Umrah 2011 {Part 4} Being In Love with Masjid al-Haram

In a post I wrote almost a year ago, I told you guys about a question that I have asked myself many times since my Umrah trip in 2009/2010.

If you could be in front of the Ka’abah every single day to ask for God’s forgiveness and blessings, would that be enough to make you happy for the rest of your life? Or would you still want more?

I could never bring myself to say 'Yes' and completely mean it until my recent Umrah pilgrimage last month. I remember sitting inside Masjid al-Haram after performing a prayer in congregation and I said to myself, "If I could, I'd be in this mosque everyday so I could feel this way all the time." Masjid al-Haram has a very special place in my heart. There is no other mosque in the world that can bring together Muslims of different sects, ideologies, cultures, tribes, races and nationalities the way this mosque does. I can see the beauty of Islam shine through Masjid al-Haram like sun rays filling up a dark and empty room. You know, I can go on and on about Masjid al-Haram because I don’t think there is any other mosque in the world that is quite as majestic both in terms of its aesthetics and its significance in Islam. I think this particular mosque has a very special place in my heart because of the level of tranquility it offers me. I can’t explain what it feels like but all I know is this: I will always yearn to go back there just to feel that way again.

[Moments before Fajr (sunrise prayer) on the day we left Mecca. So many people, mashaAllah!]

Don't get me wrong. Masjid an-Nabawi is special in its own way, most definitely. My experience of being in both Masjid an-Nabawi and Masjid al-Haram is like that instance when you're asleep and you know you’re dreaming but you don’t want to wake up because then the dream would end. For me this is especially true in the case of Masjid al-Haram. I’m not saying everything is perfect inside the mosque. Yes, it’s very spic and span due to the constant cleaning that is done throughout the day, and alhamdulillah, there is a never-ending supply of Zam Zam water. However, you will still have to bear with some people’s bizarre behaviours such as fighting over a prayer spot when it is very close to the congregational prayer time (I have to admit, sometimes I am very close to losing my patience when it comes to people who are rude, inconsiderate and pushy). I think people have different experiences when they go to Mecca for Umrah but I personally believe that Mecca is a place where your faith and patience are constantly tested in the strangest of ways. The difference lies in you being aware of it or not.

Fortunately, in the times I’ve been in Masjid al-Haram I have never experienced anything particularly terrible (may God keep it this way, inshaAllah).  There are moments I know I will never forget. For example...

....While performing Tawaf during mid-morning my sister and I felt a cool breeze coming from above us. Strange but pretty amazing because it was hot by then and we were no where near an air conditioner as we were out in the open air.

.... I fell quite sick during this Umrah trip – cough, sore throat, fever, the works. I couldn’t bear going out of the mosque after Zuhur prayer and most times I would stay in the mosque until Maghreb prayer or even Isha prayer without eating lunch or dinner until we got back to the hotel at night. My family would go back to the hotel to catch up on some rest and eat something, at times they’d bring some food for me when they came back to the mosque. I once fell asleep in the mosque due to lack of sleep and a fever and when I woke up I was famished. Minutes later, a lady with niqab came towards me and gave me some biscuits to eat and a cup of water to drink. She didn’t offer them to anyone else. Just me! The drink didn’t taste like Zam Zam water. It tasted like the average mineral water but after drinking it my sore throat went away. Completely.

.... Another time after performing Tawaf in the afternoon, as I finished a little bit earlier than my family I went to pray inside the mosque and waited for them at our agreed spot before proceeding with the Sai’e. While waiting, a little girl around the age of five or six came along and offered me a cup of Zam Zam water to drink. I think she was bored so she decided to make good use of her time by distributing cups of Zam Zam water to the people around her. I thought it was really cute and smart and it made me realise how beautiful a person’s akhlaq (mannerisms) can be when they are raised well. 

[Muslim men and women walking side by side to complete the Sai'e, the second major part of the Umrah pilrimage, which is a re-enactment of a  mother's struggle to find water and keep her child alive. That mother is no other than Hajar, Prophet Ibrahim's (alayhissalam) wife, and the child was of course Prophet Ismail (alayhissalam) . As a result of this, we now have the Zam Zam well that has never ceased to supply us with Zam Zam water until today.]

I tend to contemplate a lot in Masjid al-Haram. Being there was a dream come true for me. I wanted to re-connect with God. I wanted to understand Him and this religion He has given us more than anything else. It was absolutely surreal because it was only last year that I went for Umrah with my Mum and sister. I prayed to return but only silently in heart and I didn’t think God would actually bring me back there so soon. Why me? What have I done for Him to listen to my prayers? No doubt, I am just one person out of the millions that visit Mecca every year but this one person’s life has changed for the better because He fulfilled her prayers. 

