Thursday, December 6, 2018

my first umrah part 2

------------------------Continued from the the first part------------------------------

I did second tawaf sunat on day 2 in Mecca right before asr prayer after lunch time. Did you know solat Jemaah in masjidil haram gives you 100 000 merits than praying in any other masjid on earth? That’s really a huge amount. To compare, that 100 000 is about 80 years praying Jemaah in your place. Mashalllah, so which favours of Allah would us human deny anymore?  May Allah accept our ibadah ameen.

My mother and I today discovered a comfortable prayer area upstairs, nearby gate 90. As there were thousands of people in the masjid, your slippers might go missing, or maybe stolen, but never ever said something negative. Don’t ever say, oh man so many people, if I put the slippers here, it might get stolen by someone. Never dare to say that. Wallahi, the moment you finish praying, the slippers already gone. What did I do, every time I place my slippers I recited this du'a:

Inshallah the slippers will never gone missing.

One of the things that I miss a lot about Mecca and Medina is that, the masjid guards will call every male “Haji” and every female “Hajjah”. “ya hajjah hajjah, come here” some called us female “ibu, maju maju” telling us to go the front saf. Yelah muka pun dah lebih kurang je melayu ke Indonesia ke so they just call everyone from nusantara as ibu.

Mecca Day 3

Our second umrah. We went to Tanah Halal in Tana’im. We visited masjid Saidatina Aisyah, performed solat sunat ihram there, and berniat umrah inside the bus. I forgot to take pictures of this masjid. Compared to masjidil haram and masjid nabawi, although this masjid has many visitors each day, but it is not well taken care especially the toilet and ablution area. Same goes to Masjid Hudaibiyah. Its okay, just bare with it.  We came here from far away land just to worship the almighty. Be patient, selawat and istighfar banyak-banyak. It is sunat for us after reciting niat umrah, to bertalbiah. The one that you hear from tv, labbaikallah humma labbaik. Yes, that one is called talbiah. It is like us His servant answer for His call. We did bertalbiah inside the bus, and upon entering Tanah Haram, the mutawwif lead us to recite a doa.

Upon arriving masjidil haram, we did the second rukun umrah which is tawaf and complete the rest of it. Even before going for umrah, I prayed a lot to be able to perform prayer inside hijr ismai, unfortunately till the last day in Mecca I did not managed to get inside it. Takde rezeki. Inshallah next time. Theres too many people. I didn’t even dare to get close to Kaabah, afraid someone would push me. Imagine, Arabians, Turkish, Iranis are at your right, left, at the back and in front of you, their body built are way bigger than us tiny Malaysians. Once they push you, you might astray from keeping your left shoulder 90 degrees to the kaabah.

Picture of me in front of Masjidil Haram. 

Mom and Dad in front of Holy Kaabah. 

As we started off early in the morning, alhamdulliah we were able to finish our umrah before zuhr prayer. Finally today we succeeded in finding Saji Restaurant. The teh ais costs SR 5. Ya ampun mahal bener, tapi sedap bangettt. Lagi kaw daripada dekat Malaysia. Serious, tak tipu.
I don’t know why, but going to masjid in Tanah Haram was really exciting. It was like a parade, people from different directions walk together to go to masjid to perform Jemaah prayer. It is something that I couldn’t feel in Malaysia other than the month of Ramadhan. After each prayer, everyone disperse to whatever places they wanna go. I love how it felt  like to be in that sea of people. May Allah give me another chance to feel that way again.

Mecca Day 4

In the morning we attended a talk on Fadhilat Tanah Haram, bacaan yassin and also tahlil arwah. Then, for the first time we took a walk around the hotel area, went window shopping, there are a lot of stalls nearby the hotel selling everything you name it, nuts, sejadahs, tudungs, jubahs, bags, hennas and a lot more. I bought a jubbah, initially cost SR 80, got SR 40 after bargaining. 50% discount thanks to my relatives who such a sweet talker :P To be honest, shopping in Medina is much better than Mecca actually, lot of people said that, and I would like to agree on that too. Maybe because the stalls in Medina are well arranged, the sellers are a lot more gentle and welcoming, and most of the goods are actually from Medina so the prices are much more cheaper. Some say SR 3000 isnt enough to shop in Medina. Like seriously? Haha.

