The Second Umrah Experience

The plan was simple and convenient: we leave Sharjah for Jeddah at 10 pm, arrive in Makkah by 3 am, finish umrah before Fajr, sleep for a couple of hours, then return to Masjid al Haram for Friday prayers. Except that upon reaching the airport, we are casually informed at the counter that our flight will be delayed. For six hours.

When going for umrah via Jeddah, one has to assume the state of ihram at a certain location before Jeddah; the pilot informs the passengers once the aircraft is flying over the miqat. However, since the plane’s lavatory isn’t really a convenient place for one to assume ihram—specially for men—most people prefer to change at the airport (before taking off for Jeddah).

This is the miqat:

1

And this is Jeddah:

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Immigration at Jeddah airport is a breeze, but our bags take forever to arrive. We have already booked and paid for our Jeddah to Makkah taxi ride, plus three days hotel stay in Makkah. The guy who meets us at the airport (he’s from the agency where we booked our Umrah from) tries to sit two families in one taxi. Masood refuses. We had already paid in advance in Sharjah just so we will travel alone. Besides, there’s the non-mahram issue as well.

Also, there is absolutely no need to book and pay for the taxi in advance. There are so many taxis available just outside the arrival gates of Jeddah’s airport.

3

 

The gentleman above is our driver. He’s a Saudi national who worked in a multinational company during his younger years, so he speaks English fluently. He mentions U.A.E.’s stringent road rules and how everyone ends up paying so much fines. “It’s much better here,” he tells us, tasbih beads flowing between the fingers of his right hand, “We are free to drive as we please. See this? I’m driving at 120. I can even drive at 140, but I hear they’re going to put up radars on this road. When that happens then maybe I’ll drive within speed limits.”

4

We arrive in Makkah at 10 am, but due to the heat and humidity it feels like noon . Upon reaching the hotel, hot and exhausted, we discover that our room is already given to someone else, and there’s no other available room. After searching for sometime, Masood finally finds us a room in a nearby hotel and we transfer our six (heavy) bags by ourselves. We quickly freshened up and walk to Haram.

5

We are just in time for Friday prayers, immediately after which we perform the tawaf. The white marble floor, with air-conditioning circulating below its tiles,  is cool and comfortable under our feet. But the sun is too bright and hot, and at one point I thought I will faint. But when one is facing the Ka’aba and communicating so intimately with the Lord, the hardships become bearable. Sa’ee, in my opinion, is harder.

When compared to my first umrah experience, this year’s tougher. But I am eternally grateful for the opportunity because neither Masood nor I have planned for this trip. And unlike the previous umrah, I wasn’t overly emotional either. I believe I had the guilt and remorse of a lifetime within myself when I performed the first umrah. This time I feel very light and um, less guilty.

To my readers who have performed umrah more than once, what differences do you feel the second or third time around?

50 comments

  1. Masya-Allah… How lucky you are to be able to go and perform umrah (and perhaps hajj as well?) as many times as you like… I wish Icould be there at Al-Haram again in future, Insya-Allah. Sometimes I do feel that the first time, because it was the first time, was not perfect and that I did not do a lot of things I should have done while I was there.

    Anyway, since you mentioned the hot weather there, it reminds me of the delicious ice-cream and fruit juice sold at the shops along the way back to the hotels. My favourite was the mango juice. Hmm… delicious!

    Masya-Allah…. such a nice memory…
    Atie recently posted..A quiet celebration

    1. Hello, Atie. I made loads of dua for everyone to be blessed with the opportunity to perform hajj and umrah. InshaAllah, may you have the chance to be in Haram soon.

      Oh, we had the mango and mix-fruit juice almost after every prayer 🙂

  2. Oh My Allah…..Mashallah Nadia you were absent because of Umrah trip? So happy for your journey sister. It brought back my memories of that blessed divine place.
    I have been to Umrah once. Wallahi I want to go again. Insha Allah!
    The kaaba picture is great.
    Khanum recently posted..Life Management Missing Toddler days

  3. Masha Allah Nadia, hope you made the most out of your Umrah. I have performed Umrah [and Hajj] several times when I was young and I loved it but unfortunately it wasn’t as spiritually rewarding as it would have been if I was older. I am making lots of dua to go there again and I hope Allah answers my prayers soon insha Allah…

    Btw I didn’t know the tiles were being cooled!! 😀
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  4. Oh mashAllah! You’re so lucky to go again!
    This post really took me back to my visit back in August. The first time I went I was only nine, I remember everything though. It seemed more like a beautiful dream then, but this time it was so real. You can actually feel everything to the tip of your toes. And its something you will never forget. One thing that never seems to change is that magnificent feeling of awe when you first lay eyes on the Ka’bah 😀

    Wish to perform Hajj next, inshAllah.
    Smiley recently posted..I Hear Your Smiles In The Words You Say They Speak Louder Than Your Words

    1. Hello, Smiley! I agree, there’s this great, indescribable feeling of awe the first time you lay your eyes on the Ka’aba. Did you know that you earn sawaab by simply looking at it?

  5. MA! I’m so happy for you,Nadia! Hope this umrah trip fulfilled something in you and Masood.May Allah bless you both much! The pics are good and I certainly find the Saudi taxi-driver dangerous! i’m so glad Allah packed and sent the two of you back hmoe safely!Alhamdulillah!

