We were off. Ready. Leaving the blessed city of the Prophet pbuh for Makkatul-Mukarramah - the most blessed city in the world. I was a little sad I wouldn't be eating iftar and breaking my fast with the hospitable and friendly ummah in Madinah, but at the same time a little nervous and excited for what was in store: the Ka'bah. All I kept thinking was, this is an invite from Allah swt. Did I prepare well? Alhamdulillah the hours meeting we had the night before prepared us well. The Shaykh had gone over the most important elements of what makes your Umrah correct, what could nullify it etc. In preparation, he mentioned the need to make tawbah - repentance. He gave us the example of the Prophet Muhammad pbuh - a Prophet, a sinless man as one who made forgiveness 100 times a day. Well what does that say about us?! So having showered before we left, using no soap or shampoo, I became very conscious of being in my Ihraam clothes. Once we had reached the point of meeqat which was a special boundary point where one would pray and renew and correct their intention before entering Makkah. The intention was for Umrah. The meeqat point was not too far from Madinah when we left. We prayed our 2 raka'at in a masjid outside of Madinah called masjid bi'r Ali en route to Makkah and made the intention for umrah. We were off once again. The time was 8.05am and the temperature was 34 degrees. As we left my father reminded us of the importance of the talbiyah. We continued to make talbiyah for the next couple of minutes together as a group.
Labbaika Allahomma Labbaik. Labbaik La Shareeka Laka Labbaik. Innal-Hamdah, Wan-Nematah, Laka wal Mulk, La Shareeka Laka.
In Arabic لَبَّيْكَ اللَّهُمَّ لَبَّيْكَ، لاَ شَرِيْكَ لَكَ لَبَّيْكَ، إِنَّ الْحَمْدَ وَالنِّعْمَةَ لَكَ وَالْمُلْكَ لاَشَرِيْكَ لَكَ
It was translated as: "Here I am at Thy service O Lord, here I am. Here I am at Thy service and Thou hast no partners. Thine alone is All Praise and All Bounty, and Thine alone is The Sovereignty. Thou hast no partners."
|The Zam Zam Towers clock.|
|The crowds during tawaaf around the Ka'bah.|
At just after 11.30pm, we entered the masjid through the largest gate called Baab-King Abdul Aziz. There were crowds and crowds of people on our right and on our left. The familiar zamzam coolers we spotted in Madinah were also lined up besides the pillars. As we got closer and closer and walked deeper and deeper into the masjid, we continued our talbiyah. Suddenly between the moving of people, I saw the black cloth of the Ka'bah. We walked some more, until we could see more of the ka'bah. We said our own personal prayers. From the distance, I could see the crowds of people circumbating or making tawaf around the kabah - which literally means walking around the ka'bah as part of the ritual of Umrah. As we entered the place of tawaf called the mataaf. I noticed how small the ka'bah seemed or perhaps this was because of the extra large Zam Zam clock tower overshadowing it from above.. But actually the closer you got to it through your tawaaf the bigger it seemed. I had held on to my dad's Ihraam with all my might. I feared the thought of getting lost in the crowds and not knowing what to do! My friend held on to me and another friend on to her. We began the first tawaf from the hajr-aswad, the point of the black stone on the ka'bah. We with the crowds as one body. Very close, very crowd. But the feeling one felt was indescribable. Occasionally we'd pass by someone with a water spray bottle, spraying at the worshipers to cool them down or someone with a box of tissues handing them to worshipers to wipe off sweat. Due to the immense crowds resulting in extrememe heat around you, by the time we had finished your 7 rounds of tawaaf, I for one was sweating from head to toe! As we tried to exit the mataaf [place of tawaaf] we headed up a small set of stairs to pray two raka'at for tawaaf. It is recommended to pray near to the maqam-ibrahim [which is where the footsteps of Ibrahim can be seen through golden rimmed glass covering], but because of the number of people there performing their umrah or simply doing additional tawaaf, we just prayed in inside. After which we went to drink zam zam. I drank to my full, put zam zam on my face and poured some on my head to cool me down.
|The zam zam water coolers.|
Safa and Marwa
|A birds-eye view of the moutain of Safa inside |
|A view of the crowds taken at Marwa.|
It was really here, that I realised how important they were in the religion of Islam. In fact, even the rituals of Hajj are a combination of the Prophetic sunnah and the footsteps of Ibrahim [May Allah be pleased with him] including the compulsory sacrificing of lamb, cow, camel in Allah's name as opposed to a son. [Ibrahim had seen in a dream that he was slaughtering his son Isma'eel, so he wanted to fulfill this order from Allah swt, little did he know Allah was testing him. But Ibrahim and Isma'eel were both ready to sacrifice their lives for their Lord. Allah swt saw this and sent down a ram to be sacrificed instead and thus we sacrifice an animal during Eid ul Adha]. Alas, we had left Safa and we were approaching Marwa. This was our seventh round. At one point, I didn't want it to end! But as we walked uphill slightly to reach Marwa, there were already crowds of people. We had completed the sa'ee [walking between Safa and Marwa]. But our umrah was not over yet. The last important part of the Umrah is to get out of Ihram by the snipping of about and inch of your hair, or men can have a trim or full shave of their heads. We walked back through the crowds, extremely exhausted. We stopped to buy some ice cream too. Finally at the hotel, we found somebody to snip our hair, and at that we knew we had completed our Umrah.
I pray Allah swt accepted our Umrah and accepted all our good deeds during our trip in Ramadhaan. Ameen.