Thursday, January 8, 2009

Diary of A Pilgrim - Mukadimah

The face of a weary pilgrim..

Frankly, leaving the Holy Land upset my emotional equilibrium terribly. In days leading to our departure, I suffered deep conflicting emotions. The pain was palpable, leading to torrents of tears and feelings of helplessness.

Half of me wanted desperately to come home, to all that was familiar. After 41 days in a sea of black (women clad head-to-toe in black jubbahs) and white (men togged in white ihram and light-coloured abayas), and shuffling my feet in tiny steps like a geisha in the midst of some three million pilgrims, I was ready for home.

I needed space. Lots of space. And I needed colour. Any colour except black and white. I missed my long strides. I missed the children, the house, the greenery, the bookstores, the food, the general abundance of things.

Yet, the other half of me yearned to stay, to be close to all that was good and holy. In fact, in the last few days of my stay in Makkah, each visit to Masjidil Haram would culminate in a tearful gaze at the Kaabah.

Likewise, my heart was torn asunder in Madinah each time I entered The Prophet’s mosque, Masjid Nabawi. Each word of greeting, each ‘salam’ to Rasulullah and the two Sahabah (Companions), Abu Bakar and Umar who were buried alongside him, would inevitably be accompanied by a deep sense of sadness and strange longings.

Tears came easy in the Holy Land. Tears of regret for the sins of yesteryears. Tears as we pitifully begged for Divine forgiveness. Like many others, we arrived burdened with every conceivable sin. We laid bare our heart and soul in the hope of salvation.

Nowhere was this felt the most than on the barren plains of Arafah under the scorching sun, where sitting in the open was a better option than staying under a steaming tent, or in equally barren Muzdalifah (thankfully in the late evening) under a most beautiful moon as we picked pebbles for the ‘stoning of the Devil’ ritual.

And then there was jam-packed Mina, where claustrophobic me had to endure three nights in a tent shared with hundreds of women, where one had to queue for nearly a hour just to relieve oneself, where taking a bath was a luxury one could ill-afford, where taking ablution was sometimes reduced to washing oneself from a bottle or a cup of water....

‘Azab’ (suffering) was the byword of the Haj; so said the good ustaz from Tabung Haji, Hj Helmi Akhtar, who couldn't have been more eloquent when he cautioned us not to make light of the experience by saying the Haj was a-okay. It wasn’t.

But it was an 'azab' that I would gladly endure time and again. My heart bled the moment I stepped foot on ‘Haram’ soil. The bleeding hasn’t stopped. Baitullah, how I miss you...


Pi Bani said...

Ahhh... same feeling I had when I went for Haj about 11 years ago (time tu tambang haji under muassasah was only RM5,600). Usually tempat lain I don't like being in a big crowd but when it comes to Mekah/Madinah, I don't mind having to endure it again and again...

Iron Butterfly said...

Welcome back auntie. You came back on the same day and time as my aunt. But her bags were stranded in Madinah I think. So no kurma and pistachios for us yet. heh.

Glad that auntie sihat sejahtera =)

Pp said...

beautiful description...i read engan penuh perasan, dapat bayangkan setiap langkah2 kecil, setiap renungan sayu, dan setiap ratapan memohon restu!

insyAAllah, semoga ada rezki panjang usia, puteri Kama dan suami dapat ke sana lagi.

Haji Ariffin

Mior Azhar said...

Salam Kak Puteri,
Welcome back. Alhamdulillah segalanya selamat. Excellent mukadimah. Can't wait to read the rest...

Mior Azhar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bergen said...

When it comes to leave for home, I always pray that I die in Mekah right there and then, and be buried there unmarked. Each time I leave Malaysia for Mekah, I pray that I die in Mekah.

I know how you feel, hajjah.

Bila rindu Mekah, baca Qur'an.

kay_leeda said...

Kak Puteri,

Let the longing feeling for Al-Haram linger on. Bet you are still missing your fellow saf mates who lined the long cramped rows with you in the mosque. Cherish the memories kak.

And...of course it's good to be back yah!! Looking forward for more beautiful stories from you :)

Naz said...

Kak Puteri,
I have been missing your writings.. so it is good to see you're back :)
I long for the day that I too get to experience all the things that you are expressing here.
Take care.

Kak Teh said...

Salam, Thanks for the posting. although I had only been there for Umrah, I had the same feeling too.
I remember not wanting to take my eyes off the Kaabah.

