My heart has been on a wonderful journey. Something makes me feel like the destination was destined. In so many ways, I can see these wonderful connected events over the last few years as to how this trip, that my family and I have been on, happened.
My husband and I were privileged to have been able to go for Hajj in 2014. Hajj is the major pilgrimage that all muslims try to go for at least once in their lifetime (if they can afford to). Our boys were quite small at the time and the daunting idea of leaving them for 5 weeks was the most difficult guilt to bear while on this spiritual journey. They filled every thought and every prayer and somehow they were very much with us then.
On coming back home from this miraculous place and blessed journey you long to return as soon as the plane touches down. Visiting places like Makkah, Madinah, Arafat, Mina and Muzdalifah during the time of Hajj is exceptionally emotional as well as sacred. This most spiritually charged and blessed place draws you in like no other experience, it’s almost as if you have left a part of yourself in these places where you began, where your whole story started.
Yes, our Hajj journey was amazing and yes, we had experiences that have etched into our hearts but it’s still needless to say that the separation from the boys during Hajj was difficult for us and for them. The boys clung to us for months after afraid we might ‘go on Hajj’ again, they made us promise over and over to never leave them. Oddly enough, before 2014 we did go on couple trips overseas and travelled a bit, leaving the kids at granny’s every now and then but after we just never really did. They have had some sleepovers and little trips without us but it was with them wanting to, we haven’t really initiated long periods of time away from them.
For my husband after this momentous life changing Hajj, the burning desire to return to Makkah and Madinah was attached to his children and it became a want collectively for all of us. Umrah is the non-compulsory spiritual trip that is a mini version of Hajj. Of course, over the last four years we have had some family holidays, mini breaks and trips. All have been needed and welcome as rewards during the year but nothing big. Somehow this year we were thinking of a trip to go on but everything seemed impossible, either timing or way too expensive for a family of five. One day we received a note from school talking about a potential Umrah trip, it encouraged parents to accompany their kids. It was promoted as educational and boasted reduced rates. It seemed almost too good to be true. We didn’t really take it seriously but the idea of going for Umrah this year was formed. Unbeknownst to me, my husband made some enquiries and after doing some finances it actually seemed possible?
And so the wheels started turning and plans started being made for a journey that started in many ways years ago. It was all connected, destined and meant to be. Subhanallah. How else would we have decided to go if not for this little note from school. This trip cannot be described, the whole experience (as with anything) is what you make of it and we made the most of it. Umrah is a spiritual trip but it is also fun and joyous and allows for bonding like no other with whomever you are accompanied by. You make friends forever. You disconnect from the craziness that is life as you know it. You actually truly connect with God, yourself, your husband, your kids! It was filled with belly laughs (my kids are sooo funny), ice-cream for days… like literally daily! Dramatic moments where someone got lost (namely me), the beautiful sight of the Kabah, the serenity of Madinah, the picnic meals on the bed and other wonderful memories that is ours to keep and cherish forever. sometimes just walking the streets of these holy destinations invokes reflection and realisation, your consciousness is awakened and you are able to experience emotions in the most authentic way. Our lives have been forever enriched, being there is like being in a dream, being back is like a dream coming true, you never really think it will happen and then it does.
Alhamdulillah a thousand times, and a thousand times more. Blessed. Happy. Content.