SAUDI ARABIA - I
Uploaded on March 08, 2018
The pivot of a Muslim’s inner universe
Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam
Think of Saudi Arabia, and you think of the holiest of holy, the land most blessed by God, the land about which the Poet of East, Allama Mohammad Iqbal, wrote:
Among all the places of worship
Stands tall the first House of God
We (the Ummah) are its watchful sentries
As it (silently) guards over all of us
And think of a cool, shaded oasis in the Arabian desert, surrounded by date palms, over which hover clouds of God’s Grace, protecting it from the heat arising out of the nearby desert. And think of the Beloved Prophet of Allah (PBUH) resting in the khunq shehre, Persian for the “cool city,” and you see before your mind’s eye the blessed Madinatun Nabi (the Prophet’s city), Madinah al-Munawwarah, the “radiant city.”
And, after that, imagine a single individual out of the 1.75 billion-strong Ummah who is not madly in love with all this. You would be hard put to find such a person. That brings us to the remarks of an Indian Muslim, who thinks he is a Muslim and acts accordingly, but he is not sure he is a good Muslim.
After a visit to the holy land, having performed a couple of Umrahs (and offering a salaat or two at the Prophet’s mosque), he told his family and friends, “I wonder why don’t we lose our senses, or get raving mad after looking at the ravishing beauty and grandeur of the House of God, because we know after looking at it, nothing remains on earth worthy of a look. Or, why don’t we die after offering our salaam to the Prophet (PBUH) standing by his final resting place, because that seems to be the moment when we have achieved our lives’ goal?” Then, he observes thoughtfully: “Perhaps Allah wants us to live our lives with sanity and prayers, with thanks on our lips for having shown us a clear sign of heaven right in our lives. Sustaining such an overwhelmingly emotional experience is possible because of Allah’s Grace only.”
And think of Prophet Abraham, rightly called the “Father of Faiths” by the world, but honoured by Allah as Khaleel (friend), Khaleel-al-Lah, Allah’s friend. Among the legacy left behind by him are the ka’aba, the 50-feet high building, draped in thick black, gold embroidered silk cover called the kiswa. This is the House of God Abraham built with his son Ishmael (peace be upon them), among whose progeny arose our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the last prophet, the seal of prophethood, after whom no prophet would ever come, and Muhammad Rasulullah would be the prophet for all humanity till the Day of Judgement.
Ever wonder why Iqbal calls it the first House of God, as, of course, do all Muslims? It is so because it is the first known house of worship built exclusively for the worship of One God alone, wahdahu la shareek (the One God Who Has no Partner), the God of the staunch monotheist Abraham (PBUH) and all true prophets after him (all his progeny).
In the holy precincts of the Haram at Makkah al-Mukarramah (Makkah the honoured) lie not only the House of God, but the well of zamzam that Allah brought forth from the rocky desert to quench the thirst of his infant son Ishmael (Ismail) and to assuage the anxiety Ishmael’s mother (Abraham’s wife), Hagar (Bibi Hajirah) as well. Here also lies Maqaam Ibrahim (Abraham’s place), and on the outer precincts of the Haram are situated the hills of Safa and Marwah, between which ran a desperate Hagar looking for some water for her crying infant. And all those were so dear to Allah that He embedded them in the rituals of Umrah, some of it also into Hajj, which is performed mainly only a few kilometers away that includes vital parts of Abraham’s and Ishmael’s deeds. The sacrifice of animals, another deed from Abraham’s life, is part of it.
Saudi Arabia is home to Islam’s history and its memory, its present and future. This land is the beating heart of Islam, end-to-end. All over it lie the signs of Islam, not only from the time of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), but from the time of his ancestor, the Khaleel-al-Lah till the end of days, the Qayamat.
Only a few years ago, when the country was being vilified by a hostile international media, the then King Abdullah declared that Saudi Arabia meant Islam and the country would live to defend the faith or die defending it. It is the heritage of the Ummah, which must stand by this country through thick and thin, come hail or hot weather.
(To be continued)