Umrah Day 1: Overcoming challenges
The day has finally arrived. I am nervous because a part of me is not ready to go while another part of me remains excited because this is something that I have always wanted to do since I was young. All packed up and ready to go. I am glad I took leave the day before departing. I would never have found the time to pack if I did not do that.
I was the first to leave the house. My sis in law’s parents are here to help us with our luggages. Thankful for that. We were supposed to wear the mini telekong given by the agency because we would be heading straight to Mecca to perform our umrah. It feels a bit odd to be in ihram because I have never worn such a long tudung before. There was a huge crowd at the airport. I guess its in our loving culture to want to send someone off before they leave to go the our holy land. I remember Mum telling me that we send them off at the airport, with the hope and prayer that we will be the ones leaving for the holy land one day.
Bare faces and in matching outfits.
Look who came over to send us off! Our darling little cuzzie!
I am also grateful to all our aunties, uncles and cousins who made time to come all the way here to send us off. Some of them are staying at the other end of Singapore.
Before boarding the plane, looking excited.
Plane food, how I miss you. I love plane food because it comes in a tray and its like a complete set meal to me. Lol.
Our flight will be 9 hours long to Riyadh where we will transit for an hour before making our way to Jeddah airport.
After being on the plane for 11 gruelling hours, we finally arrived at Jeddah airport. After 9 hours from Singapore, we transited in Riyadh for an hour. However, we could not leave the plane so we took the opportunity to stand and walk about to prevent further numbness in our legs.
Meanwhile, the guys changed into full ihram.
The crowd was overwhelming in Jeddah airport. There were people from Pakistan, India, almost all over the world. The queue does not even seem to be moving. There were hundreds of people in queue but I saw only 2 counters opened. Gosh.
Being in ihram, I found it extremely arduous not to curse and swear. Looks like this was my first challenge.
After an hour, we finally cleared the immigration. They opened a new queue for the ladies so the queue was moving much faster. As we pushed our luggages to the side while waiting for the guys, we were also keeping a lookout for the guys. None of the guys were out yet, looks like they were stuck.
So being the patient human beings that we were, we waited. The officer in charge of our group, Mdm Raudhah was very helpful in keeping a lookout for the guys. It was 8 pm and we were supposed to leave by bus as soon as we were done.
3 hours passed and we were still waiting. Can you imagine the agony of the ladies waiting for their husbands and fathers stuck in the line?
The security officers there then started to chase us all away because apparently our luggages took too much space. Protesting was pointless and as we pushed our luggages and whine away, we had no choice but to follow their orders. We had to carry and scan all the luggages by ourselves without the help of any male encounters. We decided to perform our Isyak and Maghrib prayers first while waiting. Honestly, we have already been waiting for 3 hours so who knows how long more do we have to wait. Some of us took care of the luggages and bags while others went to perform the prayers first.
After another hour of waiting, the guys finally came out. I think none of us anticipated that we would spend so much time at the airport. Alhamdulilah, even though the wait was long, everyone was well.
2 hours bus ride to Mekah awaits us. The sky was already dark since it was about 12.30 am in the morning. We were scheduled to perform the umrah immediately after we settled down in our rooms so everyone was in a hurry to checked into our rooms.
Alhamdulilah and thankfully, the bus ride was a smooth sailing one and we finally arrived at Hilton Makkah. We were all in a hurry because we hope to complete our umrah before Subuh prayers. I shared the room with my parents.
At 3 am, we gathered in the lobby before going for our first tawaf.
I was filled with anxiety and excitement. This is something that I have been wanting to do for the longest time and I cannot believe that I am here. As we walked as a group to Masjidil Haram, the cold wind brushes onto our skin. It was 20 degrees.
The mosque was huge and gorgeous despite being surrounded by construction works. I was desperately trying to multi task reading the duas in the book and looking at the beautiful Masjidil Haram. The mosque was crowded, it did not feel like we were there in the wee hours of the morning.
Before proceeding into the tawaf area, the ustaz lead us all into reciting some duas at that was when I started to turn into a sobbing mess. I hope no one noticed but the overwhelming happiness that inundated me was too hard to hide.
Seeing the holy Kaabah live for the first time was surreal. I kept blinking my eyes to make sure I am awake and that this is real. This is not a dream.
7 rounds around the Kaabah seemed too short for me. We then headed to perform Sa’i.
Again, it was also crowded here and on normal condition, I would have been exhausted. However, I was full of determination and energy seeing everyone equally determined to complete another 7 rounds of walking from Safa to Marwah.
With my flat feet, walking barefooted would be a challenge but I thought I should not use any excuse since there were others in the group who were much older and needed the help of a walking stick.
We did not manage to complete it before Subuh so we had to break for Subuh prayers in the middle of Sa’i.
It was amazing how the noisy lanes between Safa and Marwah turned silent as soon as the Subuh prayer began. Everyone was submitted to doing their prayers as a jemaah. MasyaAllah.
After completing Sa’i! Even though we are tired, we were radiating with happiness and a feeling of accomplishment!
Standing and sitting on Al-Marwah once we completed.
Quick shot at Al-Safa before leaving. I am too contented!
Stepping outside, we saw Masjidil Haram in daylight.
I honestly could not feel more happier that I am here with the family.
One of the huge entrance to the Masjidil Haram.
The extremely tall clock tower.
Time for breakfast! Yay food!
Time to get some rest before we head out again to the Masjidil Haram for zohor prayers.
Alhamdulilah to our first day of overcoming challenges!