SHARJAH: My journey of faith is now complete. I am happy. It has left me satisfied and I am thankful to Allah for that. Going to Hajj was a dream. I am sure words will fail to express how happy, secure, tension-free I felt during the whole exercise. Almost celestial, it was.
It was an experience that can never be compared to visiting any other place. They were 11 memorable days. They will always remain etched in my mind. I still remember the moment when I first saw the Kaaba right in front of my eyes. I could feel a tremor all over my body. I could not fight off my tears standing before the Kaaba, the most sacred place on earth.
I was accompanied in the holy trip by my husband, whom I really thank for helping me achieve the dream of performing Hajj.
On the first day my husband and I, accompanied by my sister-in-law and her husband, landed in Al Madinah Al Monawara.
The moment I stepped out of the airport the great deeds of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) came across my mind and I was over the moon.
After leaving the airport we directly headed to the Prophet’s mosque and joined other worshippers and performed prayers. Myself and my sister-in-law were again left crying, tears of gratitude, I suppose. The area surrounding the mosque looked like a pure white pearl and we kept seeking God’s forgiveness.
Visiting the mosque from inside was a totally different experience as we could see the mosque of the Prophet and his grave.
It was very crowded inside, but thinking of Allah and the Prophet made me forget how crowded the place was. I prayed inside the mosque, read the Holy Quran and drank zamzam water.
I performed all the five prayers at the mosque and spent the rest of the day in reading the Holy Quran and Hadith.
We spent two amazing days in Madinah and then had to leave for Makkah. It took around five hours from Madinah to Makkah by road. Mena towers was where we were staying. The Mena towers were only for pilgrims coming from the GCC countries. Pilgrims coming from other countries were using the tents at Mena.
We were taken by bus to Makkah to perform our tawaf. Circumambulating the Kaaba seven times and thanking God for all his blessings is something that can’t be matched by any other earthly exercise.
However, moving around the Kaaba seven times was a challenge physically as a huge number of people go around at the same time and it involves a lot of pulling and pushing from all around you and you must avoid arguments over the process. After finishing the Safa and the Mawra we went back to Mena.
The next day we were only asked to read Quran and Hadith for the whole day as this day would be followed by going for the second Tawaf at the Kaaba. We went again to the Kaaba and turned around it seven times and the next day we had to go to Arafat Mountain where we were supposed to read the Quran and pray.
Apart from performing all the Islamic rituals, the Hajj trip helped me get closer to people of various nationalities, particularly Emirati women. We were around 12 women in one room and the majority were Emiratis. On entering the room we were a little bit shy since we did not know them but their warm ambience made us feel as though we were with our own family.
There were also various Islamic lectures organised and we were given the opportunity to inquire and ask questions. With only one day remaining, we only had to go for stoning pillars at the walls representing the Satan with 42 stones while saying Allah Akbar which means God is great and then we had to perform the last Kaaba Tawaf before heading back to the UAE.
Spending 11 days at the holiest place on earth was the best thing in my life and I can say it was the best trip I have ever made. Before travelling I was worried about my three daughters and I found it hard to believe when other pilgrims told me that once you step into the holy place you feel secure and worry never strikes your mind. I found this to be true.
I also managed to read the full Quran while performing Hajj and vowing to dedicate more time to prayers, doing charitable activities and praying for all my dear ones.
I can never forget the day we came back to the UAE and were welcomed at Dubai International Airport with flowers and perfume sprayed on us in addition to giving us souvenir Quran copies while wishing us a Hajj Mabroor.