Its two weeks since I’ve returned from umrah already and I’m still struggling to adjust to things at home. There are two reasons for this:
1. While we were in Makkah my grandmother (aged 83) had a bit of an accident. She got run over by some ladies (without them realising) and with the result she fractured her leg and was hospitalised in Makkah. Now she is still there with my uncle and aunt (Allah has favoured her) and since she is old she is being treated for many different things, Allah Knows best what He has willed for all His servants (please try and remember my grandmother in your duaas). In any case leaving her behind goes down as one of the most difficult things I had to do in my life, but Alhamdullillah we have faith that Allah works things out for the best and we know that my grandmother is very fortunate to be in Makkah for such a long time.
2. The second reason that I’m finding it difficult to adjust is simply because life is so completely different in Makkah and Madinah. Everything about life there is so in sync with your life as a Muslim, it just feels like that’s where you belong and when you’re there amongst the thousands of people, you just simply fit in. You may not speak their language, or share their culture, but the overriding thing is that as Muslims we are all the same! When that adhaan (call to prayer) is called for salaah, every single person there does the exact same thing, and so it’s clear that as servants of Allah, we are united by Islam.
There are so many reasons why I love Makkah and Madinah but I’ll mention some of the things I miss the most now:
- Life is not dictated by crazy systems – there are no 9-5 jobs , people are driven by the times of Salaah. Work is centred around Salaah, sleep is centred around Salaah, meal times are centred around Salaah and even hospital visiting hours as we came to learn is centred around Salaah times- SubhanAllah, what a beautiful way to manage your time!
- Second, everywhere you go you are reminded of Allah! When you’re driving on highways there are signs with the words of Allah (SubhanAllah – Glory be to Allah, Allahu Akbar- Allah is the Greatest, the beautiful names of Allah and so on). You get into an elevator and instead of exploitative adverts wanting to sell you something you see posters with prayers on it and you automatically read it. Even the shopping centres are peaceful as you here shops playing recitals of the Glorious Quraan. These constant reminders of Allah are small things for the people who live there all the time, but for someone like me, coming from a society where your attention is constantly diverted away from Allah, these things are a big deal!
- Thirdly, people are generally honest. So many incidents come to mind. One day in the shopping mall my father forgot to take his change (which was something like hundred Saudi Riyals) we were almost at the exit of the shopping centre when the man from the shop came running after him to give him the change. Then one night my sister’s cell phone got missing while in the Grand Masjid. Someone found it, the battery was almost dead- he took the sim card out and put it in his own phone so that the owners of the phone could contact the number. He then spoke to my brother in law when he phoned (in broken English but Alhamdullillah he could speak English). He came from his hotel which was like 800m away (if I recall correctly) met my brother and brother-in law and returned the phone to them. Yet another night a taxi driver charged us half the price he initially said he’d charge because he couldn’t drop us off exactly where he said he would! SubhanAllah, this is such a contrast to people in my country who go out of their way to cheat, steal and lie, may Allah guide us all!
Everything about going for umrah reminds you that the life of a Muslim is beautiful. From the construction workers who stop work to pray, till the people sitting relaxed at the Masjid for hours, the peaceful atmosphere, the feeling of brotherhood (or sisterhood), and the urgent need to only be present in front of your Lord and nowhere else- SubhanAllah, I pray that everyone gets a chance to experience this beauty!
I am so thankful to have had this chance once again for a few days in my life to be present in a place that fills the heart with peace. I am glad to have had the opportunity to be removed from the “rat race” “robotic type” lifestyle of modern day society for a short while so that I could be reminded of what is true and what really matters in life. I am happy that I was taken to a place where everything draws you closer and closer to Allah!
I have to admit that a part of me actually does not want to “adjust” to my life and get back to the way things usually are because it feels like my bond with Madinah and Makkah will be weaker if I just get back to normal life. In time it will get easier for me I suppose, but I will always continue to long to be in those Blessed places because really there is no better place on Earth!
May Allah be with us all, fulfil the wishes of those who wish to go to the Blessed Lands, and accept all our prayers -Inshaa-Allah!