tombs of the great & garden of paradise

The day began with a visit to areas surrounding Masjid Nabawi. We were taken to see the tomb of Nabi Muhammad SAW from the outside. Then we went to Al-Baqi Cemetery where the Prophet’s wives, children and companions were laid to rest. Since women weren’t allowed to visit burial grounds, I could only observe, say salam and read doa from beyond the enclosure.

Al-Baqi Cemetery from the roadside.

Our mutawwif (umrah guide) led the men, while a lady mutawwif was introduced to lead the women. The split was necessary because the visit included going inside Masjid Nabawi to visit Raudhah, which had separate sections for men and women.

What is Raudhah? It’s an area in Masjid Nabawi, located between the tomb of Nabi Muhammad SAW (used to be his house) and the mimbar (where Imam stands to read khutbah). As narrated by Al-Bukhari, Nabi Muhammad SAW said, “The area between my house and my mimbar is one of the gardens of paradise.”

How big is Raudhah? It’s 22 meters x 15 meters, about the size of 4 badminton courts. Imagine having thousands of people trying to enter the tight space. People running to get inside, pushing one another, shouting at each other.. chaotic!

But to most pilgrims, it’s worthwhile to fight for a chance to perform ibadah in Raudhah. Why? Because it’s one of those places where doa is mustajab (accepted). But even if you make it to Raudhah, will your ibadah still be counted if your hurt other Muslims while trying to get there?

That was exactly what the lady mutawwif wanted to educate us. We were going to Raudhah to say our prayers, to beg for forgiveness, to ask for blessings. We should do it right from the beginning. She told us to continuously say salam to Rasulullah and his companions Abu Bakar and Umar who were buried alongside him. Then she reminded us to perform wuduk as we were about to enter solat area. As we stepped inside, we were told to say niat to iktikaf, so that the angels of paradise would spread their wings over us during the time we spent in the mosque, even if we simply sit still.

Then we proceeded to the waiting area, where the crowd was divided into ethnics. Arabs (Saudis, Egyptians, Emiratis etc.) in one group, Indians (Hindis, Pakistanis etc.) in one group, Malays (Malaysians, Indonesians, Singaporeans etc.) in one group. The race to visit Raudhah officially began.

I looked around me and saw how the mosque staffs – ladies clad in black from head to toe with nothing but a number on their veil to tell them apart – struggled to manage the massive traffic. They released the groups one by one. Some groups were bigger, thus took longer time. Some cheeky pilgrims jumped into other groups to get earlier chance.

Our mutawwif reminded us to stay patient, continue saying doa, for our turn would come eventually. She also suggested for us to donate some money to the cleaners who worked at the mosque. “We are going to a good place, to do good things, so let’s start with good deeds,” she said. So we gathered some cash and handed it to her. She took it to the cleaners and gave them a small sum each. Then we continued waiting, till the time came for us to set foot in Raudhah.

The mosque staffs called for our group to enter. Everyone rushed in. I remembered the mutawwif’s words, “If you want to be sure that you are in Raudhah, look at the carpet. Raudhah’s carpet is green, while the rest of the mosque’s is red.” I looked underneath my feet. Green carpet. I was in Raudhah!

I glanced to my left at saw the golden grills of the tombs. I looked in front and saw the beautiful mimbar. Tears broke down without reason. Despite people pushing me from all directions, I was in my own world. Performed solat, read doa and said salam to Rasulullah and his companions. No time should be wasted. Each group was only allowed several minutes in the area.

A moment later the mosque staffs told us to go out. Our time was up. We needed to give way to others.

We walked out of the green carpet, along the enclosed pathway, back to the women’s solat area. The visit to Raudhah was short, yet it was so meaningful. We performed sujud shukur. Let it be with the long wait, let it be with the people pushing, the blessing of doing ibadah in the garden of paradise was simply priceless.

We left Masjid Nabawi and returned to the hotel. I glanced at my watch and realized the entire event took more than two hours. Did I mind having to wait for so long in the mosque, just to get a short while in Raudhah? Not at all. Because I knew the angels of paradise had their wings spread over me the entire time.

No photos taken of Raudhah because women are not allowed to bring cameras into Masjid Nabawi. But for men it’s totally fine. Why? No idea. Perhaps the authorities just don’t want women start acting like supermodels in the holy place.

If you want to know how it looks like, please visit this blog. You will see some really great pictures, including one showing the green carpet that differentiates Raudhah from the rest of the mosque. For detail diagrams of how to go to Raudhah and its exact position, please visit this blog.

