I know, I know…
Before you judge me for leaving this space all dusty even after vowing to myself to write AT LEAST once a month – DON’T. I have been super busy with my business to the point I don’t even have time to think (about anything non business related).
I know I owe my readers part II of my Seoul trip, Japan trip, Bali trip and misc topics (I miss writing opinion articles!) but I thought I’d start writing again with the sweetest memory etched in my mind. The highlight of my 2017 – despite having to go to numerous places, this trip definitely left the most impact on me.
My Umrah trip – FIRST EVER Umrah trip.
I was left with no words throughout the trip. I was busy prior to the trip that I had no time to embrace myself mentally or physically. I didn’t know what to expect, and because Aidan was tagging along, that made my doubts increase warily. As usual, other people asked me the same question again and again: Are you really bringing Aidan along? Do you really think you can concentrate on your ibadah?
I know they were merely concerned, but I didn’t let any of these doubts linger long in my head. I put 100% faith in Allah, and believed that He will help whenever it is needed. All I needed to do was to get my niat and priorities straight. I was there to perform my ibadah, and that was the only thing I needed to focus on.
The Journey to Mecca
A week before our departure, we were told by our agency that our plane couldn’t get permission to land in Jeddah, which means we have to land in Madinah (which means longer travel hours for us).
After the 7 hours flight into Madinah, we took a bus and left straightaway for Mecca (which took us 6 hours) but stopped at Bir Ali (a pilgrimage Miqat) to put on our ihram and declare our intention to perform Umrah. We arrived at our hotel in Mecca around 4AM and performed our first Umrah at 7:30AM.
My First Umrah
It was my first experience in 26 years… and I also had a toddler with me. I was nervous, anxious and ecstatic – all these feelings jumbled but again my mind was focused. I made prior research on how to handle toddlers to make sure my Umrah is accepted. I made do’a in my heart, asking for Allah’s mercy and to make everything easy on me.
All I can say is… Alhamdulillah, Allah is great. Aidan behaved throughout the ordeal and even though I had to carry him during Tawaf for 7 rounds, it wasn’t tiring nor did he felt heavy to be carried. Even during Saie, he walked most of the time (yes for about 4 full rounds on himself, such a champ!). MasyaAllah, there were no words to describe the whole experience… Allah made it so easy for me which further solidified my faith in Him; why do you ever worry when you have Allah?
“Have no fear, for Allah is with us”
My First Impression of Mecca
I teared the moment I first laid eyes on the Kaabah.
I teared the moment I stepped foot into Masjidil Haram.
My mind has never been COMPLETELY at peace anywhere else compared to when I was there. Same goes to my heart.
You definitely feel the sweetness of ibadah there. Everyone, literally EVERYONE, drops everything they are doing when they hear the athan to perform ibadah together. When you’re surrounded with worshippers from all over the world, you feel a kinship with them although they are strangers. We were there for the same reason, same niat. The sense of unity is incredible, especially while performing our Tawaf.
Imagine a sea of people, making rounds within the Kaabah’s circumference like a magnet. It was a sight to behold and placed my heart at ease whenever I glance over while reading the Quran. You can never get bored just by looking at the Kaabah – and you are even granted pahala just by looking at it, SubhanaAllah.
When in Mecca, your only itinerary is to perform ibadah – honestly speaking. You are granted with this constant urge to perform your ibadah on time and if you have extra time, to perform Umrah again, or just grab a Quran to read in Masjidil Haram while waiting for the next prayer time. It was our routine for seven days, and there was no better way to spend our time there.
We did go for ziarah out of Mecca, which I loved as well, because you’re taught about history and stories of Prophet Muhammad SAW and his pious companions. Our Mutawwif was a pleasant man, and story time by him was always looked forward to. We went with Andalusia Travel & Tours as our travel agency, just in case you’re wondering.
I DID NOT WANT TO LEAVE.
As it grows closer to the day I have to leave, my heart grew increasingly heavier. I had everything I needed there, and I was close to the home of Allah. It was the true definition of “The City That Never Sleeps”. Our hotel was situated right next to Masjidil Haram, so we could get good view of people walking to and fro towards the mosque, just sitting outside the mosque while waiting for the next prayer time. There were always movements, never was there a moment where things died down, lights were dimmed and people stood still. It elevated my faith and made me realize the greatness of Allah.
It was an eye-opening experience, never in my life have I felt such emotions – to be attached to a new, foreign place. I had thought all those traveling I have done in the past really made a difference, I mean of course you leave a piece of yourself at the places you visited, but with Mecca I am just like… TAKE MY WHOLE SOUL.
I so badly didn’t want to leave… I felt like a baby in a womb – safe, secured and enveloped with nothing else but peace. I wished I could have stayed.
Oh but the story does not end here. Wait for my post on Madinah, that is another story of I-DONT-EVER-WANT-TO-LEAVE-CAN-I-MIGRATE part II.