Hajj 2009 - HAJJ - A Journey of Fulfillment
Precious HAJJ - A
Journey of Fulfillment
The Ihram is such a cultural
and economic equalizer
SPECIAL REPORT BY SHAHID BUTT OF MOMBASA
Coastweek -- A recent circular letter sent out by Shaahid Sheikh, the editor of the news bulletin, to all members of the Mombasa Muslim Association prompted me to put to pen the highlights of my Hajj experience.
I hope some of our members would receive vicarious pleasure reading my experience to the Holy shrines in Makkah and Madinah.
These are memories of a life time.
The joys and surprises of Hajj are many.
While thousands of Muslims travel to various parts of the world, Hajj is an extremely unique and different experience.
I had the yearning to perform Hajj for quite some time.
Suddenly when Shaahid Sheikh explained me about his research to find a reliable Hajj tour operator for his parents, things started falling into place and last year having selected the package at the recommendation of Shaahid Sheikh, I was on my way to Madina, with my wife and Mr. and Mrs. Ramzan Sheikh.
I was dazzled by the first sight of the Prophet's Mosque from the window of my hotel room, I could not stop thanking Allah (SWT) for having fulfilled my dreams.
The feeling it evoked when I was inside the mosque is un-describable and almost surreal - a combination of wonder, humility, love and peace.
We stayed one week in Madina and thereafter made our intention, put on our Ihram and were on our way to Makkah.
The Ihram is such a cultural and economic equalizer.
Everyone looks alike and it is heartening to be surrounded by Muslims every where you look.
The Harram in Makkah is filled with worshipers.
Its splendor is awesome, its pillars majestic and enchanting.
When I walked into the Harram and got my first sight of the Kaabah, I just stood there dumbstruck.
Then we did our Tawaf.
When I did my first circle, I thought I will not be able to touch the stone.
Our Imam, however systematically kept pushing us nearer and in our last circle, I managed to touch the stone!
After completing the seven rounds, we came to the place where Prophet Ibrahim stood and called men to the House of Allah, the Muqam Ibrahim.
We offered two rakats of prayers here to thank Allah (SWT). From Muqam Ibrahim, we moved to hilrock of Safa and walked between Safa and the other hilrock Marwah.
This act which is called Saaie, symbolizes to serve His Master and seek His pleasure.
In Mina, we secured our places in the tents allocated to our group and we quietly meditated in preparation for the day in the plain of Arafat.
The next day we moved to Arafat.
The voices of pilgrims resound through the air and echo to eternity.
Labayk, Allah Humma Labayk ...
(O, Allah! Here I am, present, answering thy call).
As I crouch beneath a tent, I feel closeness to Allah.
I eye the Jabal Al Rahma, the Mount of Mercy.
It is a slummering mirage of white and as far as the eye can see there is movement.
Millions of pilgrims each making contact with the Creator.
At sunset, we moved from the plain of Arafat to Muzdalifah, where we collected pebbles.
The pilgrims then returned to Mina where we stoned the grand Jamarat and returned to Kaabah for Tawaf and Saaie.
Upon our release from the state of Ihram, we ushered and changed and moved back to Mina.
The next day chanting Allahu Akbar (God is the greatest), we stoned the three Jamarats.
We threw our pebbles at each wall with vim and vigor, imagining that we are hitting the devil each time.
By throwing these stones at the pillars which mark the place where the army of the King of Yemen, had reached in their effort to demolish the Kaabah, the pilgrims reaffirm:
"Allah is the Greatest, I throw these stones against Satan and his party testifying to the truth of Thy Book, O Allah, and following the way of Thy Prophet!"
After throwing the stones, animals are sacrificed.
This sacrifice demonstrates the intention and resolve of the pilgrim to give his life in the way of Allah whenever required.
These days this sacrifice is arranged on your behalf by your tour operator in collaboration with the Saudi Authority.
The next day, we returned to Makkah.
The Haram is even more crowded than before.
Before our departure from Makkah, we performed our Tawaf Al Wida and were on our way home.
I hope Allah (SWT) has accepted our Hajj and the Hajj of other Muslims.
We returned home feeling content and peaceful.
From the time of deciding and preparing for Hajj to the time of returning home, a tremendous impact is made on the hearts and minds of pilgrims.
Words sometimes fail to describe the spiritual relationship, a pilgrim develops with Allah (SWT) upon performing the Hajj.
At every step the pilgrim witnesses the imprints left by those who sacrificed everything of their own in submission to the will of Allah (SWT).
It is my earnest prayer that may Allah (SWT) provide an opportunity to all Muslims to perform Hajj and visit the Holy City of Makkah.
Remember: you read it first at coastweek.com !
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Labels: Eid-ul-Adha, Hajj, Masjid Nabawi, Mecca, Muslim