Morning view in  front of our hotel (while waiting for the bus) 

I should have taken pictures of stalls in Medina and Mecca to show you the comparisons. How come I forgot to take it aiyooo. We didn’t take too long to shop, back to hotel an hour before zuhr prayer. I did another tawaf sunat today after asr prayer without my parents, they needed to save their energy before the third umrah tomorrow. As I have mentioned before,  umrah requires a lot of energy especially saie. So that’s why. I didn’t go back to hotel after tawaf sunat, I just stay in the masjid waiting for maghrib and isyak prayer as it takes about 30- 45 minutes to complete 7 rounds of tawaf, and the moment I finished it, it’s already 30 minutes before maghrib prayer. Hence, instead of wasting my time walking to hotel, it’s better to use the time wisely doing something useful like reciting quran for example.

I managed to get a spot in front of the kaabah for maghrib prayer, but suddenly I became hesitate is this place really for women to pray, or it’s actually men’s, if it’s men’s later on the guard will ask me to go find another place to pray? I asked around but none speaks Malay and English, so I ended up praying upstairs at the same spot me and my mother used to pray. Should have just stay at the spot, it is only once in a lifetime. Besides, the spots in front of kaabah rarely empty, always filled with people, and I just missed the chance to be close enough to it.

This is how it looks like outside of Masjidil Haram

Mecca Day 5

Before performing our third and last umrah, we did go visiting few well known places in Mecca which are Jabal Rahmah, Arafah, Mina, and Muzdalifah. I’m sure the names sound familiar right. Jabal Rahmah is also called Love Hill where Prophet Adam met his wife, Eve after 40 years searching for each other. It is located in Arafah. This place is one of the places where prayers are readily accepted. Usually people come here praying for their jodoh with their spouse to last forever.
Arafah that I saw in tv during hajj season was way different from the Arafah I finally witnessed by my own naked eyes. All this time I thought Arafah is like a barren land, but not anymore.  It is now far more greeny, has so many trees and plants. During hajj season, there will be many tents installed for millions of people that will gather in Arafah, which is one of the rukun haji. Last hajj, about 3 millions of people gathered here to answer The Call. Inshallah soon it will be our turn.

Other than that, I just knew that Arafah, Mina and Muzdalifah are actually close to one another. Muzdalifah is the place where people will spend a night after gathering in Arafah, before going to Mina to stone the devil (melontar jumrah).

Mom and Dad at Jabal Rahmah. 
Mina, the place to stone the devil

Along the way to Jaaranah, the place for miqat, we passed through few camel farms. Starting from 2014 if I’m not mistaken, Malaysia government has prohibited Malaysian pilgrims from visiting camel farm due to the emergence of Mers-CoV. Hence, we can no longer take photos side by side with the camel like our ancestors used to do sobs. My grandparents had one. Despite that, you can still enjoy eating camel’s meat if you want.

We started off today quite late. We were scheduled to start our ziarah at 7 am in the morning actually, but due to some problems, it was delayed 1 hour later. The bus which was meant to carry us for ziarah got stuck with the authorities. It is quite strict here in Mecca. Only after zuhr prayer we managed to perform saie and finish our umrah an hour and half before asr prayer. This time around, my father’s legs  gave away, they couldn’t bare the weight of his body anymore, so we pay SR 100 for someone to push him by wheelchair during saie. One of his legs got shot during his days as an army to fight against the communist, and the other one broke in a motor vehicle accident.  He’s 67 years old now. Not strong anymore like the old days L

Behind Mom is Bukit Safa. 
Saie area. 

2 days left before leaving Mecca for Medina, we decided to ate at Saji Restaurant for the last time. Here, in Mecca, every time near prayer time, the shops and stalls will be closed immediately. Surprisingly they do not technically close the shops, they just cover them with some fabric or clothes. It shows their dependence towards Allah is high enough till they can just leave their shops like that without even worried someone might steal their goods, their money, do something bad or anything. I am amazed. This one will never be seen in Malaysia. 

