If you’re like me, a young (under 40) convert with no Muslim mahram this is the closest you will get to Madinah because it is more than likely that you will have your hajj or umrah visa application denied by the Saudi authorities even though the Malikis and Shafi’ees say it is permissible to travel for an obligatory hajj provided there is safe passage or company.
Alhamdulillah, I’ve had my visa application denied twice without explanation. Although, I hear that single sisters that go with Imam Safi Khan or the Rihla group do not encounter any visa issues.
In the meantime, I’ll content myself with this tour, pictures, and with reading the virtues of visiting Madinah and in sha Allah next time I’ll apply to go with one of those two groups.
By the way, I have an intense dislike of Saudi bashing. Unfortunately, due to intense media and government pressure the Saudis are closing the Mahad in Virignia, which I had wanted to attend to improve my Arabic and their embassy’s Islamic Affairs Department, which has sponsored eminent scholars like Shaykh Jaafar Idris and provided free Qurans and books has been reduced to a single staff person.
The Islamic Affairs Department of the Saudi Embassy in Washington DC sent me a free Quran, the big one that you usually only see in masajid (most of which were provided by the Saudis) and a simple Arabic tafsir for free. And you can always pick up fresh (well vacuum-packed) dates from some prince’s farm each Ramadan that are distributed by them for free. Those dates are mashaAllah very sweet and delicious.
First seen on Austrolabe.