It was a week of pure bliss and unadulterated abandonment.
We decided to go to Makkah a week earlier, to read up on the rites and the history of the Hajj, to read the Quran and to pray as often as we can at the Masjidil Haram.
I never needed to worry about what to wear. Somedays its my abaya, even with my face covered. Other days I wore my telekung. I only needed my trusty, now worn out, slippers which I would put in a plastic bag when we entered the mosque.
Getting a spot in the mosque was sometimes a battle. The nearer it was to the day of Wukuf, the more difficult it was to get a spot to pray.
Somedays I felt like crying when I thought I could not find a spot to pray. And so I asked for Allah's help.
"Please Allah, please let me find a spot to pray."
And lo and behold, a spot opens up for me.
One evening, after saying my silent request I found a small spot in between two people. I had forgotten my own prayer mat in my haste. I wanted to buy a new one but didn't want to spend the time haggling and find myself not getting a spot inside the mosque. And so I prayed on the cold marble floor in a small space between two prayer mats. I thanked Him for giving me the oppurtunity once again to pray there. And then the call for prayer for Magrib. The lady beside me told me to pray on the empty mat she had laid out for her daughter. Her daughter had gone off to the toilet but could not make it back on time. I never felt more grateful, just to be given that prayer spot on a borrowed prayer mat. Alhamdullilah. The small pleasures in life.
Each day we planned our schedules based on the prayer times. Because we stayed somewhat a distance from Masjidil Haram, Subuh was spent at the surau next door for my hubby, and me praying in the room. Thne we would have breakfast. Showered. Rest a little by reading the Quran or our Hajj books. At about 10:30 we would set out for the mosque. We were careful not to set out too late because the traffic gets horrendous as it gets nearer to Dzohor. And we didn't want to be stuck in traffic.
We then quickly walked into the mosque to find places to pray. Hopefully we were fairly near to each other. The Mosque was very crowded and we see lots of different Nationalities there. I tend to try to find a spot near Malaysians. But its not always easy and sometimes beggars cannot be choosers.
The wait can be excruciating on a gassy day. Being alone meant it would be easier for me to squeeze in between people to find a spot. But it also meant that my spot cannot be saved if I needed to take my abolution again. And the walk out to the toilet, was like going to battle.
On some days, it felt like a battle defending my praying space. One day I found myself amongst a group of Malaysians and Indonesians. We had been there very early, making sure that we were comfortably seated. As the time for the call of prayer draws near and the mosque gets more and more full, people would start to squeeze in. I wore my black Abaya that day, and all around me makciks were wearing white. For some reason, some ladies thought that there was space for them to squeeze in beside me. Two tried to squeeze in. The makcik on my right, my new found defender, told them to move forward where she pointed out some space. But a third lady insisted on praying beside me. It was a tight squeeze, we had to watch each other when we prostrated. It was indeed a challenge. But I didn't feel angry or upset. I was redha. I am a visitor here. A mere nobody who has been given an invitation to pray at this mosque. And so had the person next to me. It was a tight squeeze, we just had to live with it.
I learned to abandon my thirst for wordly things that week. I learnt to live with people around me. I learnt that if I asked Allah, and ask him nicely, with full sincerity and honesty, He might just oblige.
And I shared my tight spot for Dzohor and got a spacious spot on a somebody else's prayer mat for Magrib. That was the swiftness of my reward.
And I learned the true meaning of divine retribution. A good dead is replaced by a good dead. And a bad deed, I never want to commit.
I learned to be humble and generous. That it doesn't matter what other humans think of me. Because my Creator knows and sees my every move, both good and bad. And I will be rewarded and punished accordingly.
I did not read the newspapers that week. Because the drama of the world was unfolded before me.
It was sheer bliss, not having to worry of money, wealth, status, all sorts of worldly material things. To just concentrate on checking myself in with my Creator. To ask him to forgive me for the sins I have committed and to show me the light for the rest of my life.
But this few days, I somehow got myself swamped again. Swamped in the distraction of worldly activities. And I have to remind myself, what is important and what isn't.
Please Allah, please give me strength so I can always place my Iman with you. I know I am weak and I am easily distracted. Please give me happiness, good health and peace of mind.