Written 1 week post Umrah:
As salaamu alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhuuuuuu! Last week I was blessed with the chance to visit the sacred lands and perform Umrah. I was supposed to type this post as the days went by in Makkah and Madinah but with most my time being spent within the haramayn and visiting blessed places, I didn’t really see it to be appropriate and neither did I have the energy so I’m typing this up now. So, My Umrah experience!!
I’m going to start off with Madinah. Because in all honesty. I’ve left my heart there. I want to move there forever and I can’t even explain the beauty of the place. Not to anyone, you have to witness it to really understand. Okay imagine this. You see people in their masses, hundreds and thousands of them dressed in their finest thobes and abayahs just walking into the masjid all day long. Hijabis and niqabis everywhere. I’m a Londoner. We have hijabis, some abayah humans and a few niqabis. But I’ve never seen so many, and I stay away from brothers so see like a jubbah a month? On the rare occasion when I actually look around in the chicken shop?
Anyways, my point is. It was nothing like I’ve ever witnessed before. I’m not exaggerating. Thousands of people. It was the blessed day of jummah (Friday). I thought I was still dreaming (two days before I’d had a dream about having ice cream in Madinah after Jummah salah then my dad woke me up talking about how kids these days are too busy doing haram and ignoring their parents who work day in and out for them) I had to get my brother to punch me to make sure it wasn’t a dream – which by the way he happily did, any chance to get back at me for all the times I’ve beat him whilst boxing he gladly takes without thinking twice. So, people in their masses. All walking towards Allah ﷻs beloveds masjid, there’s still 2 hours till jummah salah. But for the next two hours all I saw was people walking and walking into the haram. I was wondering how there was so much space to accommodate for so many people. I’ve never seen so many people like that. Each and every single face I saw was wearing a smile.
There was a lady pushing an elderly lady in a wheelchair behind me and my nanima. I turned around and gave them space to go ahead since my nan can’t walk that fast due to her knee replacement and I needed to give her support whilst walking. I turned around and this lady looked me straight in the eye. She was a niqabi and bless her soul, you could just feel love from her. She was smiling. I don’t know how I could tell but I smiled back (was an unconscious decision, I’m always smiling regardless. Like fam have you seeeennnn my teeth? Jokes Astagfirullah I’m not vain. But Alhamdulillah still) but long story short because I keep waffling on about off topic things. We made it into masjid Nabawi and by Allah it is the most beautiful place I have ever seen.
I’m aching to go back. Since the day I left, nothings been the same. I got the sneezies and the sniffles and I sound like a frog (my apologies again to all those who have me on snapchat.) There were people everywhere. From all different classes and races. And I know I should have lowered my gaze but like. I couldn’t stop staring at the workers there like. THEY BASICALLY WORK IN JANNAH! I’d love to work as one of them. I couldn’t look away. The guard ladies at the doors going into the masjid, the cleaners, anyone who worked there like. It’s so amazing. They were separating the men and women for salah and that whole day. All I did was cry and cry and cry.
I was finally home. I was living my dream. I was in madinah, in masjid nabawi. On the blessed day of jummah. Exactly two weeks before I turn 17. My heart was crying. The athan was called and thousands silenced within 10 seconds. It was so beautiful. There were cats at the gates and they stopped to listen as well. It was a dream. I can’t get over the beauty of those days spent in Madinah. We prayed our jummah salah. It was a baking hot 38 degrees I think. Again, I’m a Londoner, I’m used to no higher than 15 degrees at this time of year. But the breeze in madinah. I’m going to start crying again. I cannot even. SubhanAllah. Alhamdulillah.
After jummah we went back to our hotel. My brothers decided to take a nap as did my nan, we had been driving from Riyadh to Madinah since 3am. We were tired to say the least. I decided to stay up and get told off by my loving friends for vanishing and not contacting them or anyone for 7 hours. My parents came back with ice cream (my dream became a reality) and from my hotel window you could see the gates of the masjid. There were markets outside the masjid and so much life. People running the stalls were so happy even though they seemed to live off so little. It just reminded me of how so many people run after the dunya looking for gains there and worrying about where their next meal will come from and if it’ll be up to standard when all provision comes from Allah and Allah alone. These people had tawakkul in Allah ﷻ.
There was a lady. She was clearly not someone of a wealthy background, she was feeding the cats who lived around the haram. Those cats are blessed immensely. They were really skinny and as someone who has pet cats, one of whom is almost obese, I began to miss them terribly. They’re my kids and I realised that this woman who has barely enough to feed herself was feeding these stray cats before she ate herself. It reminded me of the love a mother has for her kids and how Allah ﷻ loves us 70 times more than our own mother. Which reminded me of the hardships I had been facing and the depressive period I had just about been pulled out of.
I began to think again (yeah I know I think a lot, oh well) you see how Allah ﷻ says in the Quran (94:6) ‘Verily, with every hardship comes ease’ I had felt like I was dying before. Then look. Just sit back and think about this. My reward. I got to see my mother and spend two weeks with her. May not seem like much but I hadn’t seen my mum for longer than a day every two weeks for the past 4 months. I got to pray Jummah in masjid nabawi. I got to pray all my salah there plus tahajjud within the masjid. I got do ziyarah and read quran there. I was blessed with meeting my friends who had travelled to Makkah from a neighbouring city just to see me. I was blessed with being able to perform tawaaf with them by my side. My eyes were blessed with the sight of the kaabah for the first time with a good friend on my right. Alhamdilillah Alhamdulillah Alhamdulillah.
I completed Umrah for the first time that very night. The next day I woke up and had all my salahs read in front of the kaabah. My nanima and I sneaked out the hotel to the haram and performed tawaaf without telling my parents (was kind of bad of us for not telling my parents considering that my nans health isn’t exactly stable and if anything happened to her knee Allah knows what could have happened) but anyways we performed tawaaf. I was holding her hand the whole time. We touched the kaabah twice. I was crying again – lets make a note so everyone has it clear, I don’t cry ever, I cry twice a year max but this year all I’ve done is cry my eyes out over the deen, another dua come true.
Through everything I’m so grateful that I had sabr, I had faith in Allah ﷻ. My imaan was dipping but I never left the little good deeds. By Allah I am so grateful for everything that has happened in my life. The good, the bad, everything. Without it I wouldn’t be me. I know I’m not perfect in any sense of the word but I have fallen and I have broken and I’m picking up my pieces and I am healing into a better, new person and Allah knows it’s what’s best for me.
You can probably tell by the way I’m writing this that I haven’t planned this and I’m writing whatever comes into my mind from the bottom of heart. That’s another beautiful thing you know, typing or speaking without thinking, knowing that whatever comes out is pure and raw and that its how I actually feel about the topic. I’m just rambling to be honest. My point is. I was blessed. Immensely. It gets me emotional. When I saw my friends one of them wouldn’t stop crying. I told them I was in shock. I still think it’s a dream. I haven’t and doubt I will ever get over the beauty I have witnessed within the last week. subhanAllah like, I have no words. But look at the beauty around you, then imagine Jannah. Look at all the blessings in your life and be grateful for them. Everything is a blessing but I’ll do another blog post on being grateful, I think I’m going to end this post here. I have so, so many more stories and moments I’d love to write about and share but I think I’d be here forever.
For now, as salaamu alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu.
(If you want to hear about more of my umrah stories, there are quite a few on my Instagram hashtag. Search ‘RimzysTravelDiary’ in hashtags and then scroll through for the stories)