"Our journey on earth to Heaven, will be measured by our deeds, by how we have treated others and cared for others needs..."
(18 -24 Apr 2013)
|(Elaf Al-Multaqa Hotel)|
The bus journey took almost 6 hours. We arrived in Makkah around 2030 and checked-in Elaf Al-Multaqa Hotel, a new 74-storey 5-star hotel, a 10 minutes walk to Masjid Al-Haram. There was a large crowd checking-in at the same time and we were only allocated rooms much later.
|(A posh 5-star hotel)|
|(Spacious comfortable bedroom)|
Makkah, is a city in the Hejaz and the capital of Makkah Province. The city is located 70 km inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley 277 m above sea level. Its resident population is around 2 million, although visitors more than triple this number every year during Hajj period.
|(The Clock Tower of Makkah)|
Expansion of the city is ongoing and includes the construction of 601 m tall Abraj Al-Bait Tower across the street from the Masjid Al-Haram. The tower was completed in 2012 and became the 2nd tallest building in the world.
|(The Clock Tower at night)|
Overlooking the holy Haram Mosque and the ka'aba, the tower, also known as the Mecca Royal Hotel Clock Tower set in the heart of Makkah and can be visible from as far as 25 km away. In addition, the Abraj Al-Bait Tower has a 20 storey shopping mall and a parking garage capable of holding over a thousand vehicles. Residential towers house permanent residents while two heliports and a conference center are to accommodate business travelers.
Masjid Al-Haram is the largest mosque in the world. The mosque surrounds the Ka'aba, which is our qiblat while offering daily prayers. The place is never empty as Pilgrims will be circumambulating the ka'aba for tawaf sunat or tawaf umrah any time of the day.
|(A photo before performing the tawaf)|
Throughout our stay in Makkah, we performed the umrah every day. After subuh prayer, we had breakfast, bathed and donned our ihram. We usually had our miqat at Masjid Tanaeem. Other days, we will join the group for ziarah and had our miqat at Jaaranah or Hudaibiah. Most days, we completed our umrah by 1000 and had ample time to rest before Zuhur prayer.
|(The path to the Saie area)|
Major renovations could be seen around Masjid Al-Haram. The extension consisted of a new wing and an outdoor prayer area on the southeast side of the mosque. In the two-storey wing, air conditioning circulates below the tiled floors and is supplied through ventilation grids located at the base of each column. The facade of the extension blends in with the previous constructions. A temporary tunnel is constructed to ease the path of pilgrims from the tawaf area to the massa area.
|(Beautiful shadows at the Sa'ei area)|
|(Reciting the quran in-between prayers)|
The free time between Maghrib prayer to Isya' prayer was filled with Quran reciting. Other time we would stand on the upper floor of Masjid Al-Haram and watched the jemaah performing the tawaf around the Ka'aba.
|(Children reciting the al-Quran)|
On the upper floor of Masjid Al-Haram, an area is specially allocated for the young tahfiz reading and reciting the Quran in small groups under the supervision and watchful eyes of their seniors.
|(A tazkirah after dinner)|
One of the nights, after Isya' prayer and after dinner, there was a tazkirah and a simple tahlil and doa selamat led by Uztaz Ahmad Bokhari.
|(In the bus to Tannaim Mosque)|
To perform the umrah, the easiest mode of transport is to either take a bus, a taxi or a van direct to Tanaeem. The air-conditioned Saptco bus service is good and reliable and it only cost us Rial2 per trip. The bus station is situated next to the Hilton Tower and Darul-Tawhid, quite a walking distance from our hotel but very near to Masjid Al-Haram. Other days, we chartered a taxi for Rial50 or shared a van with other pilgrims for Rial10 round trip per person.
Masjid Al-Taneem is a mosque in the Al-Hil area about 7 km away from the Holy Ka'aba. The mosque in Taneem, acts as miqat for people living in Makkah. This mosque is also known as Masjid Al-Ayesha. This is quite a big mosque with facilities for baths, ablution and changing, available for pilgrims and those who come to offer regular prayers.
|(A scoop of ice-cream after meal)|
The expansion works around Masjid Al-Haram has also demolished old buildings and hotels, as well as our frequently visited 'Dodo Rials' shops, kebab restaurants and ice-cream vendors. We missed our indulgence of ice-cream jagung after each umrah. Instead, this year we went to Baskin Robbins in the Hilton Tower to have a scoop of our favorite flavor of ice-cream which cost us Rial14 per scoop compared to Rial2 from the previous ice-cream vendors.
|(Visiting Jabal al-Thur)|
On the way to Jaaranah for our miqat, the group had the opportunity to visit historical places along the way. Our first stop was at Jabal Al-Thur where the cave in which Prophet Muhammad hid in as he made Hijrah from Makkah to Madinah while being pursued by Meccans who were going to kill him. According to legend, the cave entrance was blocked by a spider which had cast a web to cover it. We also stopped to watch from far pilgrims climbing Jabal Al-Nur to visit the Hira cave. The cave is notable for being the location where Prophet Muhammad received his first revelations from Allah through Jibrail.
|(Jabal Rahmah in the background)|
Mount Arafat transliterated as Jabal ‘Arafāt is a granite hill east of Makkah. It is also known as Jabal Al-Rahmah. The hill is the place where Prophet Muhammad stood and delivered the Farewell Sermon to the Muslims who had accompanied him for the Hajj towards the end of his life. On the way to Jaaranah we passed by Mina, Mudzalifah and the three jamarats.
|(Masjid Jaaranah for miqat)|
Masjid Al-Rasul is one of the other miqat places for pilgrimage of umrah. On his way back from Hunain, Prophet Muhammad stayed 15 days in Jaaranah where he distributed the spoils of the war against Hawazen among the Muslims. The mosque is situated on the left side of Jaaranah valley with an area of about 1600 square meters and recently renovated for bigger prayer halls and ablution areas.
|(Camel farm in Hudaibiah)|
On another day, the group went to miqat at Masjid Hudaibiyah and stopped at one camel farm on the way. Some of us purchased fresh camel milk and dried camel meat. Some even purchased camel urine which is said to have medicinal properties.
|(The border stones at Hudaibiah)|
Hudaibiyah is situated on the old road connecting old Jeddah to Makkah. It is currently known as Al-Syumaisi. This is the place where the famous 'Hudaibiyah Treaty' took place between the Muslims from Madinah led by Prophet Muhammad and the Quraish from Makkah.
|(Masjid Hudaibiah for miqat)|
We miqat at the new Masjid Hudaibiyah built next to the ruins of the old masjid. We performed 2 rakaat tahayatul-masjid prayer and recite the niat for our next umrah.
|(Museum of the two Holy Mosques)|
On the way back to Makkah we stopped to visit the Museum of the Two Holy Mosques. The museum exhibits items that were parts of Masjid Al-Nabawi and Masjid Al-Haram with some items dating far back as the 10th Hijrah.
|(The floating mosque in Jeddah)|
On the last day, on the way to Jeddah International Airport, we visited the Fatimah Al-Zahra mosque, also known as the floating mosque of Jeddah. It is situated along the red sea through the Corniche Road. The mosque is white in colour and foundation pillars of the Mosque are the reason that this Mosque appears to be floating.
|(Bottles of zam-zam water)|
Each of us was allowed free carriage of maximum 10 litres of Zam Zam water. The bottles need to be sealed and packed in a strong box before they can be checked-in with the rest of our luggage.
Our flight to Addis Ababa took only 2 hours. We had time to rest in the hotel room before our onward flight to KL at midnight. We arrived KLIA at 1800, safe and sound.