This is for all those who asked to hear my reflections of my Hajj this year.
Hajj lesson #1: Some thing awesome I learnt during my Hajj experience was – taking the difficult path meant Allah helped me get through it. Here are the details: On the day of Eid, after the ritual stoning of the devil in Mina, we walked towards Masjid al Haram (this was quite a walk – it was 7am) once we got there (ie to the Zamzam Clock towers) we had a little rest and breakfast before we headed to the Kabah for our Tawaf. By now it was after 11am and the mid day heat of 40 degrees was kicking in. We noticed the mataaf (place of tawaf) was not as busy and that was maybe because of the mid-day heat. But it turns out, I totally didn’t realise it was nearing Jummah time, so they close off certains gates to ensure it doesn’t get too crowded. So we headed downstairs towards the mataaf – and somehow managed to complete our tawaf in a total of 15mins – Alhamdulillah this was a blessing from Allah as he truly knew how we felt at that point subhanAllah. Even in the extreme heat I could feel a cool breeze hit my face from time to time. I could feel the ease sent from Allah so near. So the lessons learnt were – Sometimes in life we avoid taking that difficult path of whatever we need to get through. Sometimes we wait and wait to find an easy path. But we fail to realise that Allah will help us through whatever difficulty we are in – you just gotta have faith in yourself and most importantly in your Lord. May Allah swt bless us with a beautiful patience iA. Ameen.
Hajj Lesson #2: This was something I was thinking about loads after I arrived back home. The posts below by Shaykh Waleed Basyouni sums it up better. We live in a age of luxury and yet we forget to be thankful – our instant need for everything decreases our level of patience and our appreciation for what we have. Cold water – something we can get so easily everyday was a massive luxury for me as we walked through desert heat during Hajj. Transport, be it a car, taxi or bus: we take for granted. I opted to walk nearly 15 miles than be stranded in a taxi for 2-3 hours just to make my way to the Haram. I watched and saw old, frail men and women from South Asia, East Asia all walking and making their way to the Masjid al-Haram.
It was truly amazing to see Allah’s creation work so hard to please him, strive so hard to please him, show so much love for their Lord – I was truly amazed by the ummah around me and more so I was proud to be a part of it. Alhamdulillah for ease, alhamdulillah through difficulty. Allah is with us in every aspect of our life, if you really reflect on this statement you will start to realise the truth in it. Alhamdulillah and thank you Allah for everything. In sha Allah we can become people of shukr as we continue to endure patience when we don’t get what we want instantly!
Hajj Lesson #3: Today I reconnected with some of my Hajj friends and felt the need to share more of my lessons. I want to talk about Mina. Mina is literally a tent city. Staying there isn’t always easy but for me it was an awesome spiritual retreat Alhamdulillah. As a resident of Makkah I made Hajj with a local Saudi group- perhaps this made my stay all the more enjoyable. Initially I just thought ok I won’t truly understand all the Arabic in the local group so I’ll keep my head down and focus on ibadah. However, those who know me know I like meeting new people. And being in a tent with 9 other ladies for a period of nearly 5 days did not stop me from communicating. So we spoke in my broken Arabic and some of their broken English and great English by one sister.
As bizarre as this sounds I felt like I’d met them all before some place. In fact as I looked around the whole hamla (hajj group) in Arafah – I looked at sisters that reminded me of other people I knew and I really felt connected. That’s when it struck me that maybe our souls have met once before. Because of all the times I could have done Hajj prior to living in Makkah I wasn’t meant to. I was meant to do it with this Saudi Group! The biggest lesson here was Allah knows what’s best for us. I may have preferred an English speaking group so that I could have fully understood the mini lectures they give in Mina but this Saudi group was meant to be and better for me because Allah knows best. And SubhanAllah He sure does, because if I was ever to perform Hajj again I’d love to go with the same group.
Not only did I understand pretty much all the dars (seminars) they gave throughout our time in Mina and Arafah but they moved me to tears, those words touched my heart and soul. Allah was facilitating this. To top it all, we had a lovely Eid Party and a blessed gathering where I got to know more Saudi sisters, and the icing on the cake – they organised a Qur’an competition where I actually won a prize (as did 5 others in my tent) SubhanAllah! I was encouraged to take part, even though I always feel terrible at memorisation and I won!
So the lesson is – every single thing that happens in your life happens for a reason. Allah plans everything to the last detail- the question is when will we take a step back and connect those dots and be content with or learn from whatever comes our way in life?
Hajj Lesson #4: Dua, dua, dua: Prayer, prayer, prayer. This is something my father said to me (someone who has performed many a Hajj being a tour-guide for a British Group in London a long time ago mashaAllah). The saying of the Prophet (pbuh) is that “Hajj is Arafah.” Being in a specific place at a specific time and praying within those specific times with other conditions attached is the essence of Hajj. One of the reasons why is that the time frame between the mid-day prayer and the prayer just before sunset is a special time for asking from your Lord if you are in Arafah in particular. You ask to be forgiven, you ask to be cleansed of all the sins you may have commit in your life. You are literally asking for a second chance on this Earth, and the fact that our religion of Islam gives us this hope is truly amazing. The crowds of people out on the plains of Arafah without the shade of tent or cool breeze from the AC, their purpose is dua. The lovely Palestinian lady who gave us a short reminder on the day of Arafah emphasised dua and praising of Allah. We walked out to the foothills of Jabal Rahma (Mount of Mercy) were many people were. I wanted to see the ummah of Muhammad (pbuh). I wanted to be inspired by the worshippers – all asking of Allah just like me, crying, pleading and begging Allah for forgiveness, asking for Allah’s help for whatever problems they were facing in life. This day of Arafah truly was a blessed day. It was hot, yet Allah made it easy by sending clouds and I even felt light rain. I heard thunder too. We made dua for all those who requested and all those in our ummah who are suffering. Allah hears us all wherever we are, we just need to take that one step closer in His path. The inner peace that dua brings when we are literally conversing with our Lord is like no other. So my lesson is let’s continue making dua in good times and bad times. Allah is always listening -alhamdulillah – All praises be to Allah.