah. Alhamdullilah, it was over, and may Allah the Most Merficul and Most High accept our umrahs, ameen.
The umrah and the next two weeks were the best time of my life, ever. I sat with scholars who taught at Masjid al-Haram and the Prophet's Mosque, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. What I learned from them was the great great importance of sticking to the sunnah and to not let go in these times, to hold on to the Qur'an and sunnah with your molar teeth so as to have a tight grip and to not let go. Abdullah Musallam, may Allah have mercy on him and bless him, told us to stay away from the fitan. I learned that it takes great struggle and commitment to be a student of knowledge, to learn like these men. I also learned that this knowledged had humbled these men, and it did not make them think highly of themselves, and I saw their manners and delight in teaching and in seeing us succeed. They were so happy to have us. One speaker said they wanted to carry us to one of our destination cities, because of their delight in having us in their country and their desire to see us. I have never heard more gracious talk from a host of people in my life. Mash'Allah, they are eloquent, even in translation. May Allah bless and make fruitful in this life and the next all the hard work that everyone had put into this seminar, students, shaykhs and scholars, organizers, supporters, those who could and could not make it, ameen.
Only Allah knows the true benefit of this knowledge for each and every one of us, and I ask Allah to make it a means and cause of entry for us to enter paradise, for those of us who could and could not make it. And I ask Allah to continue us on this path of seeking knowledge till the time we leave this earth, and that He benefit us by it, and that He guide us aright and not leave us astray after He has guided us, and that He give us the good in this life, the good in the next, and protect us from the punishment of the Fire. Ameen.
Subhana'ka'lahooma wa behamdik, Ashadu'an La illaha illa lah ant, wa astaghfir'Allah wa atooboo elayk.
Abdullah Budri ibn Shaima Aminzay
19 Shaban 1427
12 September 2006