Sunday 31 January 2016

My Umrah Memories - 2009 + 2010 + 2011!

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

As you may have gathered through yesterday's post, we are heading off for Umrah pretty soon.
In the past few days, I have been looking through old photos from previous trips and so thought I would share some of my favourites with you. Settle in, grab a cup of tea and let's begin!

Through this post, I hope to inspire those who have never been for Umrah to maybe think about going, insha Allah?
As for those who are fortunate enough to have already performed the Umrah, maybe now is the time to think about planning for the Hajj? Hajj is one of the compulsory duties of Islam upon those who are able. We never know what tomorrow will bring so maybe now is the time to pluck up the courage and go for it. Alhamdulillah, I have been very fortunate to complete the Hajj at a relatively young age. My advice is to perform the Hajj whilst you are young and still have the strength to carry out all the actions and rites properly. Let's face it - none of us are getting any younger! 

As for those extra fortunate ones who have been able to perform both Hajj and Umrah, I hope this post brings back wonderful memories for you and insha Allah, is the encouragement for you to think about making the blessed trip again.

 Umrah Ramadan 2009: We begin in the blessed city of Madinah during the summer/early autumn of 2009. It's been so long I can't even remember the actual month.
These photos were taken on our way to Masjid Quba and I couldn't help but snap away at places that I found interesting in the city. I don't know about you but because the city itself (especially around the Prophet's {saw} Mosque) is so modern, it's hard sometimes to picture what life was like during his blessed life. These old-ish buildings kind of give me a  tiny insight. I have a thing for old buildings as you'll see throughout this post.
As we drove out of the city, we passed plenty of gardens and palm groves.
And, more old buildings/ruins!
Until we finally arrived at Masjid Quba.
This mosque was the first one ever in to be built. Performing 2 rakaat of Nafl prayer here is equal to performing an Umrah itself!
Along with old buildings, I have a thing for signs. I love how there are signs everywhere in Makkah and Madinah reminding you to remember Allah - in this case, to seen peace and salutations to our Prophet Muhammad (saw).
Passing smaller mosques on our way to Mount Uhud.
And, palm trees!
Another smaller mosque.
In the clearest blue skies and hot sunshine, we arrived at Mount Uhud.
This was where the famous second battle of Islam took place - the Battle of Uhud.
We approached the infamous Archer's Hill.
Which we ended up climbing!
There are a few companions of the Prophet (saw) who are buried here including his own uncle Hamza (ra).
Next, our guide took us to the cave where the Prophet (saw) had temporarily rested during the battle.
The mountain of Uhud is huge - a person who prays the Janazah (funeral) prayer receives the same amount in reward.
I love how some roads of Madinah are named after the Companions (ra) of the Prophet (saw). This was Umar ibn Al-Khattab Road which we passed on our way to the Miqat.
This is the point where we had to assume our Ihram for the Umrah itself. People coming from Madinah must be in Ihram at Masjid-u-Shajarah.
This was the sign for the ending of the sacred boundary of Madinah. With heavy and sad hearts, we left the blessed city of the Prophet (saw) and headed to Makkah.
More signs!
Alhamdulillah, we made it! We stayed in the clock tower but I've forgotten which hotel!
Heading to the mosque under very grey clouds.
It was nearing the end of the fast so everyone was gathering to eat and then pray the Maghrib prayer.
Iftar - dates and Zam Zam!
A huge map outside the mosque to help any lost souls out there!
People resting between prayers in the mosque!
Praying in the Hateem - the scent of the Kabah cloth was just beautiful.
Hanging clocks all over the mosque - they flash up the different prayer times.
Quran shelves everywhere!
Another sign!
Allah has made the Kabah, the Sacred House, a source of stability for people ....
{Surah Al-Maidah, Verse 97}
Sitting on the rugs inside the mosque, waiting for the next prayer.
Heading out of the hotel in the beautiful sunshine.
Blue skies and minarets! Two of my favourites in one place!
Rugs laid out for to people to pray outside the mosque.
A dua sticker inside the hotel lift. It is a prayer for forgiveness.
Hmmm .. which way would you go?
Was super tempted to jump on this mosque cleaner! 
Another sticker in the hotel lift. This one reminding us to send peace and blessings to our Prophet Muhammad (saw).
Watching people doing their Tawaf.
Just before sunrise.
O you who believe, remember Allah abundantly, and proclaim His purity at morning and evening.
{Surah Al-Ahzab, Verses 41 + 42}

