Baitulmaqdis Umrah Chapter 10: Dome of the Rock
10 December 2016
After we left Hebron, we were still in silence and in reflective mode. How truly blessed we are to be born and raised in such a peaceful country. I think most of us were severely affected by the abandoned children. Our guide, somehow sensed that we needed a mental and emotional break so he took us for short tea break and a nearby shop and guess who we bumped into?
Cik Yah and her tour group! We knew we were in the same area but we did not expect to run into her. What a pleasant coincidence.
Our next agenda is to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre briefly. The church is identified as the place both of the crucifixion and the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth. The church has long been a major pilgrimage center for Christians all around the world.
This would meant that we would be walking at the areas populated with Jews. I was slightly worried about our safety, but our guide assured us that as long as we stuck together, we would be safe.
We were waiting around and this caught my eye.
Jaffa Gate is the only one of the Old City gates positioned at a right angle to the wall. This could have been done as a defensive measure to slow down oncoming attackers.
Walking through the old city. There is something about old cities that I find so attractive. The rich culture and culture? The pebbled grounds, old walls that look ancient yet continued to remain as a beauty that stood through the test of time always amazed me.
I also love how the little streets were littered with small shops that sells souvenirs and locally made products.
It was time for Zohor prayers and we stumbled upon this mosque situated right in front of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. It was just a small mosque.
In fact the ablution area and the toilet were so small, we had to take turns to go in. Alhamdulilah that there was a proper area for muslimah regardless of how small it was.
The area outside the church. The guide did a tour of the church but I chose to wander around alone inside for a while. I wanted to see how the christians do their pilgrimage and how they prayed in this church. Of course occasionally I did earn some stares from the people there. I mean, what is this girl in hijab doing wandering around in a church alone?
Finally, it was time to visit the Dome of the Rock! The only way there from the Western Wall was to walk. As mentioned in my previous post, there is no other way to Al Aqsa mosque except by foot.
When we were about to enter the area of Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock when the lady behind us were stopped from going in. There were Israeli soldiers on guard and while they kindly allowed us in, they did not allow the lady behind us to do the same. Reason being, she was not a muslim.
I was pretty surprised by this, perhaps there are times when only muslims are allowed inside.
Le parents were tired from the long walk. Even though they were in good shoes.
The beautiful Dome from the inside.
Stairs going down to the floating rock.
The Dome of the Rock is the oldest Islamic monument that stands today and certainly one of the most beautiful. This rock is believed to be the place from which the Prophet Muhammad ascended into heaven during his Night Journey to heaven (Israa Mi’raj).
Visitors doing prayers inside. Interestingly, we were told that the Dome of the Rock is entirely managed by muslimahs. Inside, only muslimahs are allowed to do their solat while the guys can make their way to Al Aqsa mosque instead.
So glad that we went at a time when it was not crowded.
We were there near maghrib times and was able to witness the sky turned darker. The sunset, the change of shift of the sun and moon, the light breeze, the falling temperature, the serenity and peace, mashaAllah how beautiful.
Still finding it hard to believe that i am here. The experience of today was simply out of this world.
Our tour group is the best. I am sure everyone was exhausted from the intensive walking we did today. Some were using walking sticks, some were limping and some aged ones were walking slowly. Yet, hand in hand they held each other, giving occasional words of support, an assuring nod and silent prayers. No one complained about aching legs, tiredness or anything negative. The positivity and cohesiveness truly impressed me.
For me, there were no reason to complain because jst 2 months before, I was not even able to walk without unbearable pain. Thus, I embarked on this trip with gratitude and syukur for all that happened to me.
Loving this trip more each day even though our legs are aching from the long and harsh walks. Do wear good shoes if you are coming here. I recommended a good pair of running / walking shoes from a reputable brand like New Balance. If the shoes fail to support you, make dua that His transports strength into you. InshaAllah all shall be eased.