Between my shadow and my soul

Seven Counter-clockwise stirs

When we make tawaaf around the House of Allah in Makkah (the ka'bah) we imitate the actions of 70 000 angels that daily worship Allah at Baytul Ma'moor, situated in the 7th heaven directly above the current position of the Ka'bah. I imagine it as a process of winding up, of revitalising, of remembering the reason Allah created Men and Jinn, this purpose so simply illustrated in this action, yet forgotten in the millions of actions we perform elsewhere.

When we walk away from tawaaf, we have to remember how our footsteps were determined in a way that pleases Him, and start applying this principle in the actions that are not so straightforward. You would imagine the closer you are to this powerhouse, this core which encompasses so much of Islam's history, the easier it would be to live this purpose. To my horror, I see Makkah forgetting the honour it has been bestowed with. I see it being a city that has the Ka'bah and yet all of the Ihsaan that is supposed to emanate from this structure, based on man's repentance and revival is lost. Instead of breeding Knowledge, Wisdom, Learning and Power, around the Ka'bah we see rampant materialism, the purpose of which breeds the sanctity of this city into a dry stalk instead of the vibrant palm tree it has the potential to become.

Just a few steps away from the Ka'bah is Abraj al Bait, encompassing a multi-layered Dubai-styled shopping complex with international fast food outlets and branded clothing shops galore. Muslims meet in this place from all over the world and instead of sharing knowledge and creating bonds, as even the pagan Arabs did during the pilgrimage of the Jahiliyyah period, we bargain for items that help us little in our quest for Jannah and Allah's Pleasure. There is one tower to be built still, and plans are in check for it to have a bowling alley and health club. No matter that the best exercise one can engage oneself in is a few steps away. All around the current centre are LCD screens with ads of women without hijab, and as you leave the sign greets you with a pleasant "Have a nice day".

Imagine what else could we create in these blessed spaces while embracing the advantages of technology. I would love to visit Makkah and go on simulated tours of all of the Prophet's lives as Disneyland does so well. Infotainment, and yet the Wahaabism that allowed a Fir'aun-like castle to be built here, would label this bid'ah. How children would enjoy engaging in games that tested their Islamic knowledge, we could have conference rooms filled with people from all over the world attending lectures in their language and creating the bond of Grass mentioned in the Qur'an about the Sahabah RA. My ideas are breaths of carbon dioxide in a raging fire, yet I do not see how an Islamic Revival can be created when the source is so bereft.

8 shared ideas:

Aasia October 9, 2008 at 5:51 PM  

Greed and avarice is rampant every Nooj. My sincere advice is to focus on your corner of the world and start a mini-revival there. Ma Salaam

KimyaShafinaaz October 9, 2008 at 7:00 PM  

hey nooj

loved reading these reflections. your mind is fertile with wonderful ideas of the kind of spiritual learning that can accompany the replenishing energy of being in the space of the haramain.. in state of ibadah. extensions of that even. but it will take penetrating some age old walls of resistance from some who are deemed the custodians of the sacred.
already, theres a problem in that assumed possession. its a fight of ego's really. unless... there be a way... i attended some lectures in azizia just before hajj.. i wonder if that informal concept could be allowed to generate into the fields of learning that you envisage...

KimyaShafinaaz October 9, 2008 at 7:08 PM  

hey, this is a post on one of the lectures i attended. would love to read ur thoughts.. :)

Nooj October 10, 2008 at 12:01 PM  

thanks for the soothing words aasia. i'm trying and alhumz here i have so so many rolemodels. so i'm not really disheartened as spurred on to make more of a change...

big sis- you flatter me beyond need :)yes age old resistance but the youth are reinventing ways to communicate. ta for the link will def check it out. yes the haj classes are great, even the tajweed ones they sometimes have, even if it's just south africans meeting to engage in discussion and ibadah it's a great way to build bonds and power sparks...

Zahera October 10, 2008 at 12:14 PM  

Loving your ideas Nooj! The state of Makkah has become very sad. Its extremely disheartening and like i say many times, inshaAllah if im ever blessed with the opportunity of going- i fear the essence of Makkah will by then be entirely lost!

Safiyyah October 10, 2008 at 12:53 PM  

your post mirrors some of the thoughts i had whilemdoing hajj last year and umrah a few months ago..
yes there are malls and bowling alleys and monstrous buildings towering over the shade of the kabaah, and we need to ask why?
Call me a conspiracy theorist, but every time we tried to have a scholarly gathering, debate or simply have group discussion in the haramain, guards would quickly come to disperse us, and no we were not in the way of anyone, so yes, the Saudis do not want people to be involved in the kind of exchange of knowledge you speak about, because this would weaken their already shaky foundation as supreme monarch and "custodian" of the haramain. So, they create these diversions, the malls, the brands, the entertainment... in the hope that people will forget about them, and what they are doing to Islam.
imfact Imam al Asi in his tafsir, speaks of the saudi monarch and the israeli zionist regime, as one and the same...
they have all but destroyed our religous heritage, an entire ottoam castle has simply...vanished!
anyhow, I knw attacking the monarch will not do any good, but the frustration mounts and i believe that all 3 holy lands must be freed!

On a more spiritual note, to add to your thought of tawaaf, when we were doign haj, we noticed that, the tawaaf is carried out ANTI CLOCKWISE. this is no triviality. what this means is that, tawaaf is a symbol of going against convention, while everything in the world moves clockwise, we move anticlocwise, symbolising a struggle, symbolising that islam is different, and that we will have to go against society and its values to keep our religion... !

Nooj October 12, 2008 at 12:25 PM  

zesty- don't fear. sometimes things need to get really bad before they can get better. and as zubair told me on facebook, there will always be a minority that eclipses the mindlessness of the majority

safiyyah- wow altho i don't find that at all ludicrous. there is so much heritage and history in these blessed lands that we are being prevented from appreciating. beautiful analysis of tawaaf!

M Junaid October 22, 2008 at 12:00 AM  

I loved this post. I must have read it like six times.

Islamica did a very good article on how Wahabis's are destroying every bit of cultural heritage we have. I remember Shaikh Abu Eesa Niamatullah discussing this at the conference - he spoke abotu how for Westerners like himself - he enjoys the 'heritage aspects' of teh Hijjaz and is saddened that it is all being destroyed.

i'l find the islamica article and post it