Dear Pilgrim

Below is a (fairly long) email I send to people before they head off to Umrah. It’s my own dua list accompanied by some advice I wrote. Feel free to take any duas and use them for yourself, and please remember me in them too. Of course, any dua you make for others is always answered for yourself too.

I pray it’s of benefit!


A Muslim pilgrim prays atop Mount Mercy on the plains of Arafat
As-salaamu Alaykum

The journey you are about to embark on will change your life, insha’Allah. You are about to visit the house of Allah ﷻ, our beloved Messenger ﷺ and His righteous Companions. The amount They have given to us is beyond our comprehension, so be sure to show them the utmost respect.

As you travel out, try and get yourself in a spiritual state. The earlier you do this, before you travel, the better. Reduce the amount you talk with other people and focus your time of dhikr (repentance, praise of His Messenger ﷺ and remembrance of Allah ﷻ). Read and learn the rituals of the pilgrimage so you are not distracted by the book when you are there. If you did not pray before, pray. Now is the time of redemption.

Write down the duas you wish to make and a list of all the people you remember. Send a personal message to family and friends, seeking their forgiveness and write down their duas by name. Write down the names of your enemies or those you had forgotten.

When there, try and finish the entire Quran at least once during your visit. Pray all your prayers in congregation, in the masjid. Try and fast a few days too if you can. Most importantly, never forget the Messenger of Allah, repeating often His praise. Do so out of love and honour for Him, not to repay any favour He did because you will never be able to. In each Salawat there is countless secrets and reward.

The benefit you receive and the things you see depend entirely on the state of your heart. Beauty is a combination of the object ‘seen’ and the lenses with which it is seen. Ask Allah ﷻ to open your chest and purify your heart to witness His Majesty and the Beauty of the Prophet ﷺ. Prayers and dhikr are not made by you, they are received. Open your heart to its breezes and ask Allah to pour His love into it for you. This is what my teacher advised.

Many people go to the blessed lands and see no benefit as it is simply a matter of rituals and shopping. Devote yourself to Allah ﷻ in these coming days and cut yourself off from all else, and you will see its fruits.

Makkah

As you visit the Haram, realise that every step you tread is one that has been trodden by countless Prophets, Saints and Scholars – all of whom are far better than you. Feel the majesty and magnificence of the place and humble yourself before its Lord. You are just one of billions of others who have been invited. Nothing makes you special or different to anyone else – yet Allah ﷻ has honoured you to personally bring you to His house and answer every call you make to Him.

Hear the chants of pilgrims as they salute the holy mosque. Listen to the sobs of young and old confessing a life of sin, all to be forgiven in a moment’s repentance. Feel small and worthless as you stand there before the majestic house of God. Nothing in the self (nafs) is good. Nothing. Let it wither and die before its Lord as that is the only way your spirit can rise and grow. Nothing matters here – or anywhere – but God.

Every ritual you do is one the Prophet ﷺ did. He is your teacher and Master, so dare not forget Him ﷺ in any of this. How foolish is a person who strives every step to try and abide by the Quran and Sunnah, yet forgets to supplicate for the Messenger ﷺ who brought it to them! Begin, end and fill every supplication with Salawat on the Prophet ﷺ. If that is all you said it would suffice! Through it and by it will all your other duas will be answered, even those you asked insincerely, or didn’t ask at all!

Reflect on the historic significance of the place you stand. The sight of the Ka’bah is so magnificent that it itself is deemed a form of worship. Gaze onto it and witness God’s existence. Feel something true beyond words, something only your soul can understand. Pity and pray for those who are heedless or do not believe in Him! Feel the peace and certainty that overwhelms you in that moment and know this is the fulfilment you have always sought. Now turn back to yourself and reflect on how absent-minded you have been of Him all these years. All those moments of sin and disregard, acting as though God was not there. All those prayers for which you faced this direction, yet not once did you experience His presence. Yet, despite all this, He had the generosity to remember you, choose you, bring you and host you at His house out of billions of other people. This is your time to repent.

Reflect on the symbolism of everything you see before you. Just as people circle the house of Allah ﷻ, Allah ﷻ should be the central focus of your life, in everything you do. Each individual circling the Ka’bah comes with their own prayers and hopes, and Allah ﷻ gives each one of them such that they feel the most fortunate person there. Yet, in an ocean of people, the Host of this House treats each guest personally. As you look from afar, each person now disappears into insignificance and only the Ka’bah remains. It’s like a couplet I wrote:

“How loud the drums of life do beat
Yet silence is what fills the street.”

