Sunday 21 February 2016

Makkah Part Two: Digital Detox + The Kabah: 5-7 February 2016.

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Welcome to part two of our stay in Makkah!
We stayed a total of six days in the blessed city and loved every minute of it. The mosque is undergoing major construction work so sometimes getting in and out (especially at Salah times) can be difficult. But it is so worth it! After all, one prayer in Masjidul Haram is equivalent to 100,000 prayers. Subhanallah!

Before setting out for the Umrah, I knew that I (like everyone else going), wanted to make the most of it. Allah only knows whether we would be going again so this was a trip where I did not want to miss a single opportunity to make the most of such a blessed place. What did I do? In Makkah, I ended up doing a full digital detox. No wi-fi which of course meant no internet. Without the distraction of WhatsApp,  social media and the web in general, I felt that this trip was one of the best yet. The days and hours felt longer and filled with more barakah (blessings) - alhamdulillah.

So, that is my tip to any of you going for Umrah or Hajj --> switch off the wi-fi, even if only for a day or two at least. Trust me, the world will still be there when you turn it back on! 

 Friday 5 February: The most blessed day of the week in the best city in the world began with a paratha omelette. Somehow they had managed to cook a spicy omelette into the paratha itself.
The tawaf was extra busy this morning since it was Friday. 
The Arabian sun shone bright over the city.
And, we could see the canopy being prepared for the Imam's arrival.
The Imam arrived and began the Friday Khutbah (sermon).
Then, it was time for the Friday prayer.
The streets of Makkah were packed with worshippers.
In the prayer, the Imam read Surah Al-A'la.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Exalt the name of your Lord, the Most High,
Who created and proportioned
And Who destined and (then) guided
And Who brings out the pasture
And (then) makes it black stubble.
We will make you recite (O Muhammad), and you will not forget,
Except what Allah should will. Indeed, He knows what is declared and what is hidden.
And We will ease you toward ease.
So remind, if the reminder should benefit;
He who fears (Allah) will be reminded.
But the wretched one will avoid it -
(He) who will (enter and) burn in the greatest Fire,
Neither dying therein nor living.
He has certainly succeeded who purifies himself
And mentions the name of his Lord and prays.
But you prefer the worldly life,
While the Hereafter is better and everlasting.
Indeed, this is in the former scriptures,
The scriptures of Abraham and Moses.
{Surah Al-A'la // The Most High}
The Imam also recited Surah Al-Ghashiyah.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Has there reached you the report of the Overwhelming (event)?
(Some) faces, that Day, will be humbled,
Working (hard) and exhausted.
They will (enter to) burn in an intensely hot Fire.
They will be given drink from a boiling spring.
For them there will be no food except from a poisonous, thorny plant
Which neither nourishes nor avails against hunger.
(Other) faces, that Day, will show pleasure.
With their effort (they are) satisfied
In an elevated garden,
Wherein they will hear no unsuitable speech.
Within it is a flowing spring.
Within it are couches raised high
And cups put in place
And cushions lined up
And carpets spread around.
Then do they not look at the camels - how they are created?
And at the sky - how it is raised?
And at the mountains - how they are erected?
And at the earth - how it is spread out?
So remind, (O Muhammad); you are only a reminder.
You are not over them a controller
However, he who turns away and disbelieves -
Then Allah will punish him with the greatest punishment.
Indeed, to Us is their return.
Then indeed, upon Us is their account.
{Surah Al-Ghashiyah // The Overwhelming}
The only time the Tawaf around the Kabah stops is at Salah time.
Otherwise it is happening 24/7!
Dinner time! We ate our dinner after Asr in Makkah - around 4:30pm. Today, we had liver curry.
Chickpea curry + savoury yellow pulao with raisins. I loved the pulao because it was sweet and savoury at the same time!
The mosque lights brightening up in time for Maghrib. The Imam prayed Surah Al-Infitar.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
When the sky breaks apart
And when the stars fall, scattering,
And when the seas are erupted
And when the (contents of) graves are overturned,
A soul will (then) know what it has put forth and kept back.
O mankind, what has deceived you concerning your Lord, the Generous,
Who created you, proportioned you, and balanced you?
In whatever form He willed has He assembled you.
No! But you deny the Judgement.
And indeed, (appointed) over you are keepers,
Noble and recording;
They know whatever you do.
{Surah Al-Infitar // The Cleaving, Verses 1-12}
Indeed, the righteous will be in pleasure,
And indeed, the wicked will be in Hellfire.
They will (enter to) burn therein on the Day of Recompense,
And never therefrom will they be absent.
And what can make you know what is the Day of Judgement?
Then, what can make you know what is the Day of Judgement?
It is the Day when a soul will not possess for another soul (power to do) a thing; and the command, that Day, is (entirely) with Allah.
{Surah Al-Infitar // The Cleaving, Verses 13-19}
After Maghrib, comes Isha! The Imam prayed verses from Surah Yunus.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
For them who have done good is the best (reward) and extra. No darkness will cover their faces, nor humiliation. Those are companions of Paradise; they will abide therein eternally.
But they who have earned (blame for) evil doings - the recompense of an evil deed is its equivalent, and humiliation will cover them. They will have from Allah no protector. It will be as if their faces are covered with pieces of the night - so dark (are they). Those are the companions of the Fire; they will abide therein eternally.
And (mention, O Muhammad), the Day We will gather them all together - then We will say to those who associated others with Allah, "(Remain in) your place, you and your 'partners'". Then We will separate them, and their 'partners' will say, "You did not used to worship us,
And sufficient is Allah as a witness between us and you that we were of your worship unaware".