Ezza Aziz said...

salam kak kama,
walau pun saya tak pernah menjejak kan kaki ke tanah suci Mekah,tapi hati saya tetap terkenang kan tempat tu. Semuga Allah menyambut doa saya agar di jemput ke sana sebagai tetamu nya.
Kak,jiran saya pulang sendirian setelah kematian suami nya di sana. Cuma beberapa hari nak pulang ke tanah air.Walau pun dia sedih tapi saya rasa suami dia tenang mengadap tuhan di sana..apa lagi di bumi suci kita. Innalillah...

Anonymous said...

Kak Putri.. welcome back akak.. the same feeling I had when I was there 9 yrs ago. Looking forward for more of your journey...:)


mamasita said...

Salam Hajjah,
as I read your post,my eyes brimmed with some tears and my heart is full of sadness.How true.We are plagued with every conceivable sin and We seek forgiveness only from Allah.

I have heard your dilemma from almost all the pilgrims.They want to go home to their love ones yet they do not want to leave the Holy Land.And they always yearn to go back again to Makkah irregardless of the millions of pilgrims present and whatever inconveniences faced.
You have again confirmed all these precious experiences!
Beautiful and touching diary Hajjah.

Aida said...

Kak Puteri,

I can feel it too.
My heart longs to be there, in the throngs of those millions of worshippers.


Can't wait to read more.

An-Nimr said...

Welcome back sis,

Bestnye....hubby said it was quite a challenge.

I can't imagine the crowd...

Kama At-Tarawis said...

Pi - We went under muasasah too, costing slightly less than RM9000/pax. semua bagus, tabung haji did a splendid job.

IB - tq dear. kesian yr aunt, with her baggage stranded kat madinah and all that. hopefully by now dah dapat balik.

Pp - PakPayne, saya dah buat janji dengan anak2, Insyaallah kalau takder aral, tahun depan kami pi umrah sekeluarga.

Mior - tq for the kind words, mior. hopefully i can do justice to the haj in my writings.

Bergen - in a way, we envy those yang meninggal di mekah kan? i learned the value of solat jenazah while in tanah suci, bergen. selama ni i never knew that the Prophet once said sapa yg solat jenazah pahalanya setiap solat adalah sebesar Bukit Uhud. we saw Jabal Uhud..

Kay - you couldn't have said it any better. cramped, terperonyok, kena tekan kepala sometimes.. yet so satisfying..

Naz - Insyaallah, one day you'll be there, Naz.

Kak Teh - don't know why kak teh, my thoughts selalu melayang kat you semasa di sana.

Ezza - one man from Terengganu dpt phone call wifenya meninggal di kampung just before kami bertolak ke arafah. kesian sungguh. tapi dia tabah..

Anon 9.53 - kak puteri rasa semua yg dah pi haji/umrah feel the same kan? rindu pada kaabah etc..

Mamasita & Aida - Insyaallah, satu hari sampai jugak tu.

An-Nimr - I hope he fared well. Satu hari giliran An pulak jadi tetamu Allah, Insyaallah..

Anonymous said...

Syukur...u r back...I miss u so much Akak...ur writing rekindles the memories i had too...mudah mudahan dipanjangkan usia supaya dapat menunaikan haji sekali lagi...Aminnn


mamasita said...

Salam Hajjah,
Tuan Haji dah baik lelah?Mudah2an dah sihat.Its true.He looked so tired.Take care ye.Salam

Kama At-Tarawis said...

tq mamasita for the concern. we hv both recovered.. cuma batuk and sore throat sikit yg tinggal. in fact, pak abu dah nak start kerja on monday. until today i still don't hv the mood to write about the Haj, considering what's happening in Gaza.

MrsNordin said...

I've only been there for Umrah, back in 1997. This love-hate feeling about leaving the Holy Land is natural, I suppose.

The thing that I brought back from there is this: every time I pray, now I know what I'm praying to. Bila sujud, I always picture the Ka'abah infront of me. And that's surreal.

Zawi said...

Peforming The Haj is the mother of all travels since you were going to His house. Looking forward to reading more of your experience.

Desert Rose said...

Kak Hajjah (ok?)

Welcome home, alhamdullillah.

I understand exactly how u felt...still missing d holy land myself although I just went 4 Umrah.

Ketenangan yg tak akan dapat di mana2 pun kan Kak? D feeling of 'kehambaan' and how small we are.

Although life is simple and 'lepak' in Tanah Haram, but I felt contended, peaceful, blissed and blessed.

Mat Cendana said...

I have read MANY individuals describing what they had felt there, in English and Malay, but I've never felt anything. Maybe it's because of my `hati keras'; I don't know. However, your description left an impression - and that must mean something.