Amaliha Mansoor

Islamabad - There are a hundred visions, a hundred images pulsating and appearing endlessly in my mind’s eye, tugging at my heart. There’s that night in Muzdalfa, under the open sky.

 I look up at the 10th night moon hovering above in a murky dark sky and think to myself, “So, this is the night I had been envisioning for so long, wondering if I’d really make it.” And, now I had made it there. All around me I see countless people clad in Ahraams, lying down on the bare earth, indifferent to the congregated mass of people from different nooks of the world. It’s one truly humbling experience; nothing less, nothing more.

Behind my closed lids, surfaces another vision. A vision of graceful gray arches and cool marble floors of the Masjid-e-Nabwi (the mosque of my Prophet Muhammad (SAW), bedecked with glittering grand chandeliers in bronze and gold hues. And the green, green tomb beneath which, in the Hujra of Bibi Ayesha, my Prophet (SAW) rests.

I say Salaam every time I see it (physically or mentally) and somehow tears well up in my eyes. On the cool marbled stairs, inside the Grand Masjid, beneath the arches, outside in the huge courtyard under huge white umbrellas, I try to imagine the bygone times, the lost eras. Peace, serenity, kindness and a profound sense of security is in the air; so discernible; almost physical. And ever so soothing!

And then there is the grandeur of Haram, the grand, grand House of Allah in Mecca!

The air is filled with a sense of splendor as people passionately throng around the Kaaba. It is a fully charged atmosphere; almost electrifying, giving me goose bumps every time I enter the surroundings.

There is an overwhelming frenzy everywhere, a time bound urgency to deliver, to put forth all that is storming inside out.

And, it is not just the tongue but the eyes, body, mind, heart and soul that seem to cry out simultaneously.

“Here we are, our Lord, with all our shortcomings and worthlessness; You are Matchless; You are the Greatest; please help us, forgive us, accept our prayers, and show us the right way.”

The day long stay at Arafaat, with temperature soaring to 47 degrees Celsius, the “Grand Finale” of Hajj, promising the granting of all prayers of the pilgrims assembled.

We bow down. We pray.

It is also here that I realise what “Allah-o-Akbar” (God is Great) truly symbolises.

Here are believers from every corner of this mortal world, featuring different colors, languages, cultures, ages, social status, thoughts, perspectives, issues, fears, dreams and hopes, turning desperately to our Ultimate Master.

To Him we may be tiny grains of sand (or even of less worth) but to each one of us, He is everything; the Absolute; the Ultimate!

We had to perform the Tawaf-e-Ziaraat as well as Tawaf-e-Widaa the same night as our flight back home was shortly after Hajj. After an over four hours exhausting (yet so exhilarating) drill in a frenzy crowd thronging the Haram we finally accomplish it. Tears welled up once again in my eyes. Partly because of the realization that with the help of Allah, and against so many odds, we have finally managed to perform all the “Manasik” (the essentials) of Hajj. And, partly due to the realisation that it’s time to bid farewell to these Holy environs.

I try to stand steady and take a long, long look at the Kaaba.

“Please remember us when you recount to the Lord of the people who have encircled you following in the footsteps of Hazrat Ibrahim and all prophets till my beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

And let me come back again, and soon. I pray. Suddenly I don’t want to go, don’t want to say Widaa (farewell). The world with all its luring and attractions looks so meaningless, so worthless. I don’t want to go back, says a voice in my head. But then somehow, I feel a calming effect. 

I realise that despite leaving the holy place I will continue with the communication that I have developed with my Creator. And, I realise I will carry it within me wherever I go. 

That is my real treasure, that is my real accomplishment. That is my real Hajj.

The writeup is the personal account of the writer as experienced during 2015 Hajj.

The writer is a freelance columist