Abu Hurayrah (ra) relates that the Prophet (saw) said, “You should not undertake a special journey to visit any place other than the following three Masjids with the expectations of getting greater reward: the Sacred Masjid of Makkah (Ka’bah), this Masjid of mine (the Prophet’s Masjid in Madinah), and Masjid Al-Aqsa (of Jerusalem).” In another narration the words are, “For three Masjids a special journey may be undertaken: The Sacred Masjid (Ka’bah), my Masjid and Masjid of Jerusalem (Al-Aqsa).” (Muslim, Bukhari, Abu Dawud)
Zaid Ibn Thabit (ra) reports that the Prophet (saw) said, “How blessed is Al-Sham!” The Companions (ra) asked, “Why is that?” The Messenger (saw) replied, “I see the Angels of Allah spreading their wings over Al-Sham.” Ibn Abbas (ra) added, “And the Prophets lived therein. There is not a single inch in Al-Quds (Jerusalem) where a Prophet has not prayed or an Angel not stood.” (Tirmidhi, Ahmad)
Have you noticed how I say, I’m going to Jerusalem…not Israel or Palestine? I don’t want to get caught up in the political argument from either side. By saying I’m going to Jerusalem, I don’t have to talk about the existence or non-existence of Israel/Palestine, where either word is the “bad word” depending on who I’m talking to…my intention is not for politics. My intention is to go to Baitul Maqdis on pilgrimage, whilst hopefully washing away sins and becoming closer to Allah by being in a blessed land filled with the memories of actions of blessed people. By going to Jerusalem, I will inshAllah earn Allah’s favor by walking in the footsteps of some of His most blessed creations…prophets and companions of the prophets…angels…the poor and pious. I hope that the third du’a of Sulaiman (as) is granted to us:
‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin al-‘As (ra) reports that RasulAllah (saws) said, “When Sulaiman, son of Dawud (re)built Baitul Maqdis, he requested from Allah three things in intervals:
1. He asked Allah for governorship with Justice that is in accordance with the Laws of Allah;
2. He asked to possess dominion that cannot be attained/possessed by anyone after him;
3. He asked, after having completed the (re)building of the Masjid, that anyone who comes to it, seeking only to pray in it, that he departs from it (exits it) sinless as the day he was given birth to by his mother.” (In another narration he said, “As for the (first) two requests, then he received them. I am hopeful that he was granted the third as well.”) (an-Nasaa’i, Ahmed, Ibn Majah, Ibn Hibban, Al-Hakim in al-Mustadrak, Al-Bayhaqi in ash-Shu’ab and others)
Abu Darda (ra) relates that the Prophet (saw) said, “A prayer in Mecca (Ka’aba) is worth 1000,000 times (reward), a prayer in my Masjid (Madinah) is worth 1,000 times and a prayer in Al-Aqsa Sanctuary is worth 500 times more reward than anywhere else”. (Tabarani, Bayhaqi, Suyuti)
Anas Ibn Malik (ra) relates that the Prophet (saw) said, “The prayer of a person in his house is a single prayer; his prayer in the Masjid of his people has the reward of 27 prayers; his prayer in the Masjid in which the Friday prayer is observed has the reward of 500; his prayer in Masjid Al-Aqsa (i.e. Al-Aqsa Sanctuary) has a reward of 5,000 prayers; his prayer in my Masjid (the Prophet’s Masjid in Madinah) has a reward of 50,000 prayers, and the prayer in the Sacred Masjid (Ka’aba) has the reward of 100,000 prayers”. (Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah)
Upon telling people the destination of my proposed trip, the next line is always, “Why?” Then, I begin to tell them the hadiths mentioned above. If that still isn’t enough to convince you…and you still don’t know why we are going…for your reading pleasure…while you await our ten-hour flight…you may want to read these 40 hadiths concerning visiting Masjid Al-Aqsa and here is another site that talks about the blessedness of Al Aqsa. A great, short read.
For those of you prone to worrying which in turn worries me, you’ll be happy to know that my former post was misinformed—I thought we would have to go through the Red Channel. Upon looking at the Tourist Guide on the Israeli Customs and Tax Authority page, we should actually be able to pass through the Green Channel, insh’Allah. The Red Channel is for people with new electronics that need to be declared. Oh…so,
Though “this guide does not contradict any law or official order”,
Though “Information given is not proof of approval for the conditions and restrictions on importation set by other governmental authorities in Israel”,
Though I “should not rely only on the information in this guide; rather, you should consult the regulations of the law, as they change from time to time”,
I have hope, that insh’Allah, the authorities will see that I’m the least of their worries and the only thing I actually intend to hurt (and I’m working on this, don’t judge) are scary, creepy-crawly bugs that infiltrate my home.
Please don’t worry, just keep us in your prayers. Remember, there is no power or might except that of Allah. Nothing can happen that He doesn’t want to happen, and everything that happens is for the good…eventually. This trip doesn’t need The Bold and the Beautiful drama brought upon it. It is so bold and so beautiful already…it is the trip of the Poor and Pious. This is the trip of a lifetime.
So…after a couple of bouts of paranoia, questioning from family and friends some succombing to YouTube on Palestinian and Israeli culture to boost my spirits, I am delighted to say, we have taken off for Jerusalem, alhamdulillah. See you on the other side, inshAllah, as we embark on our journey to Jerusalem!
Oh and yes, I did bring my laptop.