Hajj (Part 1)

I seem to have lost my pen in Makkah because blogwise, I was stuck. My words flew to no destination; they were just floating around my head. Nadia being the supportive friend that she always is, tried hard (VERY hard!) to help me find my pen again. I really appreciate it and think she has extraordinary levels of patience and determination, believe you me, this lady is unbreakable! It did pay off however, her constant nag and support inspired me, I’m very grateful 🙂

Back to the long-awaited Hajj post. During the past couple of months, I was trying to take you on a pen sketch journey, to drift back to the days in Mina, Arafa and Mekkah and obviously I couldn’t. I wrote a bit, but was jammed in the very first few paragraphs; only to conclude that you literally cannot go back to Hajj in words when the spirit is missing!

The experience is MAGICAL, in fact, many of those who went with me to Hajj this year, including my sister, came back with depression like symptoms. One of them said “It was just like I went to have a taste of heaven and then suddenly dropped back to reality”. It is exactly that. You’re transferred in time, in place, in lifestyle; you’re practically living in a different era.

The dynamics of life in Hajj differed very much than how it has ever been before anywhere in the world. Spirituality is amplified in manner and form: Simplicity, Oneness, Trueness!
Hajj, the rituals and the journey are all miniatures of a bigger scene yet to come, it is a replica of Judgment Day! I have been writing little thoughts and notes as we went along. I know I cannot make you live the moment, I can only try to reach your imagination to re-live some of the experiences that touched me.

I among around 3.5 million others have answered the call this year! From the east and the west, the north and the south, from the richest to the poorest, from the king to the slave, we all have been blessed and honored to be the selected guests of Al-Rahman! We are due to meet in the specified land of Allah, to cover with the same clothes, to perform the same rituals, to eat from the same source and to avoid the same things. During these coming days, only righteousness counts and only faith matters. No wealth or power can get you special discounts or exemptions!

There were so many anticipations, fears, expectations about this sacred journey by each one of us 3.5 million. For all we know, we are embarking on the journey of a lifetime, aiming to fulfill the fifth pillar of Islam. In this journey, we are all ONE in faith, pleasing the ONE creator!
Of course each person goes with certain objectives; I personally had an open mind when I first planned to perform hajj. However, my mission started to get clearer as the day of travel approached. I knew I was there to thank Allah for His endless bounties, to seek guidance and forgiveness, to make Du’a on certain matters for myself and my loved ones. I also wanted to seize the opportunity to reflect on my life holistically, and truly connect with Allah.

 

Day 1: Take-off (6th Dhul-hijja, 23/11/09)
::: 6.00 am, Airport. The journey of a lifetime is starting…

Packing for this trip has been very different. You do not pack clothes as much as you pack emotions, spirituality and family/friends’ acceptance and forgiveness. Most importantly, you pack honest repentance from all wrong doings, those you know, and those you don’t. The clothes you take are the simplest you have. All accessories are left home, for this trip; they’re of absolute no use.

The spirits of Hajj are born when we wash for Ihram and thereafter, you are now physically clean and ready for the journey ahead. Your mouth should not utter but clean pure words, your eyes should only indulge in lawful sights! During Ihram, you should not shed any hair or skin purposely and the use of scented products is not allowed. Men are to wear a big white cloth (towel like) that barely covers the body, women are to wear anything that attracts no attention (like accessories and such). Wait..does this remind you of anything? Resurrection, Rebirth. When we’re all awaken from our prolonged sleep, to face judgment, when all materialistic possessions become of no value. You’re just there, on whatever you were buried with; barely covered.

Remember: at this point of time, from almost 80 people, I know no one apart from my husband, my sister and her husband, and a handful of relatives. The rest are strangers that I will live with in a confined space for the coming week.

At the airport, you could see everyone’s excitement, eyes filled with fear, people bidding farewell, others crying. I have never seen this amount of excitement and havoc at the airport during any of my travels. For one thing, we go to this journey, ready to leave everyone behind, we leave and we don’t know if we will ever come back.

