We reached the goal of the journey – the Sacred Mosque (Ka’bah)
“Labbaik Allahuma labbaik!” Behold, I am here, I responded to Your invitation, oh Allah!
From the area where we stayed you must take a taxi or a bus to the Sacred Mosque. Unfortunately, we did not know how to stop the bus and how to get into it, so we had to use taxi services. And the prices offered to tourists during this time of the Hajj are sky high, so each time they have to negotiate to drop to at least 50 riyals (the exchange rate is 10 riyals equal 2.5 euros). The price can reach up to 200 riyals per person, and other people are taken to the very same taxi, therefore frequently the other option is to gather a larger group of passengers and take seven or more seats taxi, which makes it cheaper.
I see luxurious houses and the highest hotels as if we were in any New York with just Muslims all around us on the way to the Sacred Mosque. Among all of this luxury, we feel very poor Europeans. However, we know that all this materiality is only temporary, so our hearts are not broken and we are not interested where this wealth comes from. Today our purpose of the ride is only to get closer to the Ka’bah and to carry out rituals of Umrah and prayers in this mosque, which is equal to 1,000 prayers in any other mosque.
As we are approaching the destination of our journey, I feel as a little and excited child, I try to catch the glimpse of Ka’bah, and when I catch it with the corner of my eye, I can say only one thing: “Subhanallah (Glory to Allah)!” We enter together with all the pilgrims and start our first tawaaf. I glorify Him Alone, tearful I refer to Allah with my requests and supplications, and I try to repeat the supplications in Arabic that our Prophet Muhammed (sallallahu alayhi wa salam) has said, while he was going around Ka’bah. In the ecstasy of this moment, all the hearts are open and you feel as if only here you can express all your pain, injustice on the search for righteousness, and all what worries your heart. Only He, the All-Hearer, listens to you – and here we are at least a few thousands who are seeking for Him here and now. Subhanallah! I’m not alone in this earth, I have nothing special about my colour, my clothes or my nationality … Only here and now I am seen by my intention and piety – what is hidden inside each person and known only to Him Alone.
After all the rituals of Umrah, we remain in the mosque for Jummah prayer in order to hear the Friday khutbah. Fatigue is insuperable, the main food is only water. The mosque is already overflowing, so I found a place for prayer, sat down and waited. Beside me is a Turkish lady who is showing that her phone is about to die, so I gave her an extra battery to charge it, afterwards she offers me the slice of bread. I feel better and I am patiently waiting for the Adhan. The feeling is indescribable …
After prayer, we go out of the mosque. The crowds are huge. Policemen complain about everything – we must strictly listen to their instructions and orders and not to behave as we would like. This way we keep each other away from any accidents. We are returning to the hotel for a rest, and in the evening, we are again getting ready for the evening prayers in the Sacred Mosque. Pilgrims are everywhere and a lot of them, but we have more opportunities to view the entire mosque, its magnificent architecture. In my life, I have not seen such high-quality elements and the size of a building.
We went to the mosque several times before the Hajj. During these few days, it was a great opportunity to pray all prayers in it. The very last days we left for the rest and for the search and packing of the necessary items. We began to get to know more about our group’s pilgrims. Prices for the taxis were already huge or irrational. We had no wish to be angry or negotiate them anymore, so only one solution was left – dua to Allah to make it easier for all pilgrims in this city by building metro.
For our journey – Hajj – the time has come, and at the same time our excitement has grown. On the eve of the 8th day of the Zul al Hij, after Fajr prayer, we left to Mina.
(Athan for Fajr prayer in Sacred Mosque)
Tips for getting ready for Hajj or what we would do differently:
1. It’s extremely difficult to do Hajj with young children, but there are parents who take them together. However, as long as there is a possibility, it is best that they would be staying with reliable relatives during this period.
2. There is a lot of walking, so to protect your feet from injuries and callosity, you need to take good shoes. The most suitable are breathable sports shoes (at that time, the Skechers GOWALK was offered by the company on market, whose products are ideal for pilgrims) or ballerina-type shoes, but they need to be worn only with socks. Do not forget to put rubber slippers, and it’s advisable for men to have good sport shoes as well. Men must wear a seamless, open footwear while they are in the state of Ihram. This type of sandals can be found in Lithuania too.
3. For female head covering, it is the best to choose a shawl of chiffon material. They are very lightweight, thin and comfortable at such heat, while with amira or pashmina-type scarves is too hot, so they are not suitable.
4. In such a heat, the best garment is abaya and wearing good cotton underwear with long sleeves and leggings (as strange as it sounds – such with tight clothing under the abaya is not hot even at +40 ° C) under it is strongly advisable. Most importantly, there should be no skin to skin contact when walking, because then you will have to use much vaseline on these places. Men wear long white thobes at the time when there is no Hajj and under that they also wear good cotton underwear with short sleeves. Thobes usually have an upright collar that protects the neck from cold which may be caught easily due to the high temperature variation when leaving the building with air conditioning to the hot outdoor air.
5. Take medication only those you may really need. No sun cream or sun protection is suitable, so it makes no sense to carry it with you. When the sun is in the Zenith, there are rarely ones who walk outside. The whole movement begins when the sun goes down. It is best to have a lip balm, because the weather is not only hot but also very dry.
(To be continued…)
Articles: My trip to Mecca (part 1)