27th Aug 2011 - - - 1 am
As we settled ourselves into our routines in Makkah, I was faced with tests. I think the hardest of all was my father becoming ill and hospitalised. Alhamdulillah for the support I had around me as well as the power of dua: praying that he would be ok. Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillah for the amazing people I got to know that really stuck by my in my weakest of moments. By the grace of Allah swt, my father became better quickly even though the infection on his leg was at its worst, the hospital he was at in Makkah treated the problem very well!
Perhaps due to my father's illness, I began to feel quite tired. I hadn't performed tawaaf for 2 days now. It felt strange. But I was fulfilling a daughter's role which in itself was a form of ibadah. The number of people in Makkah had increased considerably! We returned from the hospital later that night to stand in Qiyam prayer on the night of the 27th of Ramadhaan. My dad had warned me that it will be extremely crowded and not to perform tawaaf but go for prayer instead. As we walked towards the masjid, after the taxi had dropped us by the hotel. The saff or rows of people had reached and extended far back into the street. We tried to weave our way through the rows in order to find a place near other women as the prayer had begun. Finally we found a spot to pray. I stood at the end of the short row of women, there was a small gap and the men's row continued on stretching across the street. After 4 raka'at of the Qiyam prayer, I noticed I could hear some noise during the prayer. I tried to remain focused until the crowd that was making its way through the rows, literally breaking through them in order to to exit through the street. I didn't understand what was going on. I could feel elbows hitting my arm, until I was swung back from my row but quickly caught my balance. I couldn't help but break my salaah at that point as I witnessed my first stampede. My bag with my mobile phone - my only means of contacting my father and family - was tangled between the feet of those heading home and then I noticed my shoes were missing! I managed to free my back and walked back a few rows with the crowd to find of my shoes in the bag on a man's prayer-mat. I asked him if he had seen my other shoe. He just smiled in amusement. I looked in the row behind and there it was! With a sigh of a relief I returned back to my row, quite shaken by what had just happen.
For the remainder of the night, I secretly wished it wasn't laylatul Qadr as I felt my peace had been broken. Further to that, I was became more irritated by the attitude of some of the people. But soon I felt so guilty for even having such a thought. Alhamdulillah, later speaking to my father about this situation, he advised me to concentrate on my salah and ibadah [worship]and ignore all that happens around me. I remembered that advise throughout the remainder of my time there. May Allah swt accept all our ibadah and repentance. Ameen!