A Land of Secrets
Maulana Abdul Habib Attari
On the night of 5th March, 2020, we arrived at the home of the famous Sufi and teacher of al-Azhar University, Shaykh Dr. Muhammad Mahna. The air was brimming with love and respect as we briefly introduced Dawat-e-Islami and gifted him a few Arabic books published by Maktaba-tul-Madinah. We concluded by inviting him to Pakistan. The Shaykh recorded his views for Madani Channel, sharing his heartfelt sentiments and commending the services of Dawat-e-Islami and Ameer-e-Ahl-e-Sunnat دَامَـتْ بَـرَكَـاتُـهُـمُ الْـعَـالِـيَـهْ. He accepted our invitation to visit Pakistan and personally accompanied us to the lift after the meeting.
After that, we were invited by a scholar from Faizabad, India. It was a pleasant meeting as we dined and discussed a range of issues.
From Cairo to Alexandria
Friday 6th March 2020 was our third day in Egypt. After breakfast, we left Cairo for another historical city of Egypt: Alexandria. We travelled by car for nearly three hours across approximately 240 km, stopping midway to offer Jumu’ah prayer in a masjid.
Before the Prophet’s Poet
Arriving in Alexandria, we immediately hastened to the radiant resting place of Sayyidunā Imam Sharaf al-Dīn al-Buṣīrī رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه (d. 696 AH). His poetic masterpiece, the acclaimed ‘Ode of the Mantle’ (Qaṣīdah al-Burdah) does not need an introduction. If you want to explore this rich ode in greater detail, read the article on page 31 of the November 2019 issue of the Monthly Magazine: Faizan-e-Madinah.
We first headed to the masjid in the shrine complex. There was a circle of people seated around a lantern, the air vibrating with their passionate recital of Qaṣīdah al-Burdah. We were told that this circle takes place every week after Jumu’ah prayer, in which the Qasidah is recited in full. The custodians of the complex welcomed us with much love and warmth and gifted copies of the Qasidah to us. With our souls in rapture, we ecstatically entered the shrine area itself, presenting ourselves before the sincere devotee of the Prophet and master poet of prophetic praise, Imam al-Buṣīrī. Standing in his presence, we collectively recited his Qasidah, made supplications, and then recorded a few clips about his life for Madani Channel.
A Unique Litany
اِنَّ الَّذِیْ فَرَضَ عَلَیْكَ الْقُرْاٰنَ لَرَآدُّكَ اِلٰى مَعَادٍؕ-
‘Indeed, He Who has made [acting upon] the Qur’an binding upon you will definitely bring you back to where you desire to return.’
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 20, Surah Al-Qasas, Verse 85)
The noble scholars explained that if this blessed verse is written with the finger, without ink, in a place, then the one writing it will be given the opportunity to visit that place again, اِنْ شَــآءَالـلّٰـه.
I had the privilege of writing this sacred verse with my finger on the wall of Imam al-Buṣīrī’s shrine complex. With hope in Allah Almighty’s mercy, I pray that I will stand before Imam al-Buṣīrī رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه again.
After visiting the shrine, we went to the masjid, where we met the Imam and spoke to him about Dawat-e-Islami. He was delighted and prayed for us.
Visiting two shrines
We also visited another area of Alexandria, where the shrines of the prophet Sayyidunā Dāniyāl عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام and Sayyidunā Luqmān al-Hakīm رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ, the eponymous wise man from Surah Luqmān - are located together. Situated in a deep place, visitors must descend a large number of stairs before reaching the two shrines. There was a masjid next to the mausoleums also. It is said that there was a tunnel here through which water of the Nile would pass.
We first visited the blessed grave of Sayyidunā Dāniyāl عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام and then the resting place of Sayyidunā Luqmān al-Ḥakīm رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ. Basking in the lights of these two masters, we recorded a few segments for Madani Channel about the lives of both figures. Before departing, we made collective supplications. On the night of 6 March, we returned to Cairo.
Visiting the resting place of Imam Husayn رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ
On 7th March, we visited the blessed locus where, according to a reliable report, the noble head of the Prophet’s grandson, Sayyidunā Imam Husayn رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ is buried. That place is commonly known as ‘Maqām Husayn.’
Standing in that bastion of peace, we raised our hands before Allah Almighty in supplication, hopeful that He will answer us for the sake of Sayyidunā Imam Ḥusayn رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ. We proceeded to record a segment about the virtues, life, and miracles of the Imam رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ, with particular focus on the miracles that manifested from his noble head post-martyrdom. If you want to learn more about this, refer to the must-read work entitled ‘Marvels of Sayyidunā Imam Husayn رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ,’ by our master and guide, Ameer-e-Ahl-e-Sunnat ‘Allamah Maulana Muhammad Ilyas Attar Qadiri دَامَـتْ بَـرَكَـاتُـهُـمُ الْـعَـالِـيَـهْ.
A few thoughts about Egypt
After spending a few days in Egypt, meeting its people, and engaging with its diverse communities, I believe that the following can be said about this country:
The devotees of the Prophet are in majority here. The countless shrines of the pious that are brimming with swathes of visitors, morning and evening, are vivid reminders of this truth. These loci of blessings and their visitors receive the utmost care. For example, when we arrived at the resting places of Sayyidunā Dāniyāl عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام and Sayyidunā Luqmān al-Ḥakīm رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ late at night, the entrance was closed. Yet, the management opened the door for us, without any hesitance, and permitted us to record.
Besides this, there are countless masjids present in Egypt, the people are very friendly and good-natured, fruits are abundant, and the weather is similar to that of Pakistan. If you wish to travel to Egypt, it is necessary for you to be familiar with Arabic or English, because the number of Urdu-speaking people is almost non-existent here. As far as I know, in March 2020, there was a total of 500 Pakistanis living in Egypt. 300 of these were students in Al-Azhar University while the other 200 were employed in various sectors.
On 7 March 2020, 1 Egyptian Dirham was equal to 10 Pakistani Rupees. Alongside all of this, as is the case in other countries of the world, lack of religious observance, indecency, and free-mixing etc., are unfortunate realities here.
We had several preliminary discussions about advancing religious works in Egypt. As there is a link-road connecting Sudan to Egypt, اِنْ شَــآءَالـلّٰـه, Madani Qafilahs will be organised from Sudan to Egypt. That day is near when the weekly gatherings of Dawat-e-Islami and other religious activities will spread across this country, the land of the prophets.
Several students from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and Nepal are enrolled at the prestigious and historical Al-Azhar University. Many of them have a great deal of love for Dawat-e-Islami. These students also made intentions to support the religious activities of Dawat-e-Islami. May Allah Almighty spread the call to righteousness in Egypt.
اٰمِیْن بِجَاہِ النَّبِیِّ الْاَمِیْن صَلَّی اللہ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلہٖ وَسَلَّم