~Umrah Mubarak to Us

Bachpan ka aik din, isha ka time, nani ka ghar:
Puranay zamanay ka Box Tv khula hua hai, channel PTV laga hua hai aur Isha ki azaan ka aelaan hotay hi tv pe azaan anay lagee. Hamesha ki tarhan nani ne bola yeh dekho Khana e Ka’aba. Isko dekhne ka bhi sawaab hai. Phr donoun haath upar utha k “Ya Allah hamein bhi apne ghar ki ziyarat kara de”!
Nani ki dekha dekhi hum ne bhi yeh dua maangli… And then my eyes were glued to the tv. It became a ritual for me whenever i would get a chance to see the Khana e Ka’aba i would be fascinated by how people stand in a perfect circle all around the ka’aba, the way all of them bow together…the rukoohs, the sajdahs for One and Only Allah and with out any thought i would pray, “Ya Allah hamein bhi apne ghar ki ziyarat kara de”. Finally that day also came.
Alhamdulilah, THE best of the bestest host that we know of sent us an invitation to visit HIS place.🕋 It was a moment of great joy to see the KSA visa on my passport. My husband and I were finally going to perform Umrah. Did quick shopping for necessary items at a weeks notice, went through the umrah guide books, learnt all the main duas, saw a couple of You tube videos and went through peoples list of Do’s and Don’t.

*Don’t forget to see the check list and Umrah at a glance leaflet at the end of the post*

Components of Umrah are: Ihram, tawaf e Umrah, Sa’ee and halaq( haircut).
We wore our ihram from home. For ladies it’s basically an abaya but for men it’s the two unstitched sheets of cloth which i believe carrying is far more difficult. The moment i took the abaya as an ihram i was in a different zone… You know the way we feel during Ramadan… Not the fasting bit but the pious bit, keep away from all sins…. And then i realized why it is called Halat e ihram. Because ihram is not just clothing….its a State. We had taken the Oman air line…and this was quite a good decision. Got great service from them esp in terms of Punctuality and food. Decent three course meal with dessert ‘caramel mousse’ being the highlight. I know i was going on Umrah but that doesnt mean i stop eating, no?&
During the entire flight men were chanting Talbiyah (Labbaik Allahumma Labbaik) in a slightly raised voice and women in a low one. And just hearing it all around enhanced the spirituality around us. It is said that Talbiyah is to be recited till you reach haram and then when you step inside haram you stop Talbiyah and start other duas.

We had our transit at Muscat, such a wonderful airport they have, loved it! Toilets are super duper clean and they even have wuzu khanas in there. And a very proper prayer room as well. We offered two nafils here of ihram here and made niyyat for our Umrah. Second flight was in less than two hours time…which flew like anything and soon we were on our next flight. The airline people informed us when meeqat was reached and all those who hadnt made Niyyat before, made it. It is said if meeqat is crossed and you forget to make niyyat, a Dum is to be offered.
Our descent into Jeddah was a beautiful one. Since it had already been raining for the past couple of hours we got to witness a part of a rainbow amidst the clouds just before landing. And to me it felt as if Allah ta’ala had already started welcoming us.

Jeddah airport is an okay airport, nothing much. Shaikhs in White Jubba with red and white checkered headscarfs ordering you to go here and there. Toilets here are okayish. Clean but wet usually and manging an ihram is difficult in these washrooms. A very common mistake that is seen is that after using the toilet many people use the liquid soaps from the soap dispenser. These liquid soaps are perfumed and hence cannot be used in halat e ihram. If used, a sadqa (small amount of charity) is to be given. Carry your non perfumed soaps for this moment. We offered our Maghrib prayers and then off to the Sim counters. Zain and Mobily two sim counters are easily seen. We bought Zain Sim. One sim was for 55 Riyals. It came with 2GB Data, 30 local minutes, 10 international minutes and 20 local sms.
We later found out that Mobily sim was available for 32 riyal with 2gb data but service wasnt good. So, happy that we took zain. Expensive, yes but made things easier.
From Jeddah we went to Makkah… It was around 1.5 hours into the city and then to our hotel. You start seeing the clock tower from quite far that tells you beforehand the location of Haram shareef.
Upon reaching the hotel we freshened up, and offered Isha prayers. And then headed for haram.
We started walking towards what looked like the brightest place i had ever seen, masjid e haram. With light drizzle on the go, we approached the masjid like excited kids going on a school trip. Our pouches with our passport and visa photo copies, hotel card and tawaf counter completed the look. Holding hands, trying not to slip, looking in awe at each and everything. Took off our slippers, put them in our shoe bag, slung over the shoulder and proceeded. With our heads down we entered with our right foot first, recited the Dua to enter Masjid and then did as we were told: Keep looking down and follow the footsteps of other people ahead, you will be led to Mata’af. This is done so that you get to see the entire K’aba in one go and in that ‘Pehli Nazar’ whatever you pray for, you get that. But suddenly those steps started going down the stairs… I got confused and looked up and Lo and behold there, in the centre stood the most magnificent structure-the Khana e Ka’aba, House of Our Lord. We have been seeing this structure since childhood but when it was in front of me in real…. I was taken by such surprise that i completely forgot the entire dua that i had prepared for Pehli nazar…and i started babbling duas out of the blue. And i seriously don’t remember what i asked for.
We got down the stairs, and finally onto the Mata’af. (the floor where the main tawaf is done, like immediately around the Khana e Ka’aba) The floor was cold and wet, it was still drizzling. And between the Khana e Ka’aba and Us there was a sea of people… and just the thought that we have to go into that human sea…made me gulp down. But Allah ta’ala is there to help us all. On our right, was a building on which we saw the GREEN LIGHT (which is just opposite to the Hajr e Aswad ) from there the tawaf is to begin. Kiss or touch the Hajr e Aswad if you can reach it. If not, gesture towards it from afar. This is called Istilam. To do Istilam, raise your hands and say Bismi llāhi wallāhu akbar.

