This story about the Hajj pilgrimage is written by one of our contributors, Ros. Some parts of the article may have been edited for length and clarity.
In 2018, I took a break from work to take care of my mum as she was ill and it came with a blessing as Allah had better plans for me. I was 'invited' to perform Hajj the same year. I had registered for Hajj in 2016 with my father and husband. However, due to my father's health condition, I had made an appeal to MUIS. With Allah's permission, our appeal was successful. It felt like a dream come true.
My first time seeing the Kaabah during Hajj
I had performed Umrah in 2016 and so, it was not my first time seeing the Kaabah. But I must say that it was really a different feeling when I looked at the Kaabah during Hajj. Tears rolled down my cheeks non-stop; the atmosphere was wonderful. The time spent in Masjidil Haram made me look back and reflect on my life and what I want to do.
My most memorable moments during Hajj
When I was much younger, I used to see millions of Jemaah performing the Hajj on TV... I wonder how they can survive with so many people performing tawaf at the same time. Subhanallah, Allah is a great planner.. he had planned a perfect time for the Jemaah and everyone coming to worship him.
P.S. Preparing for Umrah instead? Check out these 12 useful tips for first-timers!
The most memorable thing for me was that I was accompanied by the men in my life, my beloved father and husband. During this journey, I could see how much they love me. I saw another beautiful sight of my soulmate and how he cared for my father. And I was treated like a princess. No cooking... no laundry... only focus on the prayers.
Another thing I remember was our journey to Arafah. While on the bus, I saw lightning and thunder in the dark sky. We were told that a sandstorm had occurred. At that time I was really scared and I felt that at any time Allah could destroy the earth and humans were at his mercy.
Total darkness at Arafah
When we reached Arafah camp it was total darkness and there was no electricity. After around half an hour the electricity resumed. I was very sure that things happened for a reason and Allah did not want us to be complacent with the comforts of the camp.
Challenges faced during Hajj
My dad was 83 years old. Though he was mobile, he could not walk far and needed a wheelchair for assistance. The journey by bus from Muzdalifah to Mina and Mina to Jamrahtul Aqabah was a long walk and it was very challenging. We were separated from my father as the route was not accessible to wheelchair users. Alhamdulillah, the travel agent took good care of my father. Along the way, I met many kind-hearted people who helped us take care of my father e.g they gave us priority during mealtime, when boarding the bus and were always concerned about my father's well-being.
Things I learnt from Hajj
I have learnt to be more patient and before the journey, I made an effort to pray during the night (Tahajjud). It was a good practice because during Hajj we did Qiyamullail with the Ustaz to increase our faith. We had to endure the late nights and at the same time ensuring that we had enough rest.
Useful tips for those intending to go on Hajj
For the younger ones, the first step is to register your intent and you can start saving up. Prepare early for Hajj as you need to be physically and mentally fit and it will be a meaningful journey as you will have the energy to perform the rites. For the older ones, keep fit and do exercise before the trip to increase your physical performance as you have to walk a lot and do the prayers.
If I could sum up my Hajj experience in a sentence... It was a WONDERFUL experience for me; A chance of a lifetime ❤️
Now that COVID-19 has affected the world and impacted Hajj and Umrah, I feel sad whenever I see the news and videos of the Kaabah. I wish and pray that Allah will eradicate COVID-19 and grant the Jemaah their wish to fulfill their Umrah and Hajj.
P.S. Want to share your tips and stories to help Muslims travel better? Click on this link to share your experience!