Our reader takes us on a journey that starts with the umrah in Mecca, a journey undertaken by the faithful.
WHEN not reducing fractures or mending broken bones at work, I love to spend time with my two children at home and travelling with the missus at every opportunity. My wife and myself could not resist the opportunity to perform the umrah when it came knocking at our door.
We were both looking forward to this trip, and we realised that not everyone could have received this call. I have come across many people who craved to go for the umrah but were unable to, for various reasons – health being the main one, followed by family commitments as well as finances.
Our flight took about eight hours from Kuala Lumpur to Jeddah, and from there we took a bus to the holy city of Mecca. As weary as we were from the long journey, the excitement at seeing the House of God moved us on and when we finally entered the Holy Mosque, we were brought to tears at the sight of the magnificent Kaaba. No words could describe our feelings at that moment. We were finally here!
After performing the umrah, we stayed awhile in the mosque and completed our dawn prayers before retiring to our hotel.
The following day was entirely ours to recuperate, explore the city as well as perform prayers in the Masjid al Haram, which we did to our hearts’ content. The small shops around the Holy Mosque were open almost 24 hours a day, closing only during prayer times when the adzan was called.
The following day, we visited Jabal- al- Thur, the cave made famous because the Prophet Muhammad hid in it as he made Hijra to Medina after being pursued by some people from Mecca who were out to kill him. Next, we visited Arafat, east of Mecca, where our Prophet stood and gave his farewell sermon. Also known as Jabal Rahmah, legend has it that it was here on this mountain that Adam met Eve after many years of separation. Muslims who intend to marry will have their prayers answered here.
Our entire trip in Mecca lasted about four days, including a visit to the Tanaim mosque as well as the historical city of Hudaibiyah.
Our next stop was the Prophet’s city, Medina, some five hours away. Medina seemed better structured, though we could not make equal comparison to Mecca as the latter was undergoing major construction work due to be completed in a few years’ time. It is said that people living in Medina are better mannered and more pleasant as a respect to the Prophet himself and his final grounds, which we found to be very true.
As we had completed our umrah in Mecca, the trip in Medina was more slow- paced and relaxing. We visited the Prophet’s mausoleum – located within the Prophet’s mosque – and the al Baqii’, or the martyrs’ burial ground. It was a day we will never forget, as we prayed in the Prophet’s mosque, which foundation was built by the Prophet himself and the site he was laid to rest, Peace be upon him.
It was a shopping heaven here as well, as we bargained for clothings and food items to be brought back home. The trip to the date market was lovely as we filled our shopping bags with a variety of dates at reasonable prices. Towards the end of our trip, we paid a short visit to my wife’s good friend in Jeddah and were treated warmly by her family.
We left for Kuala Lumpur with memories of a spiritual journey that will last a lifetime.
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