I wonder if there is such a thing as being homesick for a place that you’ve never even visited in your life. There’s this longing to be somewhere that you’d imagine yourself to be in and sometimes, even dream about it in your sleep because you’ve been wanting to go there so bad. As it is the season of the hajj, it almost feels natural to long for Makkah and Madinah especially if you’re sending away family or friends for the pilgrimage of their lifetime.
Perhaps, you’ve “missed” it because your soul is yearning to depart to a place where your beloved Rasulullah’s prophetic journey started and ended. It is also where the legacy of Prophet Ibrahim Alaihis Salam – the Ka’abah – was left as well as where his wife – who was also the mother of Prophet Ismail (A.S) – Siti Hajar struggled to find water in the middle of a desert.
This place is none like other. It is so special and close to the heart of Muslims worldwide, because it is a huge step in fulfilling the fifth pillar of Islam that makes a Muslim even more wholesome. Travelling to a place like this is more than the act of pleasure for the body and mind, but purely an act of cleansing of the soul. As they say, “you either come back with a clean slate or you’ll get buried there peacefully”. Either way, it would be a blessing for the pilgrims because there would only be a path of self-betterment for the ones who truly seek God – and only God.
I’d like to imagine myself struggling to complete the tawaf around the Ka’abah while being pushed by tall, strong-built Arabs and losing all of my comrades in the sea of people. Maybe I’d resemble a lost hatchling in a flock of birds, but comforted and too mesmerized by the sight of the mighty Ka’abah. I’d hear people as well as myself reciting the talbiyah:
“Labbaika Allahumma labbaika, Labbaika Laa Syariika Laka Labbaika, Inal Hamda wan ni’mata Laka Wal Mulka Laa Syariika Laka. (Here I am at Thy service O Lord, here I am. Here I am at Thy service and Thou hast no partners. Thine alone is All Praise and All Bounty, and Thine alone is The Sovereignty. Thou hast no partners)”
But maybe, there would be a time in the night when the Masjidil Haram is not too packed when I would be able to see the Ka’abah without anyone completely blocking the view. I’d imagine that I’d be so consumed in my prayer – in my sujood – that all of my senses would be heightened and that suddenly all of the burdens of this world are lifted off my shoulders.
Then, I would finally be rejuvenated by the pure Zamzam water that was first discovered by Siti Hajar before I’d walk from Safa to Marwah and back for seven times. Maybe I would know or at least, catch a glimpse of the struggle that Siti Hajar went through to quench her thirst so that she could feed her baby, Ismail (A.S). But I’d never feel what it must have been like to struggle under the scorching sun.
After spending the whole day and night in Mina, we’d spend the afternoon in Arafat for wuquf (standing up) and perhaps I’d look at the Jabal al Rahmah (the Mount of Mercy) with intensified love towards Rasulullah. This was a place where he delivered his last sermon where some parts of it would ring in my ears as if he was there:
“Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black nor a black has any superiority over white except by taqwa (piety) and good action…..”
“… I leave behind me two things, the Quran and my example, the Sunnah and if you follow these you will never go astray”
And despite being surrounded millions of pilgrims, I would perhaps feel like I’d be in solitude. All of the worldly concerns would become so insignificant that every problem after that would be overcome just by the thought of the place that has given hope to millions of people.
My journey would then continue as a pilgrim while constantly being overwhelmed by the feelings of love and appreciation, just by being in the same spot where Prophet Ibrahim (A.S) and Prophet Muhammad Sallahu Alaihi Wassalam had sacrificed a lot.
And this feeling even intensifies when the season of hajj is here. My soul continues to dream to go to the place where Islam first arrived and where it was completed. It continues to hope that one day, if God wills it, He would invite us – those who haven’t been but miss it like it is our home – to the place that millions continue to miss and longing for.
Syaza is a freelance writer whose life revolves around coffee, cats and heartwarming stories.