The stay at Mina was over and we packed up to go back to Makkah. My heart was so full of happiness and excitement as if I was going “home”. This delight was expressed in the way I walked; in the way I offered to carry the handbags of my “over-loaded” companions, and in my eagerness to push the wheelchairs of elderly people. Although it was very hot that day with the sun shining directly on us, I was almost oblivious to it and my heart was overflowing with love and mercy which I wanted to shower on all the people around me… was it happiness? Was it a new found energy? Or was it Allah’s love? Anyway my purpose to write about it is to record forever the feeling which the Hajj inspired in me… because from day one I had learned that the Hajj was a journey of love and devotion… so I guess that the destination would be to feel that love cruising through your body like blood and no doubt it would be expressed in your behaviour with others.
As we walked and walked towards Makkah, we were not alone but a whole world of men and women moved along us and instead of feeling my usual irritation with crowds and that phobia of being crushed, I was amazed to feel that childlike joy of being part of an enormous group, swimming in great waves towards our common goal… And so my heart sang out “real” praise for my Allah who had made this a part of my destiny… otherwise I could have spent my whole life without witnessing these awesome miracles.
Out of all the memories of my journey, this day is most clearly etched in my heart and soul because with each and every step of mine I was recalling all that I had done so far, evaluating my deeds, pointing out my own weaknesses and asking Allah’s forgiveness from the depth of my heart for the errors I had committed. The sadness at the realization of my weakness and lack of good deeds; seemed to flow side by side with the happiness of realizing Allah’s perfection and greatness.
As we entered the tunnels which were to lead us to the Masjid-ul-Haram, I wished that I could run towards the Ka’ba… and inwardly I laughed at this idea… and just then I heard a strange sound, like a roar of thunder from far behind and gradually coming nearer and becoming louder and louder…. and as I looked back I had barely enough time to move aside before a huge crowd of African men and women went running past us, yelling with happiness and singing with joy…
The tunnel seemed endless but finally we were out in the sun and looking at the minarets of my beloved Masjid. As we entered it and my feet tasted the smoothness of its floor even in my comfortable joggers, I looked towards the sky and began to thank Allah for bringing me back once again to my most favourite place and I just don’t know what went wrong but suddenly I felt the ground rising up towards me and the next moment I realized that I was falling… with a loud scream of shock and fear, I fell flat on my face, arms extended, My backpacks pushing me further so that my knees, nose and forehead scrapped for a few inches more on the cold marble floor and even in that shocking moment, my heart whispered to myself with utmost clarity: surely this is the most perfect prostration anyone could ever make in the house of Ka’ba!!
(To be continued)