Time passes by so quickly here in a day, yet I feel as though I have not done even an iota of what I planned to do in Makkah, with regards to my spiritual-self. It is the third day that I am in the Holy Land and I haven’t even performed a second umrah!
Living in Makkah is not easy. When Sheikh Alexander said back home that shaytaan is rife here in Makkah I didn’t want to believe it. Being here these past few days however, I can now bear witness to that statement.
The love that I had for all the hujaaj in Medinah has fast grown into irritation. I get so disturbed with the Turkish and Indian women who have a habit of pushing one from behind, even when there is no need whatsoever to do so.
It takes so much out of me not to stand erect and use all my body-weight against them when they push me. I know that they are older women and that I could easily hurt them back if I put in the effort, but of course I would not do such a thing. But these are the kind of thoughts that run in one’s mind- a prominent example of the power of shaytaan over here.
Makkah during Hajj time is definitely not for the fainthearted. Or should I say for those who are used to being pampered, served on and being treated with respect and dignity. Makkah is hot, its streets are crowded with people who do not give a flying-fart about you; who won’t even give you as much as a glance let alone a smile, and it is dirty and dusty. And you better watch where you walk, lest you step into green sputum lying all over the roads!
There are always people- wherever you turn you will bump into somebody. There is no peace, no calm. Even when you are in the midst of ibadah, somebody will knock your head with a bag, or tramp on you whilst in sujood, or push you so that your entire body turns away from the Kaba. I am struggling so much to find that tranquillity that I had in Medinah. It’s hard and you have to be a strong person, a focussed person to be able to reach a spiritual peak over here.
I am also struggling to connect to the rich history of the place- dating as far back as to the first creation of mankind, Nabi Aadam (AS). The tall buildings, huge crowds, overpowering lighting and building equipment do not help the situation. Was this the same Kaba that our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) would sit in front of and make dua’? Find peace at? Talk to his Rabb in front of?
While I am saddened by all of this I have come to the realisation that this is supposed to be hard- hajj is not about that feeling of ecstasy that you get when speaking to your Rabb alone in a darkened room, or that high that you feel after you know that you have done something that will please Allah.
Instead it is about sacrifice- are you going to still make Tahajud even though you know that you are not feeling good about it? Or are you going to leave it because you think, in your narrow mind’s-eye, that it is not worth it? Are you going to still be kind to that Indian aunty who just shoves your kind gesture without even so much as a thank you? Are you doing these acts for Allah or for yourself?
It is a test of patience, endurance, sacrifice. Makkah was established on these qualities, the sacrifices of Ebrahim (AS), Hajar (AS) and Isma’eel (AS). The sacrifices of the last prophet, his companions: the likes of Sumayyah RA, Khadeejah RA, Abu Bakr RA, Bilal RA… the list is exhaustive.
It is with this frame of mind that I have to perform my ibadah here. That I look forward to the days of hajj with- the heat, the crowds, the lack of infrastructure. I have to remember this, or else I will fall into the devil’s web of deception: by complaining, being ungrateful and being lazy. May Allah make it easy for all the hujaaj, amen.