I was spellbound by the grandeur of the shrine. I could barely speak – struggling to put my thoughts into words. As I stood infront of the Kabah (the black Stone), my mind could barely pause from thinking about all the historical events this place had witnessed and will in the future. It was intriguing how people from different communities and creeds travel to Makkah to worship Allah (swt) and gain His pleasure. Moreover, coming from different parts of the world, all of them blend together and form a perfect union of Allah’s creation which worships Him day and night. It’s always spectacular.
Allah mentions in Surah Al Hajj:
“And proclaim that the people shall observe Hajj pilgrimage. They will come to you walking or riding on various exhausted (means of transportation). They will come from the farthest locations.”(Verse 27)
It was during the sunset hour when we reached Makkah. I was traveling for ‘Umrah’ with my family – husband and two kids. We were overwhelmed by the crowd, even though we knew what to expect. As we started the ‘tawaf’ (circumambulating around the Kabah), I could feel being part of something momentous. When I began my journey, I was advised by my mother to make as many voluntary ‘tawafs’ as possible. This advice turned out to be Allah’s guidance. Being a part of this unique form of worship, with constant ‘Zikr’ (praising Allah) and ‘duas’ was undoubtedly fruitful.
One preparation turned out to be extremely handy – I had my ‘Zikr’ and ‘Duas’ written and recorded before leaving for this trip. It was utmost important and It helped me to make the best use of my time in ‘Masjid Al Haram’. While repeating the same during Sa’ee, one can’t help but think about what had actually happened there. A mother alone with her infant baby in a desert, ordered to be left alone – left to Allah’s mercy. How does a mother feel when her baby cries and she has nothing and no one around for help. The thought was too intense for me. I couldn’t think further. I glanced at my kids, who were happily seated in a wheelchair enjoying the ride between the two hills. Could I, as a Muslim woman ever reach that level of faith which Hajra (May Allah be pleased with her) reached? Could any of those millions of Muslim women who perform Sa’ee every year, attain that status infront of Allah? Could our walk between Safa and Marwah – with thousands of people around us, cool air blowing from above and without an ounce of doubt about what will happen next, be equal to her immense patience and trust in Allah? I think, It is only Allah’s mercy due to which He rewards and accepts this deed. Mentioned in Surah Baqarah:
The knolls of Safa and Marwah are among the rites decreed by God. Anyone who observes Hajj or `Umrah commits no error by traversing the distance between them. If one volunteers more righteous works, then God is Appreciative, Omniscient. (Verse 158)
After few days, in Makkah we left for Madina. While parting, I could feel a sense of longing which many of us experience. Maybe our souls get attached to it because it is the holiest place on Earth, and maybe the closest we feel to Allah(swt), physically.
God has fulfilled His messenger’s truthful vision: “You will enter the Sacred Masjid, God willing, perfectly secure, and you will cut your hair or shorten it (as you fulfill the pilgrimage rituals) there. You will not have any fear. Since He knew what you did not know, He has coupled this with an immediate victory.” (Surah AlFath, Verse 27)
‘I will be visiting this place soon,’ I felt as we started towards Madina – the `City of Prophet Mohammed (May Allah be pleased with him) and his companions. It was an experience in itself. Just as we landed there, I could feel the eagerness to visit the prophet’s mosque.
We even happened to meet a local who informed that he was a descendent of one of the companions of the Prophet – Huzefa (May Allah be pleased with him). ‘This is amazing,’ I thought. ‘What if we get to meet the descendants of all companions and those of Prophet Mohammed (SAWS). It would be a such a great experience.’ And though we couldn’t do that, we did what we could.
We visited the mountain of Uhud, and the area where the ‘battle of khandak’ took place. These places are majestic and extra ordinary, especially when you know the story of what happened there. Surprisingly, I had my own story written here. We happened to miss our bus twice while visiting these sites – once while in Uhud and another in Khandak. The time was such that no other vehicle was available to take us back to our hotel. I got worried as both my kids started acting up and I knew they would get cranky soon. This worry made me wonder about those who participated in these battles. How did they face the uncertainty? It was easier to understand why the reward was immeasurable for them. May Allah unite us with them and give each one of us a chance to perform Hajj and Umrah. Ameen
رَبَّنا وَاجعَلنا مُسلِمَينِ لَكَ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِنا أُمَّةً مُسلِمَةً لَكَ وَأَرِنا مَناسِكَنا وَتُب عَلَينا ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ التَّوّابُ الرَّحيمُ
‘Our Lord, make us submissive to You, and [raise] from our progeny a nation submissive to You, and show us our rites [of worship], and turn to us clemently. Indeed, You are the All-clement, the All-merciful.’ (Surah Baqarah, verse 128)