Golden Invitation

I remember the smell of Makkah.
The pungent citrus smell of a triple detergent in the air every few hours when the cleaners parades with the red tapes and shuffles the pilgrims out of their way, and the workers inside sweeping in tandem with brushing.
I remember seeing the Kaabah the first time and froze. Entering the mosque from the clock tower entry, passed the internal prayer halls into the sight of hustling pilgrims, circling, and there it is - the Kaabah draped in black cloth and golden threads. Men and women of all sizes, shapes and age moves about the tawaf, praying, resting, reading Quran under the watch of the Royal army.

Outside, I remember the crazy human traffic and old dusty cars, and the sickening haphazard buildings on cliffs, and dots of starry lights from the little homes hugging the hills at night. The aroma of lamb beriyani, trickle of cold zam-zam water down my throat on a long, hot day after tawaf and sa'ei, and the blue sky.

I remember worrying I might contract some diseases, being too close to too much crowd. I worried about sudden end of my wudhu', and thinking too much if I had missed a single routine of an ihram.

I remember being lost in time. I remember being lost in people hurrying between Safa and Marwah, and lost between the doa when performing my tawafs, and sounds of prayers to the greatness of Allah. I clearly remember the sound of glorious azan, and the cool breeze sweeping the top tier of Masjidil Haram. 
I remember the sight of Nabi Ibrahim a.s.'s footprints, the serenity of praying in the Hijr Ismail, and the tumultuous that of by the Hajarul Aswad. I remember passing by Rasulullah s.a.w's tomb in Masjidil Nabawi, and the cemetery of Baqi's and Uhud.


I have been so lucky to have been invited into these holy lands - Alhamdulillah. It felt like I was transported back in time where for thousands of years, mankind visited the Kaabah in just 2 simple cloths and belt around my expanding waistline. Although I must admit that due to the urgency and sudden visit, I was short of truly immersed in the spirit of pilgrimage, and may not know the very purpose I was there, but I felt truly blessed. I did feel close to God. I felt I was home. That is a weird feeling to have when I have a family thousands of miles away, waiting for me to return, but that was how I felt.

At the same time, the progress  is in full steam ahead around Kaabah with the expansion of Jabal Omar, Jabal Indi, the second ring road, Makkah Metro and other smaller, equally aggressive developments nearby. With the increasing demand for accommodation during Hajj, and the blurred line between pilgrimmage periods, human traffic is enormous and the thirst for air-conditioned hotel rooms and lobbies is taking far better importance to the ritual itself.

It is easy to understand the growth of this Islamic metropolitan, that the price of development is a fragment to creating comfort to the pilgrims. It is just bizarre to see the origin Muslims of Makkah is being chased further away towards the brim of the Haram circle, and likes of international hotels chains moving closer to the Kaabah.
It is also a growing sights to see that regardless of the unique place that Makkah is, people will evolve to visit this city with their comfort food, lattes and designer labels.



Dancing Ciken said…
Alhamdulillah, welcome back syah!
alhamdulilah. before I visit any other land of Allah, hope I can visit Mecca first. insyallah.

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