Men remove ihram from their right shoulder for the tawaf. Ideally speaking men have to walk fast during the 3 rounds which is called Ramal and the other four rounds are done at normal pace whereas women walk at normal pace throughout. Practically speaking Ramal isn’t possible considering the large number of people but one must attempt, if he can. We soon became part of that human sea circumambulating the magnificent Ka’aba with our chest never facing the Ka’aba directly. And looking at it only when we completed each tawaf and slid the rosary down the tawaf counter. What a feeling it was: men, women, children, elderly all were there; Pakistani, Indian, Arabi, Turkish, Indonesian, Irani, Afghani all were there; normal, blind, deaf and dumb, crippled all were there…ALL circumambulating around one Khana e Ka’aba for One Lord, “ALLAH”. Allah o Akbar. Subhan Allah! You can’t stop tears running down your cheek when you think about it in a real sense…. Sigh. It was beautiful. During Tawaf we can recite Quranic Surahs, do zikr, or make Dua in our own language but between the Rukn e Yamani and the Hajr e Aswad, (that’s the 4th wall of the Khana e Ka’aba we are talking about) we recite:
رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ

This completes one round of the Tawaf. You again do the Istilam to start the second round. So in one Tawaf of seven rounds there are 8 Istilams. We offered our two nafils. My husband got a place just behind Maqam e Ibrahim whereas I got the place to pray a little at the back. But i didn’t feel bad because the sawab is the same for praying anywhere in Haram: One lakh naeki .
After drinking zamzam we headed for sa’ee. It is said that you should drink zamzam in a good quantity, facing the Ka’aba Shareef and make sure to make Dua.

For Sa’ee, men are to cover both their shoulders.
Call it my lack of knowledge or whatever but i was expecting the entire mountains of Safa and Marwa to be there for us to climb and do Sa’ee… But i was surprised by what i saw. Only a part of the actual mountain was visible and that too encased in a glass. I used my tawaf counter for the sa’ee as well. And it was good that i did because it’s sooo easy to lose track of your rounds.At Safa, face the Kaaba and say the Dua to start Saee. During Saee you may recite anything. Usually 3 Rd Kalma is recited. And then a general Dua is made upon reaching marwa. The walk from saffa to Marwa is one round and from marwa to saffa is second. In this way the 7th round ends at marwa. Here you will find many burqa clad ladies with scissors in their hands in case you haven’t gotten yours. Half an inch from the tip does the trick. Divide hair in three partitions and cut half an inch from each portion. Men are to go outside near the clock tower where the entire floor is full of barbers and halaq (head shave) is done. And it’s Umrah Mubarak to us!
Tawaf can be done at the basement floor that is known as Mata’af, the ground floor also known as sehan, the first floor and the roof.
The round on the above floors is waaay bigger than those in Mata’af. One round on the above floor almost equals three rounds in Mata’af. Yeaaah, that big. But yes, a lesser number of people. No pushing and pulling.