There, (on that Day), every soul will be put to trial for what it did previously, and they will be returned to Allah, their Lord, the true, and lost from them is whatever they used to invent.
Say, "Who provides for you from the heaven and the earth? Or who controls hearing and sight and who brings the living out of the dead and brings the dead out of the living and who arranges (every) matter?" They will say, "Allah", so say, "Then will you not fear Him?"
For that is Allah, your Lord, the Truth. And what can be beyond truth except error? So how are you turned away?
Thus the word of your Lord has come into effect upon those who defiantly disobeyed - that they will not believe.
{Surah Yunus // Jonah, Verses 26-33}
Say, "Are there of your 'partners' any who begins creation and then repeats it?" Say, "Allah begins creation and then repeats it, so how are you deluded?"
Say, "Are there of your 'partners' any who guides to the truth?" Say, "Allah guides to the truth. So is He who guides to the truth more worthy to be followed or he who guides not unless he is guided? Then what is (wrong) with you - how do you judge?"
And most of them follow not except assumption. Indeed, assumption avails not against the truth at all. Indeed, Allah is Knowing of what they do.
{Surah Yunus // Jonah, Verses 34-36}
 Saturday 6 February: Another completely random breakfast plate this morning - spicy scrambled eggs + vegetable soy noodles + hash browns + salami + cheese + bread + boiled egg.
Post-Zuhr ice cream!
One was chocolate vanilla and the other was toffee chocolate.
Traffic jams in the streets below.
Whenever I would look at the sky directly above the Kabah, I would always remember the Baitul Ma'mur. This is the Kabah of the angels located in the heavens directly above the Kabah on earth. It is mentioned in verse 4 of Surah At-Tur // The Mount.
Can someone buy me one of these houses? They're so cute!
Spicy fish and fries for dinner!
Not like the battered fried fish we have at home but yummy all the same!
Time for the Maghrib prayer! The Imam prayed verses from Surah Ad-Dukhan.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
The Day when no relation will avail a relation at all, nor will they be helped - 
Except those (believers) on whom Allah has mercy. Indeed, He is the Exalted in Might, the Merciful.
Indeed, the tree of Zaqqum
Is food for the sinful.
Like murky oil, it boils within bellies
Like the boiling of scalding water.
(It will be commanded), "Seize him and drag him into the midst of the Hellfire,
Then pour over his head from the torment of scalding water".
(It will be said), "Taste! Indeed, you are the honoured, the noble!
Indeed, this is what you used to dispute".
Indeed, the righteous will be in a secure place;
Within gardens and springs,
Wearing (garments of) fine silk and brocade, facing each other.
Thus. And We will marry them to fair women with large, (beautiful) eyes.
They will call therein for every (kind of) fruit - safe and secure.
They will not taste death therein except the first death, and He will have protected them from the punishment of the Hellfire
As bounty from your Lord. That is what is the great attainment.
And indeed, We have eased the Quran in your tongue that they might be reminded.
So watch, (O Muhammad); indeed, they are watching (for your end).
{Surah Ad-Dukhan // The Smoke, Verses 41-59}
During the Isha prayer, the Imam read a beautiful section from Surah Az-Zumar:
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Allah is the Creator of all things, and He is, over all things, a Guardian.
To Him belong the keys of the heaven and the earth. And they who disbelieve in the verses of Allah - it is those who are the losers.
Say, (O Muhammad), "Is it other than Allah that you order me to worship, O ignorant ones?"
And it was already revealed to you and to those before you that if you should associate (anything) with Allah, your work would surely become worthless, and you would surely be among the losers".
Rather, worship (only) Allah and be among the grateful.
They have not appraised Allah with true appraisal, while the earth entirely will be (within) His grip on the Day of Resurrection, and the heavens will be folded in His right hand. Exalted is He and high above what they associate with Him.
And the Horn will be blown, and whoever is in the heavens and whoever is on the earth will fall dead except whom Allah wills. Then it will be blown again, and at once they will be standing, looking on.
And the earth will shine with the light of its Lord, and the record (of deeds) will be placed, and the prophets, and the witnesses will be brought, and it will be judged between them in truth, and they will not be wronged.
And every soul will be compensated (for) what it did; and He is most knowing of what they do.
And those who disbelieved will be driven to Hell in groups until, when they reach it, its gates are opened and its keepers will say, "Did there not come to you messengers from yourselves, reciting to you the verses of your Lord and warning you of the meeting of this Day of yours?" They will say, "Yes, but the word of punishment has come into effect upon the disbelievers".
(To them) it will be said, "Enter the gates of Hell to abide eternally therein, and wretched is the residence of the arrogant".
But those who feared their Lord will be driven to Paradise in groups until, when they reach it while its gates have been opened, and its keepers say, "Peace be upon you; you have become pure; so enter it to abide eternally therein".
And they will say, "Praise to Allah, Who has fulfilled for us His promise and made us inherit the earth (so) we may settle in Paradise wherever we will. And excellant is the reward of (righteous) workers".
And you will see the angels surrounding the Throne, exalting (Allah) with praise of their Lord. And it will be judged between them in truth, and it will be said, "(All) praise to Allah, Lord of the worlds".
{Surah Az-Zumar // The Troops, Verses 62-75}
Post-Umrah ice cream! Seriously you guys, the amount of ice cream we ate on this trip was ridiculous. This one was a mixture of chocolate, vanilla, mango, strawberry and watermelon. Sounds odd but after performing Umrah, it tasted so good!
We did our tawaaf of the top level of the bridge and I'm still quite shocked writing this but ... it was cold! I know! In Makkah! Guys, if you ever go at this time of year, make sure you pack some warmer clothes. I was freezing on that bridge!

