Performing Ziyarah in an innovative manner during a Pandemic


With flights being cancelled at short notice and the uncertainty around the safety of travelling, our hearts yearn for the sight of the majestic Kaaba, the beloved Prophet (saw)’s green dome and the blessed shrines of our Imams (as). The days have become weeks, that have now become months and our eyes remain searching for that first glimpse of the holy lands.

However, in the last year that the world has been going through this health crisis, we have also learnt to find new ways to reconnect. Similarly, the Al Kisaa Sisters came up with an innovative solution to fill the emptiness of our hearts. Al Kisaa Sisters was formed by a group of passionate ladies attending Al Mahdi Centre of Wessex Jamaat, U.K. to re-ignite the ‘spiritual feeling’ during COVID-19 restrictions. They are Sisters Nowsheen Jaffer, Shela Moledina, Fatema Juma, Sadiqa Jeraj-Damji and Meenaz Asharia.

Al Kisaa Sisters conduct regular Ayyamul Biydh Ibadat Nights via Zoom and were enthusiastic to deliver a different programme to fill the gap of a physical ziyarah. They were motivated to bring something exciting and unique for the ladies of the community worldwide, with the vision to perform ziyarah virtually together as one ummah.

This led to the Spiritual Virtual Ziyarah to the Holy Lands of Mecca and Madina. A 2-minute promotional trailer was released on 25th December 2020 with the main event premiering on Wessex Jamaat’s YouTube Channel on 30th December 2020.

The virtual ziyarah was performed in a unique story-telling manner. It started off with an address by Sister Nowsheen Jaffer, member of Al Kisaa Sisters, who welcomed everyone on board this Caravan of Love departing from Al Mahdi Centre to arrive in Madina al-Munawwara. The narration was then continued by Sister Sabira Mazhar Husein from Toronto who introduced the etiquettes of ziyarah, the mental preparation, the historical aspects and the recommended recitation at each juncture. To help in re-creating the spirit of a physical ziyarah, Sister Sabira even donned the garment of ihram whilst in the proximity of the holy Kaaba. The video recording was supported by audio clips of a number of marsia and qasida being recited in different languages, as well as the Talbiyyah and Ziyarah of Sayyida Fatimah (as) by ladies of Wessex Jamaat.

The video, which was pre-recorded by Ali Channel of India, was initially online on YouTube for 3 days from 30th December 2020. However, due to the sheer volume of positive feedback received and numerous demands, the video remained online for a total of 18 days to coincide with the completion of Ayyame Fatimiyyah. During that time, the video hit close to 2500 views Mashallah!

Some of the feedback received are as follows:

  • Alhamdulilah Ziyarat Qabool. May Allah (swt) accept our wishes to visit our Prophet Muhammad and all our Imams and our Bibis. Ameen
  • Thanks to the team that has enabled the creation of the virtual ziyarah of Mecca and Medina. The commentary by Sister Sabira Husain was spiritually uplifting! May Almighty (swt) reward you all, ameen. May He (swt) grant all of us Hajj and Umrah soon, ameen.
  • Loving every minute of it…love the way Sabira bai is taking everything slowly and step by step?
  • We can’t say 2020 was a bad year as we were blessed with so much knowledge and have grown spiritually together.

Al Kisaa Sisters are humbled that their efforts were met with such appreciation globally. Their reflection on this event was: “Alhamdulillah, it was a great opportunity given to us by the Almighty (swt) which brought satisfaction and motivation to do more. We have learnt a lot from the organisation of this programme, which was a new experience. This was a spiritual virtual ziyarah that touched hearts globally.”

Although there are currently no similar projects in the pipeline, Al Kisaa Sisters do intend to organise more when the time is right in a few months, Inshallah.

Finally, to celebrate the wiladat of the one who was born in the most blessed point of this earth, Imam Ali (as), Al Kisaa Sisters will be re-launching the video on Wessex Jamaat’s YouTube channel from 13th Rajab / 26th February. The video will be online until we complete the celebration of the Khushali of Imam as-Sajjad on 5th Sha’ban / 19th March. You can access this video here: Virtual Ziyarat of Makkah & Madina (Ladies Only) – YouTube

It is important to note that this video is for the viewing pleasure of LADIES ONLY. Brothers are kindly requested to please refrain from viewing this video.

Al Kisaa Sisters are also very interested to hear about your experience. Please share your feedback here.

We pray that Al Kisaa Sisters are blessed with further opportunities and continuous vigour to organise such spiritually uplifting events, and act as a beacon of light in these trying times Inshallah.