-------------------to be continued------------------

Monday, December 3, 2018

my first umrah part 1

I have never imagined that I would answer His call and set my feet on the sacred land at the age of 25, alhamdulliah, thanks to my parents for bringing me there as a gift for passing medschool. Indeed, this is the greatest gift ever. My umrah journey started on 17 nov to 28 nov 2018. 7 days in Mecca and 5 days in Medina. I just came back from Medina like a week ago. So I would like to share how it feels like to be there for the first time, inshallah this shall not be my last time, ameen. If it was the first and last, may Allah accept all my ibadah and place me in the good place in the akhirah. 

Before going deep into the story in Mecca and Medina, the first thing that is very important in every trip is of course preparations, physically, mentally and spiritually. As for physical preparations, things that is really tiring and requiring lots of energy in umrah is saie. Especially for the eldest, it might be easy pessy for us youngsters to complete 7 trip of saie, from safa to marwah, marwah to safa, but for the eldest trust me it is tiring. In our last umrah, my father required someone to push him with a wheelchair, paid 100 SR for it. My mother who is obese and has knee osteoarthritis some more, getting slower and slower towards the end of the umrah. We did 3 umrah overall. 2 months before going for umrah, in September, my mother and I started to do morning walk every weekend so that our body will not become shock doing saie for the first time. It had been our weekend morning routine. I think it helps, not a lot lah, but okaylah, at least our legs can withstand during saie. 

As for spiritual, I think most of us know. Apart from go to kursus umrah and do a lot of reading, do solat sunat taubah, seek forgiveness from Allah and people around, go pay your debt to people, do a lot of prayers, seek for Allah's help to ease everything during umrah. And for mental, it is currently winter season in Saudi Arabia. It was so cold in Medina. Malaysia is way hotter than Medina. So cold till my skin dried so much, we didnt even dare to switch on the air conditioner. 

Other than that, preparations to packing the clothes and personal thingy. No need to bring lots of clothes, theres laundry there in the hotels, and if you dont want to use the service, just wash yourself lah, trust me, it doesnt take much time to dry. 

Walking to Masjidil Haram. The white building in front is the Masjidil Haram. 

MECCA: 17 NOV - 23 NOV 2018 

We departed from KLIA at 1030 am  Malaysia time, and arrived Jeddah around asr Saudi Arabia time. Couldnt recall the exact time. Arriving Jeddah, we straight away took the bus to Mecca, arrived the hotel at 700pm + already isyak time there. Our hotel is about 200 metres away from Masjidil Haram. We already recite the niat umrah inside the plane, 1 hour before arriving Jeddah, the place for miqat from Malaysia is called Qarnul Manazil. People from different parts of the world, have different place for miqat. If already in Haram land (Tanah Haram), the miqat is at the Tanah Halal like Tanaim, Hudaibiyah and Jaaranah. Yes, we have learned this all during school years, but I only understand it well after going to kursus umrah hehe. 

When I first landed my feet on the Haram land, I was so amazed looking at thousands of people from all over the world come to perform umrah, answering to His call. We come from different races, colours, cultures and background, all came here with the same purpose, to submit the almighty Allah SWT. 

Picture of Kaabah in the morning. I forgot to take the night view. 
Mecca Day 1
Arriving the hotel, after getting our room keys, performing maghrib and isyak prayer, and cleaning ourselves, we perform our first umrah in a group. Every group will be lead by a mutawwif, provided by the travel agency. So this mutawwif, is actually like a guider, he will lead us performing the umrah, showing us the area around Mecca and Medina, telling us the story of each historical places while during ziarah and many more. Like I said before, the distance between my hotel to Masjidil Haram is about 200m, took about 5-10 minutes. As I walked to the masjid, I felt some kind of mixed feeling. First, I was afraid if Allah blinded my eyes that I couldnt see the greatness of Kaabah, I heard somewhere this one man couldnt even see the Kaabah even he's actually standing right in front of it, he did solat taubah then, and pooofff there you go, he saw the Kaabah then. Second one, I heard in kursus umrah, the first time you see Kaabah, if tears go down your cheeks, your eyes will be saved from the hellfire. Ive been praying for this things to happen. I really really wanted to feel moved when I see the Kaabah for the first time. I really am.

