One of our members had the blessed and amazing opportunity to be part of the recent ^umrah group led by Haj Hadi Fayed. She was able to capture and beautifully articulate her incredible experience of visiting the Ka^bah for the first time, which she has shared below.
This will be my first time to visit al-Hijaz. It is something that I have dreamt about and prayed for, for a long time and with each year it seems the yearning has increased. When I first learnt of the ^umrah trip I did not at all anticipate that I would be going. I made du^a and hoped that somehow it would be facilitated for me to go, and to this day I don’t know how the many obstacles preventing me from going were overcome. In the coming days the realisation that I would be going gradually built up and as I started to imagine being there, I was overcome with emotion and excitement.
I feel like a bride awaiting her wedding day as I count down the days for our trip to ^umrah, which has taken so many long years to make.
As we make preparations to leave, I feel my heart becoming detached from the worldly affairs. I am made to look at my life and the people in it; what they mean to me, what they have done for me, and how I am and the ways I want to improve myself. It started to feel as if I was making preparations for leaving this life, by sorting out the things one needs to sort out before that happens, and quickly one finds there isn’t enough time to fix what needs to be fixed. However, by directing myself in that way my outlook was changed, and I could at least do more than I would have done otherwise, by the Will of Allah.
O, what a dream it is to go to one of the best places on the earth and perform prayers and Tawaf around the honourable Ka^bah, the qiblah for our prayers. If one does not repent here, then where would one?
On the flight, it fully hits me that yes, now I am going for ^umrah and I cannot stop myself from smiling at everyone around us. It is an amazing sight to see that the people walking up and down the aisles are all from AICP. I made du^a for myself and for those whom had asked me to do so, a peaceful way to occupy one’s time whilst in the air. I spent the time listening to the Qur’ an, reading through the lesson on ^umrah and reviewing certain details with a sister who was sat next to me; using my time in a valuable way rather than wasting it.
We stop off in Cairo, and as we line up to change and prepare for being in a state of ihram, my focus changes and I feel both excitement and a nervousness that is hard to explain. It’s a feeling of being overwhelmed: am I ready? I wish to be ready – I wish to be in a good state, to die in a good state and have my ^umrah accepted.
As our brothers and sisters change into their clothes, the sight is so beautiful ma sha‘ Allah. The white ihram clothes for the men, the shining faces of the women, all of us set to go for the same purpose: to perform the pilgrimage of ^umrah for the sake of Allah. There is one amongst us who converted to Islam in his early twenties, leaving certain customs and his culture behind and adopting the practices of the Muslims. I admire the sacrifices he must have had to make and appreciate the fact that Allah facilitated for such people to become Muslim, whilst being surrounded by many who are not of the same faith.
We meet with our teacher Haj Hadi who directs us and gives us a briefing. My heart is racing; I just want to perform everything correctly and avoid the things I need to avoid in order that my ^umrah would be accepted. We get back on the bus dubbed the AICP bus – all are from amongst our party, except for two – and once more the flight is filled with our brothers and sisters, beaming and happy to be continuing our journey towards Makkah. I am seated next to someone who is reciting the Qur’an so beautifully ma sha‘ Allah. A brother says the talbiyah, and I feel so full of peace and disconnected from everything else.
Later, when we have landed and continue on our journey, as we approach the miqat we are guided with what to say and intend and we see the mosque of lady ^A’ishah and recite for her, and also for lady Zaynab when we pass by. We arrive at the hotel and are able to catch a few minutes of sleep. Then we prepare ourselves to leave and get ready to perform the ^umrah. The buses take us to Makkah and I am overcome with so many emotions.
I fear forgetting the du’a that I wish to make for myself and for those whom I love. Oddly, I feel unprepared but yet ready, and wish to repent, repent, repent – I am going to see the Ka^bah for the first time! My tears build and I feel as if I am shaking, but being led by someone I honour and trust gives me a sense of safety. I keep my head down and see the white floor with cracks in – I am outside al-Masjid al-Haram! I am holding on to a dear sister in front and behind and we are surrounded by the brothers either side, encouraging us to stick together. We fear seeing the Ka^bah accidentally before being ready and so we walk carefully without submitting to the urge of looking up.
As we enter and follow down some steps I hear the gasps and comments of others and know that now it is time to look up. I take in the most beautiful sight I have ever seen, the awe of which I cannot explain, the height taller than I had imagined, and yet the details and the feeling exactly as I had seen in my dream. I am amazed by this sight.
I am able to recall my du^a and try to make du^a for everyone whom I know and love. I make a du^a that would cover them all: my mother, my siblings, my family, my friends, my neighbours; the Association that I adore; the Muslims in general and serving them; and asking for safety in the Hereafter. For others that I care about, I pray that they learn and apply before they die, and I also pray for the Muslims across the world who are suffering injustices. I pray for them all, and follow the group and our leader, who is guiding us. I am so happy to have him and others around me, and I am grateful for them having taught me, since this whole effort, this whole experience would be of no benefit in terms of performing ^umrah correctly had one not learnt what is valid and invalid in this regard. I desperately hope that my ^umrah will be accepted.
Alhamdulillah we are able to perform a number of additional ^umrahs.
In front of Mount ^Arafah