This story about the Hajj pilgrimage is written by one of our contributors, Marshadhianti. Some parts of the article may have been edited for length and clarity.
I am Marshadhianti from Indonesia. I performed Hajj last year (2019) when I was 29 years old and was one of the youngest pilgrims in the group.
My first time seeing the Kaabah during Hajj
My first visit to Makkah when I was 18 years old when I performed Umrah with my family. Before this, I could only see the Ka’bah on TV. Being in the Masjid Al Haram and seeing the Ka’bah for the first time made me feel so peaceful and brought me to tears. Standing in front of the Ka’bah for the first time was so surreal.
When I came to Makkah to perform Hajj, I was filled with excitement and felt incredibly blessed to be among a part of the 2.5 million Muslims around the globe. The blessed feeling of being there in front of the Ka’bah can’t be expressed. The feeling of being very small in every way and at the same time being so very important just to be there is so profound.
P.S. Read more about Hajj experiences of other Muslims here.
My most memorable moments during Hajj If
I have to choose one memorable moment, it has to be wuquf (the ritual of standing at Arafah), because this is the most important part of Hajj. Millions of people were wearing ihram and gathering in Arafah from noon until sunset.
At that time, my group was sharing the tent with a large group of Hajj pilgrims from Thailand. Both the Thai and Indonesian Ustaz had to give a wuquf sermon in their own respective languages. We all were praying together from noon until sunset, asking Allah for forgiveness. There was no difference between ethnicities, different language, social status, etc. We all have the same reason – to worship Allah. The diversity of pilgrims signifies that everybody in this world is equal. This such equality is never seen anywhere else in the world.
P.S. Preparing for Umrah instead? Check out these 12 useful tips for first-timers!
Challenges faced during Hajj
During the journey, I faced challenges with regards to people, especially in Mina. All I could do was to try and be patient, stay calm and focus on the purpose of the Hajj journey. I kept on doing dzikir and istighfar. Those really helped me a lot to overcome whatever uncomfortable situations I
P.S. Check out what Hajj looks like in 2020 in this article
Things I learnt from Hajj
The entire Hajj experience should have left me as an individual with a new meaning and refreshed purpose of life, but I'm still working on being a better version of me. This one month journey taught me that I have to be kind, patient, humble and sincere in all the things I do. Be kind to others and Insya Allah, we’ll be rewarded with kindness too.
Useful tips for those intending to go on Hajj At first, I was worried about not being ready to perform Hajj. But then I realize that if I overthink too much, then I’ll never feel like I’m ready for it. Just keep in mind that Hajj is a journey of a lifetime and it is such a privilege to be able to perform it. Have full faith that Allah will take care of you and everything will be fine. Before departing, learn about the manasik (rituals) of Hajj and prepare your physical fitness by doing some exercises.
If possible, perform Hajj before you get too old because you’ll need both physical and mental strength to do all the rituals. I would suggest the pilgrims to rest well and not to
force themselves too much before the Arafah-Muzdalifah-Mina (Armuzna) days because their energy will be drained a lot from 8-13 Dzulhijjah. Always stay hydrated by drinking Zamzam water, eat well (whether you like the food or not, just eat it, because you’ll need a lot of energy) and always take your vitamins and routine medication with you.
If I could sum up my Hajj experience in a sentence... Hajj is an amazing experience that gives me new meaning and perspective of life.
Now that COVID-19 has affected the world and impacted Hajj and Umrah, it will never be the same again, as it has been allowed only for the locals with a restricted number. This pandemic has forced the cancellation of Hajj pilgrimage from my country. This decision has surely disappointed every Muslim. I was very sad to hear the news because millions of people have been looking forward to their journey of a lifetime for a very long time. Although it’s devastating, we have to be patient and accept the decision however painful it might be. May Allah the Almighty make things easy for the Muslims who plan to perform Hajj.
P.S. Want to share your tips and stories to help Muslims travel better? Click on this link to share your experience