Umrah Ramadan 2010: Leaving behind a very soggy English day!
Flying above beautiful clouds!
Who has created seven skies, one over the other. You will see nothing out of proportion in the creation of the Rahman (the Most Merciful Allah). So, cast your eye again. Do you see any rifts?
{Surah Al-Mulk, Verse 3}
Waiting in Doha to catch our flight!
We went to Madinah first and after checking in, went straight to the mosque.
The Prophet Muhammad {peace be upon him} said:
Say, "I believe in Allah", and then stand firm.
These photos were taken on a very hot but beautiful afternoon in Ramadan.
The Prophet Muhammad {peace be upon him} said:
A truthful and trustworthy trader will be in the company of the prophets, the very truthful, and the martyrs.
The Prophet Muhammad {peace be upon him} said:
When you dress, and when you perform ablution, begin with your right side.
{Abu Dawud}
Madinah is total heaven for a minaret lover like me!
The Prophet Muhammad {peace be upon him} said:
It is not lawful for a Muslim to sever relationships with his brother for more than three days. Whoever does sever relationships for more than three days and then dies will enter Hellfire.
{Abu Dawud}
The gates of the mosque!
More signs! This one asks Allah to accept all our good deeds.
Once again, we visited the beautiful Masjid Quba.
The Prophet Muhammad {peace be upon him} said:
Preserve what you have memorized of the Quran, because by Him in whose hand lies my life, it escapes (from the heart) faster than a camel does from its rope.
More old houses!
And of course, a trip to Uhud.
The following photos were all taken after the morning prayer.
The sky grew lighter and lighter.
And suddenly ...
.. we were faced with the most beautiful sunrise.
The Prophet Muhammad {peace be upon him} said:
A true believer is not he who eats to his fill while his neighbour goes hungry at his side.
The Prophet Muhammad {peace be upon him} said:
When your good deeds make you happy and your bad deeds make you sad, then you are a believer.
The most perfect start to the day!
We headed back to our hotel to get some rest.
Again with the saddest hearts, we left Madinah and made our way to Makkah for the Umrah itself.
Stopping at a few tiny mosques during the five hour trip.
We were very blessed to be in Makkah during the last ten days of Ramadan. This is the busiest time and the streets were jammed with traffic during the day ...
... and at night!
More signs in the mosque!
We stayed in a different part of Makkah this time, and so would enter the mosque passing a bridge that went across the people doing Sa'ee between the hills of Safa and Marwa.
This was our daily view as we walked to the mosque.
The maqam Ibrahim!
And of course, the Kabah!
The green lights let the pilgrims when to begin and end each circuit of Tawaf.
So remember Me, and I will remember you, and be thankful to Me, and be not ungrateful to Me.
{Surah Al-Baqara, Verse 152}
Drinking as much Zam Zam as we possible could! We were very fortunate to be in Makkah for the ending of the Quran.

Ramadan 2011: I remember this time! It was August! Umrah trips always begin with plenty of Ihram sheets washed and out to dry.
Sunrise on our way to Heathrow.
Waiting for our plane to arrive!
Here it is!
This time, we flew with these guys!

Once the plane was prepped ...
... it was time to board!
And, up we go!
The plane flew higher and higher until we were above the clouds.
We passed mountains ...
... and even Masjid Nabawi! 

We reached Makkah and checked in to the hotel.
The view from the room.
Once again, I loved seeing the older buildings.
Especially the ones built near or on the mountains of Makkah.
Most important bit of the room - the tea station!
Making our way to the mosque.
And, keeping an eye on what was happening outside!
There was plenty of building work happening as the mosque expansion went on.
Iftar! Some sort of chicken, rice and pasta situation.

Of course, plenty of dessert!
Leaving Makkah!
Whenever we leave Makkah, I always remember what the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said when he left the blessed city:
When they had gone a little way beyond the precincts of Makkah, the Prophet (peace be upon him) halted his camel and looking back he said:
"Of all Allah's earth, you are the dearest place to me and the dearest to Allah, and had not my people driven me out from you, I would not have left you".
{Muhammad by Martin Lings}
Camels on the road to Madinah!
The moment you first see the minarets of the Prophet's Mosque!
Madinah from the hotel!
First stop, the Prophet's Mosque!
Like Makkah, Madinah is busy both day and night. The cities that never sleep!
Cooling off with the best ice lolly!
The following pictures were taken just before sunset.
It was Ramadan so that meant the time to break the fast was soon approaching. 
And, what a beautiful scene we had in front of us!
The Prophet Muhammad {peace be upon him} said:
Richness does not come from an abundance of wealth; (true) richness is the richness of the heart.
As the sun began to set ...
... the lights came on.
And soon, the call to Maghrib prayer rang out all over the city.
It was time to open the fast! This spread was laid out for us by a Pakistani family who we had never met before. The lady just came and put all these wonderful dishes in front of us - there were dates, milkshake, bread, rice, curry and fresh mango slices.
May Allah reward her with the food of Paradise - ameen!
The Prophet Muhammad {peace be upon him} said: 
Nothing is more honoured in the sight of Allah than supplication.
The Prophet Muhammad {peace be upon him} said:
Convey from me, even if only a verse.
The Prophet Muhammad {peace be upon him} said:
I was sent to perfect good character.
One of my favourite foods in Madinah - the best grilled chicken!
Heading back to Makkah for Umrah!
Stopping at Masjid-u-Shajarah ...
... to put on our Ihram.
Off to Makkah we go!
Stopping at a roadside mosque to pray the Maghrib prayer!
Burgers in Makkah!
More signs!
O mountains of Makkah, how was the dawn,
On the day that my Prophet Muhammad {saw} was born,
How did it feel knowing he was to be, the last and most beloved of all,
Rasool of Allah, Nabi of Allah.
Leaving Makkah once more with the saddest of hearts.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I enjoyed writing it. May Allah put the love of both Makkah and Madinah into our hearts. May He allow us to realise their true value and understand in great detail all that happened there. May Allah take us for Hajj and Umrah again and again. 

All praise belongs to Allah. the Lord of the Worlds, and blessings be upon the leader of His Messengers, Muhammad, and on his family, and all of his Companions.

Keep me in your duas please,


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