Saturday, 22 September 2012

Makkah Part 1: THE Moment

"Here I am at Thy service, Allah, here I am. Here I am at Thy service and Thy have no partners. Thine alone is All Praise and All Bounty. And Thine Alone is the Sovereignty. Thou have no partners"

This video was recorded by my dear cousin Fatt Sadri while we were reciting talbiah in the bus together. I saw the mountain, the trees, the earth. I can feel they were praying for our journey to Makkah. They witnessed that we had answered Allah's call.
Arrival in Makkah al-Mukarramah
I woke up from my uninterrupted sleep when the tour guide announced that we were entering the land of Makkah al-Mukarramah. My contact lense somehow became a bit dry because of the sleep, but few eyes blinking would do. As I looked outside of the window, I saw the night life of the city of Makkah. I tried to scan for any minarets of Masjidil Haram but none was spotted as yet. I only saw a tall clock tower named Zam Zam Tower. We were told that the tower is located right in front of Masjidil Haram. 

About 10:45 pm, the bus was entering into a narrow road, a two-ways road, but half of it were filled with local people shopping at the nearby stalls and shops. After 10 minutes of making its challenging way, the bus stopped in front of our hotel, the Rawabi Emirates Hotel. Located at the third floor, we made our way up to the reception lobby using an old steel stair case, carrying respective luggage. Wearing nothing sewn on my body but an ihram attire, I found it difficult managing people's luggages. 

An hour was given to us to prepare ourselves for umrah. We reached our room, rest for half an hour, and we were good to go. We were exhausted of the traveling hours, but the spirit of performing umrah surpassed them all. 

The Clock Stroke 12 and Our Umrah Began
I could see the majestic Masjidil Haram about 400 meters from in front of our hotel. I could not see the whole building of the masjid, but between the tall buildings compounding the narrow road in front of my hotel, I could see a part of it, the entrance to the masjid. With the book of prayers in hand and a humble heart, I recited talbiah and walked slowly with the rest of the team to Masjidil Haram along the narrow, dusty and crowded street of Makkah. At the end of the road, Zam Zam Tower stood tall on my right, dwarfing other buildings all around it, including masjidil haram itself. But none of us were interested in it as yet. Our mind were set to perform umrah for that particular night. 

Entering Masjidil Haram

Led by an ustaz, we walked slowly into the masjid. I could see hundreds, perhaps thousands of people in the masjid. As I walked, the view of hundreds of people and blocking walls slowly went aside, and finally I could see the majestic Kaabah in front of my own two eyes. And I was stunned. 


This is the building, built million years ago. By Prophet Adam AS, Prophet Abraham AS and Prophet Ismail AS, and later Prophet Muhammad SAW. This is the building I had been facing to for my five times prayers since I was a child. And now it is in front of me. 

I could not see God. But seeing Kaabah, somehow, connected me and Allah, in a connection that I had never felt before. 

It was so beautiful. Beyond description. Every inch of it.


"And you shall see the Angels going round about the Throne, glorifying the praise of their Lord..."
Surah al-Zumur verse 75 

Tawaf generally means circumambulating Kaabah, a mandatory act of worship to Allah SWT while performing Hajj and umrah, where the wisdom is hidden to some. As the planets circumambulating the sun, and the electrons circumambulating the protons, so does the mankind. 

Before we started tawaf, at the corner of the Black Stone (hajar aswad), my mother held my hand and said, "Do not leave me." Perhaps she was afraid she might fell down or got lost in between. I did not reply, instead I held her hand tight. Together we walked slowly, joining the crowd, circumambulating kaabah

Seven rounds altogether. Anti clockwise. Beginning at the corner of the Black Stone and end at the same spot. A green light was flashed from a corner of the masjid, indicating the beginning or the ending spot. Our left shoulder were aligned to face kaabah all the time, failure of which, renders restart all over again. 

Of all the act of worship in umrah, I found tawaf as the most challenging. Being Asian people, we were pushed away and shoved aside by other impatient Muslims along the way. Few instances I had to let go of my dear mother's hand. 

As umrah is a form of physical act of worship without specific recitation, we were free to recite any prayer or verses from the Holy Quran. The first few rounds I was kind of attached to the manual. But after that, I decided to recite simple verses and truly embraced the moments by acknowledging the Greatness of Allah. I prayed for everything I could think of, from worldly matters to religious matters. 

