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Walking in Footsteps

Blog Post 4
Published January 28, 2018

Imam Husayn Masjid

Many people dream of walking in the footsteps of their idols.

They stalk their idols’ social media, write fan letters to them, purchase books by them and books and magazines about them, relisten to their words, post pictures of and sayings by them, hang posters of them in their home and show up where they perform, might be or even live. If their idol has passed away, they retrace their footsteps by visiting their birthplace, where they made it big and their gravesite.

Take a minute to figure out what an idol is exactly.

Besides all the common attributes, it boils down to someone you love and admire, want to be friends with and be like.

It’s interesting that the word idol comes from the French idole from the Greek eidolon, which means a reflection in water or a mirror. So essentially, an idol is someone you wish you saw when you look at your own reflection – someone you want to resemble.

Today, most people think of idols as effigies that are worshipped.

But an idol can also mean the

“perfect embodiment of a concept.”

Muslims tend to go back and forth with their infatuation for Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.). What I mean is, our love for him is so deep, it sometimes makes us wonder if we’re committing shirk (idolatry or polytheism). We worry that we’re stepping into the realm of deifying or worshipping the Prophet instead of Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala. And I also mean, our love is so shallow, that we often forget that we’re supposed to be like him. We don’t worry about that that much.

Yet, if we get the chance,

we’d all gladly walk in the Prophet’s footsteps,

but often only symbolically.

We can see where he lived and died. We can breathe the air he breathed, feel the earth he walked upon, see the environment he lived in so many years ago. Of course, we know that it’s not exactly like it was when he was there, but such an experience is still treasured.

It’s not just Muslims who want to walk in the footsteps of their religious icons. Christians go to Bethlehem, Nazareth, Galilee and Al-Quds to tread where Prophet Isa (a.s.) lived and died. Jews walk among the footsteps of the Prophets Ibrahim (a.s.), Ishaq (a.s.), Yaqub (a.s.), Sulayman (a.s.) and Daood (a.s.) in Al-Quds.

It’s said that when one walks in the footsteps of their beloved, they can revive their love and devotion for them and make those emotions and actions palpable. Ultimately, this retracing should lead us directly to Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala.

For after all, our idols are simply

Allah’s Subhanahu wa ta’ala  Creation.

This is why it’s important to understand and purify our intention whenever we attempt to visit the holy places where our idols existed on this Earth. If we place all our focus on our idol, forgetting Allah Subhana wa ta’ala, then we certainly have stepped out of bounds.

In a few days, inshallah, my husband Ali and I

are headed to walk in footsteps.

I don’t want the footsteps to be symbolic. I don’t want the footsteps to be a ritual. I don’t want to just see where the men and women of early Islam lived and died.

I want to declare my allegiance to Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala there where my idols did. I want to emulate them and walk the Straight Path they took. I pray that by witnessing the soil, water and air of my idols, by tasting the sweetness and bitterness of their journeys, by gazing upon their life’s work and their resting places, I, too, will reignite the spark of love, courage, resistance and faith, that sometimes dies down living in the west. I want to feel the emotions, attitudes, intelligence, spirit, values, choices and activities in the footsteps.

I want to witness the perfect embodiment of Islam.

I want to rededicate my life to the concepts

for which they lived,

fought and sacrificed their lives.

I want to be alive in the

Way of Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala, inshallah.


Inked Resistance Islamic Publishing’s stores will be closed during our footsteps journey.


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