Many people only dream of performing Salah in Masjid al-Aqsa, the third holiest masjid of Islam. But, in recent years, devotees from around the world have experienced the beauty of Aqsa by traveling to East Jerusalem for a spiritual journey of a lifetime to partake in I’tikaaf.
A regular traveller to the holy land, Ayoob Dadabhay annually performs the journey, along with other travellers from around the world, and encourages others to make the journey and spend the final ten days of the month of Ramadan in Masjid al-Aqsa.
Pilgrims live in the Old City of Jerusalem before I’tikaaf begins at either the Hashimi Hotel or one of the hostels close to Al-Aqsa.
“We [observe] sunah I’tikaaf at [the] Marwani Masjid or Kipling Masjid, [which] becomes your home for that 10 days,’’ Dadabhay stated.
“Masjid al-Aqsa is a place like no other; it’s the only place where the imams are freely available to interact with you. The Palestinian people are very friendly, warm and welcoming. The Old City has a lot of Islamic history [so] we go to Masjid Ebrahim in Hebron where Nabi Ya’qoob and his family [are] buried. We are also going to Masjid al-Umar.”
The group does not expect to be met with contestation by Israeli authorities as they previously entered undisturbed, with only a three and a half hour wait at Tel Aviv Ben Gurion International Airport.
“When you are doing Allah’s work, Allah makes things easy for you,” Dadabhay noted as he prepared for the 2017 I’tikaaf.
Dadabhay says those interested in performing the journey should be mindful of the time of year that they book, adding that no travel agents are required in the booking process.
“It depends on the time you are booking and the rand to dollar rate, the price also depends on the where you are living and the price differences. Currently, the cost is about R15, 000, accommodation is paid in dollars [upon arrival], air fares are paid here and the traveller can pay it himself or via an agent.”
For information, contact Ayoob Dadabhay on 082 786 0078.