Tag Archives: uhud

Day 10 – A Day in the Outskirts

“The way the burnt orange horizon flawlessly blends into the dark navy sky above is perfectly seamless…I was awestruck.”

I’m sitting here, contemplating the events I faced so far – with these random dudes being shady in Medina and the guy in Mecca. Such interesting stories, I can’t wait to share them with my friends. I’ve realized something – if someone is trying to talk to you, as an official especially, and doesn’t know Urdu or English, be very, very careful. All officials here, store owners too, know or speak Urdu & English – even if it’s broken & busted up, it’s still manageable. It’s similar to how most Americans can get by with a very broken and super basic level of Spanish.

I need to be quicker to react and more forceful as well. I’m way too passive, waiting for things to just happen in these situations. Ends up taking me so long to react…

I lost my train of thought – I’m sitting in my room & I can hear the men in our group yelling through the wall, from the room down the hall. The group leader is yelling at them & lecturing them about their behavior in the Haram I think, reminding them they’re on Hajj. This tends to happen quite regularly. I’m not really sure what’s going on, I deliberately keep myself out of their continuous squabbles. Whatever it is this time, it sounds heated. Got me all distracted.

Yesterday, we took a tour and saw some sites around the area. We visited Masjid Quba – which is the first masjid of Islam. When the Prophet arrive in Medina after making his Hijra (emigration) from Mecca, he was greeted at that spot. The Prophet used to visit this masjid every Saturday & pray 2 rak’ahs. He said if you travel to it and pray 2 rak’ahs as he did, you get the reward of one ‘Umrah.

Masjid Quba

Main Prayer Hall, Masjid Quba

We also visited Masjid Qiblatain. It was here, while the Prophet was praying with his Companions, during the 2nd rak’ah of Dhuhr, I believe, that the Angel Gabriel came to him. He told the Prophet to turn from the original direction of Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem and to face the Ka’aba in Mecca for salah (prayer). So, this masjid has two qibla (direction) markings – to the South for Mecca & to the North for Jerusalem.

Masjid Qiblatain

Facing Mecca

It’s interesting, in our Islamic Tradition, sites with historical significance get turned into masjids, not museums. They become places where you can pray & remember Allah, not just the events that took place there – which increases the barakah (blessing) of those places.

We also visited Mt. Uhud and the battleground where the war took place. It was really awesome to see first-hand, the place where the war stories took place, contextualizing them completely. We had a guide there give us the whole story, explaining what took place in each spot.

How It All Went Down

The Kuffar numbered 3,000 – against 700 Muslims. 300 more had initially joined the Muslims, but they were Munafiq (traitors) who turned back at the last minute. The strategy was to funnel the army of the Kuffar through the gap on the left, making it easier to attack and defeat them. Archers stood on the small mount and were tasked with keeping the right side protected to prevent the Muslim army from being flanked, which Khalid b. Waleed tried to do continuously throughout the battle. The Prophet instructed the archers not to leave their post no matter what, whether they were winning or losing. During the battle, the Kuffar started to run & the archers thought the war was over, so they ran down to collect the spoils. 40 out of the 50 archers left the mount, though their own commander told them not to move from their positions.

Khalid b. Waleed saw this opportunity and flanked the Muslims with his cavalry. The remaining archers were unable to defend the army and they lost the mount as well. Word also started spreading that the Prophet died, causing morale to drop – because someone who looked like the Prophet had been killed. Some of the Muslims found the Prophet still alive, a group of 9 Ansar (Helpers, locals from Medina) & 2 Muhajir (Immigrants, from Mecca), and they retreated up the mountain of Uhud. Sa’d b. Abi Waqqas was shooting his arrows from up the mountain & the Prophet gave him his own arrows to shoot, saying, “May my father and mother be sacrificed for you, O’ Sa’d, shoot!” It’s said this was the first and last time the Prophet ever uttered anything of this magnitude, greatly honoring his Companion during battle.

