I was given the opportunity to perform Umrah with my husband and just returned back home on Saturday. We did Hajj back in 2008 before my sons were born and this is the first year where I was not pregnant or nursing so I was yearning to go back. We went to Madina first and then Makkah. Madina is where Prophet Muahmmad’s (saw) Masjid is. When we went for Hajj, I don’t believe I realized just how stunning Madina was but I think that has something to do with the fact that during Hajj we went to Makkah first. After the emotional and spiritual high that was felt the first time I ever laid my eyes upon the Holy Kabaa, nothing else could compare. But for Umrah, we went to Madina first and we spent a few relaxing days here and this time I did fall in love with the city of Madina. It’s so serene and calm and you feel so safe. You can walk to Masjid Al Nabawi (Prophets Masjid) anytime you want. Masjid Al Nabawi is immense, it’s so large and opulent. It’s striking in the daytime as well as the nighttime. In the daytime there are these massive umbrella like structures that open and provide shade.
Masjid Al Nabawi has the green dome and under it is Prophet Muhammad’s (saw) grave. This is also where Riadhul Jannah is. It is said this is the place where a garden is similar to the gardens of paradise and it is signified by the green carpet. It is recommended to pray 2 rakat here. It was extremely hard to do because Madina was so packed when we went and women have allotted times to go but Alhamdulilah I was able to do it. Every single time you are in Masjid Al Nabawi for prayer, the recitation echoes through the masjid, through the courtyard, through the streets and through your soul. The recitation resonates through your body and my heartbeat was racing a million miles a minute. I’m getting chills down my back just thinking of it. Subhanallah.
While we were traveling from Madina to Makkah, we had a small tour. We visited a few historical sites in and around Madina including Masjid Quba. If you perform 2 rakat prayers here after doing ablution at home, it is said that you have performed one Umrah and of course we took advantage of this and did exactly that. Makkah is the city where Masjid Al Haram is and this is built around the Holy Kabaa.
As soon as we got to Masjid Al Haram we performed Umrah. For Umrah, first you must make intention at the meeqat (designated area outside of Makkah where men put on their Ihram- 2 white unstitched pieces of cloth). We did this on our way to Makkah. Upon arrival in Makkah you must complete one tawaf (7 counter clockwise circuits around the Holy Kabaa) and do Sa’ai which is when you go back and forth between the mountains of Safa and Marwa. Going back and forth between Safa and Marwa shows how much trust Hajjra (Prophet Ibrahim’s wife) had with Allah that she left her son there while going back and forth trying to look for water for her dehydrated and dying son Ismael. She went back and forth between Safa and Marwa seven times and then Zam Zam water sprouted. Zam Zam water has been promised by Allah to have healing properties and is unlimited. After this is completed it is recommended that men shave or trim their hair and women trim their hair by 1 inch. After all of this is complete, you have performed your Umrah.
After Umrah was complete we ate burger king (this is an extremely big deal considering America does not have zabihah halal burger king!) and we went back to Masjid Al Haram to do tawaf. Nothing in the world compares to doing tawaf around the Holy Kabaa in Makkah and this is why Makkah is my favorite. For me, Masjid Al Haram is undoubtedly the most gorgeous place in the entire world. There is nowhere in the world that can possibly put my soul at so much ease than here. There are not enough words to describe all the emotions felt while in Makkah. Doing tawaf around the Kabaa is something I pray I will be able to do every single year Inshallah . Such an immense feeling of love, humility and peace. When you are performing tawaf you can smell the ithar (fragrance) on the Kiswah (black silk cloth embroidered in gold which is draped over the Holy Kabaa) as you get near to the golden doors of the Kabaa. While looking at the Kabaa during tawaf, I was in awe but it was impossible to stare at the Kabaa for more than a few seconds. I found it hard to gaze at the Kabaa for more than a few seconds because you are filled with so much humility and are taken aback by the amount of sheer beauty that the Kabaa can hold over you. If there can possibly be a place on earth that can capture your heart, Makkah is it for me.
As I am rereading and editing this post I am getting teary eyed. I know this is an extremely long post but I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Xoxo
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