So how did this trip came about? Well back in Dec 07 I was informed by mom that my uncle was planning to go for umrah with his family in 2008. My response was ...a big Ohhhhhh!!!! How wonderful...and fullstop. She then had this idea that me and hubby should tag along and even offered to look after my kiddies. Of course when I heard this I was over the moon. The only snag was I didn't have a helper then, and didn't know when she would arrive. I couldn't imagine leaving my 5 kids..yes 5 kids with my mom and no help.
So over the next couple of months I remember constantly praying that help would arrive by the time I leave for the holy land. And syukur alhamdulillah, 3 weeks before I was to fly off, my maid arrived. In between this of course, I had other lil obstacles (mostly work related stuff)which thankfully sorted themselves out (praise to Allah). What I realised prior to my departure was the need to constantly pray for the things I want in life, and trust in Him that he will make everything ok for me and the family. If we believe and trust in God, insyallah everything will fall into place, as it did in my case. And as a result of that, I soon found myself on the plane on 24th May... destination Madinah.
That morning after breakfast, my aunties and I went to queue for Raudhah. It was open to public (the ladies) at 7-11am and I thought that since we were there before 7am, we'd have no problems getting in. Hahahhhh..how foolish could I be. There were hundreds of others already ahead of us and I was beginning to doubt whether we could actually get the chance to enter. I noticed that the crowd was divided into groups..from the Arabs..to the Indians/Pakistanis ..to us from Msia/Spore/Indon/Brunei. It wasn't hard to tell the groups apart as we were all shrouded differently. So while sitting and waiting for our turn, which of course felt like forever, we did our individual zikir and privately prayed that God would give us easy access to Raudhah. Insyallah.
Honestly when we were sitting right infront of the entrance, I was overwhelmed with a lot of mixed emotions. Running from excitement to suspense and even fear. When we were finally allowed entry everybody scrambled in. Me being a first time umrah performer was stunned by the crowd's sudden rush forward. People were scrambling in and I could only describe its likeness to the mad rush you'd see on J Card day! I'm not kidding in saying that it did feel like a stampede at times. I remember once being told that when you're in Raudhah don't be surprised by the amount of pushing and shoving. That's to be expected I guess, after all it is The Garden of Raudhah. People were just trying to find whatever spot they could, to do their prayers. And Alhamdulillah with a lot of patience and after taking in a lot of pushing from the back and front and left and right..I managed to perform my prayers. In that very short space of time permitted to us, we quickly read our duas; personal duas for ourselves, our family members, relatives and friends. Duas that were either read from small books brought from Malaysia or scraps of papers which were hastily handed to us by relatives who sent us off at the airport. And not forgetting the duas which were not written down in any form but remembered by heart and read on behalf of people who have not had the chance to come to the holy land just yet.
Salam to Rasulullah and his sahabat was conveyed from the inner area of Raudhah. I recall distinctly how difficult it was to even do that. There were just soooo many people wanting to do the same. Again, people were pushing and shoving and a couple of times I was swept away back and forth. It's hard to describe the feelings felt as we stood huddled closely facing the wall which separated us from the area which housed Rasulullah's makam. Suffice to say it was pretty overwhelming. Not only because of the huge crowd factor but more of the realisation that Rasulullah's makam was just behind the walls.
The inner area of Nabawi Mosque
The several days spent in Madinah saw us visiting some of the historical sites which were either learned through personal readings or stories related by my ustazahs back in school yonks ago. It was quite amazing to be at the very places mentioned in my textbooks. Our visit of the Quba mosque was most significant since it was after all the first Islamic mosque ever built by the late prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and is the oldest mosque in Saudi Arabia. We were reminded earlier by our guide to take our ablutions at the hotel and upon arrival to pray at the mosque as "Whoever purifies himself (take wudhu') in his house then comes to Masjid Quba' and prays in it has the reward like that of Umrah. (an-Nasa'i and Ibn Majah)". Masyallah.
With uncle, aunties and cousins at Quba mosque
We then proceeded wth completing our umrah. The saie was a bit tiring with the distance to be covered but overall everybody was in good spirits and alhamdulillah everything went well.By the time we finished it was about 2am. I was surprised that though it was very late, everybody seemed as fresh as a daisy (including 6 year old cousin - Haziq). It must be the excitement and adrenaline rush pumping on overdrive.
The next day when we walked to the mosque for zohor prayers we were shocked to see that the route taken the nite before looked like Ground Zero. Buildings which I presume were old hotels surrounding the mosque had been demolished and we had actually gone through a construction site...with rubbles and piling rods protruding from the ground everywhere. This infact became our route to and fro the mosque for the next 6 days. It was a quite an adventure for us as we found ourselves having to negotiate in between lorries and tractors several times a day, everyday!
Bluewonder's great escape
Daily trek across construction site worth it..to be able to see this
Our time in Madinah and Makkah wasn't that long..only 10 days. But the most memorable thing for me about my time there was the time spent at the mosques. For the first time in my life I did nothing but indulge in lots of prayers, zikirs, selawat and reading the Quran. Something that I don't do much in Msia. I feel that my time here in Msia is often spent doing a lot of other stuff..and very very little time is spent on my ibadah or preparations for the hereafter. Ouwchh!
Anyway, both hubby and I have registered with Tabung Haji and hope to be able to perform our haj some day. Though the year given to us is a loooooonnnnnngggg way ahead, we hope to be able to go while still young and healthy. Hopefully sometime soon.
To uncle Famy, thank you, thank you, thank you for inviting us to join your family on this trip and also for being hubby's oral rehydration seeker when he was ill..
To uncle Jaafar, thank you for accompanying me to Hajar Aswad - now that was an experience!..
To aunty Faezah and aunty Liza...when can we do this again?...
To Amar, Imran, Amira and Haziq...thanks for the wonderful company....and...
...to my hubby, thanks a million for sponsoring the trip. May God Bless You Always!..