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Entering the House of Allah (swt)

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As my feet walked towards ‘Masjid-e-Harem’, I felt an anticipation that causes an almost trembling of your body. The blessed Masjid is so huge and beautiful that this sight alone has an overbearing effect.My mother and I entered from ‘Baab-e-Abdul-Aziz’ – The door of Abdul Aziz and as we walked through the Masjid and began seeing the open space, we knew the Kaaba was coming. I closed my eyes as I sensed that moment, this is what I have always been told to do. I was advised that as I sense the Kaaba was coming closer, I should resist glancing until the very last moment when it will be in complete view. When glancing for the first time, whichever supplication you make will be accepted Inshallah.

Glancing at the Kaaba 

As I opened my eyes, there was the Khana Kaaba, the baitullah , the house of Allah (swt). In the mid-day heat, under the brilliant light of the sun, there was the magnificent Kaaba. My breathe was taken away, for a moment it was like going underwater. In a way, it is similar because you go from your world into a different world.
The kaaba, is a sight beyond belief, such a tremendous presence and you stare being in awe of what you are seeing. The black cloth which surrounds the Kaaba called the Kiswa, with gold embroidery has a different colour to what you expect. It is something unique and the size of the Kaaba is so big that any photos you see cannot capture this structure.


Performing the Umrah 

As we began the Tawaaf – seven circuits around the Kaaba, and you pray and read ayats from the Qur’an, it is the Kaaba that you can’t stop looking at.  Even though you must ensure that while performing the tawaaf, the Kaaba must remain on the side of your left shoulder. So many pilgrims are performing this ritual alongside you and there you realise that this is truly the whole world. Everyone there are just beggars with no name and identity but only worshippers of the One and Only deity, worthy of worship; Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). 

(Each circuit around the Kaaba, must begin in line with the black stone – Hajr-e-Aswad)

After completing the Tawaaf, we went to ‘Maqaam-e-Ibrahim’, which is a glass case in which the shape of Hasrat Ibrahim (As) feet has been preserved. I kissed this case in love and affection for the Noble Messenger, who re-built the Kaaba.
Then the second part of Umrah is fulfilled, which is praying two rakats behind Maqaam-e-Ibrahim. (Here you pray so that Maqaam-e-Ibrahim is between you and the Kaaba). This is the first time I ever performed Salaat physically in front of the Baitullah. All my life I prayed in this direction but now I am actually standing in front of the Khana Kaaba, looking at it as I prayed the rakaats. Subhan-Allah.
 Following these two rakaats, then you go an drink from the well of Zamzam. As recommended, I first poured water on my head and after reciting Bismillah irrahman nirrahim, you drink as much as you require.

In the heat and after the tawaaf and nafl, this refreshes the body and the mind. The zamzam is the blessed water, which has been running through the miracle of Allah (swt) since the time of Hasrat Ishmael (As) who drank this water in infancy. The chief of the angels Hasrat Gibrail (as) dug the ZamZam from beneath the earth.. As I drank the blessed water, it felt as though you are being cleansed and being purified.

The next stage of the Umrah is performing the saee, which is the walking between the two hills; Safa and Marwah. This is in remembrance of Hasrat Hajirah (as) who ran between the two hills in search of water for Hasrat Ismael (as). The rounds of Safa and Marwah begin from Safa and we complete seven rounds. From Safa – Marwah, is one round and then back from Marwah – Safa is the second round etc. This is how the seven rounds are completed. This is quite strenuous but gives a true sense of Allah’s Ibaadat.

Here, I felt that I was really working for my deen and was seeking the forgiveness from Allah (swt). As the rounds are being completed, it feels as we are sweating also our sins are coming off. I was sharing in the legacy of Islam, becoming part of the heritage of the blessed Prophets (As) of Allah (swt).
 The Umrah is completed when the men shave their head and the Ihraam is taken off. My Umrah was completed, may Allah (swt) accept it and forgive me for any mistakes made.


PRAYING BEFORE THE KAABA 

Every time I entered the magnificent Masjid-e-Haram to pray was an experience that can never be explained or lived through any choice of words or description. The experience is one that can only be lived by having your body, mind and soul present all at once as you prostrate in front of Baitullah. Praying in front of the Kaaba, makes you realise that Allah (swt) has blessed you and gifted you by giving you one opportunity to be in front of His blessed house and place of worship.
Being in front of the Kaaba, humbles you and makes you realise that you have no existence inside this place of worship. Even as you approach the Masjid as the azaan is sounding and you watch the thousands around you descending upon this Masjid to pray it gives you that feeling of being nothing and having no identity except that of a believer. The feeling of being just one amongst the crowd of thousands who are in worship, gives you comfort and security that you are part of something sacred and complete. As the crowds gather to pray, this reality teaches you patience and humility. 
 

Above all, in this place Islam lives and breathes.

The Nights inside the Haram, were particularly tranquil and peaceful. The weather was mild and as I use to sit inside the grand Masjid, my eyes would be fixed on the Kaaba. I would stare at the Kaaba in awe and almost in disbelief as to where I was. I would often look at the magnificent sight of the Kaaba, then close my eyes and open them again to see the beautiful structure of the Khana Kaaba clothed with the Black Kiswa and embroidered with gold. I would often close and open my eyes just to fill my sight with this magnificent spectacle, which is a bounty that cannot be with me forever. I would prostrate on the marble floor of Masjid-e-Haram and would kiss this blessed ground repeatedly. I also had the blessing of touching and kissing the Kaaba on one occasion, which is not easy due to the number of people performing tawaf.

