Only 1 word - Alhamdulillah! Thank to Allah who has granted my wish to perform an Umrah together with my family - Abang, Sophea, Sobhan and Shahmey. Before I proceed, please allow me to note a friendly reminder to anybody who read this entry. The reason I'm putting this entry is not to boast about myself or show off whatever that I've done.
I have 2 intentions - One is to share my experience with all my friends (yes, I consider you as my friend) and two is to log every special moment that I've gone through (I hope I will remember this for the rest of my life, Insyaallah).
I'm sure in the inner heart of every Muslim has an intention to go to Mekah whether to perform their Umrah or even Haj. Like myself, the moment Abang was destined to work in S@udi Ar@bia, I've started to imagine myself being there one fine day. Alhamdulillah, it was materialized a few days ago.
Before this, I heard people talked about their experience, all the good and bad that occured to them. The contests were given by Allah to see whether we're strong enough to be His khalifa (خليفة ẖalīfä) in this small and temporary world. People told about many stories starting from the sweetest until the worst one. Thinking about all the sins that I've committed, I was scared. Anything could happen there. I made various do'a to Allah so that I could perform my umrah without much trouble.
I have to admit - I am just like any other people. I made mistakes in life and I am just an ordinary human being. It turned out, I was given a few tests too when I was there. I'm not sure whether its proper to tell people what I've gone through. Since I've already mentioned about my 2 intentions earlier, I'll proceed to write about it. I'm sorry if you don't like to read my entry or think I shouldn't let other people to know them. Again, I'm not forcing anyone to read this entry. Anyway, I'm not that pious to talk about religion. I'm just sharing my experience....
A few occurences that made me reflect are:
- We went to several (I guess it was more than 5) hotels including the H1lton and Inter C0ntinental and all were fully booked! Can you imagine the SR1000+ per night hotel room like the H1lton was fully booked and it was not even a Haj period. We were so tired and sweating all over that afternoon. I had to carry Shahmey since he refused to sit in the stroller. The kids kept complaining about the hot weather and painful legs.
We had to take another cab and look for a place to stay. We managed to get a room (a simple one) with an affordable rate (more or less about the one closer to Al Haram). The good thing was they gave us complimentary breakfast and there was a shuttle service to go to Al Haram. Abang told me, if only there was an available room in H1lton, we could have used up a few K's (thousands riyals).
I guess, I could say, things happen for a reason (ada hikmah disebalik kejadian)
- Before taking a cab to find a place to stay, Abang asked me to perform an Umrah by myself first, while he could wait for the kids. I refused since my intention was to perform the umrah together with my family. In addition, I was really exhausted - my feet hurt so badly and my tummy growled.
After checking in, we rested a bit while waiting for the Zuhr prayer. Then only we proceeded to Al Haram. As soon as I saw the Ka'bah (from the masjid), my heart stirred. The moment I started tawaf, my feet felt strong - no more pain. For me, I would describe that incidence as, Allah will help us whenever we plan to perform good deeds.
- I always afraid my son, Shahmey (a 10 month old) would throw up on my clothes (when it gets dirty, I need to change - troublesome). A few seconds after I had a thinking about Shahmey would throw up, he did so on my telekung (ihram clothing). I had to go up and changed. Luckily, I brought 2 telekung. Actually, earlier in the flight, I went to the toilet. The toilet was dirty. I doubt my telekung was clean but I didn't change it. If Shahmey didn't make my telekung really dirty, I may not change it yet. Thus, I would wear a dirty telekung to perform the umrah. So??? I guess you know the answer :). Another thing happen for a reason...
- Coan had been asking for a new pair of shoes that she described as 'kasut kaca' (nothing happen to the old one actually) like the one she saw during her birthday party (someone came wearing that kind of shoes). While having our breakfast on the 2nd day, her shoes torn. We didn't bring extra shoes for her. So, we had to shop for a new pair. I was thinking to grab just any kind of slipper to accommodate her. We went to a few shops. Her wish granted when the first shop that had children shoes actually sold the kind of shoes that she always dream of. It was really a wish come true for her :)
- I heard there are times when whatever you said will be granted if you said them in Mekah. It occured a few times already. Abang also experienced the same. He told me that he wanted to eat rice for our lunch. When he looked at the stall that sold rice (kabsa), they're not that tempting to him. So, he bought falafel (sandwich kind) instead.
In Al Haram so far, I didn't see any restaurant that provided places to eat. After getting our food we had to hunt for a place to sit and eat. We opted to sit on the floor beside one of the benches close to the masjid. The girls were sitting / playing on the bench while Abang and I ate our falafel.
While eating, my 2 girls passed a kabsa (rice with grilled chicken) to us. The kabsa was given by a couple who sit on the other side of the bench. I reflected that Abang told me before about craving for rice and now, he got it. Amazing huh!
- While waiting for abang in the masjid, Coan kept jumping from the stairs. She likes to jump anyway. I was afraid Coan would break her leg since the stairs were quite high. I knew that I needed to warn her. I was thinking to tell "Jangan lompat, nanti patah kaki" but I was also afraid she would really sprain her leg. So, I told her "Jangan lompat, nanti tercabut kuku" instead. Frankly, I didn't expect that to happen at all. Well, she stopped jumping for a while.
The next day, she splitted her toe nail. Though the condition wasn't that bad, I regretted for saying such thing a day before. I should have said something like "... nanti Abah marah". Ain't I?
- I was stopped by a muttawa (pious man) in Al Haram. He inspected my bag and found my camera (they prohibited people from taking picture though many disregard that rules since it wasn't properly written). He asked me not to bring the camera inside. We (my friend, As and I diverted and used a different entrance instead). It was sneaky but the occasion made me think about disobeying the rules is immoral.
Though I experienced a few unfavorables instances there, I enjoyed the 'vacation'. I wish to be there again for another Umrah or Haj perhaps. Insyaallah...