Thursday 18 February 2016

Makkah Part One: The Journey + The View: 1-4 February 2016.

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Alhamdulillah, I am back!
After two weeks away, two hotels, three flights, a tonne of packing and unpacking, the best Umrah and of course, a visit to Madinah, I have made it. Let's begin at the beginning, shall we?

First job back in 2015 was to apply for an Umrah visa. Not too complicated - the only thing that I had to get done was a meningitis injection as this is a visa requirement for Saudi.
Cue the injection! When I was younger, I used to have a serious needle phobia - alhamdulillah, I am much better now as long as I don't actually look at it. Brown butter chocolate chip cookies certainly made everything a lot better.
The meningitis jab did not make my arm heavy but the next one for tetanus and typhoid most certainly did. Back home with two heavy arms, I juiced my way through an army of citrus!
Monday 1 February: Injections had and visa finally here, it was the day before our departure. On the same day, I decided to have major debit card trouble but after sorting it out, this spicy red onion omelette with crispy toast was breakfast.
Last dinner! I made the chicken from this recipe and tortillas from here to make the best wraps.
 Tuesday 2 February: Departure day! Our six hour flight would take us direct from Manchester to Jeddah. We flew with these guys.
I was so happy with my window seat!
Major plane geek here! 
The wings of the plane got a good wash before we left.
Not sad at all to be leaving grey England!
Finally, it was time to take off.
And, up we went!
The plane ascended higher and higher through thick cloud.
Before suddenly breaking through into the sky above.
The sun shone bright, dazzling us and we marvelled at the beautiful clouds below.
See you in two weeks, England!
Time for lunch! There was a smoked salmon salad which I wasn't really a fan of.
I went for the fish pie with salmon, white fish, mashed potato, a white sauce, peas and carrots.
What the salad and pie lacked, the dessert most definitely made up for - a chocolate brownie mousse thing that was so good I may even have a go at re-creating it myself.
Slowly but surely, the plane inched its way to Jeddah.
The sun set.
And, we were given these oat and honey shortbread biscuits. Oats in shortbread? Something else I have to try!
Just before we landed, we were informed that we had entered the Ihram zone. Those of us who were going for Umrah made our intentions and were now in the state of Ihram.
Finally, landing in Jeddah!
After getting through the now notorious immigration in Jeddah airport, we took a taxi to Makkah.
Our Indian taxi driver turned out to be an absolute gem - may Allah reward him.
The journey to Makkah took about an hour and a half. We knew we were nearing the Haram area when we saw the clock tower through the window.
And, what greeted us as drove towards the mosque? Only really heavy rain! We thought we were back in Manchester!
We arrived at the hotel around one in the morning. After a super quick check-in, we got into our room.
And, this was the view that met us.
Subhanallah! Words cannot express how beautiful the view was.
 Wednesday 3 February: The next morning, bright sunshine streamed into the room.
Now, we could properly see where we were.
I made myself a coffee and set about snapping the amazing view below. We were on the 32nd floor so pretty high up.
We could see the entire new mosque extension.
The road tunnels which go through and under the mountains of Makkah.
As well as a glorious view of the mosque, we also had a city view. This was really nice because the older parts of Makkah are so different. And, you know me and old buildings!
In the distance, we could see the Mountain of Light in which is the Cave of Hira where the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) received the first revelation.
Spot the tiny green mosque! It was so cool - we could sometimes hear their Salah from our room too!
People standing on the edge of the tower! I hope they didn't have a fear of heights!
Then, they decided to walk across the tower. I was literally praying for their safety but I'm sure they were used to it.
We could also see Safa and Marwa from the room. I kept saying how small it looked from up here but anyone who has performed the Sa'ee between the two hills, will inform you that the distance between them is anything but short.
We kept looking between the Kabah and the Cave of Hira. Can you imagine the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) making his way there and getting away from the hustle and bustle of Makkah? And, his wife Khadijah (may Allah be please with here)? She would travel from Makkah all the way to the cave to give him food and provisions for his stay.