Sunday 7 February: Another beautiful day in Makkah!

From our window, we had a birds-eye view of the birds themselves! Especially a whole load of eagles who would decide to swoop over all the other birds!

The Mountain of Light looking especially beautiful today.

Along with the other mountains surrounding Makkah.

Time for dinner with a view!

Today: minced lamb curry with potatoes and peas + daal + pulao rice + flatbreads.

The sun beginning to set over Makkah.

And, the tawaf getting very busy!

From one window, the Kabah and the other, Mountain of Light.

Nearly time for Maghrib!

The Imam prayed verses from Surah Fatir:
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
O mankind, you are those in need of Allah, while Allah is Free of need, the Praiseworthy.
If He wills, He can do away with you and bring forth a new creation.
And that is for Allah not difficult.
And no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another. And if a heavily laden soul calls (another) to (carry some of) its load, nothing of it will be carried, even if he should be a close relative. You can only warn those who fear their Lord unseen and have established prayer. And whoever purifies himself only purifies himself for (the benefit of) his soul. And to Allah is the (final) destination.
{Surah Fatir // Originator, Verses 15-18}

Not equal are the blind and the seeing,
Nor are the darknesses and the light,
Nor are the shade and the heat,
And not equal are the living and the dead. Indeed, Allah causes to hear whom He wills, but you cannot make hear those in the graves.
You, (O Muhammad), are not but a warner.
Indeed, We have sent you with the truth as a bringer of good tidings and a warner. And there was no nation but that there had passed within it a warner.
And if they deny you - then already have those before them denied. Their messengers came to them with clear proofs and with Scriptures and with the enlightening Book.
Then I seized the ones who disbelieved, and how (terrible) was My reproach.
{Surah Fatir // Originator, Verses 19-26}

As the Makkah night grew even darker, it was time for Isha.

The Imam recited verse from Surah An-Nisa:
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Indeed, the hypocrites (think to) deceive Allah, but He is deceiving them. And when they stand for prayer, they stand lazily, showing (themselves to) the people and not remembering Allah except a little,
Wavering between them, (belonging) neither to the believers nor to the disbelievers. You shall never find a way for him whom Allah has led astray.
O you who have believed, do not take the disbelievers as allies instead of the believers. Do you wish to give Allah against yourselves a clear case?
Indeed, the hypocrites will be in the lowest depths of the Fire - and never will you find for them a helper -
Except for those who repent, correct themselves, hold fast to Allah, and are sincere in their religion for Allah, for those will be with the believers. And Allah is going to give the believers a great reward.
What would Allah do with your punishment if you are grateful and believe? And ever is Allah Appreciative and Knowing.
{Surah An-Nisa // The Women, Verses 142-147}

