I’ve copied and pasted below an entry from 2005 that was the first one I wrote on my original blog. (The images are not from the original though) These were some thoughts that I had before going for the Hajj in 2005, and in a day or two I’ll put up an entry that I had written when I had returned from there.
For those who are interested, the Islamic Center at NYU will be sponsoring an Umrah trip in March of 2010 in conjunction with Dar es-Salaam Travel Agency entitled The MeccOdyssey. Details of it are at the bottom of the entry. I would highly recommend to everyone who is even slightly interested in attending to push yourself to do. The cities of Mecca and Medina are truly unlike any other wAlhamdulillah.
Pre-Hajj Thoughts 2005
It only occurred to me a few hours ago how important and real my journey to Mecca is. When I decided to go for hajj a few months ago, the thought of it all was somewhat intriguing. My mind would sometimes wander here and there, thinking about everything from the kaaba to the masjid of the prophet Muhammad salallahu alayhi wa salaam, to being able to eat a halal whopper from the burger king next to the haram. But now as I sit on my bed less then twenty four hours away from leaving the United states, my thoughts lie elsewhere.
Today a lot of people who I have been blessed with being close to said good-bye to me. For the next three weeks I will have no communication with them whatsoever. I am leaving behind the emails, the instant messengers, the blackberries, and the text messages. When I put my hand in my pocket it won’t be to silence a vibrating cell phone, beckoning me to answer it by the rhythmic tremors it unleashes upon me until I give in to its whims. When I awake in the morning, my first inclination won’t be to run to my laptop to see what new correspondence I might have received electronically during the course of the night. When I return to my place of rest in the evening from a day out in the world, it wont be in a state of tiredness that disallows the formulation of any coherent thoughts; a state that is further inhibited by an array of broadcasted images spewing notions of violence, hatred, anger and injustice from all over the world. None of this will be with me when I leave from here. What I will take is myself and the advice that has been given to me.
All around me people have been telling me what I should do and what I shouldn’t do. Literally about 200 people have sent me emails with their advice, their insights, but most importantly their requests for du’aas. The idea that their name might be mentioned in the holiest city in the world is an opportunity that they cannot let pass them by. But then the thought enters my mind that who am I to seek anything on their behalf? That it is true that I will be in the city, but what justice can I do to the sanctity that embodies it? That here is the place where Hajar alayhi salaam ran between the hills of Safa and Marwa, ascending to their very summits in hopes that she might find some nourishment for her infant child Ismael alayhi salaam. That here is the place when Ibrahim alayhi salaam, the friend of Allah, built, or rebuilt, the blessed Kaaba along with Ismael Alayhi salaam, many years ago. That this House, the kaaba, throughout time was under the protection of Allah, even when armies marched with elephants against it and the people fled to the hills, their fleeing was done with the understanding that Allah would protect His city, and protect He did. That most importantly in this city some generations late the best of creation, Muhammad ibn Abdullah, salallahu alayhi wa salaam, would be born; that that streets are not just streets, but they are more that that because he walked on them; that the winds are unique in that they carried his blessed words throughout the town to anyone who would hear it; that his blessed forehead prostrated on that same ground that potentially two million hajjis would be prostrating upon in the coming weeks. What then could I possibly offer to such a noble place? In trying to find answer to this question, I was reminded of some words that a close friend and teacher of mine sent to me when I was going to visit Mecca before. Although at that time I was going for umrah, a smaller pilgrimage, his overall message still applies.
“Dear Khalid, Umrah is a great blessing to this Ummah and the Tawfeeq to perform it is indeed a special mercy from Allah Ta’ala, a manifestation of His love for you, for with the open invitation for all here is His guidance for you to actually embark on this noble and virtuous journey to the sacred house of Allah subhanahu wa ta’aala, any invitation to ones home is a symbol of affection and care and remember the nonbelievers are not even allowed therein and of the believers only a privileged few, this is the smaller pilgrimage and pilgrimage is a migration from all else to Allah swt, an act of devotion and a quest of the pious, every prayer there in is multiplied, every Subhaan Allah, every Allahu akbar even to gaze at the holy ka’aba itself is an act of reverence and a measurement of your love for Allah ta’ala.