The amazing view really made me think about the Kabah and what it means to Makkah as a whole. You can see that the entire city of Makkah revolves around the Kabah - everyone is either coming to it, leaving it or working around it. It is most definitely the calm centre in the midst of so much chaos.
The prayer book that I took with me was this one. It was a gift from an old friend and I have loved it ever since she gave it to me. The book is divided into 7 sections - one for each day which makes it super easy to use.
Once the time for Asr approached, the beautiful call to prayer rang out all over the city. Once the prayer began, people were even praying out on the street below.
The only time that the tawaf around the Kabah stops is at the prayer times.
Post-Asr rush!
Plenty of taxis lined up down below!
No need to ask which way the Qiblah is here!
Tea time! I have no idea what any of these pastries were except the delicious nutty baklava. The others all contained coconut which I am not too keen on.
There is plenty of construction work happening to the mosque in Makkah. Builders and workers were constantly going in and out of the entrance below us.
And, let's not even begin to discuss the cranes! So many!
As afternoon drew on, the mosque lights were switched on.
And, the tawaf got busier and busier.
Time for Maghrib!
The Imam prayed a part of Surah At-Taghabun in the salah:
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Those who disbelieved have claimed that they will never be resurrected. Say, "Yes, by my Lord, you will surely be resurrected; then you will surely be informed of what you did. And that, for Allah, is easy".
So believe in Allah and His Messenger and the Quran which We have sent down. And Allah is Acquainted with what you do.
{Surah At-Taghabun // The Mutual Disillusion, Verses 7 + 8}
The day He will assemble you for the Day of Assembly - that is the Day of Deprivation. And whoever believes in Allah and does righteousness - He will remove from him his misdeeds and admit him to gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever. That is the great attainment.
But the ones who disbelieved and denied Our verses - those are the companions of the Fire, abiding eternally therein; and wretched is the destination.
{Surah At-Taghabun // The Mutual Disillusion, Verses 9 + 10}
No disaster strikes except by permission of Allah. And whoever believes in Allah - He will guide his heart. And Allah is Knowing of all things.
And obey Allah and obey the Messenger; but if you turn away - then upon Our Messenger is only (the duty of) clear notification.
{Surah At-Taghabun // The Mutual Disillusion, Verses 11 + 12}
Allah - there is no deity except Him. And upon Allah let the believers rely.
{Surah At-Taghabun // The Mutual Disillusion, Verse 13}
Post-Maghrib rush! In Makkah, you see the power of the people. The huge crowd of worshippers leaving the mosque can bring any road to a standstill. 
As the night got darker, the mosque lights shone even brighter and it was time for the Isha prayer.  
The Imam prayed Surah Al-Fajr:
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
By the dawn
And (by) ten nights
And (by) the even (number) and the odd
And (by) the night when it passes
Is there (not) in (all) that an oath (sufficient) for one of perception?
Have you not considered how your Lord dealt with 'Aad -
(With) Iram - who had lofty pillars,
The likes of whom had never been created in the land?
And (with) Thamud, who carved out the rocks in the valley?
And (with) Pharaoh, owner of the stakes?
(All of) whom oppressed within the lands
And increased therein the corruption
So your Lord poured upon them a scourge of punishment.
Indeed, your Lord is in observation.
And as for man, when his Lord tries him and (thus) is generous to him and favours him, he says, "My Lord has honoured me".
But when He tries and restricts his provision, he says, "My Lord has humiliated me".
No! But you do not honour the orphan
And you do not encourage one another to feed the poor.
And you consume inheritance, devouring (it) altogether,
And you love wealth with immense love.
No! When the earth has been leveled - pounded and crushed -
And your Lord has come and the angels, rank upon rank,
And brought (within view), that Day, is Hell - that Day, man will remember, but what good to him will be the remembrance?
He will say, "Oh, how I wish I had sent ahead (some good) for my life".
So on that Day, none will punish (as severely) as His punishment,
And none will bind (as severely) as His binding (of the evildoers).
(To the righteous it will be said), "O reassured soul,
Return to your Lord well-pleased and pleasing (to Him),
And enter among My (righteous) servants
And enter My Paradise".
{Surah Al-Fajr // The Dawn} 

