Hajj journal (part-18)

The last day of our stay in Makkah will remain etched in my memory forever and ever because I was so deeply aware of seeing it probably for the last time… And so when I walked towards my beloved Ka’ba well before dawn, I consciously absorbed all the sights and sounds along the way, because I wanted to remember each and every detail… the people moving so quickly… the sounds coming from the shops… the sweet lyrics of some Arabic nasheed coming loud and clear from one of these shops still rings in my ears as if I am standing right there!

In the Masjid I had the pleasure of sitting beside an African woman who had deeply etched scars on her face. She told me in broken English that it was a sign of the tribe to which she belonged. She didn’t seem to be very educated but I was amazed by her beautiful accent of Arabic as she answered the Azaan. So very softly as if talking to herself, yet completely clear and understandable… In the prayer also I could hear her voice and I loved to hear these precious words from her because it made me feel how closely united we all were in spite of the vast differences of language and culture. I wished in that moment that Muslims all over the world could understand this deep relationship and so get together and get to know each other so that this mutual love could give us the confidence and strength that we need to move forward in this world. We are all gifted in one way or the other but we need to join one another and share all our gifts and talents and other resources which Allah has showered on us so that we can fulfil our honourable role of being Allah’s chosen nation.

I can never forget the state of my heart when the Imam started reciting one of my most favourite verses from Surah Al-Anfaal (20-29) as one word after the other penetrated my heart, it just felt like cracking and a stream of tears sprung out…

O you, who have believed, obey Allah and His Messenger and do not turn from him while you hear [his order].

And do not be like those who say, “We have heard,” while they do not hear.

Indeed, the worst of living creatures in the sight of Allah are the deaf and dumb who do not use reason.

And then the most precious Ayat came along which had moved me so much the first time I had learned it that I had written my first ever article on its theme, so many years ago…

O you, who have believed, respond to Allah and to the Messenger when he calls you to that which gives you life. And know that Allah intervenes between a man and his heart and that to Him you will be gathered.

And I stood there in the blessed mosque, mesmerized by the absolute truth of Allah’s words coming to me as if to remind me of my great responsibility… tears flowing in an endless stream, all my past mistakes seemed to come together in front of my eyes and my heart begged for Allah’s forgiveness and acceptance as never before…

After the prayer I heard a soft voice calling to me “Assalamualaikum”… it was a young girl from Sri Lanka… “Why were you crying?” I told her that the words of Quran were so powerful and reminded me of so much… she looked at me incredulously: “did you actually understand it all?” And as I nodded my head and looked at the amazement in her eyes… I wished so much to transfer all that Allah has taught me to her and all the Muslims standing there or even those who had not come or even those who were not muslims because the Quran is a message of Allah to the whole of humanity… and they have a right to listen to it… and it is my responsibility to share it with them.

I got up to take a last look at the Ka’ba. And so walked up all the way to the edge of the wide veranda… and what a beautiful sight Allah had prepared for me… the sky had a deep blue tone and was splashed with beautiful grey clouds… and combined with the whiteness of the sparkle of lights from the minarets, seemed to form a perfect setting for the Ka’ba itself… dignified, black and shining like a jewel…

Allah please bring me back to this place again… please don’t let it be the last time… prayed my heart over and over… as I walked back to my hotel room, to get ready for the next journey…

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