A few days ago, we visited Masjid al-Haram for the second time since we have arrived. We had planned to go the day before, but it rained causing floods in parts of Jeddah. So we tried for the following day. This time we wanted to pray our Isha Prayer. As we left pretty much after our Maghrib prayer, we arrived at Masjid al-Haram in 20 minutes exactly. We had a whole 40 minutes before Isha Prayer began! We drank zamzam water and sat and with the Ka'bah in full view. People were happy. Some were draped in white sheets - they were performing Umrah. Others were taking family pictures, feeling proud, having accomplished something great mA. There were people of all nations, hands up in prayer, crying, begging for their Lord's mercy and forgiveness - You could see it in their eyes! Anyways, after a while, Ammarah and I were ready to make our tawaaf, my husband and Hibah joined us too. It was our first ever family tawaaf - mashaAllah.
As the mataaf [area you walk or do tawaaf around the Ka'bah] wasn't as busy - we moved in towards the Maqam-e-Ibrahim [the place that is marked by where Prophet Ibrahim stood when making the Ka'bah] which is quite close to the Ka'bah. From there it looks HUGE! Ammarah walked with us through 6 whole rounds mashaAllah and only as we were finishing I picked her up. She loved it! She watched the birds flying around above just like they were making tawaaf too. A kind man was handing out sticky dates to the people in the Mataaf area - he knelt down to give Ammarah one - I think she was a little confused but did recognise that it was a date. During tawaaf, every time I looked at the Ka'bah I'm just in awe! Sometimes I don't know what to say, what prayer to read. That's why I've collated all my prayers, including those requested by friends and family in a book so I remember.
As our tawaaf ended we headed upstairs to the new temporary ring to get ready for the prayer. This was one of the first times I would be praying salaah with the Ka'bah right in front of me! Although I had come for Umrah before, it was in Ramadaan and I always prayed outside the masjid! So this was a pretty special day for me. We prayed on the first floor of the temporary tawaaf ring - it's great for wheelchair uses to make their tawaaf. We waited in our rows ready to hear the Adhaan. My two girls were with me, whilst my husband stood with the men in front. Ammarah recognised the Adhaan [call to prayer] immediately - I was very proud of her, it was loud even for Hibah but she listened attentively [I can tell when she does this]. Throughout my salaah Ammarah remained quiet and observant [ at the Mosque in England, she would usually cry] she tried to entertain Hibah when she started wondering where her Mama was. All praises be to Allah for these countless blessings. May He accept our worship, our good deeds and continue to keep us on the right path of Islam. Ameen!
|This is not my own image - taken from Google :)|
For all my readers out there who are immersed in their life problems as I was once, and I'm sure will also be in the future, I want to share one really important bit of advice with you all - Live with Salaah. It's like the most obvious piece of advice ever as Salaah is our connection to our Lord, our Creator. But what I mean to say is REALLY live with Salaah.
I know it is so easy for me right now, because I can hear the Adhaan [call to prayer] and actual prayer from my local Masjid through my kitchen window - and I'm forever reminded to pray. But I also know how difficult this is in our busy lives in the West - well I can only speak for London/Luton. It really is so difficult because of daylight saving, meeting deadlines, balancing the work-home life especially for the women and home-makers [can only speak from own experience]. But I know we can still make this possible - and your reward is with Allah for your every effort - Make it such a habit that you cannot let go of it and see the blessings in your life increase inshaAllah!
Here are a few tips and reminders I've noticed since being here:
1. Our call to prayer - the Adhaan should be heard LOUD and clear - it leaves an amazing impact with children - who will constantly remind you it's Allah time - that's what Ammarah says every time "Come on, It's Allah time!"
2. Planning your day around Salaah - The one amazing thing about being in Saudi is - everything shuts down at prayer time - literally the shops in the malls close, the shutters come down for some! - you see all the women go to one side of the mall for their prayer room and the men the other. It's a country that has really focussed and facilitated for the people's prayer. Yes this is not possible in England - BUT, if we plan ahead which most of us can try at least whilst commuting or planning our days out in town or work, we can make it possible - I have lived that life so I can say too. I have, like many of you, probably prayed in changing rooms in Next :)
3. Be around people and places that remind you of Allah - one of the most important things in life is companionship -and I'm not just referring to the other half. Having friends, family and colleagues that remind us of our Lord - whether they are of the same faith or not. Their actions and their words will remind you of Allah - their kind gestures, their good intentions, their good mannerisms. We all go through ups and downs in our level of Imaan [faith] - just don't ever give up on the Mercy and hope from Allah swt. He hears our every call - whether we live in Makkah or England :)
Click here for a good link to Productive Muslim article/discussion that looks at ways in which to 'Observe Salaah when you're out and about'
Most of all, these posts are reminders for me but iA if you read them and benefit then alhamdulillah. May Allah bless you in all aspects of our lives and accept our good deeds, intentions and worship. Ameen!