The Journey of Forgiveness

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By: Rabiya Altaf   Class X and Fahad Altaf   Class VIII

The sighting of the Kaabah was overwhelming.  I was awestruck by its magnificence; its beauty cannot be described in any other way except by pure experience of its presence.
I felt incredibly insignificant standing before the house of my Almighty creator.  As I did my Tawaaf around the Kabah, I couldn’t help but glance up overwhelmed by the thought that at this very moment thousands of angels were doing Tawaaf around the superior abode of Allah سبحانہ وتعالی directly parallel to our tawaaf.  After we performed our tawaaf we cooled ourselves down by drinking Zam Zam water and I felt all my fatigue and thirst diminish.  After we went to perform Saee, once again I became emotional recalling the plight of Hazrat Hajarah thinking how frantic she must have been looking for water. Finally, to end the rituals of Umra, we cut off a lock of hair my dad and younger brother cut their hair.
Over the next days, the mass of pilgrims moved outside Mecca to sites in the desert. The thunderous, melodious chants of the talbiyah were echoed from every direction, never had I felt such a strong sense of belonging.
The centerpiece of Hajj is a day-long vigil on Mt. Arafat. The open ground was full of an incredible hum of people. It was the day where tears fell and hearts overflowed with thankfulness to Allah, with a strong belief in His mercy that all our sins will be forgiven.  The day of Arafaat is the day I’ll never forget.
In Muzdalifah as far as the eye could see were millions of people spread out on the floor, under the clear black sky. Ittruly is an enriching experience, it gave me the international experience of the ummah. There are people here from every corner of the world, of all diverse colours, cultures and classes.  However here every one is sleeping on the floor.  This spiritual equality of the sexes, the races the rich and poor is the main foundation of Hajj, wearing an Ihraam further reinforces this feeling of equality. I am not sure that my Hajj will be accepted in the court of Allah, since deficiencies in deeds are bound to occur on account of human frailty and imperfection.
After spending the night in Muzdalifah we returned to Mina to stone the devils. It was chaotic! I had to make sure that I was not struck by a stone and at same time make sure that I don’t accidentally harm anyone, either.
After Mina we returned to Makkah to perform Tawaaf-e-Ziyarat, returned to Mina pelt the devils again for two days and then returned to Makkah. We performed the last Hajj rite… the farewell Tawaaf and left Makkah for Madinah with heavy hearts.
Madinah is home to the tomb of the Rasoolullah صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم.  Masjid-ul-nabi is a structure of inexplicable beauty. At first glance it was hard to look away, it’s a vision which will be imprinted in my heart forever. I couldn’t believe that I was actually there, it was nothing short of a miracle.  It was an honour and privilege to visit the most Beloved of Allah’s Messenger. It was a whole different experience sending Salam in Masjid-ul-nabwi. When I visited the historical site of Madinah I could not stop the tears from streaming down my face… to walk in a place so steeped in Islamic History is inspiring and humbling.  Then I went to visit Rasoolullah صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم for the last time before departing. When I return to my country, I’ll be there or anywhere else in the world but my hearty will always remain in Madinah.
I feel as if I went there with an empty spiritual wallet and returned with an unbelievable amount of spiritual richness.  Even if I spend the rest of my life saying thank you to Allah سبحانہ وتعالی it still wouldn’t be sufficient.
The feelings that I used to have in those blessed places are missing here.