Packing, packing, and more packing! All in the aim to get to Makkah and settle down for the rest of the month. I run through my checklist searching for any items left undone. Boxes are piling up at the house entrance, as my younger siblings drag their backpacks with all their goodies to the front door. Mom stuffs some last minute kitchen supplies into some empty boxes. I stand to inspect all that has been done from making sure the little ones packed their toothbrushes to counting off how many pots we have. And amidst all the commotion I wonder to myself, “Is all this effort really worth it? No doubt a whole Ramadan in Makkah is a chance of a lifetime, but what about all the hours spent packing and preparing instead of extra Ibadah?” The thought provokes me to make a silent prayer: O Allah! Make this Ramadan the best experience for me and bless all our efforts to reach Your Sacred House. Ameen.
It’s 2:00 a.m. We’re quite off schedule but finally in Makkah! A gush of excitement runs through me as we stop at our new apartment to unload and unpack. We fix up a quick sahur, enough to get by and fill us up. Fajr Salah, a quick nap, and then Jumuah Prep!
Alhamdulillah, just settled in our seats on the new olive green carpets in the left wing of the Haram right before the Jumuah Adhan. Perfect timing! As more people enter and take their seats, I eagerly guess who the Khateeb will be, hoping its Sheikh Abdur Rahman As-Sudais. And Sudais it is! The Khutbah covered the virtues of Ramadan, the blessings of being in the sacred sanctuary of the Haram and a request for all visitors to cooperate with the ongoing construction which is being done to ease the pilgrims’ experience. He closed his Khutbah with an emotional Dua for the many Muslims suffering around the world, and asking for mercy for all the construction workers and security guards who work tirelessly to serve the Haram pilgrims.
As Sheikh Sudais recited Surah An-Nasr in the first rakah, the sister next to me sobbed with uncontrollable tears. It was only then that I realized the great bounty that Allah had bestowed upon me. How many Muslims around the world are willing to sacrifice anything to stand in my place? Why would I, sinful and ungrateful, deserve such a bounty? My heart ached and my eyes throbbed with tears of thanks and regret.
وَإِن تَعُدُّوا نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ لَا تُحْصُوهَا ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَغَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
“And if you should count the favors of Allah , you could not enumerate them. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” Surah Al-Nahl
By the end of the Jumuah prayer, my question was answered: Yes! It’s all worth it.
-The Sahara Bloggers (Niqabinja)