22nd April 2011 - 25th April 2011
An over due blog
We have arrived in Saudi Arabia via Amman (Jordan) at Jeddah airport. Flight landed at 7:30pm and as usual the delays in middle east is second nature. Ones out look changes on how laid back things can get. Subhanallah
We go through immigration , customs etc and wait, the usual hand me your passports man appears after exiting passport control. No name tags no badges we hand in passports, those who have been to Saudi know how passports go about....we do how ever get them later.
We say our travellers prayers yet again combined , you have to like the Saudis for building spectacular mosques even in airports..usually the more money they spend the better...
Piled up in to coches... Competing on "labayyaka allahuma labayyak" we head towards Mecca... An hours drive, I dose off then later realise others have as well.
Woken up by "Mecca is here" of Raheel, looking around is the familiar sounds, the constants horns, the roads filled with people walking to and from the grand mosque, street vendors,sirens sounding in sourround sound, and acrobatic driving...
We check in to our hotel, tired as we are we will take any thing at this stage as well as re-freshing ablution we head towards the grand mosque at 12:30 past midnight to complete our pilgrimage ( umrah)
The Umrah or (Arabic: عمرة) is a pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, performed by Muslims that can be undertaken at any time of the year. In Arabic, Umrah means "to visit a populated place". As a technical term used in the Sharia, Umrah means to perform Tawaf (circumambulation) round the Kaaba and Sa'i (walk) between Al-Safa and Al-Marwah ( both are mountains next to Kába in the grand mosque)
After assuming Ihram (a sacred state), either from a starting point like Zu 'l-Hulafa, Juhfa, Qarnu 'l-Manāzil, Yalamlam, Zāt-i-'Irq, Ibrahīm Mursīa, or a place in Hill (all different places marking the limits of distance from Mecca). It is sometimes called the 'minor pilgrimage' or 'lesser pilgrimage', the Hajj being the 'major' pilgrimage and which is compulsory for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it. The Umrah is not compulsory but highly recommended.
Three hours later... after the minor pilgrimage we stay in the mosque as soon is tine for pre Dawn prayers... And we head back to our hotel
Mecca has changed around the mosque since the last time I was here.
A Big Ben style building bigger then that itself now I wonder adorns or makes Mecca look more commercial rather than Center of Faith.. Every one of us has their views. Personally me the Arab taste usually takes time to grow and mostly one just tends to live with it side by side.
Walking down the street from king Abdul Aziz gate we face the same towers , zam zam, le meridian, Hilton, Intercontinental,burger king, Debenhams, Next, Starbucks, as well as the local Arab brands and budgets have a place, yet mostly the crowd that arrive here are mostly from countries and people who probably won't venture toward such places.
The wealthy may live the life they desire but wearing the two pieces of White cloth, bare headed and simple slippers brings one down to the same level , all equal in the eyes of Their Lord no difference of colour,race or wealth.
Remember the Hajj of April 1964, 47 years ago in the same month as we traveled, a black African American
El Malik al Shabbaz ( Malcolm X) wrote after his pilgrimage to the city.
"There were tens of thousands of pilgrims, from all over the world. They were of all colors, from blue-eyed blondes to black-skinned Africans. But we were all participating in the same ritual, displaying a spirit of unity and brotherhood that my experiences in America had led me to believe never could exist between the white and the non-white.
You may be shocked by these words coming from me. But on this pilgrimage, what I have seen, and experienced, has forced me to rearrange much of my thought patterns previously held, and to toss aside some of my previous conclusions. This was not too difficult for me. Despite my firm convictions, I have been always a man who tries to face facts, and to accept the reality of life as new experience and new knowledge unfolds it. I have always kept an open mind, which is necessary to the flexibility that must go hand in hand with every form of intelligent search for truth.
During the past eleven days here in the Muslim world, I have eaten from the same plate, drunk from the same glass and slept in the same bed (or on the same rug)-while praying to the same God with fellow Muslims, whose eyes were the bluest of the blue, whose hair was the blondest of blond, and whose skin was the whitest of white. And in the words and in the actions and in the deeds of the ‘white' Muslims, I felt the same sincerity that I felt among the black African Muslims of Nigeria, Sudan and Ghana.
We are truly all the same-brothers.
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the worlds."
Seeing this turned him away from
The racist thoughts and accepted the Religion of Islam in it's entirety.. May Allah have mercy on his soul.
The next 3 days are spent in praying, reminders from our imam, sheikh Yaqoub after Asr prayers gathered at the second floor, sitting on Arabian carpets on the floor with centrally air-conditioned with temperature ranging from 36c-40c in April we drink Zam Zam water to our content at the grand mosque... circumambulating the Kába, sleeping, eating and not worrying about the Worldly affairs..
I go though my usual struggle of getting a sim card for my iPad ( I still have to write the blog even so if the world doesn't exsist for me at the moment) some how I manage Allhamdullilah. (thanks is to Allah)..
We are even upgraded to better hotel on complaints to our group leader from a minus 2 star to plus 2 star, ( at least the the bathroom is clean. The fun part is that 5 of us share a room, it is me sheikh Yaqoub, Raheel, Hussnain, and Munneb. We get along well. Allhamdullilah.
The Kába (Arabic: الكعبة al-Kaʿbah, English: The Cube) is a cube-shaped building,and is the most sacred site in Islam.
The Qur'an states that the Kába was constructed by Abraham and his son Ishmael, after Ishmael had settled in Arabia. The building has a mosque built around it, the Masjid al-Haram. All Muslims around the world face the Kaaba during prayers, no matter where they are.
Zam Zam water : The Well of Zamzam (Arabic: زمزم) is a well located within the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, 20 m (66 ft) east of the Kába,
According to Islamic belief, it was a miraculously-generated source of water from God, which began thousands of years ago when Abraham's (Ibrāhīm) infant son Ishmael (ʼIsmāʻīl) was thirsty and kept crying for water and was kicking at the ground when water gushed out. Millions of pilgrims visit the well each year while performing the Hajj or Umrah pilgrimages, in order to drink its water.
Besides as a historical miracle Zam Zam is also considered a contemporary miracle by Muslims as it has never gone dry despite millions of liters of water are being consumed from it by people every year.
Time for contemplation is always less but as it passes and the day of our departure bears our heart starts to sink,
Third time around for me to the city I am planing already another trip later this year, Inshallah if all is well I plan to bring my mother for Hajj, the major pilgrimage,
Never have been a city so beloved as Mecca filled the hearts of Men that one travels to it from a far and longs to return to it, I have never been to a city twice during my adult life in traveling, while to Mecca this had been my third trip and I long for another later this year...
With heavy heart and mixed emotions we leave tomorrow to visit the city of the prophet (p.b.u.h), Medina..
I am sad to leave Mecca and equally looking forward to Medina..
It is the tranquility that I am familiar with,that is in the city of the prophet and his mosque the second largest mosque in Islamic history that would complete our journey...our journey of "Isra wal mairaj"
We leave tomorrow after fajr prayer (pre Dawn) at grand mosque in Mecca.... Inshallah (Allah willing)