Marvel at the black stone, symbolising the struggle that this ummah faces. Only a handful of people are involved in trying to reach it, yet the whole congregation feels its effects as the traffic builds around it. Many make it the central focus of their intention, some going so far that they become reckless in how they treat others, climbing and pushing people out of their way. A righteous outcome is corrupted by poor adab (character), a typical case of the ends justifying the means.

The Ka’bah walls represent the suffering of the oppressed. Each pilgrim struggles to reach it, weaving through tides of people to get there, knowing it is a place prayers are answered. The climax is at the Multazam, a place no dua will be turned away – but it is also the hardest place to reach. When they do, they beg Allah ﷻ for mercy, recalling everything they ever knew in that moment. Some lack the words to say anything, but their silent sobs ring louder than any words could. As they step away, you realise that all that mattered was the dua, not the place. Had they been able to make that dua on the periphery, it would have sufficed, but sometimes we need the struggle to instil the words and sincerity within us. If you could embody that moment with Allah ﷻ wherever you are, the struggle and action you take becomes a formality for you are always there before his House.

This place isn’t for tourism, it’s for worship and only those with that intention will be allowed in to appreciate its beauty. As much as you try and show the beauty of this place through a picture, the reality is far greater. I met a convert from Christianity who said how the spirituality of the Vatican was ruined as worship was complemented by bus load’s of tourists just coming for the photos. Don’t be that tourist.

But in all its majesty and rituals, realise that the Ka’bah is 4 stone walls and hollow inside. The Shari’ah (law) is important but it’s just the outer shell. The green dome in Madinah however contains a moon and 2 stars; a piece of heaven on earth. Following the Prophet ﷺ and His example is the essence of our faith, whilst these rituals are just formalities that lay the borders within which we work.

Recall the seerah of the Prophet ﷺ and how much He sacrificed just for us to be able to be here today. Where was the spot He was praying when the cursed Abu Jahl dared place animal excrement on His blessed back? Where was the place He stood to call to His people, and how often they would scoff and laugh? Find the spot around the Ka’bah where He ﷺ would stand to pray, facing the Ka’bah and Jerusalem. Witness the selflessness and sacrifice of the Prophet ﷺ, and what He ﷺ gave for you to be there today.

Ask yourself what role you will play. Will your life have anything to be remembered by – not by people but by Allah ﷻ! Will you continue to consume haram money? Will you continue to be lazy in your prayers? Will you continue to let your eyes wonder lustfully as they please? This life is short and worthless if spent in anything other than Allah’s ﷻ pleasure. Make the resolve to change and ask Allah ﷻ to help you be steadfast in it. How many people have visited this place and returned, only to fall back into the same mistakes.

Beg Allah ﷻ to help you change. If you cannot find the sincerity to do so, fake it. It is He who changes hearts, not you. You are powerless. Ask not because you seek it, but because Allah ﷻ asked you to. You will see people crying all around you yet your eyes are dry and heart unmoved; don’t give up. All this is a distraction. You ask because Allah ﷻ asked you to, not for you to feel good. Very soon the tears will be streaming down your cheeks and your heart quaking with fear, but you will have more sincerity now than you do then as now you only ask because Allah ﷻ asked you to do so.

Remember – this is your journey to Allah ﷻ and His Messenger ﷺ. Think about what you want to say to Them. Think about all those things you have wanted to say and never have been able to. Have a conversation with Allah ﷻ and tell Him all those worries and concerns in any language in which you find comfort, or in none at all! If you cannot think of anything or your heart is hard, like mine, pray that Allah ﷻ will soften it for you and humble you before Him. Remember, the words of your state are far louder than those of your tongue. Feel everything you say, even if you find no words to say it. Pray to Allah ﷻ that He gives you the eloquence to say the things you are unable to express, but know that your sincere silence rings louder than empty words. Ask that He opens your heart to religious knowledge, wisdom and acceptance. Know that every dua you utter is a gift and opening that Allah ﷻ has bestowed to you and a sign that He wishes to give it to you – then weep at how generous He is that He inspired you to ask in order that He gift it you!

Madinah

When you visit the Prophet ﷺ, know that you are visiting the Best of Creation, in a land described as paradise. Our Beloved ﷺ chose to remain in Madinah after the Opening of Makkah, and He left this world from Madinah – this is enough to tell you of the great secrets that lie there. Madinah is our home as paradise is our home, and you have the greatest host to look after you. Prepare yourself for your first meeting with the Prophet ﷺ. Prepare what you will say to Him as you stand before Him and His two noble companions. The people of the graves can hear us as you hear us today, they just cannot respond in the way we do. This has been taught in many hadith including that in Bukhari (the translation of which is as follows):