The Mountain of Uhud at Sunset

The Archers' Mount

The Muslims were cornered & outnumbered, having lost more than 70 Companions that day – including Hamzah, the Prophet’s uncle. They managed to retreat, having been taught a valuable lesson, to always adhere to the plan & orders of the Prophet. They were shown how giving in to personal desires and self-interests will jeopardize the situation for the entire army. Team-building exercise to the death, I suppose.


Just had breakfast, feeling a little gross now actually. Food just isn’t the same here. It’s especially nasty when they attempt to make it more Western. Ends up with really weird, mushy textures, with the spices just all off.

You know, last night, as the final leg of our tour, we visited a camel farm in the mountains. Surrounded by mountains actually. Right at sunset. It was such a beautiful sight, completely breathtaking. There’s something so special about a desert at sunset that just doesn’t compare to anything else. The colors of the sky are so much deeper & saturated, probably from the heat in the air. The way the burnt orange horizon flawlessly blends into the dark navy sky above is perfectly seamless. Reminds me of the verse from surah Al-Mulk, where Allah directs the eyes to the sky, challenging anyone to find any cracks or flaws in its construction. I was awestruck. There were no lines, no seams, no breaks – just perfect blending. SubhanAllah.

That Beautiful Desert Sky

We went to these camel farmers, our group was kind of obsessed with getting fresh camel milk for some reason. I watched these dudes milk the camels and walk out holding big metal bowls full of white, frothy milk. They just dipped a ladle into the 10 kilo container full of fresh milk, pulled out a potful, strained it once, and started sipping it. I definitely did not partake. I’m all about being adventurous, but apparently, if you’re not used to it (which I’m not) camel milk gives you diarrhea. No, thank you. Not on a trip like this. From what I hear, the taste is also a bit salty and the texture is thicker, almost yogurty. Sounds pretty good actually, almost like lassi, or dogh, or laban. Still not messin with it though.

I was so exhausted when we came back last night, I just prayed ‘Isha in Masjid Nabawi, came back to the room and knocked out around 8 or 9pm. I didn’t even have dinner in the catering hall where we’re being served breakfast & dinner daily. I went up, saw the food, saw the ridiculous line to get the food, then came back to the room. I had a granola bar and passed out.


Filed under Medina, Reflections, Travel

Day 9 – Ziyara! Ziyara! Ziyara!

“…These men and women, so distinguished and dignified, stand in total obscurity now…They are the forefathers of our faith.”


Been takin it easy. For some reason, I slept forever yesterday. I missed ‘Asr & Maghrib cuz I knocked out. Wait…I prayed ‘Asr! Just missed Maghrib. I made up an ‘Asr this morning, oh well. I basically passed out around 5pm and didn’t wake up til 3:15am. No clue why I slept so much.

Yesterday, I got to hang with my parents for a while and go shopping. We hit some wholesale date market one of the guys in the group knew about. There, we got the Desi hookup & my parents copped an unearthly amount of dates – something like 40 kilos. That’ll be fun to carry around…

In The Market For Some Dates?

We got 3 different kinds – Ajwa, Medjdool and Kalmi I think. We also got a bunch of boxes of almond-stuffed dates. Afterwards, we grabbed a cab to the hotel, to take back all of the dates. Our driver was texting and maneuvering through traffic. My dad was squirming in the backseat, it was hilarious. My mom was like, “See! That’s how you drive! Now you know how we feel.” Never misses an opportunity :P

Textin' & Drivin'

We hit up ‘Asr at the masjid and then went around to grab lunch. Ended up doing a little shopping along the way at some street kiosks, lined up outside the masjid. We went to a shawarma spot and had some dinky, mediocre sandwiches, which we ate on the stoop of a nearby hotel. That’s about as comfortable as it gets. After that is when I came back & just knocked out.

I woke up this morning like “WTF?! What happened…why did I sleep so much?” I took a shower, got dressed and went to the masjid around 3:30am. It was so calm and peaceful. There were still so many people there, thousands for sure, but it was quiet.