THE Moment
After we have completed seven rounds, we went to a spot behind Maqam Prophet Ibrahim AS named Multazam to perform solat sunat tawaf of two raka`at. It was after the two salams that my eyes were caught by the view of Kaabah from a whole new dimension.

The time seemed to slowed down for that moment. The sound of people talking, speaking, reciting Quran everything was fading. The sight of people performing tawaf in front of me were gone. Even I could not hear a thing the ustaz was explaining at that particular moment. It was just me. Me and Kaabah. 

Like a pouring water, my mind were flooded with memories of the past, since the earliest day of my life that i could recall. Why was I here. Why was I born in this earth. What have I done. Everything made me feel so small, so insignificant and so undeserving. While Kaabah stood majestically tall in front of me. At that particular moment, I had never felt so ashamed in front of Allah, that my tears were rolling. In fact I can feel tears in my eyes right now, while writing this. 

Not so long after that, I felt someone was hugging me from behind. It was my dear mother. She cried and expressed how she wished my late father was here with us that particular night. It has been their dream to step foot on the land of Makkah together, but yet, our father left us five years ago. I said to her, let's send him some prayer from the land of Makkah. He would definitely be happy. 

We quenched our thirst with zam zam at the nearby place, and we headed towards hill of Safa and Marwah, where people were performing sa`ie. 

Sa`ie and zam zam has a strong historical connection from one another. Both are attributable to the heroic story of Siti Hajar, the wife of Prophet Abraham AS. 

Allah SWT commanded Prophet Abraham AS to leave his wife, Siti Hajar and their baby, Prophet Ismail in the middle of the desert. As an obedient wife, she obeyed. Day after day, their food supply became zero. And Prophet Ismail started to cry out of hunger. Siti Hajar was determined to search for food, so she started to run from one place to another to find water. She realised that she had been  going from one place to another for seven times but no water was found. Suddenly water springed out from the spot where Prophet Ismail was kicking. Immediately she thanked Allah and collected the water in a bowl by saying "Zam! Zam!" which means stay, for she was afraid the water might stop and dissolve back into the deserted land. But it did not. In fact, it keeps on flowing until today. 

Due to the Well of Zam Zam, the deserted land flourished into a busy city of Makkah as we see it today. The capability of the well to sustain water supply for thousand years puzzled scientists and researchers from all over the world. 

Today, the Hill of Safa and Marwah were fenced and covered with marbles and chemical layer so as to prohibit any extremists from taking any portion of the hill for worshipping. We started from Safa and ended at the hill of Marwah. 3 km. And we started walking. 

At the end of sa`ie, i.e. on the hill of Marwah, the men would shaved their heads, while the women were required to slightly trim the hair. At this moment, I felt like a new born baby. That Allah SWT had forgiven my sins and I should start fresh and new. 

I was allowed to remove my ihram attire and wear normal sewn attire. This final pillar completed my umrah. At the hill of marwah, I patiently waited for my dear mother, aunties and cousin to complete their umrah. 

The whole ibadah took almost 2 hours to be completed. We decided to stay in masjidil haram since Subuh would start in few minutes. Despite the state of fatigue we were in, we were satisfied, our umrah is completed. 

Few minutes later, azan were on air, indicating the time for Subuh prayer had arrived. And I had my first Subuh in masjidil haram. 

Till then, 

Hairi Tahir

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3 Nukilan:

Azuan said...

sebak membaca post2 umrah.... rindu tanah suci.

btw how easy it is to take photos in Saudi? Macam susah je..

Hairi Tahir said...

Kan, sentiasa sebak no matter who wrote about it. As for photography in masjidilharam and masjid nabawi, the security officers biasanya strict dgn perempuan. Jarang check lelaki. Most of the time diorg buat bodo je tgk kita snap satu dua. Tp jgn obvious sgt sampai beriya iya pose and lompat bagai... Kena practice out own observation, discretion and due diligence.

Amy Alex said...

These are the best pictures i have ever seen and these are unique as well i recommend you cheap umrah packages to explore more precious place in Makkah ar very cheap traveling cost.

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