Having The Prophet Close By


In the Name of God, the Subtle, the Loving

It has been more than 5 years since I first visited the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) at his mosque in Medinah. I still remember that bright morning in February like it was yesterday…

We had a long night, arriving in the city of the Prophet (pbuh) late the previous night. We arrived in the hotel and went to bed quite late. The next morning, I could hardly keep myself at the hotel for breakfast. Once I ate, I dashed to the Prophet’s mosque.

It was so, so, so beautiful. The glorious white marble columns seemed to invite me closer as they slowly passed by. When I first arrived in the city I felt his soothing presence, but to know that he was just around the corner, the feeling was unbelievable.

The crowd began to get thick as I approached the Prophet’s tomb. I first prayed in the “Rawda,” an area between the Prophet’s home and his pulpit which is said to be a piece of Paradise on earth. Then, I slowly made my way to his grave.

The authorities in the mosque kept moving people along, which annoyed me a little because I wanted to stay for a long time. Yet, still, it was unbelievable to be standing in front of him. As I stood in front of his grave, I said to him, “Peace be unto you, Messenger of God. Long have I waited to be with you…”

Tears streamed down my face then…and they do now as I write this.

I will never forget that day as long as I live, and I long and pray that the Lord unites me with him in Paradise on Judgment Day. Amen.

Yet, although it is always close to my heart, Medinah is still far away. It would be great if there was a way I could go there in an instant; where I can go and be with the Prophet (pbuh) and soothe the pain that life on earth can sometimes bring. Well, I found a way.

Enter Native Deen.

In case you haven’t heard of them, Native Deen is an American Muslim hip hop group. They are absolutely fantastic, and they are currently touring around the country and world now. I have watched them grow from a small group making tapes for “MYNA Raps” to an international phenomenon. I also am good friends with Joshua Salaam, one of the main members of Native Deen. He and I went to summer school together for many years in suburban Chicago, and he was rapping way back then. God bless him and the rest of Native Deen. They are my next feature on my Beliefnet column Hesham’s iPod.

On their latest CD, Not Afraid to Stand Alone, at almost the end, they have a track called “Zamilooni.” It means “cover me,” in Arabic, and it was the words a frantic Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said to his loving wife Khadijah (r) after he was visited by the Angel Gabriel. It is a beautiful song about the Prophet and his wife Khadijah, sung with another wonderful Muslim singer from South Africa Zain Bikha. It was the inspiration for my article about the greatest love story of all.

From the very beginning of the song, I am soothed and transported back to Mecca and Medinah when the Prophet (pbuh) walked the earth. I am walking with him and experiencing his life and ministry. The song frequently brings tears to my eyes when I think about the Prophet (pbuh) and his life and struggles for me. The favorite part of the song, for me, is the part when they sing praises for the Prophet from the Burdah, perhaps the most beautiful poem/song about the Prophet (pbuh).

They are definitely a group you should check out, and I think they should be part of anyone’s iPod. And whenever I want to be with the Prophet (pbuh) and have his beautiful presence soothe me, all I have to do is turn on “Zamilooni.” It is truly a beautiful song, and I pray that God blesses them eternally for this wonderful contribution to Muslim (and mainstream American) music.

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