By the way, Raudhah is actually located within men’s solat area, thus it’s only open for women at limited times:
- In the morning, from 7am to 11am.
- In the afternoon, after Zuhur prayer to 3pm.
- At night, after Isha prayer to 11pm.

For men, Raudhah is accessible 24 hours.

The closest door to Raudhah for women is door number 25. The closest for men is Bab Jibril. Anyway, you can actually enter through any door you wish. Once you get inside, I’m sure you’ll somehow find your way to the garden of paradise.


susumanis said...

Alhamdulillah darling..semoga kita semua ada rezeki untuk ke raudhah lagi dan lagi dan lagi dan lagi..aamiin

susumanis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hjh Noralenna Abbas said...

Syukur,dipermudahkan, dapat beribadah di 'taman syurga'.

Thumamah Enterprise said...

Raudhah is mean..taman syurga..akak pun tetiba rasa terharu bila dieya cakap tetiba menangis bila berada di Raudhah...pasal kes pompuan tak bleh bawa camera masuk masjid nabawi tu friend ada kes tau pasal tu..even she knows that tak bleh bawa camera but being a blogger..dia nak jugak bawa wlpun hsband dia dah cakap jgn...and bila ingkar cakap suami..Allah terus bayar cash..she bring the camera and manage to catch some of the photo inside the mosque..tapi amik rahsia2 la..dia happy giler..and tomorrow u know what happen? the memory card of the camera was gone!
takde sapa yang tau hilang ke, tercicir ke...and suami dia terus cakap...kalau dah cakap tak boleh tu, jgn la buat...

Thumamah Enterprise said...

hehhe..terguna Thumamah enterprise la's me..kaka jaja..heheh

Mamamya said...

alhamdulillah....syukur lah dipermudahkan segala urusan dieya ka sana.mudah2an nnti akak b'peluang utk ke tanah suci..aminnn.

suka baca n3 kawan2 yg baru balik dr umrah ni...w'pun ceritanya lbh kurang sama tp tetap nak baca juga.. ^____^

dieya said...

kak su,
inshaAllah, semoga semua umat Islam dapat ke sana. amin.

aunty nora,
alhamdulillah, rasa terharu sgt. words just can't describe it.

k jaja,
betul tu kak. kalau dah dia kata tak boleh, tak payah laa cuba2 juga. lagipun banyak dah gambo dlm masjid nabawi kat internet.
should really be careful of our actions in tanah haram.
hehehe.. dah agak dah.. musti b zack lupa logout nih

k lieya,
alhamdulillah semuanya dipermudahkan Allah SWT. mula2 dieya pun rasa takyah tulis lah, lebih kurang je kan ngan pengalaman org lain. tapi bila pikir balik, i better write it utk kenangan sendiri. kalau akak pun suka baca, dieya pun happy :-)

~jeet~ said...

ada lagi tak those mak guard arab with signage 'penerangan agama' ?

all asians fall for that (m'sian. indonesian, bruneian & s'porean) we waited patiently while the turks and iranian simply bulldoze their way in.. ;p

tapi yela..kena bnyk sabar kan nak tnggu turn, whats the point dapat masuk, but ended up hurting others...

dhiya zafira said...

Salam dieya..
ALHAMDULILLAH...seronoknya membaca kisah dieya..teringat masa akak ke sana dua tahun lepas...bila baca n3ni, memang terkenang balik saat2 di Raudhah ni...

dieya said...

ada! but the signage only said "MALAYSIA", takde pulak tulis "penerangan agama". dah tukar sepanduk kot.
i totally agree, we malaysians are so patient. i read somewhere that's the reason they release our group late - because we have higher patience. but like the lady mutawwif said, lagi lama tunggu lagi byk pahala iktikaf. so no complaints :-)

salam kak dhiya,
betul tu kak, saat2 di Raudhah mmg menakjubkan, tak tergambar dgn kata2. rasa sayu + gembira bercampur2. kenangan yg sgt istimewa.

Erin said...

owwh,sangat mencabar nak masuk raudhah kan? Kene tolak tu perkara biasa...sabar2 :)

dieya said...

betul tu.. lagi banyak sabar, lagi banyak pahala kan :-)

Hannah Haykhall said...

Alhamdullilah, thanks a lot for all of the info about Madinah and Makkah. I found it very very helpfull sis. I'm doing my last research here and there and suddenly found your amazing blog before going to perform Umrah this coming Thursday (22/1/2013).
Such an excellent write up! Keep on writing sis...

dieya said...

w'salam hannah,
good to know that you are on your way to the holy cities! insha Allah, everything will be great. enjoy your umrah, make the most of everything.