Hateem, the semi circle part on one side of the haram, is said to be part of the khana e ka’aba. When the khana e kaaba was being reconstructed by the Quraysh there was some shortage of funds and because of that hateem couldn’t be included in the wall of the ka’aba. It is said that praying in the hateem is like praying in the ka’aba. So don’t miss the chance.
Prayers are offered in congregations in haram. Women in our part of the world usually don’t know how to offer prayers in a congregation so it’s better to ask your Mehram that you go along with to explain the basics of congregational prayers and also namaz e janaza. As after every prayer, there’s usually namaz e janaza being offered. We used to make sure that we were at Haram for at least 45 minutes before azaan. Because that is the time when it’s easier to find a place to pray. Shurtaz (saudi police) come into action at this time and start redirecting women to areas for ‘Nissa’ located at the back and gents to the front. The tawaf continues till just before the beginning of the Jama’at and resumes immediately after it.
Wuzu khanas (place for Ablution) for men and women is located immediately outside masjid haram. And buildings for washrooms are present at a little walk. Washroom building are called WC or دورات میاہ۔ . Each building has escalators that go down and have about 50 toilets and wuzu khanas inside.

Pre decide a place with your family members to meet outside the haram. Gates have names you can decide upon. Sometimes you get lost and come out from a new gate. Do not panic. Always look for the nearest WC and upon looking at its number you can decide which side u have to go. WC’s are located in a clockwise fashion. Number one being at the front of the haram. Google Maps really helped. And having our Sims also helped in times of being temporarily lost.

One day we went for Ziarats. Somebody had forwarded a card for somebody who got Ziarats done. We contacted him over the phone. And chose a time for early morning so that we could go back before zuhr. Urdu speaking guy in a taxi was our driver as well as the guide. We got done in less than 3 hours and at a cost of around 200 saudi riyals.
We visited Ghar e hira (only from the bottom since trekking up and coming down would take 4hrs), Jannat ul Mual’la (second holiest grave yard after Jannat ul Baqee). Resting place of Hazrat Khadijah and a lot of other first relations of the Holy Prophet (SAW), Mina, Muzdalfah, Jamara’at ( where Hajis throw stones at Shaitan). A lot of other ziyarats were just shown to us while passing by them.

A few tips
* Try to get an accommodation in the vicinity of the Haram.
Hotels that are located around Haram are quite expensive but reaching haram becomes easier. Still you have to ensure that you reach the haram 45 mins before each prayer so that proper place is ensured for namaz.

*If you get an accommodation at a place more than 1km , the hotels will offer shuttle service to and fro to haram. So select a hotel that has a good shuttle service.

*Food is not an issue. A good breakfast, snacks as lunch and an early dinner helps you keep energized for the journey.

* Put your social life on hold for these few days. ‘ itna tu kar saktay hain’, no? Because unless you do that, you wont be able to feel the essence.

*The authorities often apply perfume to Hajar-e-Aswad, Rukn Yamani and Multazam. If so, do not touch them while in the state of Ihram, otherwise a dum will be required as a penalty.

*Do understand the concept of Taqseer Namaz (shortening of Farz namaz) during traveling. During travel, only Salah with 4 Rakat Farz is to be shortened, i.e. Dhuhr, Asr & Isha. Travelers should offer 2 Rakat instead of 4 Rakat of the mentioned Salahs.
However, 2 Rakat Farz of Fajr and 3 Rakat of Maghrib Salah must be offered in full as you cannot cut 2 or 3 Rakat Fardh Salah in half. ( Do check the chart below)

If there’s shortage of time the Sunnah namaz are not offered. But if there’s no shortage of time then they are offered completely. This is for when you are offering prayers individually and not in congregations.

* If you are going with kids or elderly then make sure they are wearing an ID card with your cell number/whatsapp number along with the hotel address.

* For females it’s better to visit a gynaecologist first so that a Menses- free time is ensured and you can make the most of whatever time you have in Ibadah. If you are having periods you cannot enter any masjid. It’s always better to understand/ discuss issues a female may face during the Umrah with an alima/ ustazah so as to be aware of the religious guidance regarding different issues.

* During umrah, people from many different countries perform tawaf as a large group and they tend to stick each other not letting other people come in between. When you see such a group hold your mehram/ partner tight because sometimes when participants of such groups are making way for themselves they make you lose hold of your partner. For women, wear a small backpack that covers your bum and keep your hands Infront of your chest. Thank me later.

* If you plan on distributing snacks amongst people, be careful as a mob may suddenly form and create panic.

* ATM card: before leaving your home country, call your banks helpline and activate international roaming for the number of days that you are visiting. For ” in case of emergency” situations.

* Saudi people have limited English vocabulary. Don’t waste your time in explaning them things with action. Rather use Google translator.

* After Umrah do give some sadqa to any khuddam of the Haram or anyone with the niyyat that if any mistake was made unintentionally by you, may Allah subhanawa ta’ala forgive it.

*Dum is a punishment of sacrificing an animal in case if you commit a mistake / sin. Do go through the list of stuff which makes DUM necessary.

