Last week I did my first Umrah, something that I’ve been looking forward to for the longest time, and not exactly sure how I made it to this age without doing so!! What do you think Mom?
When I think of the whole experience, I realize that it was about more than performing a religious duty. There was some really valuable lessons and takeaways that I left with and will certainly hold close to my heart for as long as I live.
The following seven notions are what keep reoccurring on my mind the most.
A unique chance to live in the moment
Some moments in life can be so powerful, that you don’t really know what to do other than to live them. Like when you find yourself part of a huge event, engaging countless human souls that just believe. When you can smell and taste your own emotions as they flood your very being.
When you reach a peaceful state of mind, stay there for as long as you can
It gets fairly crowded at this time of the Hijri year. Millions of worshipers flock in from all parts of the planet to perform their obligatory duty of Hajj. Although Hajj season ended few weeks ago, thousands of pilgrims extended their stay in Makkah to search their souls and linger in a peaceful state of mind I suppose. Knowing that they’re unlikely to be able to afford such spiritual luxury more than once in a lifetime, many stay and pray, guided by love and fueled by penitence.
Athan is a powerful call to action
For the last 30 years, I’ve heard the sound of Athan (call for prayer) five times a day. It’s fairly hard to still be impressed by something that takes place that often in your life, no matter how much you personally cherish it. For this reason, I was extremely surprised to find myself getting regularly hypnotized by the calls for prayer at the Haram (holy mosque). The thing is, Athan at the haram is such a special event. First of all, the voices that perform it are cherry picked to do the honors for a very good reason. It is true music to the ears. My favorite part was how it urged people to drop whatever it is they were doing and drew towards the big mosque like ants to candy. At dawn, dusk, in the middle of a busy day , and at night, that always happened without fail. Watching them all march in the same direction, in and out of the place, worked like a joy spell on me.
Makkah is a city that never sleeps
Many cities around the world are known as the one that doesn’t sleep, each has its own motives – however different, it is always decided by the crowds. I saw Makkah’s unique night style reflected in the spirit of the surrendering individuals. People stayed up all night to do exactly what they did during the day, only with more apparent determination.
I don’t know what others beg for at those late hours, but my last prayer in Makkah was to be destined to pay it another enjoyable visit.
The truth is much bigger than yourself
When you’re in a place where so many people are pouring their hearts and eyes out to the same God you’re praying to, you can’t help but wonder just how big he really is!
The real enemy lies within
This can be the kind of a humbling experience through which you realize the truth you’ve always known. Standing in front of one God alongside man and woman, old and young, rich and poor, black and white, renewed my belief that man’s biggest enemy is not another man, but one’s own ego.
There is no such thing as drinking enough Zamzam water
This wasnt the first time I drink Zamzam water, family freinds have always brought us jars at home as Umrah gifts. but you know how they say Pizza tastes different in Italy; similarly your thirst for Zamzam water is just never ending in Makkah!