Posted on a later day, 11.02.13, I chose to keep the dates in mark with their corresponding dates from our Hajj trip for convenience. You can see a link of all the post-trip posts by clicking here and scrolling down. Click here to see the previous day’s post and click here to see the next day’s post.
Thursday October 24.
This day, around 2:30 AM, my dad and I went to do a tawaf. The crowd doesn’t seem to be dissipating at all (and seems to actually be more of a crowd), and we have found that around 2 AM seems to be the time where the crowd is somewhat manageable on the lower floor. While transport time and manageability dictates that it is best to go to Madinah before Makkah for ease and convenience, I think going to Makkah first would, in fact, allow one to make the most of their time in Makkah in the most beneficial way, crowd wise. International flights arriving at the Jeddah airport ahead of hajj take upwards of 8 hours… talk about a test of patience.
I finally got to see inside “maqam-e-Ibrahim” during this tawaf too! All I saw, and I think all that is visible, is a deep imprint of footsteps. Maqam-e-Ibrahim refers to the stone where Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH) stood on while building the upper walls of the Ka’aba. As he stood on this rock, an impression of his foot was made on said rock. It’s now located at the place where Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH) offered two rakats of prayer after finishing the Ka’aba, which is why Muslims do the same at this spot after completing a tawaf.
Considering we are leaving tomorrow, I don’t think I’ll be able to see the black stone [Hajar al-Aswad].
Before I forget to note it down again, one of the most amazing [that you have to see to believe] that has been astonishing is that while there are birds flying all over [of course], they never seem to do their business over the area of the Ka’aba. Now that I think of it, I didn’t notice any of it at Masjid al-Nabawi either… which is amazing to think considering both are open areas.
I think I have talked about how rude people can be here. It’s a culture shock and such a contrast coming from Madinah especially. Oh, what I would do to go back to Madinah. In Madinah, there is just a sense of peace and belonging and… it just felt right… I can’t explain it. I don’t know how many times I have said “I can’t explain it” or “it’s indescribable” in these hajj posts… but it really is… wait until you get the opportunity, inshallah, to go and you’ll know exactly what I mean.
Anyhow, I wouldn’t be doing justice to this gentleman if I didn’t mention him. Early this morning, after my dad and I did tawaf and prayed, we couldn’t figure out how to get back to the gate (Abdul Aziz Gate 1) we habitually use to get back to our hotel as it was the closest and the most direct route back to Fairmont. We asked one of the workers, expecting a broad point in the right direction, and instead: he went out of his way to walk us to the gate a good distance away. It was like a sign from Him above to remind me not to forget that there are good people here too all the same, considering how regularly our group discusses the contrast in personalities of people in Madinah and Makkah.
This morning, before Zuhr, my dad, aunt, uncle, cousin, cousin’s wife and I also went to this library at the back of the Haram where it is believed that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was born. Whenwe got there, however, there were signs saying there is no such proof. Not to mention the fact that people aren’t even allowed inside the library.
One of the things that has gotten to me the most throughout this trip is that they don’t seem to be preserving any of the historical/religious points. Construction/lack of planning seems to be taking over. It’s something that has bothered me about many things in Madinah and here in Makkah as well.
Between asr and maghrib, my dad and I again decided to physically feed people– workers in the Haram today– and it literally brought me to tears. Not for the reasons you would think of typically, but because of the reaction of one of the 20. He was worried about a co-worker/friend and wanted to make sure he got a share as well. Even in his state, he was worried about others. Talk about a lesson in humbleness and humility. Thankfully, we had approached his friend right before as well. Would you believe that in the equivalent of $40 US, you could feed 20 people a decent sized wrap? I keep saying this, but I really do mean it: this experience/opportunity has been an eye opener in countless ways.
Plan for tonight is to do our tawaf al-wida [farewell tawaf]. We also found out that we will, inshallah, be able to do jummah prayers here at the Haram before leaving for Jeddah for the first leg of the plane trip back immediately after Jummah prayers. The original itinerary indicated that would not be possible so it’s a pleasant and welcome surprise indeed!
Slowly our group has been departing for their respective homes over the last few days. We said bye to a few more tonight and then we are next, tomorrow, inshallah. I have mentioned it in past posts as well, but some of the people in our group have become like family and I truly feel like I have known them forever. I am so thankful they were put in my life, especially through this blessed opportunity, and even more grateful that a handful of those I have become so close to are actually from New Jersey as well!
We have a busy month ahead with family events once we are home, but I can’t wait to get our hajj group together, inshallah, soon after things settle down. Multiple events each weekend until December including a trip to Canada for a 50th Anniversary party (inshallah) and a road trip to South Carolina for my cousin’s valima reception (inshallah)… and of course the wedding in between.
This day, so soon before departing for home, was also when I got most sick. Since yesterday it was a downward spiral, but right when I woke up around 2 AM Thursday morning to go do a tawaf with Abu, I knew immediately today would be a challenge. Quite unfortunate considering it’s our last full day, but alhumdulillah at the same time: how fortunate I am that I didn’t get sick until the end and was able to make the most of my days here!
Freshly homemade soup is definitely on the agenda as soon as we get home. And my normal food. I may or may not have ate my weight in fast food this week- halal Burger King one day, Hardees another and KFC three days. My fruit salad and fish sound absolutely perfect right about now…