Firstly a specail JazakkumuAllahu Khairan to all my readers for emails and messages to update the blog. So here's the latest on our side.
Here it is 'An extraordinarily memorable Hajj break'
Why?? you ask.
Well let me just start of by saying "We plan, and He plans, and He is indeed the BEST of Planners". We left home on Nov 1st, got to Madinah in about 7 hours, stopping, snacking, singing nasheeds, reciting, play games, reading books, laughing and napping. When we got to Madinah we prayed and then meet up with my friend who was here for Hajj from Canada. It was wonderful seeing her as usual, but I couldn't believe it that we met in KSA.
After that we looked around for a hotel, and the prices were sky rocketing. So we decided to drive down straight to Makkah, since the kids were asleep and the road highway between Madinah and Makkah is fenced (so camels don't cross at night) we didn't mind driving down. As we drove by the Zul-hulifha meqat I made the intention to do Umrah, my husband couldn't because the if a man has an ihram on without the permission letter to do Hajj they are not allowed to enter Makkah even if they don't have the intention to do Hajj.
Alhumdulillah we reached Makkah and stayed with my parents at their place. MashaAllah Haram was packed with Hujaj (pilgrims) so we decided that it would be better to wait till the 9th of Zul-Hajj (Saturday Nov 5th) to do Umrah. This way we could go to Haram around ishraq (a little after dawn/Fajr time) with the kids to see the Kiswa (the cover of Kabah) changing in person, do Ummrah, stay there till after Maghrib (sunset prayer) to open our fast and return home. We were so excited about our plan and so were the kids. The more exciting part was that my older brother also drove down from Riyad so everyone was super excited. The kids were running around the house in their "ihram" (which were made out of baby towels, bed-sheets, prayer mats and pray dupttas) and chanting the Talbiyah "Labaik Allahhum Labaik, Labaika laa Sharikalaka Labaik, Inalhumda wanni'amata laka walmulk La Sharikalak."
On the morning of 8th of Dhul-Hijjah, the kids woke me up asking me to fix their ihram, so I did. Right after I was done, my mom walked in the room with a strange look/smile on her face. I asked her what happened.
Mom said "The men are gone to find out about the Udhiyah (sacrificial animal)." she paused and then countinued on saying: "A guy called your dad"
Mom: "He said he has space for two people in his Hajj group, but the only thing is they have to get to Mina on their own and then they can join our group."
Me: Surprised, confused, worried about the kids and the short notice and somewhat about the plan we had for the 9th of Dhul-Hijjah. "Let my husband come home and then we will discuss about it"
When my husband came home, he had a big question mark smile on his face. It was now 3 pm we had very little time to decided and pack and leave. We talked for a bit and said bismillah and got packing, kissed the kids talked to AR and told him about our plan for Hajj and asked him what he thinks about it. He was mashaAllah excited for us. Also told him that he will go to see the Kiswa changing with his grandparents and cousins. We had no backpacks so we had to borrow AR's airplane travel bag.
I was in such shock at the plan of Allah SWT that I even for got to eat! My eyes kept tearing because I really wanted to perform Hajj this year and I kept asking Allah SWT to make it possible in the best way for all of us. All through the way to Makkah from Tabuk I was making dua to Allah SWT to allow us to do Hajj since I knew I had my parents their to watch the kids. Every time we put the Quran on it seemed like that Allah AzawajaAllah is talking to me and telling me to ask and make dua for Hajj. Every nasheed we put on was about having hope in Him. I would make dua everytime and my heart would ache to be able to go for Hajj (May Allah SWT accept it from us. Ameen). On our way back to Tabuk I could remember everytime I had made dua when the same things would play.
As a mother I was a little sad and worried about leaving the kids, for AR because of his sensitive nature and H because she was only a year an a half and plus I was nursing her. Alhumdulillah as it was Allah SWT's plan my brother's kids kept them good company. I kept reminding myself about my friend who had left her two boys in Canada, at least I knew that I will see them on the day of Eid.
Alhumdulillah our Hajj went great, we had countless learning experiences and I would like to call it and an adventure Hajj! May Allah azawajallah accept our duas and Hajj from us. Ameen
Allah SWT made every Aarkan so easy for us, all our buses were on time, we never got stuck in traffic, or crowds or waiting for the buses. I had some friends and family tell me that they had taken the train and it was a great experience but the had to wait a long time. They had also added everything was amazingly done the government has the resource, the material and the products they just have to work on their logistics (which is true). May Allah SWT reward the Saudi government for the effort they have put in making the Hajj go smoothly for the Hujaj (pilgrims).
I got to talk and meet many wonderful people and the best part was listening to how their stories and the efforts they had put to be able to come for Hajj.
On the last day we took AR with us for stoning the Jamarat. It was a great learning experience for him. He was a little overwhelmed by the crowd (with was almost Half at that time). At the same time he kept asking in shock "all these people are here for Allah?" and he would add "they love Allah sooo much." It was nice to see the crowd from his eyes and also to hear his reaction to seeing the crowd. We let him stone the Jamarat, since he had been learning about it he was very excited about stoning. What best way to teach about the legacy of Ibrahim A.S to the kids then to actually take them there. We were both really excited to bring him to Mina and show him the tents, the crowd and Jamarat. One other interesting comment he made was about the 'garbage' everywhere, "These people are Muslims but the are acting like bedouins because they have thrown garbage everywhere, Its soo bad...you should tell them muslims don't do that!"
This is a summary of Hajj/Hajj break. We have been sick and really busy. Also I won't be able to add any pictures of our Hajj trip and the other upcoming posts because I currently do not have a laptop. InshaAllah once things works out I'll update all the previous posts.
Lastly a special Jazakillah hu Khairan to a beautiful young girl and her mother who made this journey and Hajj come happen by just being efficient in responding to my message and giving me her mommy's number who in response got us in this group. May Allah SWT reward them to in this duniya and Aakhirah with the best. May Allah reward them for our Hajj too. Ameen. Love you Samar!