The Imam also prayed Surah Ash-Shams.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
By the sun and its brightness
And (by) the moon when it follows it
And (by) the day when it displays it
And (by) the night when it covers it
And (by) the sky and He who constructed it
And (by) the earth and He who spread it
And (by) the soul and He who proportioned it
And inspired it (with discernment of) its wickedness and its righteousness,
He has succeeded who purifies it,
And he has failed who instills it (with corruption).
Thamud denied (their prophet) by reason of their transgression,
When the most wretched of them was sent forth.
And the messenger of Allah (Salih) said to them, "(Do not harm) the she-camel of Allah or (prevent her from) her drink".
But they denied him and hamstrung her. So their Lord brought down upon them destruction for their sin and made it equal (upon all of them).
And He does not fear the consequence thereof.
{Surah Ash-Shams // The Sun}
Thursday 4 February: Heading back to the room after breakfast.
Still not quite believing where we were this morning!
Spot the window cleaners!
How good must their view be?!
Snacking on the sweetest grapes.
And, reading the Makkah section from one of my favourite Seerah books.
Shadow of the clock tower over the city.
I wish the window cleaners could have done our windows!
Still filming! :)
Also reading the Makkah section in my all-time favourite Seerah book.
Everything going on in the story happened right down there! Subhanallah!
Lights on as the sun began to set.
Time for Maghrib! The Imam prayed a portion of Surah Al-Ma'idah.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Allah has made the Ka'bah, the Sacred House, standing for the people and (has sanctified) the sacred months and the sacrificial animals and the garlands (by which they are identified). That is so you may know that Allah knows what is in the heavens and what is in the earth and that Allah is Knowing of all things.
Know that Allah is severe in punishment and that Allah is Forgiving and Most Merciful.
{Surah Al-Ma'idah // The Table Spread, Verses 97 + 98}
Not upon the Messenger is (responsibility) except (for) notification. And Allah knows whatever you reveal and whatever you conceal.
Say, "Not equal are the evil and the good, although the abundance of evil might impress you". So fear Allah, O you of understanding, that you may be successful.
{Surah Al-Ma'idah // The Table Spread, Verses 99 + 100}
As the night drew in, it was time for the Isha prayer. The Imam prayed a part of Surah Ar-Ra'd.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Alif, Laam, Meem, Ra. These are the verses of the Book; and what has been revealed to you from your Lord is the truth, but most of the people do not believe.
It is Allah who erected the heavens without pillars that you (can) see; then He established Himself above the Throne and made subject the sun and the moon, each running (its course) for a specified turn. He arranges (each) matter; He details the signs that you may, of the meeting with your Lord, be certain.
And it is He who spread the earth and placed therein firmly set mountains and rivers; and from all of the fruits He made therein two mates; He causes the night to cover the day. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.
And within the land are neighbouring plots and gardens of grapevines and crops and palm trees, (growing) several from a root or otherwise, watered with one water; but We make some of them exceed others in (quality of) fruit. Indeed in that are signs for a people who reason.
And if you are astonished, (O Muhammad) - then astonishing is their saying, "When we are dust, will we indeed be (brought) into a new creation?" Those are the ones who have disbelieved in their Lord, and those will have shackles upon their necks, and those are the companions of the Fire; they will abide therein eternally. 
They impatiently urge you to bring about evil before good, while there has already occurred before them similar punishments (to what they demand). And indeed, your Lord is full of forgiveness for the people despite their wrongdoing, and indeed your Lord is severe in penalty.
And those who disbelieved say, "Why has a sign not been sent down to him from his Lord?" You are only a warner, and for every people is a guide.
{Surah Ar-Ra'd // The Thunder, Verses 1 to 7}

Allah knows what every female carries and what the womb loses (prematurely) or exceed. And everything with Him is by due measure.
(He is) Knower of the unseen and the witnessed, the Grand, the Exalted.
It is the same (to Him) concerning you whether one conceals (his) speech or one publicizes it and whether one is hidden by night or conspicuous (among others) by day.
For each one are successive (angels) before and behind him who protect him by the decree of Allah. Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves. And when Allah intends for a people ill, there is no repelling it. And there is not for them besides Him any patron.
It is He who shows you lightening, (causing) fear and hope, and generates the heavy clouds.
And the thunder exalts (Allah) with praise of Him - and the angels (as well) from fear of Him - and He sends thunderbolts and strikes therewith whom He wills while they dispute about Allah; and He is Mighty in Strength.
{Surah Ar-Ra'd // The Thunder, Verses 8 to 13}

Makkah part two is coming soon, insha Allah. May Allah take us all back there very soon - Ameen. Keep me in your duas please,


Spice Enthusiast
© copyrights This Muslim Girl Bakes, All Rights Reserved. Branding & Blog Design by Sadaf F K.