Day 1 - Toronto to Madinah
I write this on the plane, our last leg between Istanbul and Madinah. Outside my window, pitch black darkness with a few red, flickering city lights and even those are disappearing from view.
The memories of the last 24 hours are also begging to fade. Saying bye to my co-workers in my lunch room cafeteria, as they strong armed me into giving up the blog website, seems like eons ago. It feels like we've been traveling for days, not due to any hardship, but perhaps due to Allah's mercy upon us by helping us prepare for what lies ahead, by separating us from what we've left behind.
Saying goodbye to my parents and my parents-in-law was the most difficult. It is often those that are closest to us that are the ones we've most wronged. The ones that the most rights upon us, yet their rights have been the most unfulfilled.
At every step of this journey so far, I have seen much kindness from children to their parents masha Allah. From the daughter who pushed he mother in the wheelchair up to security and then sent her mother for hajj, to the son who had his parents sit while he stood in the long line and then returned to get them when he was close to the front. To the female custodian at the sisters musallah in the Istanbul airport, who was taking care of the adorably, fiesty, older Kazakh female hajjis like they were her own parents!
It all reminds me of those we've left behind. It reminds me that Allah is truly Al-Latif, the Most Kind for blessing my husband and I with parents such as ours. We are undeserving of such a gift.
Insha Allah, Madinah is less than an hour away and my mind turns to the Prophet (saws). He like other Prophets before him, faced tests involving their parents. The Prophet (saws) was an orphan, Issa (AS) was fatherless, Ibrahim (AS) struggled against the shirk committed by his father. Yet, despite all that, they were able to become some of the best human beings to walk this earth.
So what have we done with this blessing, this gift, this shade of protection, our parents? Their constant support, patience, forgiveness, mercy, protection upon us - what have we done with it?
Ya Rabb, have mercy on all our parents, take care of them as they have taken care of us when we were young. Grant them ease, comfort, security, good health and relief from their burdens. Raise them in honour and rank in this life and the next. Protect from the difficulty of death, the punishment of the grave, the hardship of the Day of Judgement and the torment of the Fire. Provide them with the best of homes in Jannat-ul-Firdous, and hold them to no account. Ya Allah, You are the Most Merciful. Do not leave our duas unanswered. Ameen!
Image: First glimpse of Madinah