Sunday, June 21, 2009

the little pilgrimage

so i just came back from doing umrah (kinda like the mini hajj for muslims). i seriously think that it is one of my favorite things to do every year. the experience for me is amazing every single time. we always (or almost always) go super early to beat the crowds and the heat - of which there is really no way to completely escape. today we left our house a little before 5:30. in the morning. i slept after 1. im exhausted.

things that i love about umrah:
*the historicalness of the place. i mean, that building has been around for thousands of years. the Prophet (pbuh) walked around the very same one. you can even see the footprints of Prophet Ibrahim. the two hills, Al-Safa and Al-Marwa, that Ibrahim's wife Hagar went between looking for help/water for her and her son. after seven trips between the hills she found a spring had sprung up near her son, the zamzam well.
*the black stone on the corner of the kaaba that was sent down from heaven.
*no matter what time you go, there will always be people there. morning, noon, and night you will find crowds. sure, you can get smaller crowds at "off hours" but it's never empty. it amazes me how many muslims there are.
*the, for lack of a better word, peace i feel after finishing it.
*i have really fond memories of going to umrah as a child with my uncle every summer.
*the way the marble around the kaaba is always cool.
*the pigeons... dont ask me why.

things - mostly people - i hate about it:
*the huge mobs of people who come together with a company or whatever that walk slowly, scream loudly, and basically inconvenience everyone else.
*the people who act like they're the only ones in the place. they mow people down who get in their way without even sparing them an apologetic glance. some of these have their noses stuck in prayer books, some just look straight ahead, but none of them seem to notice that there are in fact other people on the planet with them.
*the people who take the opportunity to have photo shoots. the tourists who take a couple of pictures of the crowds, the kaaba, the mosque, etc irk me a bit but ill live with them. i'm talking about the people that stop every few steps to pose for pictures of themselves. not touristy ones, just close ups of their faces.
*the lack of courtesy a lot of people show for each other. i mean, if you wanna be a complete jerk every day of your life, that's your perogative, but i feel like you should at least try to be decent over there.
*people using the plastic cups for zamzam and putting them on the new pile instead of the place for used ones which is literally a hand away. it's gross..

*yeah, i thought putting a song would be a tad inappropriate


  1. i was just talking about it with my dad.
    i remember when i first saw the ka3ba, i was shocked by how big it was. i remember constructing mini versions of it in kindergarten and drawing it in third grade. in my head, it was no bigger than a medium sized living room. i went and saw how big it was and nearly died.
    i also remember the cold marble, i really, really to this day still remember the feeling of it. and the richness of color of the rugs and the ceilings and the chandeliers.
    i remember the mineraly taste of zamzam, and how i had to fight the gagging reflex. i thought i was a bad muslim, you know, like devils how they can't handle holy water haha.
    andddd, i remember the fear i had about leaving my shoes outside, because my dad insisted. i was like no for sure they're gonna get stolen.

  2. when i was younger i hated zamzam, though i wouldnt admit it. and i would take a cup and regret it the rest of the day because the taste stayed in my mouth. i like it now, though.
    and most people now just carry their shoes with them in a plastic bag or whatever, but i remember the wonder i felt every time i found them still outside after the hour or so it took us to finish.

  3. I'm Maha by the way, lujy just made this cool nickname for me, so I'm sticking with it lool
    So you go every year mashalllah. I think I only went once or twice, and the first time doesn't count because I was completely lost because everything was huge and beautiful and I didn't know how to cope with it lool
    But zamzam, ast'3afurallah, I don't like the taste of it :/

    Oh and I wanted to add another dislike:
    *people who talk on their cellphones whether it's bil9afa wilmarwa or anywhere during the 3umra, it's just wrong!

  4. yeah it's easier to go alot when you live in jeddah i think cuz it's just like an hour drive up and back.
    lol at least i dont feel bad about not liking zamzam before. i guess its an acquired taste.
    and omg yeah i cant believe i forgot that, it's a big one.