MEMORIES FROM MY HAJJ DIARY
Hajj is a beautiful and spiritual journey of lifetime. I got bestowed upon by this opportunity and I performed hajj this year Alhmdulillah. Hajj is a unique journey where muslims from all over the world get together and perform rituals irrespective of their colors, nationality or ages.
Hajj had a profound impact on me and this cannot be described in words. When you see millions of muslims together reciting Talbiyah, you literally get goosebumps. It is a sight to behold. Describing everything from Hajj jouney is near to impossible so I am summing up some heartwarming and my top favourite memories from this beautiful journey.
- First glance at Khaana Kaaba:
Looking at Khaana Kaaba for the very first time is magical. It is difficult to describe that in words. One gets goosebumps and tears in his eyes. I was aww-struck and sentimental. I kept on looking at the holy Kaaba for at least 10 minutes. This was something unreal. I felt incredibly blessed.
- Paying salam to Roza e Rasool and Riaz ul Jannah:
If first glance at Khaana Kaaba is magical then paying salam to Roza e Rasool and offering nawafal at Riaz ul Jannah is precious. One definitely feels emotional and blessed.
- Zam Zam Water:
Aab e zam zam possess the healing power unlike any natural thing. This holy water is undoubtedly healing and I felt so blessed to have this water as much I wanted during my stay in Makkah.
- Rain at Mount Arafat:
I remember how hot it was when we were at Arafat. I along with my fellows literally prayed for rain. Just as the heat became almost too much to bear, thunder cracked, the skies opened and the cooling rain began to fall. Within minutes, heavy rain started pouring down on all hajj pilgrims. Not for nothing is it called the Mount of Mercy.
Pilgrims wept as they raised their hands in worship on the slopes of Mount Arafat. Muslims believe that their prayers have a higher chance of being answered when it rains. It rained for three consecutive days of hajj.
- Makkah and Medina:
Makkah and Medina, both are very precious to Muslims all over the world. Makkah is the holy city where Khaana kaaba is located and where muslims perform hajj and umrah every year. Medinah is dear to us since this was the city of Prophet (PBUH). Both cities are entirely different from each other. Makkah has hustle bustle, super busy and also offers more harsh hot weather. Medinah, on the other hand, is serene and calm. One sense a feeling of tranquility there and it’s no wonder as the greatest man on this earth is resting there in the heart of this peaceful city.
- Saudi Police (Shurtas):
Saudi police is quite popular there for its very strict behavior but I believe if it wasn’t this way, controlling such huge number of people wouldn’t have been possible. I had a good experience dealing with them, and they were very helping and active.
- Diversity of people:
I was startled by the number of diversity of people around me. All were there to perform an important ritual of their lives: Hajj. Every muslim wearing white and reciting Talbiyah was a sight to behold.
- Saudi Market:
Either you visit Saudi Arabia for hajj or umrah, shopping is mandatory. Overall shopping is at better rates in medinah. Makkah is expensive especially for buying dates. Though one doesn’t find anything exceptional (except dates and Zam zam water) which is not available in our country (thanks to globalization) but of course buying gifts for loved ones is a must.
Since Saudi Arabia’s land is not very fertile so it imports major fruits and vegetables. Being Pakistani, I found overall rates of fruits and vegetables quite high. Saudi Arabia is blessed with oil reserves and it has a huge market of dates. It may sound ridiculous but this country offers 1 litre petrol for 1 rayal and 1 litre water bottle for 2 rayals.
- Efficient cleaning of Masjid ul Haram:
Cleaning Masjid ul Haram with millions of people performing tawaf 24 hours is not an easy job. The workers are so diligent and they perform their duty of cleaning after every few hours. It is a sight not to miss how they clean it.
- Offering last prayer at Haram:
Offering last prayer at Masjid ul Haram before leaving the holy land was with tears. My heart never wanted to leave. Saying goodbye was definitely the hardest thing to do.
One comes back with a heavy heart and a hope to go and visit this blessed land again. May Allah call every muslim to this land. Amin.
Hadia Rahman: An International relations Scholar by education; former news anchor; an academician, freelance host and writer by profession; environmentalist at heart. She tweets @hadiarah