Hello all.Once again the Season for Hajj has begun.I wish all success and pray for all those who are intending to fulfill theirs this year a very warm ‘ Hajj-al-Mabroor’, may Allah accept and reward you with your Hajj.And to all those who are back at home a very happy and blessed Eid-ul-adha,’Eid Mubarak’to all.
As in Islam a Muslim is required to complete Hajj at least once in his/her lifetime, if physically and financially able. The experience is one and the last of the five pillars of Islam.
My husband and I were blessed with this opportunity in the year 2006.A Le Grand Voyage of twenty days This was the very first time that I visited the Holy city of Makkah and Medina.And I wanted to capture every moment of my experience as it was going to be the most blessed journey that I could undertake in this lifetime.Upon reaching our destination after a hectic journey of two days of travel and transit (one may wonder WHY since it takes only 5 1/2 hrs from Colombo to Jeddah.As a matter of Hajj policy we had to go through several procedures) We were taken to our hotel to relax and freshen up and all what happened afterwards was indeed a dream come true.
We made our way into the vast courtyard of the Haram housing the Ka’aba, to perform the Umrah and, in the process, also to get my first physical glimpse of the famous Ka’aba. It was really a mesmerizing moment for me. I felt my heartbeat grow faster and my pulse rise and a strong feeling of awe and excitement gripped me as my eye caught sight of the holiest shrine in Islam – the Ka’aba – of which I had heard and read about so often and which had always held an alluring fascination to my imagination.
It was the first time that I was standing in front of the Ka’aba and gazing at the towering Black Cubicle draped in its glorious black cloak adorned with Qur’anic inscriptions in eye-catching Arabic calligraphy in gold. I stood in awe and mesmerized at the sight.
The Ka’aba is huge and imposing ; and commanding ; and intimidating too ! It looks ever grand ! Ever majestic ! I felt overwhelmed with emotion. ‘Glory be to God, ‘ I found myself saying to myself. ‘All praise be to God. There’s no god but God and there is none like him. ‘ My heart literally shook inside me and, I felt overcome with emotion. Tears came to my eyes as I gazed at the Ka’aba – the first House of God built on earth while thousands of pilgrims circumambulating around it in Tawaf, chanting His praise and glory. It was a sight that I would never ever forget. Thoughts of beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) came to my head and my emotion grew. I knew that I was treading the very ground that was once trod by the Prophet Muhammad himself some fourteen centuries ago. Indeed, I had not the least doubt that I was standing on hallowed ground.
The Hajj crowd is a mind-boggling sight. It baffles the mind and arouses tremendous emotion by virtue of its mammoth size and the spiritual fervor that oozes out from the hundreds of thousands of pilgrims who gather in the Holy City from every corner of the world, braving the odds and going through great sacrifices and hardships to fulfill the command of God ; to undertake what is to them the journey of their life-time. It is therefore not unusual to see pilgrims, often overwhelmed with emotion, crying like children at the Ka’aba.
We performed the Umrah, which is a required part of Hajj.It was right before I began the Umrah that I first saw the Kaaba, and because of this, that Umrah was one of the most special moments of my life.
After spending a few nights in Makkah, We went to Madinah to see Al-Masjid-an-Nabawi the prophet’s mosque. I honestly thought that this was the most beautiful mosque I had ever seen, even more so than Masjid al-Haram in Makkah! Masjid-an-Nabawi which was more serene and peaceful and has many beautiful features. For instance, it is decorated very lavishly, with intricate gold and marble everywhere. The one thing I was impressed by most was the level of detail of the decorations in everything in the mosque.
As I looked up & freed my mind from wandering along the walls, pillars, design & calligraphy,and wondered where the blessed and gifted servants of Allah had over the past years prayed and offered salutations to the Prophet.The awe & noor(glow) of Masjid Nabawi brought tears to my eyes .My heart became heavy and my feet felt Paralyzed .With much difficulty, I got up and like a frightened child dragged myself towards the Roudhah Shareef (prophets Tomb)
The first meeting is truly beyond words. From a feeling of emptiness than a sudden rise in enthusiasm , followed by a cool trembling accompanied by a torrent of tears…You can literally sit inside of Masjid-an-Nabawi for hours for its peace and tranquility which reminded me of paradise on earth.A beautiful Place with sweetness in the air ! I felt the Presence of My prophet in it.
The next day was the dawn to our lifetime achievement Hajj.From here on wards we were too busy on performing the obligatory rituals.
The obligations as follows
3.Remaining at Muzdalifah till Fajr until the horizon becomes clear (i.e. brightens), except for the weak/excused who may leave after half the night has passed.
4.Spending the nights in Mina (11th, 12th and 13th of the month Dhul Hijjah)
5.Pelting the big Jamarah (stone pillar) in addition to the others on the days of tashreeq
6. Ritual of Udhiyya
7.Shaving or trimming (the hair).
8.Tawaf al vida.(Farewell)
[Above images were captured when we went sightseeing prior to Hajj]
Having performed all obligatory rituals we were back in Makkah for another 2-3 days with one more obligation left the Farewell prayer,that was to perform just before we took off to the airport.By this time the count down had already begun in our hearts,to go back home to our loved ones. We did do some.But that was not all.
The next day was the most emotionally challenging day for all of us.One thing was the joy of having completed Hajj,the other was departing the land of our beloved prophet. There was a feeling of tremendous loss in my heart that I was finding hard to control my emotions.
For the last time ,we performed the farewell Tawaf – Tawaf-al-vidaa, it was an emotional experience as the time was coming to an end.However as the moments were passing in Masjid-al-Haram, I was so thankful for every moment I had been blessed with in this sacred place where worship began. I was so thankful for the blessing to Allah for giving me this opportunity to worship here and fill my sinful eyes with the tremendous sight of Ka’aba. I washed my face with the water of ZamZam and also poured this blessed water on my head and clothes. I remembered whenever someone use to visit Makkah and bring back this most blessed water, I would always treasure it and only drink a few sips to preserve it, yet here ZamZam is available in unlimited supply through the grace of the Almighty. I prayed in front of Baitullah (house of God) for the last time in this journey, and vowed to return here very soon and also prayed that all Muslims are given the privilege of visiting this most blessed land. I kissed the marble of Haram Shareef repeatedly just to treasure the sacred ground of this Grand Mosque and take with me that feeling of having been here.
I departed from Masjid-al-Haram, by walking backwards away from Ka’aba, just filling the eyes with the vision of the Ka’aba and tried to view the Ka’aba for as long as possible until I could not view it any longer.
Hajj is, after all a spiritual and very personal experience. Only the pilgrims and God know the magnanimous feelings that brim their heart as they stand at the “House of God” and seek His Mercy and Munificence.