Prior to the actual start of Hajj, we spent a few days in Medinatun-Nabi (City of the Prophet).
Along the road we saw many mountains, valleys, grazing camels, small towns, etc. Driving to Medinah from Mecca was about a five-hour drive. Can you imagine making the hijrah (migration) by foot over such a rocky terrain?
Also, there were dhikr (remembrance) signs along the way, which was refreshing. The translation of this sign means “God is Greatest”. There were other signs that said “Glorify God”, “Praise be to God”, “Remember God”, “There is no Power or Strength except with God”, etc. Imagine looking up to see one of those signs while in a traffic jam, after a car accident, or just after a long and frustrating day at work.
Everyone mentioned that Medinah has such a calming energy and we found this to be very true. The city is clean, beautiful, and serene.
We were located fairly close to Masjid an-Nabawi (The Prophet’s Mosque).
The mosque is breath-taking. It has golden doors embellished with calligraphy, marble façade, striped arches that are also characteristic of the mosques from Andalus, Spain, and beautiful golden lanterns. Another cool feature is that the masjid (mosque) has automated sun-roofs that recede to allow natural sunlight to enter. A+ for the use of passive solar lighting and ventilation, Masjid an-Nabawi!
At the periphery of the prayer area, beneath the green dome, lies the mausoleum (grave) of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and his two companions Abu Bakr as-Sideeq and Umar ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with them). Not to far from their burial site lies the mimbar (pulpit) of the Prophet (pbuh) and an area known as the Rawdah (The Garden) where the Prophet (pbuh) likened praying there to praying in Heavenly Paradise.
We left Medinah earlier than planned to prepare for Hajj. Though we wanted to stay longer, our travel group did not want to risk being late for the start of Hajj, which was our ultimate purpose to begin with. Though most of us did not feel ready to leave Medinah, I started to realize how much I missed the sight of the Ka’bah and worshipping in its sanctuary.
Our few months of Arabic study in Yemen really bolstered our confidence in speaking Arabic. In Mecca, we had a few opportunities to translate Arabic into English for others. In Medinah, I (eternitysojourner) met a few Mauritanian and Sudanese women that I was able to chat with. Both countries are known for the clear-speaking of Arabic and their preservation of its classical style. For whatever reason, I felt really strongly connected to the sisters I met from Sudan. Their energies were so warm and familiar that I could imagine us hanging out in Khartoum (capital city of Sudan) together.