Monday, March 8, 2010

My Umrah Experience - Part 1

All praises are due to Allah ta’ala, the Sustainer of the worlds, and may Allah’s mercy and peace be upon our leader, Sayyidina Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wasallam, his family and companions.

Where do I begin, firstly to thank Allah ta’ala for this amazing opportunity and I need to thank my husband who through Allah ta’ala was the means of me being able to go.

It all happened so quickly and it also went by very fast. But what an amazing experience, something that I will remember for the rest of my life. I make dua that Allah ta’ala accepts all my ibadaah and duas while I was in the holy cities and now that I am back home again, Ameen.

In brief, we flew from Johannesburg to Istanbul then on to Madinah Munawwarah. Istanbul was beautiful, we visited the Blue Mosque and the Haga Sofia museum. Istanbul is a strange place, lets just say that they are in desperate need of some serious dawah work!

We stayed at the Movenpick hotel in Madinah which was right at the doorstep of the Haram. When we arrived the athaan had just gone for Tahajjud and all the people were walking to the haram so peacefully. Madinah is a peaceful city; I felt so content and connected. I kept on reminding myself that every step that I took on the soil of Madinah was possibly where the Nabi sallallahu alayhi wasallam had walked, the same path he took and that of the Sahaba radi allahu anhu.

The Imam of the haram recited so beautifully for every salaah, his deep voice and amazing recitals really moved me to tears. It was also so peaceful in the haram after salaah, I could really concentrate on reading my quran and performing my ibaadah.

Initially there were lots of pilgrims who had still stayed behind after hajj, but after a few days they had left and the haram was empty. Rania was also enjoying herself with the other kids and she would run across the marble floors.

We had an excellent walking ziyaarat in Madinah with our guide a capetonian who had been studying at the Madinah University for 9 years. We visited all the smaller masjids around the vicinity of the Haram. We visited Masjidul Quba and read 2 rakaah’s nafl salaah which narrated was equal to performing an Umrah. Mount Uhud was especially emotional, our guide told us that story of the sahaaba (may peace be upon the) it brought everyone to tears. We visted Masjid-e-Qiblatain It was here, where the Holy Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam received revelation in the middle of a prayer to change the direction they were facing from Jerusalem to Masjid Al Haram. We visited the Al Haidery date factory and bought all our yummy dates from.

Because of the crowds I only managed to go to the qabr of our beloved Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam on my 3rd night. Ladies were only allowed to go at certain times. I managed to perform my 2 rakaats on the Raudah tul Jannah (light green carpet) and send my salaams to the Nabi sallallahu alayhi wasallam as well as Abu Bakr (Radhiallaahu Anhu) and Umar (Radhiallaahu Anhu). It was so humbling to be standing there where the Nabi sallallahu alayhi wasallam stayed and where he was buried. The area was screened off, at first I thought to prevent the very emotional women from running and hanging on the gates but then I learned that the screens was a purdah which made sense because not everyone came to the grave with a niqaab.

I visited the qabr a few times in the 7 days we were there.

I loved the tranquility of Madinah, wish we could have stayed longer!
We wore our ihraams from the hotel and then went by bus to Bir Ali the meeqat. And made our intentions and performed the two rakaats for ihraam and then went on a 7 hour journey to Makkah. All the way I imagined how the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam made his long and tiring journey to Makkah as well. How long it must have taken them by camel with their caravans stopping when it was nightfall. How fortunate we were sitting in a luxury air-conditioned bus, Alhamdulilaah.

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