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Makkah Gate

I had been waiting for this gate from the moment we got into the car heading towards Jeddah, after our Umrah three months ago.  This gate signifies the boundary of the haram area of the city of Makkah, where non-Muslims are prohibited to enter.  But long before this gate arrives, people coming into Makkah from Jeddah have already undergone the necessary checking of passports and other documents.  The structure is that of a huge book, representing the Qur’an, sitting on a rehal, or book stand.

And it looks even more beautiful at night …

makkah-gate1
The gate at night (Googled image)

Our driver, for this Makkah to Jeddah trip, was a local and didn’t speak English at all.  I was actually surprised since back home in the U.A.E.,  I never saw a local drive a taxi. But then, this car wasn’t a regular, registered taxi;  this was his own private vehicle.  However, buses take a long time, as per our  Madinah to Makkah experience, we had a plane to catch in four hours, and besides, everywhere we looked, people were taking these private taxis.  Therefore Masood, his friend and this local guy negotiated the fare in sign language, and we hopped in.

Before we entered the highway, our driver stopped briefly at a gas station.  He asked if it was okay with us if he made ablution and prayed 2 rakats first.  It wasn’t time for the regular prayer, so we assumed he prayed nafl.  We waited for him in the car.

Our adventure began when he returned, fixed his head gear, smiled, and started the engine.

He didn’t drive the car;  he flew it!  And when one is flying, one doesn’t feel a need for indicator lamps.  So he just changed lanes as he wished, abruptly.

And since driving can get so boring, and such a waste of precious time as well, he decided to multi-task.  He made/attended phone calls, sent text messages, cleaned his ears with cotton buds, searched for the tissue box, and counted his money – all the time maintaining a speed of 120 km/hour.

“We should’ve prayed a few rakats ourselves,” I told Masood.

We reached Jeddah airport an hour earlier than we were supposed to, in one piece.  Alhumdulillah.

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42 comments

  1. haha, interesting. Now…you say 120 km/h, but I’m sure the roads play a big picture in this context. That speed is a general driving speed (at least its mine 😛 ) on our highways, but it must be a totally different experience there. Glad you made it one piece, if not in peace 😉

    It’s not just the speed, Amir, it’s what you actually do in your car while driving at such a speed, not to mention changing lanes abruptly. I don’t think I’d want to ride with a local again.

  2. Alhamdulillah … LOL … dats really dangerous … Lucky no police caught him … may b dats why he prayed 2 rakahs … I know these saudi guys especially young ones are really crazy here … the way they drive! … just last friday khutbah was on this topic of youngsters rough driving by Sheikh Sudais …

    SubhanAllah, they should give that kind of khutbah every other Friday! Now that I think about it, I didn’t saw any police that day, and I don’t think I saw any cameras or radars as well. Maybe I was too busy holding onto my seat to notice, lol

  3. LOL and thanks to Allah we all reached safely though we escaped an accident on the flyover and with no surprise the driver was clapping to say we are all alive. May Allah protect everyone from these senseless drivers, Aameen.

    Ameen!

  4. I didn’t see this!!!! And I’ve been twice already! I’ll make sure the next time I go!

    lol … and I thought nobody ever misses this gate. InshaAllah, next time 🙂

  5. Thank you for leaving a comment on my blog.

    Also, this story made me laugh, especially the taxi driver. I think taxi drivers everywhere disregard the speed limit and multi task!

    Welcome, Humaira! He’s not a real ‘taxi’ driver, so Allah forbid if an accident would’ve happened, we can’t even complain to the authorities. I think we’ll take the bus next time 🙂

  6. That’s a fantastic structure – stunning. And non-Muslims can’t pass through? Good job you survived your cab ride.

    Wolynski, Makkah, specially the mosque, is the most sacred place for us Muslims. We follow a strict rule to maintain physical cleanliness, and try to spend most of our time in worship and reflecting/repenting our sins and trying to improve ourselves to be a better person.

    Non-Muslims are welcome in any other mosque. But the mosque of Makkah is where Muslims perform the pilgrimage, it’s something extremely important for us. Hence, it wouldn’t be appropriate to have tourists walking around the place during such an important event.

    And yes, we survived the crazy ride that day, lol 😀

  7. Mashallah Majestic entrance!

    LOL… Yah Saudis are rough on the roads! A car with bumps and dents all around is the norm there. Well that’s a male-only driving country for you! Now they can’t say females are bad drivers..

    LOL 😀

  8. wow! that is a beautifully designed gate and the ride, well! the driver will surely cement his place in heaven as he would have made so many people pray!

  9. enjoyed your trek to the airport…the gate is an interesting architectural design and your commentary about it very insightful.
    have a most wonderful week.

  10. Thank you for this wonderful post. The gate is absolutely stunning and your photo of it is beautiful. Thank you for sharing some of your precious culture with us. Have a wonderful week and thanks for stopping by my blog.
    Smiles

  11. Hi Nadia nice blog.

    The image of the gate is truly fascinating Ma’sha allah. My mum had told me about it but this is the first time I get to see it thanks to you! 🙂

  12. You say that this is the maximum limit from where onwards non-muslims are prohibited to enter. Isn’t that place even before Jeddah. I’m not sure but I think that place is called the meeqa’at and the pilgrims also put on their ehraam from that place onwards. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    Muslims coming into Jeddah from another country assume their ihram prior to arriving in Jeddah, and not at the Makkah gate (which is beyond the meeqat boundary already). Non-Muslims are allowed to roam around Jeddah and even up to a certain part of Makkah … the gate’s their limit.

  13. Must have been one heck of a ride! Fortunately nothing bad happened along the way.

    Odd … I don’t remember seeing that gate. Or I might be sleeping when we passed through it. 🙁

  14. Very spectacular structure. Great description of a wild taxi ride. Thanks for explaining a little of your religion also, I find it fascinating.

  15. That’s very beautiful, Any person who’ll read my comments then pls pray for my to visit & pray at makkah in haram
    regards

    Qadir – Karachi (Pakistan)

  16. “This gate signifies the boundary of the haram area of the city of Makkah, ” – well this is not fully correct.
    The Haram boundary on this Jeddah-Makkah Expressway is actually after about 5 kms from this gate towards Jeddah and the Shumaisy check-point is about 1 km further down. Therefore, this gate does NOT in any way symbolizes the boundary for the Holy City. Rather it is only an Islamic themed architecture depicting entrance to the city.

  17. hihi… this one’s short and sweet. he’s some driver, huh? he got you to your destination in one peace, hey. btw, did he really clean his ears, though? wow, multi-tasking galore, lol. 😉

    oh, the structure is a grander version of the checkpoint at UP’s entrance, remember? btw, why do i have this feeling, suspicion that almost all highways abroad look better than the highways in the Phils., huh? 😉 well, at least, am sure that most of them look cleaner, hehe.

    kumusta po? hope things are well, Nadia… 🙂
    sasaliwngawit recently posted..Parang kailan lang

    1. ‘San! Hello. I’ve been reading about typhoon Bopha creating havoc in the South. I hope there are no additional casualties 🙁

      That driver … well, did I tell you he actually prayed before starting on the journey? Had we known his driving style, we’d have joined him in prayers too. Yes, he took time to clean his ears.

      Highways here in the Gulf countries are really good.

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