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04 March 2024 / 23. Shabaan 1445

A Travelogue by Sister Aliyah Bhimani, Peterborough, UK Part 1 of 2

“I am Truly Grateful for Seizing this Opportunity!” 

My dream to relive precious moments in the tranquil land of Iran near the blessed personalities of Imam Ali-ibn-Musa Ar-Redha (a.s) and Bibi Fatima Masumah (s.a) became a reality, and I realised the prayer I made whilst clinging onto the holy shrine of Sayyida Masumah (s.a) only months ago had been accepted.  A tearful promise fulfilled by the generosity of Allah (swt) was granted through the Wasila of Sayyida Masumah (s.a) and for this opportunity I am truly thankful.

Prior to embarking on this journey, many questions and emotions filled my mind. I was in a whirlpool of contemplation, wondering what deeds have I done to have been invited by our Mawla (a.s) and Bibi (s.a) to be amongst their loving Zawaar. I marvelled numerous times over the notion that they considered me to be worthy of their pilgrimage, yet deep inside I felt that I was not even worthy of walking on the beautiful marble floors. I wondered what it is that I want to change and inculcate within myself to become closer to my Lord so that I can fly up the ladder of spirituality.

Driving to the city of Qum filled me with a heart-warming, enchanting feeling alongside the eminent peace that is felt when you enter an honourable city; my heart was constantly overflowing with gratitude to Allah (swt) for making this possible. As we entered the holy city of Qum, I yearned to catch a timeless glimpse of Bibi Masumah’s (s.a) shrine, a view I have deeply missed. Moments later there it was, the pure Haram of Kareematu Ahlulbayt (s.a). Tears flowed down my cheeks as this magnificent view embedded itself further into my heart and I could not help but express my thanks to this Holy Lady for inviting me once again. I had finally returned home to my Mother in her sacred land. Despite eventually arriving in the place where my lips, heart and soul had long craved, it all felt very surreal. My only desired now was to spend hours connecting and praying in her holy vicinity but before this, there was one more destination.

Jamia-tuz-Zahra was our residence during our stay in the knowledge-enriched city of Qum, the place that marked the start of our Hawza experience, one that would remain with us for the rest of our lives. The Jamia became our home in no time, we felt like we all ‘belonged’ in this serene accommodation as the guests of Sayyida Fatima Az-Zahra (s.a). After conversing with a few of the mentors and a ‘maadar’, I realised the true value of this statement. The maadar’s radiance and passion clearly emanated as she explained that the maadars are in essence Kaniz-e-Zahra and the Kadhams of our Imam (ajts). They would do what was within their capacity to serve us as the Zawaar, and she prayed that this would be the start of our many visits to Jamia. I pondered on this profundity, acknowledging that this had been an inherent wish of mine for many years. This experience has truly opened up many avenues that I have prayed for and inshAllah, I intend to explore in the near future.

Our daily classes fell nothing short of my expectations and believe me, if you are strongly considering attending the camp; all your preconceptions will be blown away. Just watch as everything falls perfectly into place once you make your Niyyat. Each class brought us a wealth of knowledge to inculcate, internalise and further reflect upon. These classes concentrated on Aqaed with Sister Naajiya; the elements of human decline with Sayyed Kazmi, and Quran tafseer on the verses of Surah Furqaan with Shaykh Khalfaan. In Aqaed, Sister Naajiya beautifully described how privileged we are to be in this temporary world. She heavily emphasised how we were a mere probability of chance before we came into existence and it was solely through Allah (swt)’s divine mercy that we were granted this opportunity. Sayyed Kazmi’s classes allowed me to critically evaluate exactly where I am on the ladder of spirituality. They provided me with a breath of fresh air, inspiration and focus to remain steadfast to remove the impurities within me, making me fully cognisant of how long and difficult this road of self-development truly is. Ultimately the solutions lie deep within, that is having complete Maa’rifat of each action and whether it stems from the order of Nafs or the order of my Ruh, permitting me to rise high towards Allah (swt)’s throne. Both classes tied in well with Shaykh Khalfaan’s classes on ‘Ibaad-ur-Rahman’, their characteristics and how if we really seek it we can practically personify them. 

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