By Najma Bibi Noor Mahomed
South Africans from different parts of the country including Capetonians are urged to observe Itikaaf at Masjidul Aqsa in Palestine in Ramadan. The Masjid al Aqsa itikaaf initiative has been running for the past few years and South Africans are actually the pioneers of the journey.
“It was a small group of South Africans about 13 years ago who could be said to be the revivers of Itikaaf at Masjidul Aqsa for people from outside the world. Since then we see people in their hundreds from different parts of the world so there is a great sense of excitement and a great sense of responsibility,” said Ebrahim Moosa from A Soul Purpose Aqsa Itikaaf Commitee.
The idea of sitting for Itikaaf at Masjidul Aqsa is a dream for Muslims. Moosa said that each year there are people that go along and come back to share their experience with those heading out for the first time.
“What is most amazing about Masjidul Aqsa is that one has the most amazing Itikaaf experiences. One has a huge area in different masjids across the world and at Masjidul Aqsa you have 1044ft square metre where is one can sit for Itikaaf and this realisation that there is not an inch or hand space where a Prophet did not pray and an Angel did not stand. So you are touched with this blessedness wherever you are at Masjidul Aqsa.”
The rewards of worship here are multiplied manifold – up to 5000 times, according to some narrations. Its association with the Prophets, Sahabah and saintly persons throughout history, too, is unmistakeable.
Al-Aqsa marks the only spot on earth where all the Prophets performed Salaah together, at the same time, in congregation. It was here that the epithet of the Messenger of Allah (SAW), of Imaamul Ambiyaa (Leader of the Prophets), was manifested. Such is its pedigree that the companion Sayyidina Ibn Abbas (RA) commented: “There is not a single inch in al-Quds where a Prophet has not prayed or an angel not stood” (Tirmidhi and Imam Ahmad).
In a Hadith, the Prophet (SAW) narrates how, among the three supplications the Prophet Sulaymaan (AS) made whilst reconstructing al-Aqsa, was a duaa for the person who came to Masjid al-Aqsa solely for the purpose of praying therein to be delivered from all his sins as the day his mother gave birth to him.
Adding weight to this duaa, the Prophet (SAW) remarked, “the [first]two prayers were granted, and I hope the third was granted as well.”
Hence – though obviously not equivalent in status – the spiritual journey to Masjid al Aqsa can be considered to share one of the rewards that in fact has been narrated for the pillar of Hajj.
A briefing session will be held this Sunday 27th of May to finalise all the details around the trip.
The group are expected to leave around 2 or 3rd of June.
For more information, visit www.aqsa.co.za