I’d like to be transported to Makkah right now. Yes I’ve been to this place before, my memories of this place is fresh as if it was yesterday I took this trip.
My husband and I boarded KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines) from Chicago. All the passengers were heading to Jeddah,Saudi Arabia for pilgrimage.
I noticed the passengers were quiet, I saw passengers praying getting themselves accustomed to the place we were going to, some unfolded their prayer rugs, lay them flat on the floor of the plane to pray.
After several hours on the plane we reached Jeddah, we were directed to the lounge by some Saudis. The floors were clean but there were no chairs, we sat on the floor and waited to be called by customs officials. While waiting I noticed more and more passengers were coming in , there was a family, they looked prepared as soon as they came into the lounge they took out bed sheets and lay them on the floor to sit, one of the ladies took out an apple from her bag, sliced it and offered a piece to me I was too overwhelmed by the whole scenario, I could not think of eating.
Several hours passed My husband and I were waiting patiently for the call to the customs, night changed to early morning we were still waiting.
One of my cousin’s friend spotted us ,he looked at our papers and thought we’d be called shortly. He walked back and forth to find a way to get us to see the customs official, so we could be on our way to my cousin’s house in the city.
There were two young guys serving the visitors, unfortunately we didn’t know their language, he told our friend we needed to pay one hundred dollars, my husband didn’t have Saudi currency, besides we paid what we had to when we applied for visa, this is what we were told.
Somehow the friend was able to get the money, we were out of the lounge after several hours.
From Jedda, our cousin took us to Makkah by car. It took us a few hours to get there. There was a man who was responsible for our accommodation. There were tents set up for us, the ground was uneven and the temperature was very hot. we did not mind we came for pilgrimage, we couldn’t expect to spend the nights in a first class hotel.
We left our things in the tent after getting dressed in white, we were covered from head to toe. We went to the Kabah to make seven rounds, we told each other to stay together, there were thousands of people walking, praying and making sure they did not lose any member of their group.
After completing the rounds we prayed inside the mosque near the Kabah.
Next we went to another place called Safah Marwah, here we were supposed to walk from one end to the other seven times, it was a long stretch, walking bare feet was a challenge, we were not the only one. There was no concession for anyone, except people who had problems walking were provided with wheel chairs.
After completing our walk we went downstairs to drink water, at the zam zam fountain, it was tough to turn on and hold on to the faucet to drink the water. My cousin-in-law told me once this was a place, where anything you wish is fulfilled. I didn’t remember it when I was trying to hold the faucet so the water would flow for me to drink, suddenly in my mind I said, “I wish someone would hold on to the faucet so I could drink the water.”
I felt someone behind me holding on to the faucet and I was able to drink the water until I was satisfied. I did not see who it was it must have been “Divine Help!” I was unable to thank this person because she disappeared immediately.
During the pilgrimage all the pilgrims have to go to the hill close by to spend the night. It was a very cool and refreshing night. We woke up in the morning and went back to our tent.