Why Visiting Madinah & Makkah Feels Like Home!
Written by Dr. Marwa Assar, PsyD
Whenever I try to articulate how I feel about visiting Madinah & Makkah, the phrase I always find my heart speaking is "it feels like home."
There is something about visiting Madinah and Makkah that leaves your heart feeling like it belongs there. And while Madinah and Makkah differ in the experience they provide to the visitor, one can't help but feel settled in both of them immediately, as if one has always lived there and never left.
They both are places in this world that have a way of not only welcoming your heart but also opening it up to receive what it needs. I believe this is how God designed it. They are places that call our hearts, and set the perfect environment for us to align our hearts with the One who made it while reminding us of our God-given purpose, path, and the covenant each of our souls took before we even lived a day in this world, the covenant of La Ilah Illah Allah wa Mohammad Rasul Allah (There is no God but Allah (God), and Mohammed is His messenger).
Maybe that is why "it feels like home." It is where our souls remember its eternal home. The shahada (testimonial of faith) is inscribed in each of our souls. It reminds us of where our souls came from, Who created it, the promise it took, and where it is meant to return to. And as our souls entered this world, God gave it prescriptions and guidelines to keep it tied to its home, to where it belongs, to WHO it belongs to, and to Who it returns to, and to the testimonial it bore witness to.
Through what He prescribed and commanded, our souls get to witness the truth to which it testified to in a realm that is real and alive, in a realm that awaits each of our souls. And so every time we pray, fast, remember God (engae in zikr), or visit God's houses, we are remembering our shahada, our testimonial, and in essence, we are remembering our home.
It makes sense then why connecting to anything that links us to God would feel like home. And it most definitely makes sense then why we would feel like home visiting the first house He established on this earth as a place to uphold the very testimonial that our souls bore witness to, that we promised to uphold as Muslims, as people who by literal definition chose to submit to God.
And as we visit the Kaaba, and complete the tenants of umrah or hajj, we are following in the footsteps of the greatest people (peace and blessings be upon them) who walked this earth and upheld the testimonial of la illah ila Allah. They stayed true to their soul's covenant with its' Creaftor and as we walk in their footsteps, we are reminded to stay true to ours as well. As we walk in their footsteps, we remember the sacrifices they made to live by the truth they bore witness to, and the sacrifices they made to ensure that those souls who came after them would live by those truths too.
And while every act of worship God has commanded us to do gives us a taste of home, visiting Makkah and Madinah allows you to actually experience a physical space that gives you a glimpse of what it means to arrive at your final home.
When you visit the prophet's city (pbuh), his mosque, and where he lived, taught, and was eventually buried, you will understand the love he feels for you even though he never met you. You will feel it in the air. You will feel it in your heart. Like a generous and gracious host, His presence in this city welcomes you and makes you feel like home. And your soul will long to be with him when it returns to its home.
And as you make your way to Makkah and visit the Kaaba, you will remember that what you are looking at lies beneath the throne of God. And as you circle around His house on this earth, you will imagine the angels circulating His throne above. You will remember the realm in which you came from. You will remember your home.
And as you bid these two sacred places farewell, you will feel a heaviness in your heart, because the soul got a taste of what it means to be aligned with its Creator, and it won't want to live any other way. And as your legs carry your heart away, your soul will grieve, because it is never easy to leave one's home.
But all we can do is pray that God allows us to keep coming back, so our soul keeps getting a taste of its home, until God calls it back to its most permanent home.
May God invite us many times in our lives. And if you are reading this, and you haven't visited once, I pray that God makes it easy for you and calls your heart to it. Make the intention and InshaAllah He will do the rest!
May God unite us all in the heavens (jannah), our final home.
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About the Author:
Dr. Marwa Assar is a psychologist, educator, writer, and founder of The H.O.M.E Institute. She is dedicated to providing psycho-spiritual education and empowerment through an Islamic psychological lens. Click here to learn more about Dr. Marwa and her work!