It is the 12th day of Dhul-Hichya, this evening will conclude our rites and our Hajj is complete. We ask Allah to accept them and bless us! All we need to do once again is to visit the hamarat or sites that represent evil, the shaytanes. And tomorrow we will go to Medina al-Munawar, or the City of Light.
My friend Iman and I are fasting because when we made our Umra on arrival, we forget to do two rakats after giving turns around the tawaf. We have been recommended to compensate this mistake by fasting 10 days more, 3 here and the remaining 7 in our house in Spain.
Indeed, every day I felt a different emotion. The first entry in the Holy Mosque, and the first sight of the Kaaba was extremely moving. I was fascinated and impressed, the cube caught all my attention and my eyes were filled up with tears as I endlessly said “dua” without stopping and trying to remember from the most important to the least important matter in descending order, trying not to forget anyone close to me or related to me in some way, including those who were making the pilgrimage with us and finally all Muslims in the world.
Najwa was not feeling very well, her liver was giving sings of weakness before our departure from Granada and the journey has been overwhelming for her. She needed to rest a couple of days. Thus, we were three who started the Umra the very same day we arrived at night. We formed a compact block and we managed to get through the crowd quickly in order to touch with our hands the grey stone of the Kaaba. However, we could not reach the black stone, and since it is a stone that neither benefits nor harms and we did not really mind, although of course we would like to do it. I hope I can do it later when most of the pilgrims have returned to their places of origin.
That first tawaf was very purifying, I cried, sweated, asked for mercy and forgiveness, I asked for help until I felt that I could no longer ask for anything more. On the last lap while trying to do two more rakats at Ibrahim’s site, where we saw his footprints, the crowd stopped us and so we went to drink the water of zamzam and then to make the sai. We did not realize we had to make another two rakats in another place, behind Ibrahim’s site. We missed this part of the ritual, so we are now fasting. Khadija did not leave the state of Ihram, and she did not cut her hair, she had the intention of repeating the Umra with Najwa one she feels better.
The tawaf is very rewarding, perhaps the close proximity to the Kaaba in addition to the rotation movement --after the initial impulse-- seems to continue by pure inertia. For these and other reasons that Allah knows the tawaf, walking around the Kaaba seven times, pass with ease and leaves the spirit full of joy, humility, strength and contentment. In contrast, the sai requires sustained effort over time, you feel the fatigue, the long walk is exhausting, we may have experienced to some extent the same difficulties lived by the desperate mother seeking water for her son. At the end, the warm and serene heart and the exhausted body push you to find some rest.
The first time everything was very vivid, we experienced many emotions. The next day we rested at Maimuna and Abdel Samad’s home. We chatted with them, and also with Mariam and Habiba that were there with their children, in particular Adiba is a very smart and charming girl.
We stayed in Medina, the illuminated, and indeed it is astonishing. We found a third class hotel with a quite extravagant name, the "White Palace", luckily, the mosque of the Prophet Muhammad is very close, Allah bless him and grant him peace, and we could get there in a couple of minutes to greet the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). They are making a huge expansion project of the mosque; there are cranes, closed areas, and temporary wooden stairs. Yet everything is clean and there are parts covered with carpets. Then, inside everything is covered with carpet at least the most recent finished areas with white columns and capitals painted in gilded bronze. At the end, the most ancient areas painted with dark red colours with gold on the base of the columns and beautiful frosted glass lamps and blue decoration.
God is great is written in many places. Instead of consecutive arcs, there are small closed vaults on each four columns with a sort of Byzantine decoration, floral, with blue, green and earthy colours. From outside you can see a small green minaret, topped by a golden crescent moon, which is part of the original mosque. At the entrance is the tomb of the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) behind a metal lattice painted green and gold. Inside it can barely be distinguished anything more than a cloth with inscriptions from the Qur’an.
A small guide we have emphasizes that one of the greatest mistake one can commit is to shirk, because all prayers must be directed to Allah, the most powerful and forgiving, Lord of all worlds. He protects us from associating him with anything other than Him!
Despite its size, the Mosque of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is intimate, familiar and welcoming. We had to wait until the turn for women from 6 to 10 am, to enter the closed surrounding of the tomb and greet with all the other women. As salamu alaikum and rahmatullah! It's has been a sweet encounter in spite of my period and a tremendous cold that has considerably numb my sensitivity.
