I was looking through my notebook during the break in Shaykh Faraz's halaqa last week and started reading through previous notes I'd taken. I came across many beautiful words from our teachers and journal entries from Hajj.
On our second night in Madinah, once the entire group had arrived, Shaykh Ramzy gathered us all in the lobby of our hotel and gave us some advice. He spoke of forgiving one another for what happened in the past and what for what will come (especially given the intimate nature of the pilgrimage) -- in the city of our Noble Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), we should intend to forgive, as this is his sunnah. Allah pardons and loves those who pardon. We expect Allah to forgive us and yet cannot find it in our hearts to forgive others -- if we do not forgive, our hearts will have something in them that will interfere in receiving the forgiveness of Allah.
The Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) has the greatest heart for forgiveness -- on the yawm al-hashr, all Prophets (upon them be peace) will say, "this affair is not for me", but he (Allah bless him and give him peace) will say, "this is for me" and will not rest until each Muslim is forgiven -- and then he will ask for the pardon of other communities, Allah bless him and give him peace.
About Madinah, the blessed companion, 'Umar said, it is the holiest place on earth, and 'Uthman agreed with him (Allah be well-pleased with them both).
The soil mixes with his blessed living body, he hears each and every salam and responds, and Allah sends His salam on each person ten times.
As we watch what we eat and purchase despite knowing the waste they will eventually end up in, we should watch what goes in our hearts, for the heart and its deeds live on in the grave.
This last note that Shaykh Ramzy made is, I believe, of utmost importance. Far too often we neglect to realize, or we brush off, the impact of what we expose our senses to. I remember years ago Shaykh Abdallah Adhami said that whatever our ears and eyes and limbs are exposed to lives on in us forever -- he cautioned us to pay heed to what words we listen to and what scenes we watch. How many conversations to we expose our ears and soul to that our full of backbiting, tale-baring, vulgarities? How many lyrics and sounds to we listen to that perturb the heart and throw us into heedlessness? How many violent, vulgar scenes do we see, even for a split second on television and in movies, thinking we're unscathed, but they live on in the recesses of our hearts forever?
Food for thought.