You may pray and beg for everything and every one and maybe even for me but most of all ask for the victory of Allah for the Ummah of His beloved Muhammad saws, pour your heart out let the heart ache you feel for the rest of this glorious nation find representation in your dua and tears there in the holiest of places, the pain of orphaned children, the hunger of our poor, the bleeding heart of our mothers, the screams of our tortured and the agony of our elders and pious, may almighty Allah change our hearts and the material mind set we have cultivated and the negligence to Salaah and our collective distance from the sacred Sunnah for victory comes from and only with righteousness and verily everything else is temporary and deceiving, may Almighty Allah in His greatest kindness accept and bless you your sacred Umrah.”
From here I start my journey. I’ll be back in a few weeks inshallah and my posts will be more regular then 🙂 I request of all of you who are reading to please keep my in your prayers; that Allah accepts my Hajj and the Hajj of all those who have gone before me, who are going now, and will be going in the future; that He makes things easy for all of those who we are leaving behind and allows us to be together again soon, and that He accepts all of our prayers and secret wishes, as there are no secrets from Him. He is the All-Knowing, the Merciful. Ameen.
so if you’re interested, the IC is going to Mecca and Medina inshallah. Details can be found at http://www.icnyu.org/umrah or below. Please do share with your networks and friends.
**AN IMPORTANT NOTE ON VISA APPROVAL PROCESS FOR THOSE TRAVELING WITHOUT MAHRAM**
We have received many inquiries from individuals wanting to participate in our upcoming Umrah Trip but are concerned about getting visa approval without a mahram. We are in conversation with the appropriate offices right now to get the necessary approvals and will need to show them a list of registrants at some point soon. As such, it would be very important for those of you who are interested in attending to register so that we can show those offices that there is a high need for the approval. In the event that the visa approval is denied, you will be refunded any deposits and subsequent payments that were made. So please do your best to register in a timely fashion as the more people we can show them require this accomodation, the more likely they will be to approve it.
Reigstration information can be found below as well as on our website at http://www.icnyu.org/umrah
Join the Islamic Center at NYU for its first ever Umrah Trip this Spring!
Over Spring Break 2010, the Islamic Center at New York University will be leading students, alumni, young professionals and Muslims from the U.S., Canada and more, in a one-week religious experience like no other. This trip is open to all Muslims, regardless of their affiliation with New York University or otherwise. We’re working with Dar El Salam Travel Agency, a leader in hajj and umrah travel for many years, to ensure that people from all over the United States, Canada and other parts of the world can travel with us.
This one-week package includes all of the following for one low per-person price:
Round-trip flight from New York’s JFK to Jeddah via Dubai on Emirates Airlines. Depart New York Saturday, March 13, 2010, and Return Sunday, March 21, 2010.
One-Way Airfare from Jeddah to Madinah (or ground transportation based on arrival time) on Sunday, March 14
Three nights accommodation at the four-star Dallah Taibah or four-star Harmony Hotel in Madinah: Classes and organized trips to the Prophet’s Mosque.
Half-day sightseeing trip of the Madinah “Mazarat”: A guided tour of Islam’s most sacred sites. With learned guides, you’ll experience Islamic history like never before.
One-way Ground Transportation from Madinah to Mecca
Three nights accomodation at the four-star Zamzam/Al-Safwa or five-star Hilton Towers in Mecca. Package will include ‘umrah at the Haram, as well as classes and visits to the sites surrounding Mecca.
Quad Room Price: $1,775.00 per person*
Triple Room Price: $1,820.00 per person*
Double Room Price: $1,950.00 per person*
Up to 2 years of Age: $250 only
2 – 7 years of age without bed: $1350 no bed
7 – 11 years of age with bed: -$250 from the adult rate
12 years of age and up: Adult rate
* These prices are based on travel from JFK, and include all the above services and features. Other departure options include Toronto, Houston, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles and will be an additional $300 per person.
Should you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact us at any time at 212.998.4712 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, please visit http://www.icnyu.org/umrah