The hardest thing…

random thoughts- boggling of mind…


After two and a half years of having a child, today I have finally become a mother. I have finally made a decision that is solely in the best interest of my daughter. The taste of sacrifice is bitter-sweet indeed.


Reaching the decision to be a stay-at-home mom almost landed me in a mental home. I have never experienced such conflicting views as I have about putting my daughter in school. After a trial period of two weeks, I realised that school is not the best thing for her.


So I’ve quit my almost perfect half-day job to be at home with her. We will be poor, the domestic help will not have a job too, and my brain will probably rot at home. But I am doing it for my daughter.


It feels ok. To be in this position of- no position. It feels ok to be a house-wife, sorry if the term is outdated. I am scared, I must admit. But not desperately so. No, I don’t think I’ll be a desperate, uh, housewife.


If this does not work then at least I gave it a shot- I can say that I did not dump my child at an institution merely for my own financial and social benefit. I never wanted to be that kind of mother. I wanted to be a soccer-mom. The kind that revolves her entire life around her kids.


But I wasn’t reared to be that person. Instead I was raised to succeed in a career, find a good job and be ‘independent’. Yet as a mother one can never really be independent as one will always have dependents.


This is by far the hardest thing I have ever done- motherhood.



Makkah: entry 3: The Kaba and I

I know that I have an attachment to the Kaba, because when I’m away from it for too long, I miss it and yearn to look at it-despite the crowds. But I don’t think that I am doing justice to my invitation from Allah to be here.


When I see how others react to the Kaba-how they want to physically be up against it, touch it all the time, how they push and hurt each other to get to the black stone, I cannot fathom it at all. I don’t have that kind of emotional attachment to the Kaba.

The first time I got an opportunity to touch the Kaba one night, all I could do was touch it lightly and pull my hand back. I was too overwhelmed by the people around me who were hanging onto it, crying and pushing to rub themselves against it.


All I could do was stand there and think: “It’s only stone.” The way the hujaaj touch each item of significance and kiss their hands reminds me of the time when the Kaba was surrounded by idols and people were tawaafing around these idols. Not to say that these people are idol-worshippers, Astaghfirullah, no, but their actions are reminiscent of that kind of worship.

I cannot understand how people can hurt each other to kiss the black stone and to hang onto the multazam. Today at supper however, I got a glimpse into the emotion behind these acts: An old aunty who has travelled with me and whom I have likened to my mom, told me about her experience.


She managed to hang onto the door of the Kaba, touch the Multazam and make 2 rakaats right infront of the Kaba. She said that she made her niyaat to do these things when we first arrived at the Kaba and that she wanted to be close to Allah’s house as when will she get the opportunity to be back here?


This was such an emotional experience for her, one that I could not understand no matter how hard I tried. Maybe it had to do with her age, that this was the first time she was here and that she doubted she would be back. Maybe her love for Allah is so much stronger than mine or maybe these tangible objects made her belief stronger. I don’t know. All I know is that I would not do that, so there might be something wrong with me.


I have no wish to touch the black stone if it involves pushing up against men. I keep playing in my mind a narration of Bukhaari that states that as Aishah RA was making tawaaf, a woman said to her, “come kiss the Hajar Aswad, O Ummul Mu’mineen.” She refused to do so (because of the crowds). And: Abdullah bin Abbaas RA said to never crowd the Hajar Aswad, never harm anyone and never be the target of harm.


I guess it’s different for everyone. It’s true what people say: everyone has a different experience of the Kaba. We are all unique with regards to our relationship with Allah. While that aunty felt comfortable pushing her way to perform those acts that meant so much to her, I am not even comfortable making tawaaf so close up against men.

Despite our differences though, we are all here for the same reason: to seek the pleasure and forgiveness of The Almighty Allah, and that’s the beauty of Makkah.

Makkah: entry 2

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.

Makkah- entry 1

The Kabah is not as I thought it would be- this overpowering structure of intense black and gleaming gold. Nor is it as big as it seems to be on T.V. On the contrary, it’s so plain, it’s actually just perfect!


My initial reaction upon seeing the Kabah for the first time was: is this it? it didn’t look real to me. Then I realised the beauty of it being so plain- it is not the stone structure that is holy, nor is it the Kiswah that grants miracles. The Kabah is merely a symbol; a representation of unity, history and the Omnipresence of Allah.


It is said that Allah’s Arsh is just above the kabah and it’s amazing how one can actually feel the energy vibrating in concentric circles around it.


Despite the day’s journey from Medinah, despite the aches and throbbing in one’s bones, everyone on our bus from Medinah seemed to be bursting with energy before the first Umrah. Old ladies in our group could even manage the sae’e ahead of younger ones and old men were more than ready to raml (type of running-action) between the green lights. Tears flowed in abundance from burning red eyes. SubhanAllah, it is the kind of adrenaline you hear about in fairy tales!


The highlight of my first Umrah was the plainness of the Kabah. This thought was so striking- it is the centrepoint of millions of worshippers, nay trillions over the ages, and yet it remains void of embellishment, trimmings and undue decorations. This is so fitting as we do not worship the kabah but Allah is the only One worthy of our devotions.



Medinah: last entry

It’s the last time that I sit inside Masjidun Nabawey. At least for this journey of hajj. I thought that I would be experiencing deep emotions- sadness, anxiety, total withdrawal. But to my amazement, I am completely calm.


I visited the Rawdah and the kabr for the last time to say my farewell greeting last night and I knew that it would be a while before I returned, insha Allah. Despite it all I am ready to embark on the next step of my journey: my first umrah.


Excitement gurgles inside me just as I think about seeing the kabah for the first time, completing my first umrah, the five days of hajj. Ultimately this is the reason that I made this journey, that I left my two-year old daughter, my home, my family and my job, for seven weeks: to ‘labayk’ in the presence of my Lord.


I don’t know if it’s normal to be feeling excitement instead of compete sadness to be leaving Medinah. I don’t know how I’m supposed to part with Medinah- the proper etiquette as taught by a learned shaiykh. All I know is that I am ready for Makkah!


I am ready to chant: “Here I am, oh Allah, here I am.” I am ready to be washed clean of my sins, I am ready for my heart to be cleansed, my book of deeds to be cleansed, and my life to start on a clean note.


It is up to Allah to accept my lame attempts at worship, but I have faith and hope in His Acceptance, and in His Mercy. May He take us there safely, hearts bursting with hope, joy, love and at peace. “Labayk Allah huma labayk!”