    No I’ve still to go for my Umrah.InshaAllah the time will come to experience the unforgettable magnificent journey of a Muslim.As a note-taking person,I will also be taking notes while on my umrah as well 🙂

    1. Ameen to your dua, Lat. Thank you!

      Every since I started blogging I’ve stopped taking down notes – as in writing down notes on a paper. This time however, I brought with me a small pad and pen, and whenever I get time, I’d write down my thoughts ‘live’ 🙂

    1. Mezba, I guess it’s also a blessing to be living so close to the Kingdom – short trip and affordable plane tickets.

      Oh, the government of Sharjah, not too long ago, actually proposed for locals to drive taxis. No one was surprised that the plan didn’t work. In fact, I learned that some locals thought it was crazy to even consider such a thing.

  6. MashaAllah Nadia and Mabrook on your Umrah, mabroor InshaAllah.

    As for emotions, I get so choked up everytime I am infront of the Kaaba.No matter how many times , there is always tears running down my cheeks, a mixture of gratitude and regret and just the ability to make dua and have hope that it be heard . And also seeing people from all walks of life no matter their colour is moving enough every single time. Knowing that at the end despite our differences we are actually the same we believe in Allah and this holy place brings us together.

    Lets just put it this way, I think its a crazy gulf thing that people drive madly in the mid east. It’s like going for a roller coaster ride in a theme park with safety being thrown out the window.Don’t like that at all.
    regards,
    adla recently posted..Inspired by Muhammad

    1. JazakAllah khair, Adla.

      “…a mixture of gratitude and regret and just the ability to make dua and have hope that it be heard…” I guess that is what most of us feel when we’re in Haram. Although, once in the middle of performing tawaaf, a man actually answered a phone call and was talking very loudly, saying, “I’m in the middle of my tafaaf. What? I can’t hear you. I’m doing tawaaf. Yes, in Makkah!”

      I lost precious minutes of prayers and du’a because of this interruption.

  7. Salam baji,
    Mubarak on doing the umrah again …. I plan to do it this year .. please pray fo rme …seeing it make me so wanna go right now .. I hope everything works out InshAllah

  8. Masyallah! congrats on your second Umrah my dear!

    Reading both your first and second Umrah makes me more anxious for my opportunity to come! Insyallah I’m hoping for that day to come soon! 🙂

  9. Congatulations on your second Umrah, Nadia! I know how much it means to go on Umrah for Muslims and I am very glad you have an opportunity to do it a second time. 🙂
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  10. hi! i also like the pictures here.

    also, i appreciate your sharing of muslim beliefs and practices in a way that could be understood by non-muslims. you make them sound like they’re light and understable, huh?!

    less guilty? ahaha… 🙂
    doon po sa amin recently posted..sa may pagliko

    1. Thank you, dpsa! I’m glad you found the post easy to understand. I do try to keep in mind that both Muslims and non-Muslims read the blog.

      Yeah, less guilty 😀 Since the first umrah, I believe I made considerable changes in my lifestyle (by trying to adhere to the Islamic principles as much as I could), so I did feel less guilty 😀

  11. Well, Alhamdulilah we live in Riyadh, so we are blessed to perform umrah once and sometimes twice in a year too. And I don’t know how to sum up all those experiences in one word, coz I just can’t. Its like I have been transported to a different world, I just love sitting there in the Haram,admiring the Kabah, talking to the Creator and the creatures,praying.
    I never acknowledged the blessing of being in riyadh when i was there, but after shifting to Hyd for my further studies I miss home and our trips to Makkah and Madina. 🙁

    1. I agree, Hijabi! Living in a place that has easy access to the Holy cities is such a blessing. How long are you going to stay in Hyderabad for your studies? Are you planning to return to Riyadh permanently afterwards?

  12. 🙂 Well abhi toh loads of years. insha’Allah almost 6 years, gonna stay in India but don’t know where. It depends on my in exam in May. Please pray for me baji, duaon ki shadeed zaroorat hai. :). And after that pata nai what Allah has planned for me. If I’m still with my parents then ofcourse in Riyadh insha’Allah agar ammi ne mujhe apne thikane laga diya toh nai keh sakte 😉 :P. Well its nice to talking to you. Take good care of yourself. Fee Aman illah. 🙂

    1. Made loads of dua for your success in exams. 6 years is a long time, so that means you are just starting your higher education. All the best!

  13. Oh and I’m leaving for riyadh in a few days for a short trip and insha’Allah will be going to makkah and i guess madina too. 😀

  14. “This time I feel very light and um, less guilty.”

    Hello, Nadia! I guess my next assignment would be to read the first umrah, know where the story and the sentiments began, hihi. ^^

    I hope life’s treating you kindly. Medyo maulan na rito… Summer rains, I guess. And hey, am eagerly awaiting your responses to the questions. Hope your tasks will give you a pause for this very significant endeavor, hehe. Warmest regards and cheers from the Phils! 🙂
    35andupcynicismonhold recently posted..Parking Lot View

    1. Thank you, San! You are most welcome to browse through the blog. But yeah, that first pilgrimage was the most difficult one; plenty of guilty feelings and remorse. But I’d like to think that I came out as a better person after that experience, and my heart feels very light – I think that’s a good sign 🙂

      Oh my, I’m so ashamed to have not yet replied to that email! I’m so sorry…I’m off from work tomorrow, so yeah, I’ll write to you 🙂

  15. Mashaallah your first umrah post bring tears in my eyes inshaallah I am also going for umrah first time will reach 12 in this month inshaallah may Allah give aafiyat

  16. Very nice article and I am a big fan of your articles because you cover almost every aspect of Umrah in your article very nice I am also going for Umrah this year INSHALLAH

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