Our First Umrah Together

I was sitting on my desk that day, trying to focus on my work but I couldn't. I was anxious. It was only few days left before our trip to Mekah — and yet — my husband and I weren't prepared with anything. Since I'm married now and live miles away from home, I kept messaging my sister to remind me of the things that we usually brought for Umrah because that's what we used to do before. Two days before we left, my husband and I finally went shopping.

14th February 2019 – It was finally the day. My husband's family were all there to send us off at the airport. I was excited and nervous at the same time because part of me had been missing Al-Haramayn Shareefain for months and also nervous thinking if I was ready to give my very best at these holy places. Meanwhile, my family and my parents' closest friends were on their flight to Kuala Lumpur. 12.35 pm was the estimated time of arrival updated by my father. Alhamdulillah they arrived as scheduled and we met inside the terminal building few minutes later.

We went to Mekah first and directly took our Miqat on the plane. It was my husband's first Umrah, by the way. During the first two hours of flight, he was quite active. The funniest part was, 2 to 3 hours before reaching Jeddah, he suddenly turned into this quiet and serious man lol.

As soon as we touched down the King Abdulaziz International Airport, we were so tired and sleepy. But we still had to wait for the bus to come to take us to Mekah. To those of you who have never done Umrah, the journey from Jeddah to Mekah takes about an hour by bus or car. It was really tiring. Imagine sitting on a plane for 8 to 9 hours – then another 1 hour on a bus. Most of us fell asleep on the bus but woke up soon after.

We stayed at the Makkah Millenium Hotel for 7 days. The hotel was just near The Grand Mosque — alhamdulillah — Allah made it easy on us to go back and forth to the mosque. I still remember the first time my family and I went Umrah in 2009, we had to walk a bit far to the mosque. But it's a choice because the longer you walk, the more Allah rewards you.

Alhamdulillah, our Umrah went smoothly that night. My husband decided to shave his head there. Right after he went bald, he followed my father to our room, and showed me his new image. I was screaming 'wow' but honestly I thought he looked funny haha. Now I can hold my laughter every time I look at him because his hair has finally grown.

I cannot describe how thankful and grateful I am to Allah for granting my du'a. Because the last time I went Umrah, I prayed to Allah that may my next visit to these holy places be with my husband. Masha'Allah tabarakallah, it came true. I know there are women out there who are still waiting for their soul mate. In case if you haven't followed me on Instagram, I did share some tips on how I make du'a. I learned these tips when I was in uni. Hopefully, it can give an impact to your life.

In this post, I would like to share my experience about praying in Raudhah and Hijir Ismail, and also giving you some tips on getting into Raudhah. During my Umrah in 2017 — alhamdulillah — I had a chance to touch and kiss Hajar Al-Aswad. But for Umrah this year, I didn't. However, I will still share the tips based on my previous experience on how to go to Hajar Al-Aswad.

It was just my mother and I — and it was after Isyak when we decided to go to Kaabah hoping that we could pass all those Arabs and Turks men with big bodies, and kiss Hajar Al-Aswad. I wasn't feeling good about it because I have a phobia issue involving packed and crowded places — due to what happend during my previous Umrah in 2016. I had a bad experience where I was choked with my own telekung while entering the Raudhah because it was too crowded in there at that time. So for me to go through the same thing again is hard.

Our first attempt wasn't a succeed. I was holding my mother's hand while being pushed into the crowd. Half way there, I was running out of breath and I told my mother that I couldn't do it and I had to leave. She tried to encourage me but my fear was bigger than my ability to cope with the stress. So I went out and as soon as I left the crowd — I stood in front of the Kaabah — trying to catch a glimpse of my mother's whereabouts but slowly she disappeared into the crowd. I couldn't remember if I was praying or was just having a thought at that time. In my heart, I was questioning, how would I get in there when the crowd was too big? When would I be getting the chance to touch and kiss the stone?

Not long after, I was approached by an Indonesian woman who asked me if I've kissed the stone? I said no. She grabbed my hand and took me to the crowd saying that she could help me get in there. I was just nodding. But I couldn't remember if we managed to get in or not. There was a second time I was approached by three or four Indonesian men asking me the same question — have I kissed the stone? Masha'Allah, these men were so determined to help me get in there and kissed Hajar Al-Aswad. By Allah's will — alhamdulillah — I managed to touch and kiss the stone. Subhanallah. So I went back to our hotel, still in shocked, couldn't believe that I kissed the stone and excitedly told my mother and sister about it. From this experience, I've learned a new trick on how to get into the Hajar Al-Aswad area. If you want to touch and kiss Hajar Al-Aswad, the first thing you should do is make du'a in front of the Kaabah and ask Allah to help you find these helpers. Once you have found one or two, let them guide you and remain calm. While you are slowly getting into the crowd, continuously say your istighfar and zikrullah. This time, everything depends on your mental strength. Don't let the fear get into your thoughts. Insha'Allah, once it's your turn, touch and kiss the Hajar Al-Aswad as long as you want to. Make du'a if you can. Once you are done, don't forget to give these helpers some tips and make du'a for them too.