I said to Allah to witness that Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) has fulfilled its mission to convey the message clearly, his message has reached us, which we have assumed and I asked him to help us implement it and that we all shall meet in the gardens of heaven.
I have also asked the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) to intermediate for us as he did when he formed his first community in this city, and to help us, Spanish Muslims, to establish Islam in our respective areas of influence. Throughout the journey, I have constantly dua to Allah hoping He will facilitate our call to prayer and our five prayers everyday. We hope He would make our belief grow stronger, more perfect our faith and our hearts more and more pure and free from bad influences. Each day I recite the sura "Al Falaq" and the sura "Al Nas" to find shelter in Allah and void any undesirable suggestions.
I often think of my children and Mansur, I constantly ask Allah to let us live and die in Islam and, for Mansur I asked that he always continues in the right path and that he leads the light that guides all those who depend on it. Still more duas for the whole family, and Muslims in Salobreña, Granada and Spain, we have meet with few on this Hajj and with many other Muslims in general.
The trip was heavy despite the facilities provided by the association Al-Rabitah, with a team of young people who seem "boy scouts" and who arranged everything as comfortable as possible. The bus moved fast along the road that was in the middle of the desert and it was dirty and grey. The accumulated heat and lack of sleep made the journey a little bit painful, but it was worth having walked this day.
My traveling companions are a wonderful gift. I feel very comfortable with them, and their sense of humour is sometimes like drops of fresh water on the arid desert. From time to time Hashim appears always all the sudden with good energy, saying Alhamdulillah, and thus contributing to the smooth functioning of the group though he generally remains outside of it. He has done a very different trip, on his own, which his own logic, he could not be assimilated into our group of four, which resemble four corners that Allah has prepared in this occasion to form a special and privileged space to remind and worship Him. He wants us to seal our brotherhood with his blessings and protection from the envious or whom that might distract us from His presence.
The pilgrimage is like a walk through Hell and Paradise. A compressed summary of how is life itself. Also, it is great representation of the Last Day. It means to be one alone with the Lord, disconnected from the usual context, free from the ordinary parameters, a situation that makes every gesture simple, concise and highly significant.
And from the beginning to the end is underlined the importance of the intention and the need to make it explicit in the heart of every man and renew it often, following the swing of events.
Allahu Karim, Allah is the Generous Giver of good and He invited us to His House, He has sheltered us and allowed us to make prayer a few steps from the Kaaba and our hearts were inebriated with the recitation, with the breeze and the perfume of the evening, with the murmur of thousands of Muslims fell at the same time, which has flooded our eyes with the sweet freshness of the pray.
To only Allah belongs the victory! However, after finishing our rites and overcoming many difficulties, and visiting for the last time the House for a courteous farewell, I had the feeling of success, I emerged victorious from an arduous undertaking. Also I am aware that I am one of the people that Allah has granted a lot of facilities and, therefore, I have less reasons to be proud of my achievement. However I am still on an exalted mood of success and I ask Allah to allow me to share my strength and joy to those around me in these days of reunion.
Externally, the Hajj is to perform a specific task, a series of obligations that must be carried out gradually, starting with the intention, purification and entry into a special state. It's a real wonder that two million people could endure such an extreme physical conditions without making arguments or fighting, how many of the present are striving to quiet and appease the spirits. This is the first of the wonders that await us.
Once you reached the state of Ihram you need to stay one day in Mina praying five times from Zuhr (evening) until the next day Subh (morning). Those who have no home or shop or corner at the mosque, they stay in the street standing all kind of hardships, extreme heat and overcrowded areas with a faith capable of moving much more hardened hearts than ours. And this is the second of the wonders that await us.
The second day at dawn you have to go to mount Arafat and spend the day doing traveling prayers in preparation for the Grand Voyage. They say, there lays the plain where Adam and Eve stayed for 200 years after they were spelled from paradise. In this place we reached a deep state of meditation, silence and patient waiting. In fact, we were saving energy to withstand the true test of strength that still has to come: the Muzdalifa. After sunset, we have to go to this hot and narrow valley to pray the prayers of Maghrib and Isha. You have to find any space available, all are exposed, burning and leave the time pass slowly and resist until dawn.
This part of the trip is exhausting due to the accumulation of fatigue, heat and lack of sleep. Also, the burden produced by the simultaneous movement of hundreds of thousands of people, which makes even difficult the slightest movement.
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