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Journey of a
Lifetime

By

Zulfiqar Amir Raja

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Hajj and Umrah 

‘Perform the pilgrimage and visit for Allah’          

Surah Baqarah(2), Verse 196 

Performing Hajj and Umrah is compulsory for every Muslim in his/her lifetime on the condition that they have the financial means to carry out this duty. Hajj is the pilgrimage performed at the fixed time of the year, which are in the five days of Dhil Hajj 9th – 13th. The ‘Umrah’ means ‘to visit’ and can be performed at any time during the year, depending on when the Umrah visa are available.

This essay ‘Journey of a LifetimeMy Diary’ does not discuss the duties of performing Hajj or Umrah but is to share the unique spiritual experience of this journey to Makka Makkaramah and Medina Munawwarah. There is great literature available for all people who intend to perform Hajj or Umrah and it is essential we read and understand the fara’id – obligations of the pilgrimage. I am not qualified to educate people in this area but will offer a list of recommended literature. However I will emphasise the fact that despite the pilgrimage of a Hajj and Umrah involves duties to be performed in Makka exclusively (the number of compulsory duties to be performed are different for Hajj and Umrah) but visiting Masjid –e- Nabi in Medina is essential to seek the pleasure of Allah (swt). The experience and preparation of visiting the city of Prophet Muhammad (salla la hu alayhi wasallam) has to be a major part of any journey we make for our faith. 

My Diary 

Allah (swt) blessed me with a unique opportunity of performing Umrah. This would be my very first time that I visited the Haramain Sharifain (The two sacred cities – Makka and Medina). I wanted to capture every moment of my preparation and experience as it was going to be the most blessed journey that I could undertake in this lifetime. I intended to gather every emotion that I would feel and place them all into a time capsule so that I would live those moments again and again. Therefore I decided to keep a diary of my feelings and  experiences as I prepared to go and also keep an account throughout the time that I would spend in the blessed land.

So this was my very own account that begins from the moment that I began my preparation at home and was continually updated each and every night during my amazing time in Makka Mukkaramah and Medina Munnawarah. By keeping this account it gave me an opportunity to express some of the feelings and emotions as I embarked on something truly inspirational and helped me reflect on everything that I was seeing and doing. I am sharing my diary with all of you  so that the ones who have not yet done the Ziyarah sacred journey, will get a glimpse of the tremendous effect it should have. I hope inshallah that all of us make the intention to go again and again and may Allah (swt) grant each and every Muslim this blessing once in our lifetime.  

Please enjoy the following chapters and remember that my words and in fact any words that are used cannot be sufficient to describe the journey that takes you to the House of Allah (swt) and to the blessed place where Rasulullah (saw) rests. 

And proclaim unto mankind the Pilgrimage. They will come unto thee on foot and on every lean camel; they will come from every deep ravine’   (Surah 22, 27)

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