عرض القصص عن العرض المقدس

هذه القصص من القدس, كتبتها هنا القاضي, و شجرها عن بنو تنوخ, أصلها لبنان, و أعظم النصب سند للنبي ﷺ, و هي عقده لأجازة تجويد عن القران الكريم

These are stories from Al-Quds, written by Hannah Alkadi. Her lineage is from the Tanukhids, her origin is Lebanon, and the greatest of all lineages is a chain to the Prophet (may peace and blessings be upon him), and she is connected to him through an ijazah in tajwid (recitation) of the Holy Quran.

Part 1: Prologue and Journey

It takes me a while to write things, even though I love to do so. I’m still figuring out video content, what works where, and whether to keep posting on certain places.

But writing will always be where I can express myself completely. In the rush to produce content, there’s ease in knowing that I can take all the time I need.

Like how I needed almost two years since my engagement fell through to write about it, I needed moments to process the life-changing experience that was Al-Quds (Jerusalem) in November 2022.

But to reminisce about the near-past, I must first narrate what happened long before me.

Family trees are revered by the Arabs, often known as shajarah. Mine goes back all the way to the Tanukhids (Saracens). My family always spoke of “Beit al-Qadi,” the house of Alkadi, meaning our entire line. I knew that we had a bridge in Lebanon, and even walked across it when I was younger. We were judges. Everyone knows us there. Our history is well-documented.

But I still don’t know of any incident where any of our family members had visited Palestine. The same goes for my mother’s side. Both were only familiar with the mountains of Lebanon. Only recently did we begin to move away.

I’d heard from the SeekersHub podcast that before the occupation, the Lebanese could drive from Beirut to Al-Quds for Jumuʿah. It’s manageable; about a three-hour drive. Dallas to Austin, to contextualize it for Texans.

But after 1948, that was no longer possible. Imagine. My aunts, uncles, and cousins—born and raised only hours away—are still forbidden from entering that land. Despite being its neighbors. Long after this prologue, when I sent my dad pictures, he’d asked if he could share them with his sisters, since they’d never been. That broke my heart.

2020 reframed my worldview. With death all around us, I’d thought about everything I’d wanted to do before my time came. Visiting Al-Quds was one, and the trip was soon reopened for many in 2022. I’d told my aunt and mom that I intended to go. I’d already gone for umrah, and hajj was still an uncertain thing. Of course, both of them were apprehensive—but after listening to Shaykh Yasir Qadhi speak of its virtues, and how our Palestinian brothers and sisters were begging for us to visit, their hearts were turned. We all then made our plans to go together for fall break.

It was a three-hour flight from Dallas to New York, and then another 10-hour flight to Turkey. From there, just a few hours flying into Occupied Palestine, into the settler airport of Ben Gurion.

Look at where our taxes go!

The first thing that the settlers did was set us aside. Men like my uncle were separated from the group. Then we were corralled towards the kiosks, for us to print out identification cards that we had to keep on our person for the duration of our trip. Another round of security was next. And it was some of the most grueling.

We’d spent almost a day just flying, and here we were—exhausted, hungry, and frustrated. All this inconvenience was on purpose; for the occupiers to try and convince us not to come back. They took our passports and made us wait, write down our names, our father’s name, and our grandfather’s name. Needless paperwork to try and grate on our nerves. It was important to remain calm, and to joke around with your group. I was separated from my mom, aunt, and uncle, so I made new friends fast.

All of this is calculated. Zionists constantly claim the land, and make it as difficult as possible for Muslims and Palestinians to come in, and also to leave. The idea is to cause so much hardship that we will not want to return. It doesn’t work.

Hours passed, and finally, we were allowed to sleepwalk to our bus.

Compare this video to the one of the occupied settlements above.

It was finally time to rest. We went to our hotel rooms, and our tour guides told us that we’d reconvene for fajr at Masjid al-Aqsa. If I wasn’t already so tired, I don’t think I would’ve slept. I was still beside myself with excitement.

Part 2: Al-Quds and the Dome of the Rock

My mom and I woke up with enough time to get ready. Our group gathered at the hotel lobby and began walking the fifteen minutes to the masjid (mosque). My heart kept fluttering. I didn’t even know what to say, or think. I just started praying with whatever came to my heart.

Then, slowly, the crowd began to move. I clutched my passport and ID card tightly.

The IOF were there to greet us at one of the gates, carrying rifles. It’s shocking, to just go to pray somewhere, and to be met with a gun. My limbs froze. I couldn’t imagine living like this constantly. For a moment, it seemed like we wouldn’t be allowed inside. And then…

I thought especially of the prayer I made when I saw the Kaʿaba for the first time. It only made sense for me to say something similar when I saw the Dome.

What a sight.

My mom, my aunt, and I all started weeping. I was so overwhelmed with emotion that I forgot to take a picture of the exterior of Masjid al-Qibli, just further ahead.

After we prayed, we went back to our hotels to sleep some more. Unfortunately, I set my alarm incorrectly, and we arrived late to our tour.

That day, we spent a lot of time reflecting on Al-Quds in the Quran and sunnah (prophetic narrations). This is the land of prophets. The prophet Suleiman ﵇ had rebuilded Masjid al-Aqsa. The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ led the others in prayer here. ʿIsa ﵇ was born here.

The entire complex is known as Masjid al-Aqsa. There’s the main masjid, Masjid al-Qibli, and the Dome of the Rock by it. There are courtyards and gates leading around it. You can even go below ground. Which we did—and got to see where Maryam عليها السلام worshipped and heard the glad tidings of her miraculous son, ʿIsa ﵇.

Aboveground, we returned to Masjid al-Qibli. There’s always something going on inside. Classes, readings of the Quran, and even a wedding!