Allah does not like the public mention of evil except by one who has been wronged. And ever is Allah Hearing and Knowing.
If (instead) you show (some) good or conceal it or pardon an offence - indeed, Allah is ever Pardoning and Competent.
Indeed, those who disbelieve in Allah and His messengers and wish to discriminate between Allah and His messengers and say, "We believe in some and disbelieve in others", and wish to adopt a way in between -
Those are the disbelievers, truly. And We have prepared for the disbelievers a humiliating punishment.
But they who believe in Allah and His messengers and do not discriminate between any of them - to those He is going to give their rewards. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.
{Surah An-Nisa // The Women, Verses 148-152} 
Much later, around midnight, we went down to the bridge around the Kabah. This time, I took my camera along.
All I can say is that no picture on earth can ever compare with the real thing and do it justice. Subhanallah!
The beloved mosque cleaners decided to clean the bottom floor whilst we were there.
May Allah reward all the cleaners of both Masjid Al-Haram and Masjid An-Nabawi for their services - ameen!
A visit to Makkah and Madinah will show you just how diverse and different Muslims are from all over the world. Different languages, colours, cultures - yet all that is put to one side for the sake of Islam. Every single person in his or her own way was calling out to one God - Allah.
Indeed, the first House (of worship) established for mankind was that at Makkah - blessed and a guidance for the worlds.
{Surah Aale Imrah // Family of Imran, Verse 96}
Ibn Abbas (ra) reports that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:
120 mercies descend upon the Kabah every day and night; 60 for those performing tawaaf, 40 for those performing salaah, and 20 for those merely looking at the Kabah.
In it are clear signs (such as) the standing place of Abraham. And whoever enters it shall be safe. And (due) to Allah from the people is a pilgrimage to the House - for whoever is able to find thereto a way. But whoever disbelieves - then indeed, Allah is free from need of the worlds.
{Surah Aale Imran // Family of Imran, Verse 97}
Ibn Abbas (ra) says: I heard the Messenger of Allah say:
The Multazam is a place where duas are accepted. Whenever a person prays to Allah at this spot, Allah grants his prayer.
Ibn Abbas (ra) reports that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
The Black Stone descended from Paradise, having been whiter in colour than milk. The sins of the sons of men have caused it to become black.
Anas bin Malik (ra) reports that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
The Salaah which a person performs in his house is 1 Salaah; and his Salaah in the local mosque is equal to 25 Salaahs; and his Salaah in the Jaame mosque where the people gather is rewarded to the extent of 500 Salaahs; and his Salaah in the mosque of Jerusalem - Masjidul Aqsa - is rewarded to the extent of 50,000 Salaahs; and his Salaah is my mosque - Masjidun Nabawi - is rewarded to the extent of 50,000 Salaahs; and his Salaah in the Holy Mosque of Makkah is rewarded to the extent of 100,000 Salaahs.
Aisha (ra) says: I very much wanted to enter the Kabah to perform Salaah inside it. The Prophet (peace be upon him) then took me by the hand and said:
Perform the Salaah you desire in this Hateem, for verily your people, the Quraysh left this section of the Kabah outside it when they rebuilt the Kabah.
Amr bin Absah (ra) reports that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
Verily, the best of deeds is a righteous and accepted Hajj or a righteous and accepted Umrah.
Abu Hurairah (ra) reports that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
One Umrah recompensates (for sins committed) since the last Umrah.
Our hotel was the tower on the far-left!
Abu Hurairah (ra) reports that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
The Hajis and those who perform Umrah are Allah's deputations. When they pray to Him, He answers them, and when they seek His forgiveness, He forgives them.
And complete the Hajj and Umrah for Allah ...
{Surah Al-Baqarah // The Cow, Verse 196}
Returning to the hotel after spending time in the mosque!
This was in the early hours of the morning and the area around the mosque was still as busy as ever. Makkah is definitely the city that never sleeps!
Remember Allah!
Entrance to the hotel!
Making our way to the room!
Snacking on oranges and green apples.
And still, not quite believing where we were! Alhamdulillah.

I hope you enjoyed this post - stay tuned for part three where we sadly, leave Makkah and head out onto the road to Madinah. A lesson that I learnt from Makkah was regarding the Salaah. The way that everything revolves around the five salaah which are so beautifully led by the Imam's of the mosque. They take their time with the recitation and posture of each part of the prayer - a lesson for us to also take our time with Salaah and not rush it. 
I hope all of you reading this make the intention to go for Hajj and Umrah - may Allah make things easy for you and accept your sincere intentions - ameen.

Keep me in your duas please,


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