Friday 13 April 2018

Makkah... Where my soul resides ♥️

Asalaamu Alyakum readers, 

After many Hajj posts, I am so happy to finally chat about the place where I left my soul... the Holy City of Makkah. From the moment we entered Makkah, I felt at home, like I was answering a call which only my soul could hear.

After our first Umrah, we were on an indescribable high. It was around 2am in the morning when we were done, after the exit from ihraam had been completed, and a refreshing shower to wash away the days travel from Madinah. There was hardly time to sleep before we'd need to be up for Tahajud, and since it was my first night in the Holy city, I was not about to miss anything! So we snoozed for an hour or so, and around 3:30am made our way down to the Haram for Tahajud. Since we were amongst the early arrivals, Makkah was not as crowded yet and we found a great spot (for women, the best we can hope for is an uninterrupted view and as as close as possible to the Ka'bah whilst performing salaah). I was more than happy to just be able to perform my prayers in the most sacred mosque in the world... And after the first prayer in the Haram, despite the exhaustion starting to set in, the wonder takes over...

I could not bear to tear my eyes away from the Ka'bah; I was transfixed, I was in awe that I was actually standing at the very spot to which I point my prayer mat to every single day. There was a tangible magnetism that drew me nearer and nearer to the Ka'bah with every passing moment. A pivotal moment, which sealed the bond with my soul, was during our Tawaaf on the eve of our first day, where were granted the opportunity of touching the Ka'bah. The smell of the brick was intoxicating and the tears flowed readily as my forehead touched the walls of the Holy Ka'bah. It was astounding how everything in my life paled in comparison to the enormity of that moment and just being an honoured guest at the house of the Almighty. I knew that this was indeed a moment I had been preparing for all my life. The realisation that I was born ready to perform my pilgrimage, and supplicate on these magnificent marble floors was prevalent in my mind. Every moment I spent in the Haram has been indelibly imprinted in my memory bank, every step along the sa-ee a tribute to the monumental role of women in our religion. 

When the tiredness eventually took over, and hunger started setting in, we headed back to our hotel. By this time our sleeping patterns were already erratic, having undergone a shift during our stay in Madinah; so time was governed predominantly by the prayer times. Back at the hotel we decided to catch another hour or two of sleep before heading to the breakfast room. One thing I am eternally grateful for is the absolute luxury and comfort of our hotel room, as well as the proximity to the Haram. We literally stayed across the road, about 200m from the Haram entrance which was a convenience one cannot underestimate during the crowded Hajj season. (To walk 200m can take 20 mins with a massive crowd). The advantages of our hotel meant we could easily pop back to our room for a quick snooze in between waqts, without having to worry about being in time for the next waqt, or being able to find a good spot for prayer. The comfort of the hotel soothed our fatigue and the extensive breakfast spread each morning provided adequate sustenance for the day, especially since I do not easily eat the fast foods or food on offer around Makkah. 

From the stories we were told I expected a more authentic Saudi experience, however, Makkah is a bustling, modern city. With pilgrims walking about, sitting in contemplation, or praying everywhere. The high rise buildings and hotels surrounding the Haram is progressive with many more in the process of being built. The heat felt less intense than Madinah, and this could be attributed to the fact that we walked a shorter distance between our hotel and the Holy mosque. There are taxi drivers peddling at every corner and so many 'malls' and shopping centers to choose from! It could be an overwhelming experience to be in Makkah, especially after the tranquility of Madinah, but I felt completely at home. I had instantly fallen in love with the aura of the Holy city, with the captivating power this city had on me. My first day/s were spent in constantly vacillating between getting some rest, eating and wanting to be by the Ka'bah. It took a few days for us to find a new routine for the next 19 days. 19 Days & 3 Jumuahs!! We were really blessed to be able to spend the bigger portion of our trip so close to the Ka'bah, which ultimately made our ibadah easier, and afforded us the advantage of lots of hours in the Haram (without much difficulty) Algamdulilah!

I can talk about Makkah (in fact my whole trip!) for ages and have so much to share♥️

 But for now, I will try to keep it in bite sized tidbits, and highlight the moments which will hopefully inspire those waiting to venture on this life changing journey.

This very moment has been branded in my memory for always ♥️

All opulence and modernity on the Mataaf 
The area for women closest to the Ka'bah to perform salaah when the Haram is packed

Ladies areas are cordoned off 
The iconic clocktower, which houses several hotels, a mall and various souks
The area behind us is a built next to the clocktower and houses the Hilton hotel,
the fountain marks the site of the home of Abu Bakr RA

Ciao for now, 
RuBe xoxo

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