As I would leave the Haram every night with my mother, I would think that in a few days this time would pass and I will have to leave. Then I would remind myself of all those times I prayed to Allah (swt) for one opportunity of seeing Baitullah and of prostrating in front of the Kaaba. Here I was praying so many times in front of the magnificent Kaaba and having the honour and blessing to prostrate on that blessed ground numerous times. This is through the Mercy and Blessing of Allah (swt) who has bestowed this onto us. We are surely not worthy of coming to this sacred land and our eyes are not pure enough to see the blessed House of Allah (swt). The Majesty of Allah (swt) gives us more than we are worthy of. Al Hamda Lillah.

ZIYARAH IN MAKKA 

There are numerous places to visit in Makka Makarramah. This is part of the Ziyaratsacred visit and should be experienced when visiting this blessed city. Some of these places have to be visited as part of performing Hajj but not Umrah. However if you are given the blessing of visiting Makka Makkaramah then time should be taken out to visit these sacred places. The places of Makka Makkaramah are where Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) lived and prayed also some of these places are connected to our other Prophets (As). 

Places of Ziyarah

Jabal-an-Noor (Cave of Hira) 

This cave is situated three miles from the city of Makka. This is where Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) use to spend long periods of time in prayer before receiving the revelations of Al’Qur’an. This is the exact place where Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’Ale hi wasallam) received the first revelation. 

Jabal-ath-Thaur (Cave of Thaur) 

This famed mountain is situated approximately seven miles from Makka Makkaramah. This is where Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) took refuge with his faithful ‘companion of the cave’ Hasrat Abu Bakr Saddique (Ra) from the enemies of Islam during the Hijrah - migration to Medina. 

Jabal-ar-Rahmah (Place of Mercy) 

This blessed mountain stands towering the Arafat plain. It is this place where Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) delivered his last sermon during the farewell Hajj. It is also the place where some accounts confirm Sayyidina Adam (As) was forgiven by Allah (swt) when he mentioned the name of the Final Messenger (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam).  

Mina 

The historic valley of Mina is situated about three kms from Makka Makkaramah. Pilgrims performing Hajj travel here after performing their tawaf of arrival. 

Arafat 

The pilgrims performing Hajj, stay in Arafat for the longest period anywhere during Hajj. This is the blessed land where the entire creation will be gathered together on the day of Judgement. When visiting Arafat at any point whether performing Hajj or not, we should reflect on this fact.  

Muzdalifah 

Hajj pilgrims leave Arafat for the valley of Muzdalifah where they spend the night after performing their Maghrib and Isha prayers. This is part of the Hajj ritual. 

Maulad an-Nabi - (Birth place of Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam)) 

This blessed house is situated in Suq al-Lail near the Holy Kaaba. 

Masjid-e-Namrah 

This famous mosque is said to have been built by Prophet Ibrahim (As). It is located inside the plain of Arafat. 

Masjid-e-Jinn 

This mosque is significant as here a group of Jinns embraced Islam after listening to Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam reciting the Qur’an. 

Ramy al-Jamarāt 

The ‘stoning of the devil’ takes place in the Mina valley, where there are three pillars representing the devil. This is where the Hajj pilgrims are required to stone the pillars as part of the sacred pilgrimage.

PARTING WITH THE KAABA 

When the final day arrived in our stay at Makka Makkaramah, we performed the farewell tawaf tawaf-e-vidaa, it was an emotional experience as the time was coming when I would be parting from a beloved. The beloved was Baitullah and there was a feeling of tremendous loss. 
However as the moments were passing in Masjid-e-Haram, I was so thankful for every moment I had been blessed with in this sacred place where worship began. I was so thankful for the blessing to Allah (swt) for giving me this opportunity to worship here and fill my sinful eyes with the tremendous sight of Kaaba Sharif. I washed my prayer hat with the water of ZamZam and also poured this blessed water on my head and clothes. I remembered whenever someone use to visit Makka Makkaramah and bring back this most blessed water, I would always treasure it and only drink a few sips to preserve it, yet here ZamZam is available in unlimited supply through the grace of Allah (swt).  I prayed in front of Baitullah for the last time in this journey, and vowed to return here very soon and also prayed that all Muslims are given the privilege of visiting this most blessed land. I kissed the marble of Haram Shareef repeatedly just to treasure the sacred ground of this Grand Mosque and take with me that feeling of having been here. 

I departed from Masjid-e-Haram, by walking backwards away from Kaaba Shareef, just filling the eyes with the vision of the Kaaba and tried to view the Kaaba Shareef for as long as possible until I could not view it any longer  Allah Hafeez Baitullah Shareef. 


Final Thoughts 

Thousands descend on the Haram Shareef for worship, every moment of every day that passes. People of different languages and cultures come here and all are courteous of each other. There is one incident that remains in my mind about the local Arabs. One night whilst praying in Masjid-e-Haram, I noticed many guards patrolling the Haram Shareef, to ensure that no-one is dis-respecting the sanctuary of the Kaaba. This guard almost crashed into me but he stopped himself and gave me a hug. This is the radiant feeling of being in this blessed place, it is also the same for the other pilgrims who I shared something with in this journey.

We all share the Kalima and can all speak and understand one language that is common to all that are present here, that is the language of Islam
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