The fact is that I knew and understood well that the mint plant has had great medicinal value and that this particular quality, emitting fragrance, was thoughtfully imported from the Holy Land, writes Dr. Sheikh Mohammad Iqbal
In 1970, I went for Hajj and stayed with Muallim Mahmud Amin at Ajyad in Makkah Mukarramah. As his late excellencey, Anas Yousuf Yasin, The Saudi Arabian Ambassador at New Delhi had informed the home Government about my presence in the Holy Land, I was invited by the Kingdom’s Ministry of Information to join the Pilgrim Guest of the State. Happily, I was already known to his late Majesty king Faisal Bin Abdul Aziz by virtue of my Doctoral Research on the Political Achievements of his Illustrious father. I also used to receive his reply messages to my letters.
As I did not wish lose congregational prayers in the Haram. I preferred to join the group of Pilgrims only on the day on which it was heading to Mina (and then Al-Arafat). The whole experience on the 9th of Zul Hijjan and the days of Al-Tashriq, was highly rewarding and inspiring. After Hajj performance we were taken to Jeddah where we were lodged in Hotel Asian. Some of us were offered a chance there to see and converse with chairman Yasser Arafat who too had come to participate in the Hajj Season.
The Pilgrim Caravan then proceeded to Madinah Al-Munawarah for Ziyarah and there we were accommodated in Madinah Palace Hotel. It is noteworthy that in the prophet’s City I and Masum Ali of the Morning News, Karachi, made some history. Having presented ourselves at the sacred Mosque and the Mausoleum, we met with the Governor of the Region, prince Abdul Muhsin, doubtless, a well informed dignitary who could throw enough light on the situation in Arab / Islamic world. His arguments about the issues of the community of Islam sounded weighty and cogent. We offered ‘Asr Prayers with him and under his orders Masum Ali (with his photographer) and Myself were permitted to enter the Prophet’s Mosque at midnight as a mark of honour. While the photography of the parts around the blessed Raudhah was on, I remained busy with supererogatory prayers (nawafil and tahajjud), durud and sallah. However, we feld that we lacked the requisite strength to go closer to the resting place of the apostle of mercy, on him be peace, and the Shaikhain, His two right-guided caliphs (RDH).
Next morning, I and Masum Ali and his Assistant, Nasir decided to go to Mohallah Khalifah (Shiyukh) on a visit to the Sajjadah of Hazrat Salman Al-Farsi (RDH) where I was told that there were two date-palms of which the origin was traced to the prophet’s time. However, my view was that the saplings of these trees hight have been continuously planted and grown since the blessed day s. no doubt, the three dates I purchased for one Riyal each appeared to be a speciality and in size equal to the Ambr date (Tamr). Apart from the palm-grove, I calculated that the Sajjadah of Hazrat Salman (RDH) measured three or four kanals (1/2 acre) area which was partly meant for raising vegetables. Near by, I could see a sizeable bed, ploughed with green leaves of hint plants which I got some roots as tabarruk. I put them in a carton making holes in it to receive air. For about two weeks or more, I laboured to preserve these, occasionally sprinkling water on the soil. Having disembarked at bobay sea-port, I hastened to travel homeward via Delhi and Pathankote.
On arrival, I at once transplanted the mint-roots at a chosen site in our vegetable farm and undertook necessary protective measures. After a couple of weeks, I noticed the roots sprouting. As we required to dig an alternate well for irrigation at the site the roots were shifted westward of the plot. A fencing was arranged to prevent animals from trampling the plants which in the subsequent years multiplied, so that it appeared that we were minting the mint of Madinah the radiant. Every two years the outgrowth (wild grass etc) used to be weeded out and the roots planted afresh. All along the eager consumers in the society increased in number and every now and them, I personally reaped the crop, washed the product, filled the bags to be distributed to the recipients without wasting time. At times, dry mint was also stored for the beneficiaries who needed it at social functions. The fact is that I knew and understood well that the mint plant has had great medicinal value and that this particular quality, emitting fragrance, was thoughtfully imported from the Holy Land.
Eventually, many were after me to favour them with some roots of Madinah mint, and, I did oblige them subject to preconditions. Firstly, no manure or fertilize was to be applied to the plants to safeguard their purity. Secondly, when consumed, no ‘Manmade’ salt was to be used in the preparation. Thirdly, it was thought advisable that the bed concerned should be protected by a fencing. Fourthly, the remnants of the plant should be burnt and the dust put into flowerbeds. These limitations did not appear to the recipients unreasonable.
Only recently, brother Kaleemullah Khan of the Adult Quranic Education Programme who has settled at Ishbar Nishat told us at a meeting regarding the publication of the Crescent (monthly English), that he and his neighbours have named their colony Salman Farisi Heights, which we deemed to be a right decision. Considering the significance of Hazrat Salman’s dedicated life, I thought it feasible that they deserved to generate roots of Madani Pudinah in their own places. Therefore I conceded when exhorted to that end, and twice handed over a bag of roots to Kaleemullah Saheb to be distributed to the associates concerned. As they begin consuming the mint, I would except of them to pray for me and for the rest of the brotherhood.