Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Prophet's (SWAS) Artifacts

Yesterday I was given the honor to see the Prophet's (SWAS) artifacts and that of his Companions in a private collection of a UAE national family in Abu Dhabi. This public event was not advertised by the Khizalji family who are the owners of the collection, as crowd control would have been impossible. Knowledge of it spread strictly by word of mouth. The Khizaljis are direct descendants of Anas Ibn Malik (RA) and these artifacts have been transferred over generations of ancestors to the present owner.The father of the present owner was the Head of Abu Dhabi Awqf at one tine.

The exhibition was arranged in the giant grounds of their giant villa located in the backstreets of Bateen area of Abu Dhabi. After entering their gate, men and women enter two separate entrances of a giant framed  white tent, which has a separation running down its middle. There are professionally hired guards who help the public along. Photography and videos are not allowed. In the main portion of the waiting area of the tent there are serpentine rows of chairs in the same configuration as the queses for rides in an amusement park. There is air conditioning and chandelier lightening in the tent. At the front of the area there is a stage and seats for possibly a VIP ceremony. At the stage they use a giant bukhoor to burn incense and perfume which wafts over the waiting public. Also located in the front are speakers of a sound system that constantly plays rendition of poetry in praise of the Prophet (SWAS) in Arabic without music. Behind the stage is located that part of the tent which contains the artifact displays. They allow about a dozen people in the display area at a time -- 5 sequential batches from the brothers and then 5 sequential batches from the sisters. Then they alternate.

By the time one reaches to the front seats of the serpentine queue in the waiting area, one starts feeling a special feeling of love by hearing the poetry and smelling the bukhoor. The heart becomes soft to experience what the eyes would withhold momentarily.

There are 4 small freight containers in which the actual artifacts are displayed on tables. You go from the right side of a long table and leave from the left. There are people who explain what the public sees at each container. Almost all the public was South Asian. I could not explain this except maybe by the fact that word just spread to the South Asian community in Abu Dhabi. I tried to change that by informing some of my Arab friends. The presenters all speak Urdu.

The display includes the following: several individual hair of the Prophet (SWAS) from the head as well as the beard, his 5 white hair (he had only 5 white hair, the rest were black), a long lock of his hair, his black wrap which he was wearing during Israa and Mairaaj, a piece of his shirt, his footprint, a sample of the earth from his grave, the hairs of famous Sahaba like Abu Bakar, Umar, Uthman, Ali, Hassan, Hussain, Abdul Qadir Jeelani (RA for all) and their clothing. I also saw the khol container of  Fatimah (RA).

After seeing all these things I had a special feeling so when I prayed, I felt I could related better to those who actually established the original prayer. Tomorrow is the last day of the exhibition which is from 5PM to 10PM.

May Allah (SWT) reward the Khizaljis for their generosity and He (SWT) make us of those who not only respect the belonging of the Prophet (SWAS) and the Companions (RA) but also adopt their perspective and actions in this life. Ameen.

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