I have been granted the extraordinary privilege of visiting holy places by the special grace and honour of Allah Ta’ala. Among these sacred sites are the Haram Sharif and Al-Aqsa Mosque, which I have the opportunity to visit multiple times each year. My first journey to the Haram Sharif holds a special place in my heart, as it marked my initial venture beyond the borders of Pakistan. Accompanied by my esteemed teachers, including Hazrat Maulana Saeed Sahib, Hazrat Maulana Abdul Rauf Sahib, my Sheikh and mentor Hazrat Maulana Yahya Madani Sahib, Shahid Bhai Sahib, and other friends and relatives, this trip was a memorable experience.
During this pilgrimage, my love for Haramain Sharifain was etched into my heart, and I gained invaluable spiritual blessings and knowledge. I attribute my present endeavors to the blessings bestowed upon me during this journey. Allah, in His infinite wisdom, facilitated my travels to numerous countries worldwide, allowing me to witness the magnificent signs of His power.
The journey to Madinah Munawarah took place partly in the month of Shaban and partly in Ramadan. As Ramadan commenced, I realized the distinctiveness of Madinah Munawarah and Makkah Mukarramah during this blessed month. The atmosphere was permeated with light, and enchanting scenes of Sehr and Iftar, Taraweeh prayers, and devotion adorned the surroundings. Reflecting upon the year 1988, the environment differed significantly from today’s bustling cityscape, as natural surroundings prevailed without towering structures. Experiencing the month of Ramadan in Haram Sharif was an indescribable delight. Words fail to capture the ambiance and emotions that enveloped me during this time.
Following my initial trip, life’s journey unfolded with its twists and turns, passing through countless springs and seasons. Several years elapsed, leading me down diverse paths. Yet, a longing persisted to return to the Haramain Sharifeen, to perform Umrah and eventually Hajj. Unfortunately, the opportunity to spend Ramadan in Haram Sharif eluded me due to television commitments and public engagements. However, last year, after a decade-long hiatus, I freed myself from prior obligations and embarked on an Umrah journey, firmly resolving to make it a yearly tradition.
This year, by the grace of Allah Ta’ala, we were blessed with the happiness of visiting Haram during Ramadan once again. As soon as Ramadan commenced, I initiated the preparations, gathering information about tickets and accommodations. However, I discovered that the rates for hotels and flights were exorbitant. My travel companion, Fazal Sanni Sahib, and my son, Abdul Wasay Muhammad, eagerly joined me in the search for more affordable options. Abdul Wasay’s excitement was profound, as he eagerly shared the news with his grandmother and friends, yearning to pray before the Kaaba and break his fast in the presence of the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) shrine. Although he had accompanied me on a previous journey when he was very young, witnessing his enthusiasm prompted me to include him in this pilgrimage. Consequently, we booked tickets to Riyadh via Italy. In addition, my younger brother, Seemab, residing in [location], and two other companions, Sohail Zarar Khalish and Saeed Kanpuri, also joined us on this sacred voyage. We arranged their tickets, while many other friends expressed their desire to accompany us, unfortunately, due to constraints, it was not feasible to accommodate everyone.
On the 21st of Ramadan, we organized a TV appeal for the Al-Wahab Foundation. Then, on Thursday, April 13, at 6 am, we boarded a flight from Luton Airport to Sicily, Italy. After a three-hour journey, we arrived in Sicily. With a three-hour stopover, which involved self-transfer procedures, we obtained the entry and exit stamps before acquiring our boarding cards once again. Alhamdulillah, this phase proceeded smoothly. Stepping out of the airport, we were greeted by pleasant weather. Sicily, once ruled by Muslims, showcased captivating aerial views of the city’s charming landscapes. We then departed from Sicily Airport, bound for Riyadh. As we landed in Riyadh, it was time for Iftar. We broke our fast in the airplane and performed the Maghrib prayer upon arrival. Upon completing the immigration process, we were received by Saeed Kanpuri’s maternal uncle, a hospitable resident of Riyadh. He warmly welcomed us and arranged a delightful meal comprising fritters, juices, and other delectable items. We departed from the airport in his car, arrived at his residence, where he continued to shower us with gracious hospitality. We spent the night in Riyadh, which coincided with the 23rd night of Ramadan. After the meal, we ventured out to explore the city of Riyadh briefly, purchasing yogurt and other suhoor essentials from a supermarket before returning to engage in worship throughout the night. As suhoor time approached, we participated in a pre-dawn meal and offered the morning prayer. At 6 am, our flight from Riyadh to Medina commenced. Following suhoor, we swiftly prepared for the flight and made our way to Riyadh Airport. Our flight departed promptly at 6 am, and precisely one hour later, at 7 am, we basked in the gentle air of Madinah Munawarah. The plane gracefully touched down at Madinah Airport on the auspicious Friday morning, coinciding with Jumu’ah Al-Wada.
(To be continued…)