Our tour guide was phenomenal. He told us that Maqam Zakarriya ﵇ was the place where the prophet Zakarriya ﵇ had prayed for a son. So, in keeping with that tradition, many couples will get married in Masjid al-Qibli and make duʿa for righteous children there. One of my wildest duʿas is to elope there. But I’ll settle for a low-key walimah.

Before we knew it, our first day in this blessed place was over. I often look back at this video of the inside, still marveling that I was ever there.

Part 3: The Old City

Everyone makes you feel so at home. There are stores all along the path leading up to Masjid al-Qibli, so you can grab whatever you need. Even at the entrance of Masjid al-Qibli is a man I called “Abu Shay” (the father of the tea), who fed us dates and gave us free coffee and tea every morning.

The first stop on our itinerary after breakfast was the Mount of Olives, where ʿIsa ﵇ preached.

We learned so many upsetting things. Those born outside of Al-Quds are put through a hard time to enter it, and the only people inside of Al-Quds aren’t allowed to leave it easily. Checkpoints and IOF are everywhere. It was so humbling. Our American passports granted us more ability to travel throughout Palestine than the native population had. And yet we were still subjected to constant checks.

And yet, there’s still joy teeming everywhere. As the poet Rafeef Ziadah said, “We teach life.” By the Mount, a Palestinian man was offering camel rides. I’d always wanted to, but no one warned me about the takeoff. It really takes you by surprise! To this day, people in my group know me as “the girl on the camel.”

After that, we headed into the Old City.

We walked past mosques and churches, often side by side. Structures older than the settler state of Israel itself. Bullet holes were in many of the walls. It was a reminder that those who have a true claim to the land would never harm it.

Something I took away was that all three Abrahamic religions still had a home here. And always will. Before Palestine was occupied, and inshaʾAllah, after it.

In all three of these places were devotees—many weeping. We Muslims were allowed in, so long as we were respectful. Many of us said prayers to ourselves.

Shops were numerous, and divided by the different kinds of things you could buy there. I’d begun researching these kinds of suqs (markets) for a short story set in Morocco (coming soon!), and I’d forgotten Palestine had done the same.

But evidence of occupation and struggle is everywhere. Indigenous Arab sellers are forced to sell goods marked with “Israel” on them, or else they’ll be penalized by the authorities.

Part 4: Ariha (Jericho)

Checkpoint after checkpoint.

By now we’d settled into a beautiful routine. Tahajjud and fajr at Al-Quds, with a lecture afterward, breakfast, and then loading onto a bus. Everywhere we went, children tried to serve us tea, give us candy, and make us feel welcome.

I smile so fondly thinking of this particular photo. The brother who’d served drinks to my mother and I had referenced something Lebanese. We asked if he was Lebanese, to which he responded, “Sidi.” (Palestinian word for “grandfather”). Then, realizing that we had asked because we were Lebanese, he said with a joking smile on his face, “Jidi.” (Lebanese word for “grandfather”—clarifying it for us!)

Sahlab, perfect for the winter.

After caffeine, we headed to Nabi Musa (“Prophet Moses ﵇”).

It’s an oasis in the middle of the desert. It had the best dates and some of the kindest people.

Nabi Musa ﵇ isn’t the exact place where he passed, but it is close. We reflected on his legacy against tyranny, and how he stood up against one of the worst human beings despite his impediment. It’s a lesson for us all.

Part 5: Al-Khalil (Hebron), Halhul, Bayt Lahm (Bethlehem)

I’d always admired Al-Khalil from afar, its ceramics especially. But it took me being there to think of how Al-Khalil is so named because of the prophet Ibrahim ﵇, khalil-Allah, the friend of Allah ﷻ. And you can hardly believe it when you’re there, to see the maqams of the prophets عليهم السلام and their families.

The ghar (cave) is especially poignant. When you peer in, you can see three candles—signifying Ibrahim ﵇ and his two children عليهم السلام. And it really is where they rest.

We spent a little more time in the West Bank, namely Halhul and Bayt Lahm. Despite the surveillance everywhere, I had some of my favorite memories here.

Part 7: Jumuʿah and Departure

This is the hardest part to write.

Even now, I get emotional thinking about it.

On Friday, Abu Shay served Turkish delight as well as dates—literally bittersweet, knowing we were going to leave. I try to continue that tradition even now, having something sweet on Jumuʿah.

Jumuʿah is the holy day for Muslims. Many Palestinians traveled from out of town to come and pray here, as praying in Al-Aqsa has a lot of reward. It gets to be so populous that the women pray in the Dome of the Rock, and the men in Masjid al-Qibli. And in the hour leading up to it, you hear a beautiful voice reciting Surah al-Kahf.

After that, it poured. My shoes were soaked through, and many of the stores had lost electricity. But my friends, mother and I still went to shop. We got beautiful thobes, as well as some delicious sweets. With ma’moul (date cookies) in our bellies, and having just come back from the masjid, it felt like Eid.

The only other time I remember a departure being as bittersweet was leaving Makkah al-Mukarramah and Madinah al-Munawwarah.

At the airport, the occupiers once again tried to exhaust us from coming back. We were subjected to long lines and passport checks. Many solo travelers were pulled back for additional questioning. I made duʿa against them the entire time.

My only joy in coming back.

Now, a year and a half later, we’re doing everything we can for Palestinians to be able stay peacefully and go back. Praying. Protesting.

One duʿa in particular is always on my mind, in witr, especially…

In Palestine, since the majority are under the Shafi’i jurisprudence, they pray witr at fajr (the first prayer of the day) and maghrib (the fourth prayer). It was so immensely powerful to pray alongside them, for them, against their liberation.

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