Sunday, October 14, 2012

A journey to the heart - Mecca, Saudi Arabia

Performing the Tawaf after Terawih

Clock Tower in Mecca

Performing umrah (small pilgrimage) in the month of Ramdhan is a real test of endurance and perseverance. The intensity of the ritual is compounded by fasting in this month of Summer. The temperature on some days can be as high as 50 degrees Celsius or more and the glaring sunlight can be challenging for many. In the sea of people, every movement becomes difficult and at times one can become breathless during tawaf

But again, every soul's journey and experience is unique and indescribable. With lots of d'ua and patience, even the most difficult moment will gradually become easy by the mercy of Al Mighty. Regardless of all the challenges, this journey remains to be an overwhelming experience, closest to my heart. It was rumored that about 5 millions Muslims performed their umrah this Ramadhan. And approaching the last ten nights of the holy month, every space in Mecca is filled with people mostly clad in white ihram and woman in black. 

 I once heard of this nasihah (advice), “Pack a bag of clothes and nine bags of sabr (patience, endurance and perseverance). There is so much truth in the advice! But I have to admit, it is not easy, especially when some forceful characters appear out of nowhere and start telling you, this is haram and that is haram. It really feels like you are just embracing Islam a few minutes ago! The word haram (impermissible) resonates almost everywhere and everyday.

As I observed, the whole ritual of Umrah and Hajj in Mecca is not about spiritual in isolation. But the beauty is about connecting to other Muslims from various part of the world; to know them, to understand the divergence, to tolerate and to compromise the differences. And, along the way I met several Muslims from other countries who gave me several advices and lessons to be learnt. And that’s the beauty of being Muslim.

The interior of Masjidil Haram
Zam-Zam Tower opposite Masjidil Haram
Taking a rest...while waiting for Tahajud prayers
The jenazah prayer outside Masjidil Haram
After Terawih everybody is moving out of the mosque
Everybody is taking a break after Terawih
Masjidil Haram with its modern backdrop in the early morning after fajar
After Ramadhan, the carpets are rolled for cleaning
Masjidil Haram is currently under massive construction work
Hilton Mecca
The girls are posing on the night of Eid
Decorating the girls' hair on Eid
Kausar from Algeria
Traditional cookies from Malaysia on Eid
Chocolate Chips from Malaysia
The body of deceased carried for burial after the prayers
Najla from Algeria has always been cooperative while her mother prays
The shopping complex and restaurants right in front of the Haram
Minarets of Masjidil Haram
Clock Tower at night
The night of Eid
Burger King...KFC

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful. Takes me back to Umrah earlier this year.