Friday, 9 March 2018

Madinah to Makkah... The first umrah

Hi lovelies!

I've been so busy doing Hajj write ups this week, that I felt it was appropriate to do my next instalment. I have also chatted to so many people and I cannot contain my excitement for the prospective hujaaj, for what they're about to experience! Right now, for prospective hujaaj, hajj may seem like it's still far off, with all the administration and preparation required ... but trust me, it will be here in a flash!

After spending a spiritually rejuvenating 12 days in tranquil Madinah, we prepared to depart for Makkah. Prior to leaving, our spiritual leader held refresher umrah classes, discussed the history and generally got us into the right frame of mind for our approach to Makkah. This was the next step on our life changing journey, one where we've accepted the most important invitation of our lives. For me, it was a journey I had pictured in my minds eye for years, I even had a vivid dream (years prior to this journey) of my first sight of the Ka'bah. So the prospect of finally realising this dream and fulfilling a life-long aspiration had me in tears and filled with anticipation. I was preparing for the monumental moment where I stepped into the Haram for the very first time. 

We were briefed on logistics, and were ready in our ihraam (special clothes required) to leave the hotel. For women normal attire can serve as ihraam, and doesn't need to be white, for men however, the ihraam constitutes the two pieces of white cloth. As with any movements for hujaaj during this time, the Saudi government provide buses for the 450km journey into Makkah. About 15 minutes outside of  Madinah we stopped off to perform Thuhr (mid -afternoon prayer) and made our nieyah to enter into the state of ihraam (we were already dressed in the garb). 

The bus ride was actually an unexpectedly pleasant one, especially after the horror stories I've heard from previous hujaaj about how awful this bus ride is. We made one stop along the road to eat and navigated our way through various checkpoints before arriving at our hotel. We left Madinah just before 1pm and arrived at our hotel after 9pm, this is after all the security checks and delays, but overall it was still a good trip! Soon after getting our luggage and checking into a very lovely hotel room, with a view facing the Haram we were ready for our umrah. Our group made arrangements to meet in the foyer an hour later, and in the meantime hubby and I explored a bit looking for food. 

We met up with our group, each and every one on a spiritual high, with our hotel just across the road from the Haram, we didn't have far to go. As we entered, through King Fahd gate, our spiritual leader prepared us for the first sight of the Ka'bah. We kept our eyes downcast, as we descended the stairs towards the Ka'bah, filled with wonder and awe. We then stood in front of the Ka'bah, our eyes still downcast, and only when we had our duah for this very moment prepared, did we look up. It was breathtaking, emotiona,l and before I realised it, the tears of gratitude and awe were streaming down my face. I really needed a few moments to take it all in; to absorb the magnitude of this moment, to  digest the fact that I was indeed a guest the house of Allah (SWT)! ♥️ This moment is one that will remain etched in my memory bank forever. Algamdulilah!

We proceeded to perform our tawaaf (7 circumambulations) with a relatively empty Haram (by this time it was already past 12am) and thereafter the Saai. Throughout this I could not tear my eyes away from the Ka'bah, this monument to which I have directed my musallah for prayers every single day. It was now an actual physical presence, with such magnetic attraction I didn't want to leave.  Had we not been beyond exhausted, I'd want to stay for hours more. After the saai, we clipped the hair and returned to the hotel room to freshen up, shower, change and grab an hours shut eye before Tahajud.

This experience is like nothing I have ever encountered, the spiritual high is inexplicable and so grounding. It's as if I had found the place which communicates with my soul. This is where my soul is at HOME, the place which will forever call for my soul to return!

Ready to leave our hotel
The bus was pretty comfortable for the long drive ahead
The mosque at Bir-Ali

Shortly after entering the state of ihraam for the first time

The 'rest stops' along the route to Makka

The road between Madinah and Makkah is mainly barren, rocky desert

After completing our first umrah

Ciao for now,
RuBe xoxo