THE DOME OF THE ROCK
In 1998, Sidi invited me to come to his home and zawiyya in Jerusalem. I was so excited to receive the invitation and my heart had so much himma to go. However, before my departure it became too dangerous and Sidi told me not to come. I was so disappointed.
Flash forward 25 years:
The call for my beloved and I to make Pilgrimage to the Holy Land/Jerusalem came as a surprise. The door opened unexpectedly with clear signs and I felt that we must go. Without the apparent financial means, I was uncertain as to how.
Allah kept opening the door for us. We were encouraged by beloveds who love us to follow our heart and say “yes” to the invitation. Although it seemed impossible, I decided to trust.
I had handwoven prayer rugs I could sell and Shams Wesley suggested a fundraiser. She was an incredible support throughout the fundraiser journey, sending out updates through the SSC newsletters on our progress and keeping the momentum going. Masha’llah!
Twice inside, I heard a voice say, “this trip is paid in full by Allah.” My trust deepened and slowly, the orders for rugs came in. A beloved purchased and donated one of my rugs to Sidi’s zawiyya.
Several beloveds made large donations, a number of beloveds made smaller but equally heartfelt donations, some emailed prayers and best wishes. The beloveds who reached out became woven into the fabric of this trip. It was as if their spirits were traveling with us.
Rug in Sidi’s Zawiyya in Jerusalem
This trip became in this way, a community trip as well as a personal journey.
We flew out of Burlington, Vermont on February 13th, to arrive in Tel Aviv on the 14th. Sidi’s son’s Mahdi and Ahmad greeted us with palpably loving hearts. We felt so deeply welcomed and as the trip progressed, we truly felt like part of the family.
I offered to carry the du’as of this caravan of souls with me to pray in the Holy Land and collected 10 pages of beautiful heart-felt du’as. In the past, beloveds have taken my prayers with them on their Hajj or Umra and I remember how incredibly grateful I was that they would do this for me. Now I had a chance to give this gift to some of my sisters and brothers.
Although I am a writer and poet, it is hard to put much of my experience into words. There were the outer experiences, of course, and they can be described but the essence of the trip, the deep spiritual impact, is beyond words.
But back to the caravan of souls and the du’as I carried with me:
We attended Jummah Prayer on the day of Isra al Miraj at Al-Aqsa Mosque. Many, many Muslims came from all parts of the world to pray. The two mosques were full to capacity and overflowing. Muslims filled the plaza outside the mosque and set out prayer mats on the limestone. It was a gorgeous day, better than most of the other days, with a clear blue sky and dazzling sunlight. The Call to Prayer was sent out by loud-speaker to all corners of the Old City. We laid out our rugs on the limestone, under the shade of a tree and not far from Sidi’s office. Birds flew in and settled on branches above us and did dhikr in their language. During the Salat, rows and rows of people prayed outside, shoulder to shoulder. prostrated in unison. It was beautiful.
Jummah Prayer on the day of Isra al Miraj
The Call to Prayer at Jummah on the day of Isra Miraj.
The view from the balcony at Sidi’s family home and zawiyya.
The spiritual Light here is like no other place I have been. There is an abiding spiritual peace here, despite the lack of peace in the physical world. The Prophets and saints have lived here, walked the land, are buried in its soil. It’s easy to pray here; the heart is home. Sidi said, “Jerusalem is the heart of the world.”
The spiritual Light here is like no other place I have been.
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