3757. It is related from Abu Talha that on the day of Badr the Prophet of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, had commanded that twenty-four men of the leaders of Quraysh be thrown into one of the dirty stone wells of Badr. Whenever he defeated a people, he used to stay in the area for three nights. On the third day after Badr, he commanded that his she-camel be saddled and then went, followed by his Companions. They said, ‘We only suppose that he is going to something of import,’ and he stopped at the edge of the well and became to call them by their names and the names of their fathers, ‘O so-and-so son of so-and-so! O so-and-so son of so-and-so! Would it have pleased you to have obeyed Allah and His Messenger?’ We have found what our Lord promised us to be true? Have you found what your Lord promised you to be true?'” He said, “‘Umar said, ‘Messenger of Allah, are you speaking to soulless bodies?’ The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘By the One who has the soul of Muhammad in His hand, you do not hear what I say better than they do!'”
– https://bewley.virtualave.net/bukhari29.html

Know that you must love Him ﷺ more than you love yourself, and you must maintain the highest level of adab (manners) at all times in His city. You will see people do things that are contrary to good adab. Some will stampede to get into the Rawdah, others will stretch their legs out towards the Prophet ﷺ or the qibla, or speak loudly in His city. Do not join them. Rather, do what noble men do: give charity, help the weak and busy yourself with worship.

If you wish to take pictures, do not do so on your first meeting – leave this for a later time, if at all. There are plenty of better photos taken by others that you can share with family members should you wish. Be in the moment, and capture the radiance of the place with the camera of your heart. Do not take selfies. The self is what you come to submit before Allah ﷻ and His Messenger ﷺ. They are all that matter in this place. This may seem harsh, but I have seen very few people ever look at their photos more than a few months after taking them.

One of the most important verses to read when you stand before His grave is:

4_64
All the messengers We sent were meant to be obeyed, by God’s leave. If only [the hypocrites] had come to you [Prophet] when they wronged themselves, and begged God’s forgiveness, and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found that God accepts repentance and is most merciful.
(Al-Nisaa, 4:64)

Read it over and over again and feel the presence of the Prophet ﷺ who stands before you. Allah ﷻ describes how the Prophet ﷺ is our means to forgiveness, and asking Him to intercede for us will certainly be answered. Understand that He is everything to you, and He has done more for you than anyone else, even yourself! Break down as you realise that this was someone real, and His intercession for us is real, in this life and the next.

Weep at the lost opportunity to meet Him in person. What would you have said to Him? How would His touch have been as He comforts you when you weep? Remember how the youth came to Him seeking permission to fornicate, yet His ﷺ single touch made that the most detested thing to him. Remember how a man came to kill the Prophet ﷺ, but a single touch turned his hatred into boundless love. Cry for that missed opportunity, but show endless gratitude that He has allowed you to visit His city now, and pour out everything that you wish to say. By Allah’s ﷻ grace, your duas will be answered as the Prophet ﷺ hears every word you say, in whatever language you say it. If it is sincere, you will get what you wish.

There are so many secrets to Madinah, but these are things that must be experienced. Allow yourself to receive the Prophetic breezes that fill the city and bask in the mercy that overflows from His presence.

Do not forget to visit the paradise of Al-Baqee’. These are the fortunate ones who have won already, buried besides our Master. Send them your salaams and ours, reflecting on the story of each person buried there. Imam Malik states there are over 10,000 companions of the Prophet ﷺ buried there. How much did they sacrifice to help our Beloved ﷺ! Greet the wives of the Prophet ﷺ – your mothers. No words can sufficiently describe their greatness, each chosen to hold the greatest honour of wife of the Prophet. Pray that you too can be buried here, the first to rise on the day of Judgement after the Prophet and seeking refuge under His banner on that day.

Final Words

It is essential to pace yourself during your time there. Ensure you eat good foods and have plenty of rest with the intention of it aiding you in your worship. Everything is by its intention, and the most mundane act can be ennobled by it.

Below are some of my own duas. I have given you everything here – personal and public. Feel free to use them for yourself but keep them to yourself. They are a lot and the order isn’t exact (its more bunched up than ordered). I would be grateful if you could remember them in the key moments when duas are answered.

Below is my dua list, but the thing in which I want all of you to remember me is this:

  • When you first greet the Prophet ﷺ, convey my salaams to Him and tell Him I miss Him and yearn for His company.
  • When you first see the Ka’bah, remember me in your duas with all your heart.
  • Whenever you stop to make dua, in every sacred place you visit, remember me and your Muslim brothers there.

Before the Messenger I stand,
with heavy heart and empty hand;

A man of sin, transgressing soul, 
and yet He called me to His home.

He welcomed me that we might meet
and that I may my Prophet greet.

