Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Hajj Adventures ~ Madinah and Masjid e Nabwi

By the grace of God this year was that fabulous opportunity when my family and I got to go for Hajj - the great annual Muslim pilgrimage. It was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life and definitely the most unique and grand one too. Being there, seeing the mosque of the Prophet (peace be upon him), walking the sacred places like Mount Uhad and Masjid e Quba, and performing Tawaf around that majestic Kaabah is all just too brilliant. It is a mind blowing journey in all of its true literal meaning. I decided to recount some of my most cherished memories from my Hajj trip on my blog and this is the first of few entries which I will be posting. We first visited Madinah, the land of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) where Masjid e Nabwi was absolutely stunning and the peace and serenity in the atmosphere was as soothing and comforting as it could possibly get. The scent of this land, the calmness in its wind, the beauty of every single place is just unbelievably beautiful!
Our journey began with a little bit of mishap and a little bit of New York because that's where we were flying from. A day before we had to leave one of our fridges broke down and Abbie and I spent a panicked morning trying to rescue everything and stuffing it in the other fridge of the house. Somehow we managed and it was finally time to leave. Abbie packed a yummy lunch for us to devour before our flight from JFK (fried chicken omg!). We rested for a while in New York before we flew a super tiring flight to Madinah.

Leaving wasn't too easy because we were leaving Gubby behind. She was supposed to stay at her Nani (grandma's) place while we went for Hajj because the journey is too hectic for a tiny adorable baby like her. Dropping her there on our way to New York caused major crying and tear attacks. It was bad, we were all crying our eyes out. Throughout our journey then her aunt kept sending us pictures, videos, and updates of all that Gubby was doing so we would miss her a little bit less (meanwhile she was having a grand time, her pictures showed up as if she was vacationing at some fab resort, and she tried new activities with her aunts like painting and baking cookies).

Once we landed in Madinah and the excessively hot air touched my face for the first time I knew the entire trip would be amazing. I still remember trying to imagine what seeing the Kaabah would be like while we sat in the waiting area as our buses were loaded and prepared. Oh yes, before I delve any further into pictures and details of how brilliant my entire trip was it is a MUST, an absolute must for me to mention our travel group. Dar El Salam has to be the most caring, well organized, and the best traveling group for Hajj and Umrah. The folks did a fantastic job!

During our stay in Madinah we resided at two hotels, the first one Pullman Zam Zam and then Hilton. Both of them had the most stunning view of Masjid e Nabwi, the mosque of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) right from our hotel room's window. Seriously, it was so cool pulling away the curtains every morning to find Masjid e Nabwi right there in your window. The mosque is absolutely beautiful. Masjid e Nabwi has got to be the most beautiful mosque I've ever seen in my life. It is gold and grand, it is an architectural masterpiece! The details of every pillar, every single inch of its ceiling, the pristine marble floors ... too too beautiful. When you're inside you just forget where you've come from because all you can see is this grand gorgeous design in front of you wherever you look. I don't even think any word, any statement, any description, or even any picture can do justice to the level of beauty I have witnessed with my eyes but here are a few of the million pictures we snapped while we were there ...

This is a zoom of one of the many gates of Masjid e Nabwi. It says 'Rasool Allah' (Allah's Prophet).

A portion of the inside of the mosque. Masjid e Nabwi is HUGE and there is just too much detail in every single inch of the place for my camera to be able to contain.

A section of the ceiling. Abbie took this beautiful photo by the way. Just look at the details, the gold, the brilliance. STUNNING! These domes even open and close at different times of the day so that one day we could see the skies above and the next we were under this prettiness.

The outsides where we entered the mosque from. GORGEOUS!

The umbrellas outside the mosque open and close as well to shade the people sitting, standing, or praying during the day. Everything happens in such an organized and peaceful manner that you'd never hear any noise at all. The entire place is unbelievably quiet and calm. They have silencers on their vacuums so that despite the continuous cleaning they do there is never any noise to disturb you during your prayers. Even the AC is super silent and I remember Abbie telling me something about the air being pumped from far away so it makes almost no sound at all. Also, Masjid e Nabwi is too clean. There is clean and too clean ... this place is TOO clean! They clean the place twenty four seven, every single second of the day. The marble floors shine in your face just like all the brilliant gold details. The mosque is super chilled from inside so you forget how hot the weather outside is. The carpets don't have a speck of dirt on them ... it is seriously such a well done job!

Out of the many memories I made inside this beautiful mosque a few were my most favorite. Praying in Rasool Allah's (pbuh) Rauza was one of the most crazy awesome experiences of our stay there. The area, marked by green carpets, is as close to his grave as you can get and praying while you're there is such a beautiful feeling. I was blessed with a chance to visit twice. We also found a Jummah (Friday) prayer while we were in Madinah. It has got to be the best Friday prayer of my life so far ... Friday prayer at THE Masjid e Nabwi! Wow. We spent the late part of the morning that day in the mosque and I recited Surah Kahf before the prayer began. Finally, one last memory I'd cherish forever was that of drinking Zam Zam. I think I drank by the gallon *laughs*. They have coolers full of chilled Zam Zam everywhere. It was so refreshing! We filled up our bottles so we pretty much drank just Zam Zam while we stayed there.

Our group got to visit a museum too that had The Beautiful Names of Allah Exhibit. I enjoyed a lot in there! It is right beside Masjid e Nabwi and the displays inside are beautiful. One of my favorites were those lamp like balls outside in a corridor that had names of Allah on them.

A picture of the ceiling inside the museum.

I'm also giving a special shout out to this awesome man! Sheikh Reda Bedeir was the best group leader and tour guide ever. His knowledge made every single part of our Hajj adventure so much more awesome, his spirit was contagious, and his energy was remarkable!

We also got to visit some super cool places in Madinah with great historical and religious significance. We visited Masjid e Quba, drive past Masjid e Qiblatain and the seven mosques Masjid e Saba, and visited Mount Uhad too. Praying in Masjid e Quba has the virtue of performing an Umrah and we were blessed to have the mosque as one of our stopovers.

Mount Uhad was so grand, so gorgeous, and so MIGHTY. Sheikh Reda did a fantabulous job recounting the entire battle of Uhad here so much that I could almost visualize everything happening in front of me. I loved visiting Mount Uhad. I'm usually not a nature kinda person but the grandeur of Mount Uhad and Sheikh's way of narrating stories just kept me totally interested. It was awesome!

We also shopped a lot in Madinah! It is the land of dates so of course we got dates for ourselves and as gifts for people we know. We also bought lots of Ja'anamaz (prayer mats) which are super pretty, and Itr (perfume), Tasbeehs (those are the beaded things in the pictures above), and some really gorgeous jewelry too!

My stay in Madinah was so peaceful and so awesome!
With Masjid e Nabwi's stunning architecture and the amazing feeling of being in such a holy land, I departed from Madinah with lots of great memories and headed for Makkah for Hajj!
It was to be the most grand adventure of my life!

Visiting Madinah had been on my Bucket List too!


  1. Oh, Sara! This is wonderful. Your descriptions and photographs make me feel almost as though I went with you. Bless.


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