Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Land of Anbiya'

My last post was in January, back after the flood relief mission. Then, time was occupied with catching up for routine chores and running domestic issues. It lasted for 2 months, intermittent with some weekend outdoor stuff like trekking, mostly. The only exercise mode that suits my strength and time capacity. Plus, the team of regulars are getting popular among the neighbourhood. Plus, I get to bring my kids along. What else could I ask for?

The weekend trekking was fruitful when the time came for me to visit Medinah and Mecca. The whole family went for umrah during the school break. Our first oversea trip together and what other venue best chosen than the land of Anbiya'. 

We don't quite did a good preparation, well at least for me. I just got myself some of those regular clothes I wear to surau and that's about it. 

The flight was 8 hours and most of us faced the jet lag syndrome. We spend the 5 hour bus ride from Jeddah to Medinah to replenishment our sleep time from AirAsiaX lack of sitting manoeuvrability. By the time we reached Medinah, it was almost time for Fajr prayer. A quick change after checking in, I took my first step into Masjid Nabawi. One of the world's holy place from the three besides Masjidil Haram and Masjidil Aqsa. It was beyond my thoughts that Allah invited me to be here. All praised to Him.

We spend three days in Medinah meditating, building my strength of Tauhid and strengthening my ties with the Prophet s.a.w. I made it a routine to ziarah Rasulullah's tomb and his Khalifahs'. I even took a chance one morning escorting a jenazah to the famous Baqi' cemetery. The rest was the normal routine of in and out between hotel room and the mosque, doubling up the effort for every prayer time and other chance of iktikaf.

Medinah was absolutely perfect, with perfect ambient and weather. It was cooling up till 11.00 in the morning with sudden gusts of wind at times. It gets hot and dry in between the noon and gets back cold in the evening up till night. I get crack heels from the long walk on the cold marble and dry lips from the dry and cold weather.  

By the time we had to leave for Mecca, I started to miss Medinah and Rasulullah s.a.w.  My last ziarah Wida' to him, I prayed that this would  not be my last.

The bus ride to Mecca took almost another 5 hour and we were ready in our Ihram for our first umrah. Unexpectedly after Miqat at Bir Ali and a quick stop for Maghrib at somewhere along the way, I was down with a fever. With only the Ihram wrapped around me, I was shivering from the desert wind and the bus air-con. 

The tax from the travelling added to the challenge. We reached Mecca at 10.30 p.m. and had the smallest window to recover before performing umrah. The sight of the majestic Masjidil Haram induced steroids into blood veins, allowing spiritual comeback from the sore physical. It doubled up once we entered the mosque and saw Baitullah itself. It touched deep into our hearts and tears starts rolling off our cheeks. 

With the remaining and revived strength, we concluded our first umrah after almost 2 hour plus which included tawaf umrah, sa'i between Safa and Marwah and ended with Tahalul. It was almost 3.00 in the morning when we lay our heads on the pillow, ending a big journey for today.

Mecca was totally metropolitan with a bigger variety of people. Our hotel was located in the indian's province of Mecca where most of the populations are Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Indians themselves and others from the same region. Hence, communication with shops and retailers were easy. The walk to Masjidil Haram is almost 15 minutes, rough guestimate would be around 500 meters. 

Mecca is still developing with mosque renovations and nearby hotels construction. It gets windy at times and dusty. One can easily get the cough from the weather and dust. Masjidil Haram itself is partly closed and we do not get to see the full complete building. 

The 5 days in Mecca was packed with more ibadah, sleep and adventuring around the huge mosque architectural layout. The second umrah was performed 2 days after, after a full body recovery, all by myself after Zohor. In Mecca, tawaf was made routine during free times besides spending reciting the Quran or I would simply stand on the upper Mataf bridge admiring the Baitullah in between solat.

There you go. A two month absent and a short note of my trip. Perhaps with some photos for memories sake.

First mosque built by the Prophet s.a.w. Masjid Quba

7km range of Jabal Uhud

The famous and newest architectural in Mecca

Jabal Nur where Hira' cave became first wahyu venue for the Prophet s.a.w.

In between Maghrib & Isya', the crowd at it's peak

Allahuakbar. Allahuakbar. Allahuakbar.

Our rooftop escape plan during Isya from the crowd

The Floating Mosque of Ar-Rahmat in Jeddah