I have a habit to scribble my wish everytime it popped in my mind. The reason being, so that I am aware that it was there, somewhere back in my mind. And when I successfully materialized it, the satisfaction is beyond an explanation. =). Back in 2010, I had once listed performing umrah in this wishlist, and honestly, back then it was more to fulfill the blank page with wishful thinkings rather than to actually materialize it. I mean, c'mon, who says berangan is not exciting? :p
It was one day when I was in the middle of abnormally heavy conversation with Zaira, she popped the idea of going to Mecca together. I was gobsmack! I`ve been waiting this trip with friends so long and spontaneously I jumped to my lappy googling for the date! The best part is, we managed to get our birthdays celebrated in Tanah Haram.Alhamdulillah.=))) The next thing was to recruit mooooore friends until it reached 7 of us.
22th April 2012
The travelling took 9 hours of long haul journey with endless food supplies in Saudi Airlines. The local time is 5 hours later than time in Malaysia, so when we arrived at 6 pm local time, it was already my time for a deep sleep but definitely I had no choice other than keeping my eyes wide awake.
Sunset in Jeddah, from the window of Saudi Airlines
We were welcome by the representative from Andalusia office, and brought to the hotel. Oh yes,it was a new experience of being in 'ihram', which we were confined by 13 ihram restrictions( pantang larang ihram) and only be free from them when we finished performing the umrah. After brief rest in hotel, we were brought to Masjidil Haram to perform our first umrah. It is a majestic mosque with luxury lights showering all over the places, and and when we walked further into the mosque heading to the center of it, standing strong before us was the Kaaba.
I`ve been seeing the depiction of Kaaba on my praying mat since I started learning to perform solat, and when I saw it with my naked eyes, it felt utterly surreal and little that I aware, tears started to run across my cheek. Indeed , the fascination was beyond words.
Unlike during Haj period,we were quite lucky that the restriction to bring the camera inside the mosque was quite loose during this period.
Scenery while waiting for Azan
One of the precious things about being in Baitullah is that tears were seen everywhere. Seeing people shed tears around us was nothing strange, as compared to when we were in other mosques. It felt as if we were so fragile and close to the merciful Creator which enough for us to shed the tears for the feeling of grateful, fearful and guilty and so many mixed feelings. Eventually we could feel the serenity deep down in our heart like we never felt before we reached this Holy Land.
Ok, I guess that`s all I could describe briefly, because most of the time there, it was beyond words to express the feeling. For those who read until this line, may all of us be invited to the Holy Land one day. Aminn~
After Saie: The pilgrims stepped onto the piece of Marwah behind me
After Isya` prayer, awestruck with the verrry large crowd
24th April 2012
Apart from staying in the Masjidil Haram for iktikaf as the activity for most of our time, we were also brought around the Makkah city to a few significant historical places. First we were brought to Jabal Rahmah, where locates the meeting place between Nabi Adam and Eve.On top of Jabal Rahmah
Afterwards we went to see the location of Jabal Tsur, which houses the hiding cave for Rasulullah s.a.w and dear friend Abu Bakr As-Siddiq from the enemies during the Hijrah to Medina. The tour was followed with the glance-thru tour alongside the camp site for Hajj pilgrimage at Arafah and Ma`la graveyard where the grave of Saidatina Khadijah, the wife of Rasulullah is resided.
We were also brought to the camel farm at Hudaibiyah, which is smaller than the farm that I had in my mind. If anyone is interested to taste the fresh camel milk, this is the best place to get it. The mutawif has warned us that the intake of the milk will 'wash' our digestion system. Wait, I was about to perform another umrah afterwards,errr,... I dare not to take the risk to take it even a gulp. Kui kui kui.
The female camel is a tame creature that it proned to rub whoever that close to them. So when one of us grabbed its attention, this was what happened. Haha!
27th April 2012
Another additional trip with an additional fee of 20 riyal was offered by the agent, that was the hiking to Jabal Nour. 7 of us grabbed the chance, regardless how badly unfit we were.*Tsk tsk..*The trip took place in the night, but this is how tall the mountain in daylight. Vertically high. This mountain resides the Hira` Cave where Rasulullah received the first revelation, that is surah al-alaq.
source : Wikipedia
The hiking took approximately 45 minutes to reach the top. And for the record, we reached 1 hour later. Considering our low level of fitness, I think we did quite pretty well,no? :))
It was good to be on top of the mountain during night, for the wind was cold and refreshing. Then we proceeded to the Hira` cave. It was very small that we had to shrink ourselves in order to get through the big stone. At that point when we physically struggled to get into the cave, we were strucked with the emotional feeling knowing that the hardship our Rasulullah had undergone for our betterment today.
Shrink yourself, then only you can get thru..phew!
From the top of the mountain we could see the location of Masjidil Haram and the lights surrounding the world`s largest mosque.
After listening to the information shared by the mutawif, we proceeded to descend the mountain and left to the hotel. If you notice, the mosque looks extraordinary bright from the hill, some say that the light is not actually coming from the lighting of the mosque, but it is 'nur'. Wallahualam..
On the other hand, here are some sceneries that were captured around Masjidil Haram.
Zam zam Tower
Arabic fella was ready to hail the potential customers with their catch line "mari2 bagus2!~"
The door of Kaabah
After Dzhur prayer