“How one man touched the hearts of so many people is….incomprehensive. It’s a feat only Allah could pull off. This is proof of the Almighty’s Truth.”
That didn’t work out so well. I definitely knocked out, so exhausted yesterday. So, before I get into describing yesterday – I need to state that I’m writing this while seated in the Masjid Al-Haram. If I look up from my page, I am in viewing distance of the Ka’aba. Surrounded by people – literally surrounded. There’s such a soft, cool breeze blowing around – there’s this hum of voices, not overpoweringly loud, but comfortably present in the background. Over it all, there is the sweet chirping of birds, darting & maneuvering through the air inside the masjid & outside, around the Sacred House. It’s bliss. There’s dhikr, there’s laughter, there’s joy, there’s peace here. Serenity. Yes, you can say it’s chaotic & busy, but it’s captivating. Something will catch your eye & I swear you’ll sit for 20 minutes staring w/o even realizing it. When you finally break free of the trance and move to walk away, you turn & see that 20 others were around you, entranced by the same sight. It’s universally magnificent.
I swear the Ka’aba is one of the most beautiful things I have ever laid eyes upon. It’s said there’s reward in just looking at the Ka’aba. When you’re here & you look upon it, no further justification is needed. It calms the heart, the sight of it is absolutely mesmerizing. Seeing waves of people slowly circling it is almost equally as captivating. There is such proof in the Glory of The One in this place. What’s incredible is how many people there are. Haha, I know that’s what everyone says. But, what’s amazing is how many people are devoted to the same thing. Completely devoted. Not passively, not minimally, not conveniently – completely devoted. How one man touched the hearts of so many people is….incomprehensive. It’s a feat only Allah could pull off. This is proof of the Almighty’s Truth. I’m sitting in a random spot & I’m next to people from Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Indonesia, West Africa, Turkey, North Africa – who knows what else. It’s spectacular, subhanAllah. What’s great is knowing that this feeling is shared by everyone here. Okay :) I think that does if for me in this place, let me try to recall last night now, iA.
We arrived at the hotel around 1:30am probably. Maybe 12:30 actually. I immediately decided I was going to do my ‘Umrah that night…
Man, I keep looking around & getting distracted. I had to get up and move somewhere else, it was getting too crowded where I was. I’ll just skip to the good parts. We walked to the Haram, about 10 mins from the hotel, very convenient & easy. We get there & decide to rendezvous at a police post near the ‘Abd Al-’Aziz door, South of the masjid, at the end of the night. Once we’d debriefed, our guide gave some quick pointers on what to do & we headed in. As we neared the masjid, I started getting nervous. I slowed & walked separate from the group, so I could collect my thoughts. I almost didn’t want to go, like I wasn’t ready, but I also couldn’t stop myself from pushing forward. We entered the mosque and I see the Ka’aba after a few steps. And, I froze. 2:03am, when I first laid eyes upon The Sacred House. I found the whole group lined up, hands raised, making du’a & I remembered the virtue of du’a when seeing the Ka’aba for the first time. So I prayed for two things first, as I was taught:
1 – Allahuma ja’alni mustajab ad-da’wah [O Allah, make me of those whose prayers are answered]
2 – O Allah, honor this Ka’aba & all those that look upon it.
The first, I’m told, was a du’a of Imam Abu Hanifa, when he first saw the Ka’aba – basically asking for all of his prayers to be answered – the wish for more wishes :). The second was from Imam Magid’s workshop. Once I had those two, I continued to make du’a for myself & others, & began to tear up. I was standing next to my mother, who was weeping.
We then moved down to begin our tawaf. My parents grabbed hold of me & wanted me to stay with them. After 1 round, we found that it wasn’t busy so I pulled away from them & went on my own, to try & get closer. I think I ended up doing 7 more – but each time I was able to touch the Ka’aba, Alhamdulillah :). I didn’t need to push, though I got pushed, stepped on, crushed, & coughed on. But, honestly, I didn’t care. It didn’t make the experience any less spectacular. The first time I touched the Ka’aba I began to cry & made du’a – or tried to make du’a. The whole event was very overwhelming & made it so difficult to remember anything. All I could think to do was ask for forgiveness & Jannah (Paradise), freedom from Hellfire, the best in this life & the next. It took a few rounds to actually settle my thoughts & to remember others & to pray for them.
So, I was able to touch the wall of the ka’aba, before the Yemeni corner. It was very easy, I was able to do it almost each time around. A few times, I touched the Yemeni corner – where it’s said that wiping the hands clears sins. I touched the corner & moved on.
I did not get to touch Hajr Al-Aswad [The Black Stone, brought down from Heaven by the angel Gabriel and given to Abraham to mount upon the Ka’aba]. I came pretty close, but not close enough. That was the most intense part. I was doing my best not to push anyone, I would only stand my ground against others trying to push me out of their way sometimes. Specifically, while trying to get to the stone, I would move in, hold my ground, & move in, & hold my ground, continuously, until I got closer. I ended up about 5 ft away, but there were so many people, crushing me, that I wouldn’t have been able to go any further w/o pushing. So I left it & moved on. By the way, I loved the proximity. I loved the fact that everyone is pressed together, musty, sweaty, pushing, a bit unruly – it shows the determination & heart of everyone there – shows their passion & persistence – shows their love & need for the Divine. I was honored to be a part of that.
It’s crazy when you look at that picture to imagine that I actually made it through to the spots that I did. Allah is Generous :)
I was able to touch the door. Well, the ledge [Al-Multazam, where all prayers are accepted] & the door frame – I’m not tall enough to reach the actual door. I grabbed the ledge, and while hanging, I prayed for Allah to release me when I would be forgiven of All my sins…and I was still holding on. I was like, um…ok, so like, now would be good. Still holding on. So, I went ahead & made other du’as. Still holding on. I got nervous, like maybe Allah didn’t want to forgive me? So, I got more desperate, said “release me & forgive me!” and I slowly got pushed to the side…sort of loosened my own grip & waited for the right push to let myself go. Don’t know how successful that was, but Allah definitely has a sense of humor :).
The wall next to the door was also fairly easy to touch. This time, I grabbed it & lowered my head & pressed it to the wall. I wept and made du’a after du’a. My hand trembled, my face was hot w/tears & sweat, but I felt like I had all the time in the world, so I kept making du’a. I don’t even remember what I prayed for, but I know I said everything I wanted in my heart. I pray my du’as are accepted.
I continued around in tawaf a few more times – I think I did 8 rounds total, maybe more – I’m not really sure. I got so caught up at the time, I lost track. It was a beautiful experience. I wanted to live in that moment forever. The angels in the Heavens, making tawaf above the Ka’aba are blessed to be able to do that perpetually. It was also amazing to look up in the night sky, illuminated by the bright lamps of the Haram, and to see birds, flying all around the Ka’aba. They looked so free & beautiful. That is a blessed & envious existence. I made du’a that I could be so free in Jannah. I’m trying to recall if they ever crossed directly over the Ka’aba [they did] or sat on it, & I don’t think they did. Interesting. The birds are always singing here – very vocal, chirping away with their sweet songs as they help themselves to the skies & airways all throughout the Haram & inside the masjid – to be continued! Maghrib time, be back later!