I tried getting into the area where the Prophet’s grave is, but they still weren’t letting people in. I went in the masjid, behind the original section of the building and sat down as close as I could. I did some tahajjud and chilled, waited for Fajr.

6am, after Fajr, I walked with the mass of people to visit Jannatul Baqi (The Holy Graveyard), the graveyard where many Companions are buried. It was massive, far larger than I expected. There’s an estimated 10,000 graves there, all unmarked and unidentified. There are only headstones, indicating where graves are, no names. The cemetery is adjacent to the Eastern wall of the masjid. It was so interesting to see those graves with the grandiose minarets of the masjid as the backdrop

Jannatul Baqi' (The Holy Graveyard)

It’s powerful how these men and women, so distinguished and dignified, stand in total obscurity now. They are, however, further honored by their collective identity, as Companions of The Beloved Prophet. They each accomplished much, surely, but that’s been surrendered so they could be a part of something bigger. They are the forefathers of our faith. They are so blessed & honored. May Allah shower them with His Everlasting Mercy & bless us with an end that is equally dignified & peaceful.

I just hung around and took pictures afterwards. The light is so perfect just after sunrise – that “Golden Hour” photographers talk about. It’s beautiful, such a perfect time to be out in Medina, my favorite actually.

Masjid Nabawi After Sunrise

I was on my way back to the hotel when I saw a little scuffle in the street. There were lines of cars, trying to take people on tours. Drivers walk along the sidewalks yelling, “Ziyara! Ziyara! Ziyara!”. I figure ‘ziyara’ means ‘tour’. I have no idea what actually happened, but some drivers were fighting with some Hajji’s over something and a big crowd had gathered.

They grabbed one Hajji & forced him into a little toll booth looking structure on the corner & locked the door. One of the drivers (in the brown thobe, standing against the booth in the picture below) was yelling and pushing people. He went up to some old guy and shoved him hard and the guy went flying! He couldn’t catch himself and fell off the sidewalk, into the street. Luckily, there were no cars coming, he was completely sprawled out. His glasses and wallet go flying, his ID’s scattering out onto the road. The driver was cursing at him and kicked him again as he was trying to get back up. Poor guy. He got up, grabbed his stuff and just hustled off. I still have no idea what it was all about, but it provided some quality morning entertainment.

Hoopla in Medina

I’m back in the hotel now, just had breakfast. We’re gonna rest until Dhuhr, it’s 9am now. After Dhuhr, we’re planning to take a tour of the city.

Um…ok…change of plans. Apparently, We’re going to some Jinn valley….now!
That was a waste of time. There is a valley, 30 minutes from the city, that Desi’s have dubbed Wadi-e-Jinn (Valley of Jinn). They claim there’s a supernatural phenomena of Jinn controlling your cars & pushing them while in neutral. They also say, if you pour water on the ground, it runs uphill, metal bottles also roll on the ground when placed still.We went and tried everything. Yeah, these things appeared to happen. I think it’s a load of crock doo-doo. There’s probably a magnetic field that pulls everything. Watta stooopid….

At least we saw Uhud on the way there. It’s to the North of Medina. We also saw the mount where the archers stood during the battle. Uhud itself is massive! It borders the city and gives it that natural defense.


I miss Mecca. I remember reading about the Companions missing their city when they came to Medina & the Prophet had to remind them of this being their home now & that he was with them. I completely understand what they felt and how they must have missed that beautiful place :/


Just getting on the van for the tour, it’s 3:20pm. Things be like that with this group, everything at its own time. Funny thing, the driver we have is the same exact guy I saw this morning kicking the old guy in the street. SubhanAllah, small world :). No one else knows about this guy, even called him ‘Sheikh’ a few times throughout the tour, and I watched him mercilessly beat an elderly Hajji not more than an hour after sunrise this morning.

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Filed under Medina