The plane takes off, and we start chanting…

::: Talbiyah (Labayka Allahuma Labayk)
“Here I am. O Allah. Here I am. Here I am. You have no partner, here I am. Surely all praise, favour and authority belong to you. You have no partner”.

 

To be continued…

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16 Comments

  1. Nadia said,

    January 30, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    Beautiful post Shahrazad. You almost brought tears to my eyes, but not quite because your post was so l.a.t.e. I’m glad you’re back to blogging. I was on the verge of dis-owning you. 🙂

    • Shahrazad said,

      February 3, 2010 at 1:24 pm

      You, you, you.. with all that nagging, I thought your reply would fill an A4 page :p

      Thanks Nadia! You really helped me find my pen again..

  2. Shahrayar said,

    January 30, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    It was a bad idea reading this post at work…. I could not stop my tears that probably people wonder what the hell is wrong with this guy…. Luckily no one saw me !!

    There is nothing that can describe Haj experience, words would not do justice to what you feel when you are there. Every time I hear or read that I was the guest of Al-Rahman I can’t hold my eyes. I thank you god for giving me this opportunity.

    Thank you my wife for refreshing my memory.

  3. Rania said,

    January 31, 2010 at 1:39 am

    What an experience! Ever feel that the words you need to express those hajj feelings simply dont exsist? I look forward to hearing more!

    • Shahrazad said,

      February 3, 2010 at 1:28 pm

      True… I’ve written those words and published this post hesitantly, because I really believe they didn’t do the experience justice!

  4. Stimulus said,

    January 31, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    Amazing Masha’allah..

    Waiting for Part 2 🙂

    • Shahrazad said,

      February 3, 2010 at 1:29 pm

      Stimulus.. your comment stimulates me; part 2 is out, go read 😀

  5. February 3, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    […] February 3, 2010 at 1:14 pm (Emotional reservoir, Islam, my beautiful religion, Memoirs, Miscellaneous, the World and I) Click for Hajj: Part (1) […]

  6. February 4, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    YOU’RE BACK!
    Yaaaay!
    Masha’Allah, your experience sounds absolutely amazing…I can’t wait to do it, i’A.
    I can imagine how hard it was to describe it…

    • Shahrazad said,

      February 19, 2010 at 9:50 pm

      Sara. I’ve missed this place so much especially because of the lovely (intellectual) people I met through it 🙂

      Inshallah you will. Plan it and you’ll see matters moving before your own eyes very smoothly, Subhan Allah!

  7. Rayyan said,

    February 18, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    Your words wet my eyes.. describing it reminds me with my journey to Hajj.. I knew NO one except my husband! and my husband is in men side so No one at women side! I was a bit hesitant at first but alhamdulilah I convinced my self that I’m not going there to socialize I’m going there to please Allah.. Alhamdulilah Alhamdulilah that I got the chance to be one of the chosen ones to be there.. I really wanna go again.. I still feel I could have done more..
    I have list of things to improve next time starting from the right 7amlah to things to do there..

    Allah yekremna b7ajjah thaniya ya rub..

    • Shahrazad said,

      February 19, 2010 at 9:54 pm

      Thank you Rayyan!

      Glad to hear you’re contemplating to go again Inshallah. You know, even before we got back, I was discussing with my husband about our next Hajj trip! There is something special, just like a magnet, that attracts you to that place!

      Ameeeen 🙂

  8. Hamed Alazri said,

    March 25, 2010 at 4:05 am

    Great post.. as usual MaShaAllah 🙂

    Hajj.. It is an extraordinary experience.. The place.. The people from all over the world.. Revisiting your sins at Arafa.. The reflections in front of the Kaaba..

    Well, I’ll jump to your part 2 now 🙂

  9. April 24, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    […] April 24, 2010 at 2:43 pm (Emotional reservoir, Islam, my beautiful religion, Memoirs, Miscellaneous, the World and I) Hajj (Part 1) […]


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