|This is my view from the car -|
Jabal Thawr Mountain range
Whenever I have lived abroad - I have always craved books. There always seems to be a lot more time on our hands here, except with two children time really does fly too. So my husband mentioned a bookstore, he said I would like it - Jarir Bookstore. He said it wasn't far, the north side of Makkah. So I thought nothing of it until our journey became a full tour of Hajj! As usual we passed by our mountain range of Thawr - [where the Prophet pbuh and Abu Bakr hid from the Quraysh as they were migrating for Madina].
The thought of going through mountains excites me. There are many tunnels built through the mountain to get you through to other side a lot quicker in Makkah [there were similar tunnels when we drove in south of Spain - it reminded me of passing through them except they were much much greener!]. We spotted the usual signs that we see as we were driving - signs for Ta'if, al-Haram, Mina, Muzdalifah.
It was when we went through the second tunnel of our journey and we came out on the other side that I was in complete awe! We had landed in Mina! Rows and Rows of white tent tops could be seen as far as the eye could see. As we drove through Mina, I noticed new toilet facilities that were built which I hadn't noticed on my tour 4 years ago. We drove for at least 5 minutes on completely empty roads until the Mina tents seemed to have been behind us. We came across the 3 places for stoning the devil during Hajj - Muzdalifa. It was all completely empty of course but I tried to imagine the scores of people here draped in white sheets, women in black Abayas all walking in the hot sun trying to perform each ritual in time to ensure their Hajj is complete. May Allah swt fulfill our intentions for Hajj and accept the Hajj of all those who have completed theirs. Ameen.
Again no matter how far north or west of Makkah we were, we can always spot the enormous Clock Tower [which Ammarah now refers to as Clocksy] enabling us to know exactly where we are in terms of the Haram. Jarir Bookstore is near Jabal Noor which hosts the famous Cave of Hira - where the Prophet pbuh received his first revelation. It is pretty high! But we could see people in white climbing to the top. Wouldn't it be awesome to follow in the footsteps [quite literally here] of the Prophet pbuh, to climb to the top and view Makkah as the Prophet pbuh once did in the Cave of Hira? I pray Allah swt can allow me to do this one day inshaAllah - I love mountains!
My reflections on this journey to the book store have been all about performing Hajj one day by the will and power of Allah. I was also really impressed by the facilities the Saudis have invested in, to improve the Hajj experience for everyone. In my own personal opinion, regardless of the criticism the Saudis receive for their other extravagances, they really are investing into Hajj, into hosting millions and millions of pilgrims to Makkah each year - by extending and expanding the Masjid too. Just imagine hosting a family dinner each year and making one portion of your house completely dedicated to this event - this is what it feels like for me but on a completely different scale and for an even more important cause of course - allowing Muslims to fulfil their pillar of Islam - Performing Hajj.
Makkah really is the city of Hajj, the city of pilgrims, the city of safety and the Mother of all cities - Umm ul Qurra.
"This is the blessed Book, like the one given to Musa (Moses), which We have revealed, confirming what came before it, that you, O Muhammad, may warn the people living in the Mother City (Makkah) and those who live around her. Those who believe in the hereafter, will believe in this (Book) and will be steadfast in taking care of their Salah (prescribed prayers)." [Qur'an 6,92]