My name is Soyd Islam and these are some reflections of my Hajj experience in 2012.
Alhamdulillah, I was blessed to perform Hajj at a young age. I was 17 years old by October 2012 and I was the youngest in the group. First thing I would advise anyone going to Hajj or Umrah would be to go by public transport rather than a car. On the day we were supposed to leave for our flights, there was so much traffic on the A406 and I remember the look of sadness and worry on Mum’s face. Despite not being a practicing Muslim or knowledgable at the time, I had this certainty in my heart that we are on a path for the sake of Allah and He will not forsake us.
We reached the airport and we were given the sad news that it was too late and our gate was about to close before even checking in. I remember the tears on Mum’s face but I still had this certainty, Allah will not forsake us. The woman at the desk told us there was nothing she can do, but Alhamdulillah another Muslim sister took over and said ‘because this is a pilgrimage I will get another flight for you’. Alhamdulillah, she arranged for us to get another flight for the following day, with a stopover at Dubai, and all she requested was that Mum makes lots of du’aa for her. The stopover was actually easier for us as we could change into the state of Inhrām in Dubai rather than when passing the Miqat point on the plane. Finally, Alhamdulillah with the permission of Allah, we were able to land in Jeddah safely.
We went to Makkah first and performed Umrah. I can’t explain the feeling of emotion that went over me when I first gazed upon the Ka’bah, it is nothing like when you see it on the TV. This is why I would urge everyone that has the funds to perform Hajj or Umrah to go. You will not be disappointed.
Once I was in Masjid-al-Haram, on the roof lying on the floor and gazing up at the sky, and by Allah, I was so at peace I forgot about anything to do with the Dunya. Now I think, imagine the peace in Jannah.
Fast forward to Mina, I faced many tests of patience. Mum fell ill so I was in a state of constant worry, all I wanted to do was be by my mother’s side but she had to stay in the sisters’ tent whilst I was in the brothers’ tent. The state of her health was fluctuating, she would feel better then fall ill again. The day of Arafāt came and Alhamdulillah I could see Mum properly. She seemed a lot better. I spent the day in ibādah and recall it was the first time in my life I cried in my du’as.
The night of Muzdalifah felt like an adventure. I was walking around the plains of Muzdalifah with brothers gathering rocks for myself and my mother. We had such a laugh and returned to our spots to sleep and that night I had one of the most peaceful sleep I’ve experienced my entire life. The next day we returned to Mina and were preparing for Jamarat, and I was given the sad news that the state of mum’s health was getting worse and became really bad. She couldn’t walk so I had to push her in a wheelchair. All the way from the tents of Mina to Makkah I had to push Mum in a wheelchair and help her throw the stones. Alhamdulillah regardless, Mum’s health got better before we left for Madinah.
The experience in Madinah was very relaxed. I remember landing during Fajr and praying behind Shaykh Ali al Hudhayfi, it was the best Fajr I’ve prayed in my life. The rest of the time in Madinah was filled with Ziyārah and Ibādah.
Upon completing Hajj with Mum and seeing her recover from the illness, I was at peace. I was however dreading returning home. I just wanted to spend the rest of my days in Madinah but it was inevitable, I returned to the UK and Alhamdulillah changed my life around. I instilled Salāh into my life and encouraged the people around me to start praying too to the best of my ability.
For anybody intending to perform Hajj, I would recommend everyone to mentally and physically prepare. The journey is one of expiation of sins and on such a journey you will no doubt face hardships, however, the peace and tranquility you face after completing Hajj are incomparable to anything else.
Work on your patience. Doing tawāf during Hajj season becomes physically draining, as people will walk into you and there is little space to walk around so instead of walking you find yourself waddling. But it’s all worth it in the end, without a doubt. The blood, sweat, and tears you experience will InshaAllah be an expiation of sins, and you will have nothing but beautiful memories of meeting new people. As well as the unforgettable experience of performing Ibādah in the Haramayn, our two sanctuaries.