Tag Archives: departure

Day 2 – Liftoff

10/23/11

On the plane, we’ve lifted off & begun the flight. You can sense there’s alot of excitement, especially amidst our group – all the uncles are like, on a buddy trip, chillin wit they homies kinda vibe. I’m chillin with some earplugs in, finding bliss in tuning out the noise. I’m sitting next to my mom, which is funny b/c I was assigned a totally different seat. My mom had some guy next to her, who offered to switch with my dad, but he didn’t want to sit next to her! So funny. He didn’t want to deal with the nagging for 12 hours :). She was giving him a hard time for not switching next to her though, so he did it to avoid making a scene. He sat down next to her, 30 seconds later, he was at my seat asking to switch, haha! I happily switched. I’d much rather be close to her than with some randoms. I’m hoping to spend alot of time with her this trip, helping her however I can. I know she really wants it too, she’s saying my dad already said he’s not gonna stay with her during the rituals. These two are so funny, it’s cute. I’m looking forward to being there for her though, may Allah make it easier for us & reward me even more for helping them :) cha-ching!

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I’m reading Tariq Ramadan’s “In The Footsteps of the Prophet”, finding it to be so inspirational & beautiful. So well-written & perfectly contemplative mashaAllah. I hope that I’m able to take from it what would be best for me to know while I embark on this momentous journey. Speaking of which – I realize this trip has a magnitude greater than what I currently grasp. I’m attempting to capture as much as I can though, so that later, when it settles in, I can re-live & share the journey in a meaningful way. I also imagine there’s an opportunity for my future generations to interact with this text. If that ever happens, if I am to be so blessed, then, Salaam to you all :D (I actually smiled when I drew that, even though it’s hideous, geez cut me some slack, I’m your granddaddy for goodness sake!) j/k future kiddos, j/k :) (that means “just kidding” in 2011 talk). Who knows what you’ll be into when you’re time comes – where your interests will lie. I do solemnly pray & hope for your success, in the most true & everlasting sense of the word. May Allah preserve, guide, elevate, & honor my progeny & make me and my brother the elevated, guided, successful progeny of those who came before us.

The Hideous Smiley

On a less inspirational, yet equally inspired note, these Punjabi uncles seriously won’t stop yapping on the plane. AND they’re SO LOUD! It’s ridiculous. It’s like 11:30 pm and they’re still carrying on like we’re traveling to an international cab-drivers convention (they all actually are cab drivers). Can we please contemplate the journey afoot? Mentally prepare ourselves for one of the greatest experiences of our lives? Really hoping they don’t turn this Hajj into a bachelor party. I will not hesitate to bounce & do my own thing – I need to do this right & to have my du’as accepted – I need my sins forgiven, my heart cleansed, my self enlightened. Ya Rabb, I am in Your Care now, more than always, please sufficiently prepare & guide me. Ameen.

Word to the kiddos – don’t be loud, obnoxious Punjabis. Nobody thinks that mess is cute.

I’ve been reading & writing much of the way, I think I should sleep, we land in about 7 hours I believe, & it’s all action from there.

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Day 2 – Dulles

“It’s nice to have some relief before it gets heavy.”

10/23/11

We leave today – in a few minutes actually. I finished up my packing last night – it still hasn’t quite hit me that I’m going anywhere. HajjCoach.com was so helpful in giving a comprehensive rundown on the essentials – great for a procrastinator like me. Shopping lists, ritual guides and overall good advice in some quick little videos. Great site mA.

I made a late night Wal-Mart run to pick up a few essentials. InshaAllah, I’ll have everything I need. Don’t know if I’ll get sick either, I’ve been feeling a little sore throat & fever for the past few days – we’ll see if that gets better or worse.

Reading over guides last night for Hajj & ‘Umrah is when it hit me that this process was real – it helped me totally visualize it & see myself there, which made me tear up. This morning though, I woke up & felt like it was any other day, like nothing special. Felt nice actually – I imagine it’ll be all crazy from here on out, so it’s nice to have some relief before it gets heavy.

