Hajj: the Journey of a Lifetime By Anisah Imani December 2003 was my first time traveling out of the country. My mom and I would be gone for 3 weeks. For months beforehand, we drove between Philadelphia and Baltimore for Sunday classes and packing lessons. We were ready, or at least we thought we were. Nothing actually prepares you for standing in front of the very first place of worship with millions of other people from all over the world. It is an amazing experience, one beyond words, something that can only be felt. I was 12, in the 7th grade, and my mom had spoken to our group leader, who confirmed that I was old enough for my pilgrimage to be counted. After that, there was no turning back. We prepared to embark upon a journey from which many do not return. Fear was not one of our major emotions; instead there was great excitement and nervousness. We wanted to make sure every step was made with exact precision so that our duas and overall pilgrimage would be accepted. They say that „only those who are invited by Allah (swt) get the opportunity to make Hajj,‟ and we honored that invitation by learning, memorizing, and carrying out every ritual just the way Rasulullah (s) had performed it. Being the youngest and most energetic member of our group, the thought of danger was far from my mind. Every outing in Makkah and Medina was an adventure in my eyes, even if it was as simple as walking to get food. Upon arriving in Makkah, the first thing we did was put on our ihram and walk down the street from our hotel to Masjid Al-Haram. It was about 2 in the morning and the Masjid was just as full as if it was dhuhr time. Thousands of Muslims were swarming around the Ka‟bah and praying Sunnah. There was so much order amongst the chaos. SubhanAllah and
Allahu akbar were the only things we could say. My mother and I were in a group of several women and two or three men. I remember we were down on the first level making our tawaf, and at some point we all made the decision to go up and touch the Ka‟bah. The moment my hand touched the brick, an indescribable feeling ran through me - almost like a glowing light entered my body, filled every part of me, and left through my feet. It was unlike anything I had ever felt before. I knew at that moment this trip would forever
change me. I learned many lessons on Hajj, the major one being the importance of patience. Sabr was the one word that everyone continuously said to each other throughout our time in Saudi. Hajj was not a stagnant event in my life. It remains a constant reminder of the beauty and awesomeness of this deen. After Hajj there was absolutely no doubt in my mind that I was on the right team.
Image of Ka’bah taken from Nadia El-Hillal
They say that ‘only those who are invited by Allah (swt) get the opportunity to make Hajj,’ and we honored that invitation by learning, memorizing, and carrying out every ritual just the way Rasulullah (s) had performed it.”