Monday, December 31, 2007

Makkah Al Mukaaramah- the mother of all cities; the Most Beloved City to Rasulullah

"By Allah! You are the most beloved portion of Allah's earth to me, and verily you are the most beloved portion of the earth to Allah too. Verily you are the best, spot on the face of the earth. And the most beloved to Allah. If your people did not expel me, I would not have departed from you." (Al-Muatta)

A city with over fifty names. Makkah, Bakkah, Al-Balad, Al-Qaryah, Ummul Qurrah.
A city wherein ,whoever enters it attains security. The city that witnessed the birth of our Beloved, and the beginning of Revelation. That was the city that we now approached at the early hours of dawn.

We began waking up one after the other, and only few among us sighted the famed gates of Makkah. We proceeded to a welcoming checkpoint where we were handed some leaflets on Hajj and free gift boxes of food and drinks, which we gladly accepted. As we moved closer to the city, we heard reverberations of the adhan over the loudspeakers; Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar!

For those amongst us who had never lived in a Muslim country, it was an unbelievable experience. The whole town shook with Adhans from all corners. As one ended, another began, and one could not but pray that Allah makes this possible one day in Houston, and all over the US.
We began dropping several people at their would-be residences, and at one of our stops , we prayed our first Fajr in the Town of Security.

By the time we finally got to the front of our hotel- AlMasa Hotel at about 8 am, we were tired and weary and almost ready to fall sleep. You could barely hear us whispering the Talbiyyah.

AlManasik, you rock!
Then lo and behold, we looked to our left, and what did we see? Masjid al-Haram. Allahu Akbar! Our Hotel was directly across from the Masjid. We were going to be neighbors of the Kaabah. I mean we were so close to the Haram, closer than Jamah Masjid is to Madrasah Islamiyyah, for those who live in Houston. It was almost like the distance from Masjid Farouq to its parking lot. For just $5000?
Even the guys who bought other Super Giant Deluxe Hajj packages could not get closer to the Kaabah than this! I was like; Shaykh Muhammad alShareef and Almanasik, you ROCK!

Our fatigue flew away as we saw thousands of people trooping out of the Masjid area. We quickly got settled into our rooms. I had a quad-room package, so got assigned to a room with 3 other Hujjaj, one of whom was from Texas, and another elderly brother who was a Professor at Purdue University. All my room mates were Egyptian-Americans.

I made for the hotel restaurant to have breakfast, and who do I see at the entrance? , a smiling Muhammad alShareef ! Truly I have arrived in Hajj. I went up to him, exchanged some salams, and also met Bro Mustapha, a student at Umm Qura university, but originally from New York. I learnt he was also going to be with our group.
I managed to eat some breakfast at the hotel buffet which had so much variety of food, that I wondered if we were really in Makkah. Alhamdulillah, I had a healthy appetite.

Sleep or Umrah
After breakfast, I was undecided on whether to take a rest after all the stress of the journey or to go do my Umrah. Remember , we were still in Ihraam at this point. I was tired, but how could I come so close to the House of Allah, the House I had prayed facing its direction ever since I made my first salah, how could I come so close and then go to sleep without beholding it in its resplendent majesty? What if I woke up and found it was all a dream?

Shaykh Muhammad alShareef solved the dilemma for me by explaining that I did not have to do my Umrah right away. I could go to the Haram, pray 2 rakahs of Tahiyyat Masjid, and then later I could go back and make my Umrah!

Al-Masjid Al-Haram the Mosque of 100,000 rewards!

If you prayed all your five daily prayers in Houston , you would have to do this consistently for over fifty five years, six months and twenty days , before your rewards would even come close to a single salah said in Masjid alHaram!
And the five prayers offered over a single twenty-four hour period in the Haram is equivalent to the five daily prayers offered in Houston over a period of two hundred and seventy-seven years, nine months and ten days!
How can anyone ever compare a trip to Makkah to anything else?

I proceeded towards the Haram, took off my shoes, kept them in my knapsack, which I kept on my back. Overlooking the Haram were all these tall buildings and hotels, such beautiful sights. I did the adhkar for entering the Masjid, and joined the crowd patiently waiting to enter the Haram at 10am. By the way, I did not even look for the famed Baab Salam. I made my entry though King Abdul-Aziz (Door 1) as it was the closest to my hotel.

I entered the Masjid, descended the stairs and walked towards the Kaabah, resplendent in its glory, the first House of worship built on this earth.
I paused, gazed, and drank in the sight, repeating the words 'Allahu Akbar several times. I looked besides me, and there were all shades of people, old and young, men and women, able and disabled, white and black! They were gazing at the Kaabah enshrouded in its shining Ghilaaf (cover), and they were crying. It was the culmination of the desires of a lifetime! We had made it!

This was the House they had heard so much about. The House that held so much memories of their Prophet, the House they had prayed towards all their life, and now they were here!

It translated the Seerah from an old fable to reality! You could now visualize AbuBakr raising his voice at the Kaabah and being beaten to pulp. You could almost see Bilal lying out there with a stone laid on him in the scorching sun, and it was as if you could see Rasulullah sharing the message of Islam to the elders of Makkah as they lay around the Kaabah.

Labayka allahumma Labayk. Here we come, Our Lord, Here we come! .......


Anonymous said...

Ya Allah!Masha'Allah what an experience. I now more than EVER want to go for hajj. Do you have any pictures, if you do please share.

About the seerah coming to life, wow! I can't wait inshallah.

Aloma said...

May Allah make your wish come true. InshaAllah, I will be posting some pictures soon.

Anonymous said...

AlhamduliLlah wasalatu wasalam 'alaa rasuluLlah (salaLlahu alayhi wasalam).
Masha Allah, your experiences are interesting and you have been quite descriptive. Your posts possess the tendencies of exploding the enthusiasm in anyone who wishes to journey in this noble cause. May Allah accept it from you and other faithfuls from all over the world as worship for His sake.
Looking forward to reading more posts from you.
- Kpapetson