The last day in Medinah Munawarrah, how short our stay was. This city definitely would not leave our hearts. I went to Fajr with brothers Faisal and Shahed (who very much resembled Syed Ahmed from the Apprentice). We sent Salaams to the Prophet PBUH and the two Caliphs for the last time on this journey.
Departure from Medinah was for 3pm. I therefore did not wish to rush things, so prepared myself for Ihram state (body) before Dhuhr. In order to be in Ihram state I cut my nails, removed any unwanted hair, ensured that I had a wash (can use any soap or shower gel) and opened the two unstitched pieced of white cloth (which look like two ordinary white cotton towels). I prayed my two rakat Tayyihatul Masjid Nafl prayer (the prayer on entering the Masjid) and prayed Dhuhr in congregation and Asr too on my own as I would be travelling later. As I was relaxing having my lunch after Dhuhr, the rest of my room hajjis were getting acquainted with their Ihram towels.
After we boarded coach 3 at 3pm, the count began as usual on the coach, who was here, who was not, and who should not be here! An hour later around 4.30pm we got to Dhul Hulaifah, this was the meeqat point from Medinah to Makkah. This is where I prayed my two rakat salaat and verbalised my intention for Ummrah by saying “Labbayak Allahummah Ummrah Shaban Bibi”. It was an emotional time too, thinking about my Grandmother who I have never met, and know only of her from my Mothers recollection who inadvertently was very young when my grandmother passed away. May Allah rest her in Peace and make the grave easy for her, Ameen.
There was much to appreciate at the service station when we took a break around 11ish; you definitely can smell the toilets before you see them. Queues were long there too, and after 30 minutes of waiting, done my business and prayed Maghrib and Esha combined. The brother from Luton took the Jammat and MashAllah this made the journey so worth it, as he was blessed with a beautiful voice.
We had an overnight travel to Azziziyyah, leaving at 3pm and getting to Azzizah by 2.30am, almost 11.5 hours. I was sitting next to Brother Altaf, he was keeping the rest of us well entertained, especially with his healthy supplements, apricots, nutrition bars, nuts etc. Anyone would think we were going to the Himalayas and back. Though it is best to be prepared than not.
During the 11.5 hours, the brothers were giving the Tarbiyaah its due recognition:
“Labbayk Allahumma Labbayk Labbayka Laa Shareeka Laka Labbayk Innal Hamda Wanni’mata Laka Wal Mulka Laa Shareekalak.”
(Oh My Lord, I am responding to You, there is no partner for You. All praise, grace and dominion belong to You. You have no partners).
The above words have been reverberating in the deep ravines of Makkah for centuries. These words that came out from the lips of Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) were inherited by generations after generations. Year after year these words are transmitted in harmony to the heavens through millions of throats with the same rhythm, frequency and amplitude. These sonic waves, originating from every nook and corner of the world, get condensed in the valleys of Makkah and reach Allah.
Hajj is the symbol of absolute submission to the will of God. It is unconditional acceptance of the command of the Creator. The ecstasy experienced by the pilgrim in the presence of his God put him under safe heaven by protecting him from all mundane desires.
MashAllah brother Musleh who was sitting behind me was giving it large with the Tarbiyaah, as was his competitor the black cab taxi brother Hajji (whose name eludes me). It was beautiful saying the Tarbiyah and recognising the unity amongst the brothers on our journey to Makkah. To respond to Allahs call, SubhanaAllah, we on this coach trip were so blessed.
The sisters did mention that they could do better with the Tarbiyyah than the brothers if there were only allowed to say this aloud, though my suspicions are that this was the only time they could not hear themselves talk for a change!:-)