There are many doors to enter masjidil haram. Gate 79, King Fahd Gate, if you enter the masjid thru this door, you can see the Kaabah right in front of you after few metres walk. That night we entered thru gate no 88. It was 10 pm Saudi time, many people were still inside and outside of the masjid. Some slept on the floor outside the masjid, usually Indians and Pakistani. Upon entering the masjid, my heart felt like wanted to explode, my eyes were busy searching for Kaabah, my lips kept on mumbling please Allah let me see the Kaabah and let the tears flows, my legs just followed the mutawwif, going down the escalator, and finally right in front of me was the holy Kaabah. Mashaallah. This thing I only see on tv before, is finally right in front of me. I suddenly felt moved, out of sudden tears started rolling down, but not much enough to wet my cheeks, but alhamdulliah. 

So, performing umrah, there are 5 rukun umrah. Niat, tawaf, saie, tahallul and lastly tertib. We already niat at Qarnul Manazil, and now was the time for tawaf. 7 times around the Kaabah. For the first time, I could witness Maqam Ibrahim, Hijr Ismail, Hajarul Aswad, Pancuran Emas by my own eyes. Finish the 7 round, then performing the solat sunat tawaf, drank air zam zam, followed by saie. We started saie around midnight, as my parents couldnt walk fast, and I need to follow their pace, we finished an hour later, tahallul which is cutting at least 3 strands of hair, and return back to hotel at 2 am. Subuh in Mecca is quite earlier than Malaysia. We had only about 2 hours to rest before fajr. 

This is how it looks like if you enter masjidil haram thru gate 79. King Fahd Gate. You can see Kaabah from here. 

Mecca Day 2
As we had about 7 days in Mecca, we performed umrah in every other day meaning day 1, day 3, day 5, and day 6 is optional. The other days were free time, so we were given time to do whatever we like. Some went to the masjid, to iktikaf, performing more ibadah, some went sight seeing around Mecca, and some went for shopping. I started my second day in Mecca with solat subuh jemaah. In Mecca, during subuh , azan will be recited 2 times, the first one is 1 hour before the actual time. Even it was still 45 minutes before subuh prayer, the masjid was already filled with people. The places right in front of Kaabah were already fulled. I didnt discover upstairs prayer area yet this time, so I just prayed on the hallway right beside the zam zam container. In Mecca, you can pray everywhere around the masjidil haram, but not in Medina. After the subh prayer, we (my father and I) decided to do tawaf sunat. There are many tempat mustajab doa around the kaabah such as makam ibrahim, hijr ismail, under the pancuran emas and multazam. Alhamdulliah, we managed to pray in front of the multazam. I hope all my prayers were readily accepted by Him. Ameen. 

Then, we went back to hotel. One of the things that I love to see while in Mecca was the pigeons. There were so many of them! What a majestic view! I have recorded some videos of many flock of pigeons flying, ada dekat my instagram in the highlight area if you wanna see hehe.
Hungry pigeons. 

The food provided by the hotel were all nice. I think the cook is either Malaysian or Indonesian. Memang kena betullah dengan tekak melayu. Bare in mind, in Haram land you have to watch out your mouth. No bad talking. Only talk good things. For example, you get bad food, do not try to say any bad words, just eat them all. During nenek last umrah, she did complained on her food, you know what happen then? Food never taste better till the last day she's in Mecca. Same goes to the weather. No matter how hot it is, just bare with it. Dont complain, ya Allah panasnya. Trust me, you will feel hot throughout your stay, based on other people experience. 

Day 2 in Mecca ended well. We did go sight seeing around Zam Zam Tower. Actually we were looking for Saji restaurant that is owned by Malaysian, thought it is in the zamzam tower, rupanya in Safwa Tower. Only in day 3 ke day 4 tah we did finally find it! Food tastes nice in Mecca especially kebab and nasi arab. Not to forget, ice cream too! Some say ice cream in Mecca is the best in the world. Yeke? Haha. 

---------------------------------------To be continued---------------------------------------