Alhamdulillah — during my recent Umrah — Allah has blessed me again with a chance to pray in Hijir Ismail. As usual, the first thing you should do before entering the crowd is perform Hajatul Prayer. From my experience, be more specify with your du'a. When I was praying Hajatul Prayer, I specifically asked Allah to ease my path on getting into the Hijir Ismail and let me pray peacefully in there especially under the Al-Mizaab (also known as Pancuran Emas). Before that, I went around the Kaabah whilst uttering zikrullah and istighfar. Slowly merging into the corner of Hijir Ismail, I waited there for few minutes until my heart was at ease and ready to enter. So I entered with baby steps focusing only at the Al-Mizaab — and subhanallah — the next thing I know I was standing under the Al-Mizaab with a space more than enough for me to pray and sujud. Alhamdulillah. It was the best moment ever. I hope you'll get a taste of it too soon, insha'Allah.

The blessing Allah gave me on my recent Umrah trip was too much. Subhanallah. Everything was by Allah's will. When we arrived in Madinah, I wasn't feeling well. I fell sick the second day we arrived so I couldn't join the rest of the women to pray in Raudhah. I was really sad. But alhamdulillah on the second last day, Allah gave me the strength to go to the mosque. That night, at 10.30 pm, I went to Masjid An-Nabawi with my mother and two of her friends. As soon as we found our spot in the mosque, I prayed Tahiyatul Masjid Prayer and continued with Hajatul Prayer. Again — specifically — I asked Allah to ease my path to get into Raudhah and allow me to pray peacefully in there. I think we waited long enough until I did twice or thrice of Hajatul Prayer. Finally, it was our turn. We were the last group to enter the Raudhah. Usually, the sisters would let the Malaysian and Indonesian jamaah to enter the Raudhah first followed by Turkish jamaah. My problem with that is the Turks' have big and strong bodies compared to us Asians, so when they enter last, I cannot handle the push. But this time — alhamdulillah — the sisters let the Turks entered first. I was so happy only Allah knows how I felt at that time.

When we entered the Raudhah area, there were few people sitting in there. My guess was that perhaps they were waiting until the last hour of the visit. I told my mother not to wait for me because I wanted to stay at the last row because of the phobia. I was at the last row (at the very corner of the left side of the Raudhah — near the Maqam of Rasulullah SAW) initially until the sisters pulled the white canvas to close the door of Raudhah. Then some of the Turks women stood, ready to line up. I was worried that they would push me. So what I did was I gave them way, let them be in front of me and I went to the back. My guess was right. The pushing game happened. I stood quietly at the back smiling at a Malaysian woman who was standing next to me in her white telekung. She looked worried and terrified. A few seconds later, she talked. She was telling me about how she was pushed by another jamaah a few days ago in Raudhah. Just like me — she has a phobia now. I told her that I had experience the same thing too. Then she hold my hand and said positive things to me. "Adik, we will make it," she said. She told me she has cancer so she wanted to make du'a in there. I was touched by her story, and in silent, I asked Allah to ease her path and give her cure.

Not long after that, she was given some space to pray. I let her moved forward while I stayed at the back waiting for some people to move away. But there was no luck. There was another Malaysian lady standing next to me on the right. She told me to pray because at that time we were already passing the green carpet (indication of where the Raudhah starts). I asked her what about her? She said she'd be fine. So I prayed my first two rakaat of Hajatul Prayer there. Then I gave salam and moved to her right side where there were more spaces available for me to pray comfortably. At that time, the crowd was already decreasing. Many had left the Raudhah. I prayed another two rakaat and then another two — until my heart was satisfied. After that, I left the Raudhah, in hope that someday I could pray peacefully like that again. I went out, feeling in shocked, because I just realised that I prayed 6 prayers in there! Masha'Allah tabarakallah. Even while I'm typing this, my eyes are wet from thinking about those moments I had in Raudhah. Allah is The Best Listener. It was too much for a sinful slave like me to accept those kind of blessings. Subhanallah. Alhamdulillah.

My dear readers,

I want you to experience this pleasure too. So, if Allah is calling you as His guest someday, I hope these tips can help you to be ready and prepared so that you can give your very best there. Insha'Allah. In return, I ask you to make du'a for me, my husband and my family. If you find this post beneficial, share it with the others so that I can get the reward too.