Sunday, January 3, 2010

Umrah - end of Dec and beginning of the new year

On the 29th of Dec '09 our family started our journey to the holy land at 8:20 p.m. flying by NasAir, a budget airline similar to AirAsia. We reached Jeddah at 10:50 p.m. and after collecting our luggage we went straight to Makkah by cab. It took more than an hour to reach Makkah and it was almost midnight when we reached the hotel. We stayed at Retaj Hotel, which is just opposite the Masjidil Haram and after we had settled our things in the room, my hubby, Lily(my youngest daughter) and I went straight to Bab As-Salam to start performing tawaf and saie for the umrah. It was an amazing feeling. Mere words could not simply describe what I was feeling at that moment. I feel so blessed to be able to perform umrah for the first time with my beloved hubby. The Kaabah stands imposingly serene and captivated my heart like no other. I've heard people telling me about the feeling they have when they were there and I can understand now why people keep on coming back again and again.

The next day people began to throng the Masjidil Haram during the Zuhur prayer and Lily made a remark that people looked like thousands of ants. And the crowds grew bigger and bigger and it almost seemed impossible to do the tawaf near the Kaabah, but we managed to perform one Tawaf sunat and solat sunat at the Makam Nabi Ibrahim. As the govt of KSA opened the doors to Malaysians and South Africans under the ziarah (visiting) visas, we bumped into many Malaysians everywhere we went. We were amazed to see so many people at this time of the year because previously the Saudi govt closed Makkah after the Haj season to get the cleaning done before allowing people outside the Kingdom to come. I guess the good rapport that Malaysia have with Saudi makes it possible this time.

I just can't decribe the feeling that I had during the Jumaat prayer. It was my first time and it was in Masjidil Haram and together with tens of thousands of people, it was such an exhilarating experience. I felt so small but so blessed that I was able to do all the prayers with inner peace and calm. The Tawaf Wida' was done in the wee hours of the morning before our journey to Jeddah to catch a 7:15 a.m. flight back to Dhahran.

It's a pity that my two elder daughters were unable do perform their umrah then. But they did the conditional ihram niat and did the tahallul before we return home. Insya Allah girls, we'll go again soon and hopefully you two would be able to perform the umrah and be part of this amazing journey.