Last Thoughts on Umrah, Makkah, and Madinah…

I wrote part of this post while I was in Makkah, and part now.

Today after praying Fajr I did 4 rounds around the Kaabah. I know that during this you’re not supposed to get angry or annoyed or mad but seriously, that’s almost impossible. People are so rude! Most of the people here just push, shove, yell, and walk without looking where they’re going. Especially when going around the Kaabah, people just seem to think that it doesn’t matter if they push and interrupt other people’s prayers. I found it really hard to concentrate and say my prayers while constantly being shoved and elbowed. I can’t imagine what Hajj is like.

I feel like Muslims worry way too much about appearance. We always hear about what a Muslim should dress and look like: veil, no veil? Niqab, no niqab? What part of the body should men cover? And yet we never hear about how Muslims should act more considerately. We should cover that first, before focusing on dress. We should talk about how you shouldn’t talk on the phone while doing tawaf or sa’i; how you shouldn’t gossip while waiting for prayer to begin; how you shouldn’t sit right in front of the Kaabah while people are doing tawaf; how you should maybe look in front of you while walking to make it easier for everyone else; and about how you shouldn’t push people in front of you and be patient. When thousands of people are doing Umrah everyday, these things would definitely help.

I’m not saying that my experience was negative. On the whole it was amazing, but these things are starting to get to me now. When 10 people have pushed me and almost made me fall over, I can’t help but get angry at the 11th. Inshallah people will start being more considerate.
I was in the mosque today and one of the men that works there handed me a flyer and began saying I should cover my face, i.e. wear niqab. Of course, he couldn’t look at me while he was talking, he just kept saying how it was important. I look down at the flyer, and see that it is about ethics for women.

What annoyed me is not that he was telling me to wear the niqab. What annoyed me is that I didn’t see him telling anyone else to stop yelling, or pushing, or running around the mosque. Islamic authorities today seem to be solely focused on appearance, especially that of women. What, are we going to trick God by dressing a certain way? Is God not going to see the way we act, behave, think, and treat others?

I’m back in cairo and I miss Makkah terribly. There were so many things that I loved about being there. The fact that everyone calls you Hajji; the call to prayer coming directly into my hotel room and waking me up for fajr; the Kaabah being a 3 minute walk away; seeing Muslims from all over the world; and having my day revolve around prayer. If only life could be like this: fitting everything between prayer instead of prayer between everything. Inshallah I need to start working on this now that I am back home.

Another thing I really miss are the amazing voices of the imams and muezzins. They were absolutely amazing, and I really miss hearing them.

I really miss praying in a mosque. There aren’t any good ones near my house, unfortunately, otherwise I would at least start going to Friday prayers. I think if I had the chance to live in Makkah or Madinah for the rest of my life I’d be the happiest girl on earth.

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