When you go for some religious journey everyone seems to know more than you and guide as if they know the best. After hearing multiple point of views we tend to get confused and do something that most people were in favor of. In order to avoid that situation be well prepared for you Umrah, do your research, learn you duas, understand the commonly happening Masaels (issues) and their solutions. Stick to your thing.

Try to make the most of this blessed journey. Not everybody gets a chance. It’s an invitation that comes to the chosen ones. Pray for yourself, for the deceased, for your family and for the entire ummah.

May we get to visit the khana e ka’aba again and again and again.

Ameen.

– remember in prayers.

Aik Jamay Dua.
Sandiwched between durood shareef 7 times.
Aey Allah tu Rehman hai , tu hi ghafoor ur raheem hai. Tu hi sub ki duaoun ko sunne wala hai, tu hi ata karne wala hai.
Aye Allah tu tou un logoun ko bhi maaf farma deta hai jin k gunah samandar k jhaag k barabar hotay hain. Tu tou un ko bhi maaf farma deta hai jin k gunah paharoun ki chotiyoun se ounchay hotay hain, Aye Allah tu hamein bhi maaf farma dena. Aye Allah aik ma apne bachoun ko itna chhahtee hai tu phr WOH ALLAH jo 70 maoun se ziada chhahta hoga uski mohabbat kis hudd ki hogee, kis shiddat ki hogee, woh kyun na hamein maaf karega..Allah mian maaaaf farma dejiay, darguzar farma dejiay.
Aye Allah hamein, hamaray shoharoun/biwiyoun ko, hamaray waldaen ko, hamaray behn bhaiyoun ko, hamary nanyaal, dadyaal aur susraal waloun ko 5 waqt ki namaz parhne, puray rozay rakhne, haj karne , zakat dene, such bolne aur jhoot se bachne, sachhaee aur naeki ki raah pe chalne, burai aur badee se bachne ki taufeeq ata farmana. Chughli gheebat, keena bughz sub SE bachana.
Hum sub ko , hamaray gharoun ko aur hamaree tamam ashiya ko tamam zahiri batini cheezoun k shar se Apne hifz o amaan mein rakhna. Aye Rab Ul Aalameen, jadu tona, sifli, kala amal, nazre bad, hasad o jalan se hm sub ko bachana.
Aye Allah tamam shadi shuda joroun ko dil se shadi shuda banana. Un ko taufeeq ata farmana k woh aik dusray k saath mukhlis, farma bardar aur wafadaar reh sakein. Donoun ko ghalat raastoun pe chalne se bachana aur islami tareeqoun k hisaab se shadi shuda zindagi mein dhalne ki taufeeq ata farmana.
Aye Rab ul Alameen tamam bey auladoun ko sehat mand, naek aur dil se muslim aulad se nawazna.. aur jin ki aulaad mojood hai us ko waldaen ka farmardar o mukhlis aur naek ummati banana.
Aye meray maula jin larkay larkuyoun ki shadiyan nahin hui hain un k naek khandanoun mein , naek logoun k saath rishtay karwana. Hum sub ko tang karne walay aur takleef dene walay sathiyoun se bachana.
Aye Pak parwadagar jin bachoun, baroun k imtehaan chul rahay hain un sub ko kamyabi o kamraani ata farmana. Tamam bemarounn ko shifa ata farmana.
Aey Allah hamaray woh rishtaydaar jo inteqaal farmagaye hain un ki aur marne k baad hamaree maghfirat farmana. Qabar ko jannat ka gosha banana. Azab e qabar se bachana, pul sarat pe sabit qadam rakhna.Karwat karwat janat naseeb farmana.
Tu tou hamaree sheh rag se ziada qareeb hai… tu tou woh duaeun bhi janta hai jo hamaray dil mein hain par lab tak nahin aiee hain , tu tou woh bhi janta hai jo hamaray subconscious mind mein hai…Aye Allah hamaree tamam zahiri aur batini jaez duaoun ko Qabool farmana.
Aye Allah, Aye sub kuch jannay walay..sirf Tu janta hai k hamaray haq mein kya behtreen hai. Aye meray maula hamaree un tamam duaoun ko qabool farmana jin ka anjam bakhaer ho. Un tamam se bachana jin ka anjam bakhaer nahin, JIS mein TERI Raza shamil Nahin aur mujhe us pe SABR ata farmana …..sirf TERA asra hai, TERA hi bharosa hai jis k liyya teray pyaray nabi Hazrat Mohammad mustafa k ummatee teray darbae mein jholee phelaaye kharay hain…Aye Allah khali haath na lautaiyo… Aye Allah hamaree duaoun ko sun le, hamaree duaoun ko sun le. Hamein Baar Baar Apne Ghar bulana
Ameen suma Ameen.
Durood Shareef.

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