Reading about Proudduck’s trip to Makkah had me reminiscing of my time living in Saudi Arabia and how I used to visit Makkah often. From the pictures I’m seeing, all I can see is mannn has it changed.
I moved to Jeddah when I was 5 years old (1997) and I stayed there for close to 10 years (my parents stayed there for 12). Growing up I had no excuse not to be close to Allah because the holy city of Makkah was only an hour away from Jeddah and my parents were always taking me there every month to perform our Umrah. And on weekends when my parents were bored of the mall, they’d take me to Makkah on Thursday night (Thurs/Friday is a weekend) and we’d arrive in time for Isyak prayers, spending a good 2-3 hours to pray and read the Quran. Then we went home. It was that close. And we did it so frequently it became a norm. Of course at the time I couldn’t appreciate it as much because I lived there. Looking back on it now, I must be considered so lucky be able to have done that because I know many who are so envious of other people’s journeys to the holy city. When I hear about it I’m like girll, been there done that. x1000
But in all seriousness, I miss every moment about it. And what shocks me the most is finding out how much the city has changed. It’s become more modernised…there’s a hotel over-towering the mosque…and there are SHOPS! In my time…there were no such thing as clothing stores, just kebab shops and ice cream stalls. The public toilets were dreaded places and there was no air con. Of course 2005 onwards we started to see some changes but not as vast as the ones I’m hearing about it now. To be honest, it almost gives me mixed feelings. The Makkah and Madinah I knew was unchanged back then and now if I return I’ll for sure have a good shock. Not that that’s a bad thing. Change is good, and it’s refreshing. But I can’t help but feel like…wow, so much has changed.
And yes I miss it. The feeling of peace and serenity that dawns upon you when you pray is amazing. Listening to the Imam’s beautiful voice. Performing the Tawaf around the Kaabah and feeling like you cannot get any closer (ok, except for going inside which my dad did. Jealous!) Ironically one is not left without trials and tribulations and this comes in the form of the hot blazing sun/heat, persisting beggars and thefts when you find out your shoes are missing. What is any religion without its tests really? Despite it all, I’ve never embraced peace within as much as I did when I visited Makkah and Medinah. I last visited it in 2008 when my parents were still there. Hope I can push the idea of another trip soon! I can’t wait to go back again. There’s always so much to pray for and nothing beats the feeling of praying in front of the house of your God.
Mashaallah, missing my Makkah moments so much tonight.