17 Apr 2014

A pilgrimage to the holy cities

Inside the Prophet's mosque 

On 5th April Repin and I flew to Madinah for our umrah or pilgrimage to the holy cities. It's been awhile since we last visited the two holy cities and I'm sure things have changed a lot. We arrived in Jeddah airport around 9.30 pm and after customs and immigration clearance we were transported by bus to Madinah, another 5-6 hours away by road. 

The journey was long and tedious, and most of us were already tired after our 8 hour flight. Luckily the night air was cool and I drifted in and out of sleep. We stopped for a break at a rest area, and was given a simple meal of rice and chicken. After a half hour break we were back on the move, arriving in Madinah around 1 am in the morning.   

Early the next morning we were up again to pray at the Masjid Al Nabawi, also called the Prophet's  pbuh) Mosque because this was where he died and was buried. It is one of the holy mosques in Islam and prayers here are supposed to give a person 1000 times the reward of prayers in an ordinary mosque. 

Women coming out of the masjid Al Nabawi 

Days in Madinah consisted mainly of going to the mosque to pray five times a day, back to the hotel to rest and sometimes in the evening, walking around some of the shops. The city has not changed much - there are of course a lot more hotels than 5 years ago when I was here last. Basically though a lot of it is still the same. We stayed at the Mubarak Silver hotel which was about 500m from the mosque so it was easy for us. 
On the second day we were taken to view some historic sites - Mount Uhud where one of the worst battles between the Quraish and the Muslims took place. The mountains are barren and very very rocky. This was the place where the Muslims took one of their worst defeats and the Prophet' s (SAW) uncle, Hamzah was killed trying to protect their hill. It was said that after he was killed the Quraish mutilated his body and even carved out his heart and that Hindon, a woman who's husband had been killed by Saidinah Hamzah RA in an earlier battle, ate his heart. Urrhggg... Sounds gross! But the early Arabs were a rather terrible people - cruel in the extreme, vengeful and ferocious. My late father used to say that was the reason why Islam was sent to Arabia. Allah Subhannallah Taala wanted to change them and make them a better people.  Of course this was only my father's opinion, not a fact. 
For this Umrah, I wanted to return home to Malaysia a better person completely. I want to be more patient, especially with my mother in law and others less fortunate than me. I want to be humble and more caring and I really hope I can be better. 

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