Perhaps now you understand with a little bit more clarity as to why I am just so in love with this mosque. After every Umrah pilgrimage I feel like a better person, or rather, I feel like I want to become a better person, inshaAllah. This life that I’m living right now is made of moments that are fleeting past me so quickly sometimes I  can’t even catch up. The only thing that matters at the end of the day is the amount of good deeds I have done and the intentions that I have while I am alive. If the scale weighs more towards the good and I am rewarded with Paradise then what else could I ask for?

A Muslim's life is actually relatively simple. It is to live a life of perseverance, purity and modesty while avoiding the prohibited (as much as we can) according to the guidance of Allah subhana wa taala in the Holy Qur’an and the examples shown by Prophet Muhammad sallalahu alayhi wassalam and other inspiring figures in Islam.

I've always liked leaving the best for last. Here's a video I took of an adhan in Masjid al-Haram. I was quite worried someone would come and stop me from recording so I was very cautious but alhamdulillah, that didn't happen. (Sorry for the shakiness. I don't have the skills of a good videographer... yet!)

Asr Adhan in al-Masjid al-Haram, June 2011
from Shahirah Elaiza on Vimeo.


hatim a.r said…
this......thisssss issss beautiful!! thank you sha for this father went there recently but he didnt bother taking pictures.sekarang pasang niat to go there one day,inshaallah.(cewah macamla ada cuti nak pegi buat umrah sighhhh)
washi said…
MashaAllah you have so very eloquently posted how I feel about Masjid-al-Haram also...may Allah SWT invite us again inshaAllah.

I used to think if I could transport that Haram into my hometown, Cape Town, a sanctuary for only Muslims here, it would be total bliss...just a whimsical thought :)
Melissa said…
I am normally a silent follower but this time around I just have to say, I love this post! Well done Shahirah. This was beautifully written. I'm so proud of you!
nady said…
I am your silent follower just like Melissa. I have to leave a comment because you make me miss Makkah even more! I cried watching your video. I missed the feeling the first time I saw Kaabah. I want to have that feeling everyday too. Thank you for the great post! May we will be invited again.
Amie said…
This post was beautiful, Sha! Thank you so much for sharing. It makes me nostalgic for umrah even though I've never been. InshaAllah, Allah (SWT) will grant us all the opportunity to either go for the first time or return many times. Ameen.
äмän ♥ said…
awesome place .. i went for umrrah last year .. and i so wanna go again :(
Awesome-est place ...
Anonymous said…
Beautiful pictures mashaAllah. May Alllah acceot your umrah. ameen. I made Hajj in 2004 and it was the hardest thing I ever done. Soo grateful Allah took me there. Most amazing spot on earth.
Misha said…
I've actually never been to umrah/hajj, but I feel like I can somehow totally relate to how you felt at Masjid al-Haram, because I'd feel that way too! Beautiful post.
elle said…
I went for umrah last week and it was really the most beautiful place in the world. I love being there. I love every little bit in Masjid An-Nabawi and Masjidil Haram. There are no other place like it.
Farah Hannah said…
salam ramadhan sha :)

Thank you so much sha for sharing the experience. It was really really beautifully written and helpful for me. Insya allah I will go there too to perform Umrah this coming Ramadhan 13th, for the first time, in my life :)

Just want to ask you, is it possible to me to bring along a camera or handphone into the masjid ? Because I have heard it was prohibited to do so. Btw thank you dear for your time :)
Shahirah Elaiza said…
Farah Hannah, Ramadhan Mubarak. MashaAllah that's wonderful news! I hope you will have an amazing experience, inshaAllah. You can bring your camera and mobile phone inside Masjid al Haram but not inside Masjid an-Nabawi (men are allowed to do so though), but I do see women sneaking in their phones but if you get caught they will ask you to pray outside. Oh and if you go shopping, don't bring the goods inside the masjid. They'll ask you to leave. Don't ask me why... maybe to prevent theft?
Qusay said…
U know, we, those of us who do not remember the first time we entered the haram and saw the ka'ba, love to read stories like this :)

Not that we lost the feeling, no, it always feels good to enter, sit, contemplate, pray, socialise, and even just to look at people from all over the world, but a fresh perspective is always nice to remind a person of something they have grown accustomed to.

Thanks :)
Hijabs and Co said…
shahiraaaah miss you 7abibtyy!!!
umrah makboula inchallah :)
Shahid Khan said…
During my search I came through your blog. I too came back from the UMRAH last week and After reading for a moment i too traveled back to the memory along which i came with. Good expression of love for Masjid-e-haram. Hope will visit again. May allah bless all of us plenty of halaal Rizq to visit this place regular.
best regards
Shahid Khan
Shahirah Elaiza said…
Thanks Qusay. You know it's interesting that you mentioned that. One of the roots of the word 'insan' is 'nasiya' which means 'to forget' right? So yes we tend to forget even the most beautiful feelings and experiences sometimes. I write posts like this so that one day I can come back to them and remember how blessed we are to be able to know Allah swt through these sacred places =)

Hijabs & Co, I've missed you too habibtee! Shukran =)

Shahid, Ameen inshaAllah.
fullati said…
Mashallah i hope i can go there too