UMRAH Pilgrimage – 2013


By Jamil Khan | June 20, 2013
Watching pictures of holy sites – framed in our homes, offices and even proudly used as homescreens on our digital gadgets – is another thing and being physically present there is a completely overwhelming experience.

Muslims all around the world share the same feelings besides having common ground on many fronts, especially on religious obligations regardless of their Fiqh (followers of four main spread around the globe). Performing Umrah is one of the major attractions for Muslims around the world as the faithful throughout the year throng Makkah to perform the rituals and seek forgiveness.
It has been my wish for a long time to perform Umrah early in life. Fortunately my prayers were answered recently when everything was in place and I flew to Makkah via Madinah Munawwarah to enlist myself in the group of those lucky people who had been to the holy cities to experience what is simply impossible to describe in any language.
The journey, along with my teacher and a colleague, started from Sharjah, when we boarded a plane bound for Madinah Munawwarah. The duration of the flight was two hours and 15
minutes. The temperature was soaring throughout the Arabian Peninsula as it was a searing 46°C on the ground and the same temperature was experienced throughout the 12-day stay.
But it was nothing compared to the unique experience of offering prayers at the same places where the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) prayed and taught the Muslims who have been following his steps for 14 centuries.
It seems that every single step we took throughout the journey was utterly divinely guided as we got our rooms in a nearby hotel which was just a stone’s throw away and the Green Dome was always visible from our windows.
The dream of offering daily prayers in Masjid Nabvi was not only fulfilled but it was made easy many times when we tried to reach the Roza Rasool (Green Dome) to offer salutation and Nafil prayers at some of the highly recommended places like Riadhul Jannah (a portion of the Masjid Nabvi between the Roza Rasool and the pulpit which Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was a piece of heaven.
Watching pictures of holy sites – framed in our homes, offices and even proudly used as homescreens on our digital gadgets – is another thing and being physically present there is a completely overwhelming experience. We reached Makkah late in the evening and decided to perform Umrah after some time to avoid the rush and recoup our energies after a long, tiring journey –the distance between the two holy cities, Makkah and Madinah, which is around 480km, took almost over 5 hours of travel.
Entering the Masjid Al Haram the first time was totally a different experience as we have been asked to ready our huge list of supplications, as every single one is answered even as we look for the first time at the Kaaba.
Besides hundreds of thousands other pilgrims, we completed our Umrah rituals – Tawaaf (circling anti-clockwise around Kaaba 7 times), praying Nafil at Maqam-i-Ibrahim (AS) and travelling 7 times between the two small mountains, Saffa and Marwah.
After performing Umrah, it has been a common practice among the pilgrims to visit as many historical places as they can while staying in the two holy cities.
Being lucky the first time, our small group had managed to travel to different places which ultimately was a refreshing experience and strengthened our faith. The list of places we visited was not long but by the grace of Almighty Allah we visited historical sites like Jabal Uhad and offered our prayers to the martyr of the battle of Uhad buried in the adjacent graveyard where one can still feel the fresh fragrance even after 14 centuries.
The other major site we visited was Badr, 150km outside Madinah. While returning we travelled to some remote areas to see two renowned wells, Bir Shifa and Bir Arroha as well as Bir Uthman, known for date orchards, historical mosques like Masjid Quba, Masjid Khandaq and other such places.
One can never visit all the beautiful and unique places scattered around the two holy cities in one leg of the journey. But such is the experience that every single person who has returned has pledged to visit again and renew their faith.
-Published in The Gulf Today

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