Updated on 12 March 2018
With the successful conclusion of the Madinah and Bab Course 2014 by Allah’s Grace, a mentor takes the time to reflect on the last day of the trip as the students bid farewell to Imam Ar-Redha (AS) in Mashhad and said their goodbyes to their fellow brothers and sisters who have all become one family.
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Blog written by: Mohadditha Jaffer-Suleiman from UK
Friday 22nd August 2014
|After an eventful and emotional evening with the Closing Ceremony and the Sisters Final Reflection, today marked the final day for most participants in the blessed land of Mashhad. Some of us slipped out of the hotel into the peaceful streets before dawn to experience our last Namaz Shab and Salaatul Fajr in the holy proximity of Imam Ar-Redha (AS). Within those secret and intimate whispers under the blanket of the night, amongst thousands of worshippers, my heart wondered if I'd ever be called back to this land again. I assured myself that I would, I just had to come back here and do more...but the truth is that I really don't know, and that is a daunting thought.|
It's been an honor to serve, in my own limited capacity, the Zuwwar this year as a mentor and I really consider it as having been given a second chance in this particular course as I had come as a student in 2008. Did I do my best in taking care of the needs of the wonderful and unique participants? Did I act in a way that our generous hosts, Imam Ar-Redha (AS) and Lady Masuma (AS) would be proud of? Did I get even a step closer to the Almighty (SWT) and did I put the needs of someone else before my own? My heart feels heavy as I know there was so much more that could have been, but I pray that whatever little we offer to Allah (SWT) is accepted and increased, Ameen.
The day was (unusually) completely free; in fact, we needed to check out of the hotel by 1pm and we weren't leaving until 9pm so really were pushed to make the most of our last hours. Yes, last minute shopping was of course inevitable but the Haram was and is always our focus in Mashhad, Alhamdulillah! I had an insightful conversation with a Madinah Sister from London about the beauties of the Arabic language amongst other things, and as we walked to the Haram together, I really felt blessed to have had the opportunity to know, after three weeks together, this phenomenal group of young ladies who are my sisters. I glanced at these familiar faces as we did our final Ziyarat, their eyes brimming with tears, hands raised in dua and I felt inspired - just as I have so many times during this trip. These ladies are the ambassadors or our Imam (AJF) InshaAllah; we all have a big task ahead of us to follow through to be amongst his chosen ones.
The journey to the airport tugged at our hearts; many sisters were solemn and deep in thought. Of course, this didn't last the full length as the brothers graced the trip with some enthusiastic Dhikr of the Ahlul Bayt (AS) with Qasidas and some super-sonic Nareh Hayderis! All praise to the One who made us amongst those who accept the Imamah of Ameerul Mo'mineen! InshaAllah the passionate sentiments in these Qasidas inspires action in me so that I can show the world what being a Shi'a of Imam Ali (AS) really means.
Bidding farewell to dear friends is never easy (although through the blessing of WhatsApp we have vowed to all keep in touch!) Lots of hugs, lots of tears, lots of sweet exchanges and laughs were shared as we finally split off into travel groups (AFED, CoEJ, Bosnia) that really had dissolved within sisterhood, to continue our own lives with sweet memories of the immense experience of Madinah and Babul ‘Ilm 2014.
To end this diary entry, and to conclude the whole voyage, it just feels natural to give thanks. The ultimate praise is to Allah (SWT), and any other thanks we give actually goes back to Him, the Ultimate Source of all good. Thanks to the AhlulBayt (AS) for always reminding us of Allah (SWT) and for being such generous hosts to underserving guests. Thanks to the hardworking organizers (some I know of and some I don't): Shaykh Kumail, Sister Jerrmein, Sheikh Abbas, Brother Qasim, Sister Laila, Sheikh Mustafa, Agha Noori, Zinat Aunty, Sister Auzma, all the Madars and Khadams who did so much to serve this group and inspired us to pass it on. Thanks to all the scholars we encountered and encouraged deep thought and pure action; Shaykh M Khalfan, Sayed Kazimi, Sister Najiyah, Sister Razia Batool and Sister Sajida. Also to my wonderful fellow mentors; Sister Zahra, Sister Mehak, Sister Zehra for making such a great team, and to the brother mentors for good advice and support; Brother Ali Hussein, Brother Ali Mahdi, Brother Ammar and Sayed Hassan. Finally, thanks to every single participant whose destinies, somehow, brought them to the Jannah of this land for these few weeks, and to the parents who facilitated it. Whatever you have gained from this journey, I pray it grows with you and that you share it with others, so that they can be inspired by you, just like I have been.
The Saudi Ulema and the Shi‘a of Saudi Arabia
By RAIHAN ISMAIL
Centre for Arab & Islamic Studies, Australian National University, Canberra ACT, Australia