Must go now, we’re heading out the door – my uncle & aunt are here to take us to the airport
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We’re driving to the airport now. I’m looking outside & it’s beautiful. 65 deg, sunny, cool breeze – the leaves are changing color. Such a gorgeous time to be here. I wonder if I’ll miss out on autumn altogether by the time I get back. Apparently, it’s going to be 103-108 deg in Mecca during the day, 83 deg at night. That’s. Insane. And it’s a desert, that’ll be interesting…
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Got through security just fine. We’re seated at the gate now, waiting to board. We had enough time to get situated comfortably, grabbed a quick snack [tuna melt croissant from Dunkin – money :)] & we got to pray ‘Asr at the airport chapel. It’s amazing how tranquil & peaceful I felt after praying. SubhanAllah, each prayer feels so good now – past few years, salah has been so much more fruitful & beloved to me. I still haven’t grasped the connection, mentally, between praying towards the qibla & embarking on this journey in which I’ll be face-to-face with my qibla. The qibla has become a safe place in my heart – the direction has become one of comfort & tranquility. This trip will bring me the opportunity to discover the qibla anew. Something I put off thinking about b/c I don’t want to lose the peace I get from it as it is now in my heart. It’s the little things I suppose that bring comfort & peace to the heart.

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Day 1 – Aspirations

Travel Companions

Everyday, they ask me if I’m ready, I have nothing to say.”

Book 1

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

10/22/11

We leave tomorrow. This will be my first time going on this journey, so it still hasn’t quite hit me yet. I was hoping to start documenting my thoughts & feelings earlier, finding the time has been difficult. I’m going to do my best to keep up this journal b/c I want this experience to be something completely memorable. Even now as I’m starting to write, there are so many thoughts racing in my mind & I want to capture them all. Breathe. Here goes iA (inshaAllah, God-Willing).

 I haven’t done anything in the way of getting prepared. My parents had bags packed, ready to go, seated beside the staircase 2 months ago. Everyday, they ask me if I’m ready, I have nothing to say. I still can’t believe I’m actually going. This is truly a blessing & indeed an invitation from Allah SWT (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, May He Be Glorified & Exalted). The entire process of planning this trip has been so smooth & easy. The cost almost didn’t even matter – after having paid for everything, I really don’t feel like anything was decreased from me, subhanAllah. Allah truly opens doors & is the best of planners. I was honestly skeptical about how real this was going to be until we got our passports & visas back. But even now, until my eyes look upon the ka’aba & I take that first breath of air inside the Haram, I won’t fully grasp it.

 I’m looking forward to it. I’m honestly not worried or concerned by what people say about it. People have stories about how dirty or difficult or intense it will be. I’m sure I can handle it. I’m just concerned for my parents – not sure how well they’ll be able to keep up, but I’m sure we’ll be able to get through it iA.

What I’m most looking forward to is making du’a (supplication). Over the past few months, du’a has become my favorite hobby & past-time. So, Hajj is especially exciting, it’s like the big leagues for du’a. The majors :)

There are so many things I ask for, but really I just want what’s best in this life & in the Hereafter. I also love to make du’a for others – especially my loved ones. I’m excited about the 6 page du’a list I’ve got with names & du’as from other people. Ya Allah, make me one whose du’as are answered. Ameen.

I’ve been contemplating this past year & I’m so thankful for how blessed I’ve been. Getting to go on Hajj, getting a good job, having a good relationship with family – meeting new family, seeing Ali (my younger brother) do well in school & set out in a good direction, being financially stable, being healthy, being free from major problems, being able to get active & creative with side projects again. So many great blessings Alhamdulillah wa Shukr.

I’m excited about following the footsteps of the Prophet. I want to visit the places where he was – I’m so hopeful for visiting the cave of Hira, where he would meditate & retreat from society, where the first revelation came to him. That must be a powerful place.
I hear Mecca is crazy busy & crowded – like a bustling NYC & I’m so interested to see that. It’s a major place where the primary focus of everyone there is Islam. I’ve never been in a place like that, we’re always a minority, or in places where there are Muslims, I’ve never been around that level of intensity and devotion.
I also have heard that Medina is completely tranquil & serene. It blows my mind when I hear about that. It’s amazing to hear it from everyone & to imagine the tranquility to be so overpowering & unmistakable. I’m so curious as to whether Medina was always this way, or b/c the Prophet lived there & prayed for it. He also loved Mecca, so it’s interesting & nice that a busy city was something he enjoyed – surely it was still busy back then, just relative to their scale. He loved the busy city, but would retreat every so often into the cave to find balance & remove himself so he could discover himself & understand this world & this life. Eventually, Medina held a special place in his heart, the tranquility must have been there then. I understand & relate to it so much. I just want to go & experience it myself, iA.

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