‘Tis for His company I yearn,
so when the time comes for return,

I’ll travel there and yet stay here:
my body far, my spirit near.

This home is mine, I will not leave;
upon us be no fear nor grief.

You won’t forget but, if you do,
know that He will remember you.

May Allah ﷻ accept this blessed journey and write it amongst your good deeds.

Service to Allah ﷻ

  • Allah ﷻ accepts me as a slave for Him
  • Serve Him in every breath I take
  • Guide me to what He wishes me to do
  • Guide me to those who bring me to Him
  • Always conscious of Him
  • Never disobey Him (Mahfoodh)

The Prophet ﷺ

  • Send peace and blessings upon Him in every time and place as you wish to praise on Him
  • Grant the Prophet ﷺ Al-waseelah , Al-fadeelah and Al-maqaam Al-Mahmood
  • He blesses me to see and talk to the Prophet ﷺ in a true dream,
  • Grant me His companionship in the next life
  • Help me make the salawaat constant on my tongue for Him
  • Make me from His lovers
  • Guide me to those who love Him ﷺ

Others

  • Helps people of
    • Syria
    • Burma
    • CAR
    • Palestine
    • Around the world
  • Protects our
    • Scholars
    • Teachers
    • Families
    • Friends
  • Gives my parents and siblings good health and sustenance and grants them all jannah
  • Gives my nephews and nieces long, healthy and obedient lives
  • Gives all my family and friends good health and success in this life and the next
  • Guide [name] to Islam
  • Make [name] firm on imaan
  • Make us and all the brothers and sisters firm on Imaan, and bring back those who have left Islam
  • Bring our [name] to Islam, and all our non-Muslim friends and neighbours
  • Make our local Masjid a success and turn people’s hearts towards it
  • That [name] and all the brothers & sisters who sat exams get the highest grades they can
  • Make the Quran Club a success
  • Make the Centre for Islam and Medicine (CIM) a success
  • Makes it and us a source of great openings in the UK.
  • Guide our direction in it
  • Give openings and wisdom to those studying sacred knowledge
  • Help the people of Dala’il Al-Khayraat

Rank

Oh Allah, raise me amongst:

  • The Prophets
  • The Siddiqeen
  • The Martyrs
  • The Saliheen
  • The Aqtaab
  • The Awtaad
  • The Abdaal
  • The Awliya’ (saints)

And make us from among

  • The lovers of Allah ﷻ and His Messenger ﷺ
  • The Awliya’ (saints)
  • From the Scholars
  • The charitable
  • The sincere
  • The repentant
  • The connected
  • The oft-praying
  • The rememberers
  • The people of paradise

Gifts

  • Gifts
    • All future duas are accepted
    • Remember people’s names first time round
    • He gives me the energy to continue working for His sake
  • Purification
    • Allah ﷻ forgives my past and future sins
    • Allah ﷻ cures my heart of all its diseases
    • Cure me of my addictions
    • Abandon sin and never return to it
  • Qualities
    • He gives patience to bare any tribulation.
  • Knowledge
    • Opens my heart to wisdom, understanding and practice of sacred knowledge
    • Strengthen my memory
    • Hafiz of the Quran
    • Make me from the foremost scholars
    • Give me a clarity and ability in speech
  • He guides me in this life to reach Him in the next
  • Love giving charity, fasting, salah and places sincerity in them
  • Love the Halal and hate the haram

Actions

  • Send my Salawat and Salaam to the Prophet ﷺ and his
    • Family
    • Companions
    • Followers
    • All Muslims until the final day
  • Allow me to find a shaykh to guide me through this life and to Allah ﷻ
  • Allow me to remain constant on this guidance
  • Bless those reading Dala’il Al-Khayraat and make me one of them
  • To ask Allah ﷻ for whatever good that the Prophet ﷺ and His companions asked Him, and to seek refuge from any evil from which the Prophet ﷺ and His companions sought refuge

Marriage

  • He blesses me to find a spouse who will bring me closer to Him at the most appropriate stage of my life.
    • [Names of individuals to pray istikharah for]
  • Make my wife and children a source of joy, guidance and closeness to Allah ﷻ
  • Help me to lower my gaze and remove the love of the haram from my heart
  • Make my parents
    • Content with the choice
    • Give them a long life to see my children

Rizq / Money

  • Guide me to a source of halal rizq
  • He guides me to a career which will please Him and purifies my money from any haram.
  • That Allah ﷻ gives me the dunya in my hand but never in my heart
  • Never fall into debt or interest

List of Names

  • The Prophet
  • Mother
  • Father
  • The author of this post, and his family
  • [A list of all friends and family]

May Allah and His Messenger accept it from us. Amin.

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