The Promise of Umrah: An Inspirational Journey with my Motherby Nik Emir Din
I finally had the opportunity to fulfill my mother’s promise to accompany her to Umrah since my father is no longer fit to travel and make the journey with her.
We had been wishing and planning to make the journey since 2019, but we had to keep postponing our travel plans due to the pandemic. My mother would constantly remind me, “Keep praying and put your trust in Allah, and He will present the opportunity and the right time.”
“Once Allah has decided it is your time to visit His home, there will always be a way. And Alhamdulillah, everything fell into place.”
I performed Umrah when I was very young, so I consider this the first time I was able to truly appreciate and soak in the experience.
This year Saudi Arabia finally opened up its borders. We were blessed to have had a chance to go for Umrah during Ramadan. We had little time before our travel date and had to rush to get our visas and paperwork in order. It was extremely challenging since I had recently moved to Singapore. I had to coordinate everything amidst juggling moving to a new country and managing work commitments.
We flew to Jeddah from Kuala Lumpur; it was roughly an 8.5-hour flight. Our hotel in Makkah was an hour away from Jeddah by car. After performing our Umrah in Makkah, we spent a few days in Medina and visited the Masjid Quba before flying back to Kuala Lumpur.
We were blessed to be able to offer the two rak’at prayer at Masjid Quba which comes with its own special rewards. The Prophet ﷺ said: “Whoever purifies himself in his house, then comes to the Quba’ Mosque and offers one prayer therein, will have a reward like that for ‘Umrah.” [Sunan Ibn Majah 1412]
Masjid Quba in Medina
The uncertainties caused by Covid, and the challenges I faced through the journey and back home cannot be compared to the bliss I felt because I was finally able to make the journey to Allah’s house. It was indeed, an eye-opening experience. I am certain this will not be my last visit to the holy land.
The Call of Allah
We spent the last 10 days of Ramadan in Makkah, in search of Laylatul Qadr. Staying close to the Masjid allowed us to go for all the prayers, including Taraweeh and Tahajjud.
Taraweeh prayers at night on the roof of Masjid-al Haram.
Listening to the Adhan and making the trip each time, I witnessed the diversity in the Muslim community. There were people from all walks of life. Different ethnicities, nationalities, and cultures. Yet, all equal, moving together with one common purpose.
I have never experienced a crowd like this before. Makkah was full of life at all hours of the day and night. It really felt like the city never slept. With the sheer amount of public, it was a difficult task to get inside and reach the Kaaba floor. We were lucky to have a good Mutawwif* guiding us. Most of the Masjid gates were closed and the guards were strict. No one was allowed unless in ihram to perform Umrah. Even then, there was no guarantee you could get in as they tried to control the number of people going near Kaaba. It depended on the time and your luck!
*Mutawwif is a knowledgeable person who guides pilgrims during Hajj.
View of the Kaaba during non-prayer time, Ramadan 2022.
Despite the anxiety and nervousness of trying to find a way in, the moment I stepped onto the white Kaaba floor and slowly gazed at the Kaaba, I felt calm. All the other feelings disappeared in a moment.
I was in awe. The magnificence and presence of the Kaaba. Of which I had seen pictures and heard experiences others had. It can never compare to being there in person. It felt surreal as I took the time to absorb this overwhelming emotion, the feeling of being truly blessed. The opportunity to visit the house of Allah SWT.
With Hardship Came Ease
I tested positive for Covid a day after I returned from Umrah. I was disheartened to sacrifice Eid celebrations. I was unable to spend precious moments with my family and loved ones.
My symptoms started when I woke up with a sore throat and increased temperature. A self-testing kit at home confirmed I had Covid. A few days later my symptoms worsened. I could barely eat or sleep. Sharp pain in my throat in the middle of the night forced me to rush to the ER. I was diagnosed with a superadded throat infection, a term for being infected with both the covid virus and bacterial infection. For a week, I was under heavy medication of pain killers and antibiotics to ease the throat pain. I started seeing improvement, and two weeks later, I had fully recovered.
Syukor Alhamdulillah, it was also a blessing that I did not have to endure the pain and discomfort during the Umrah trip. I am grateful that Allah SWT eased the journey for me. Reading about all the issues and catastrophes the world and other people are facing, I was thankful that I was only given this small test by Allah SWT. This experience has humbled me in many ways and is a great reminder to never take my health for granted.
Outside the Clock Tower after completing my Umrah
Gratitude and Growth
It was a bittersweet moment for me as we boarded the plane bound for home. On one hand, I was sad to leave but also thankful that I had the opportunity to accompany my mother and experience Umrah during Ramadan.
I came back with an even greater appreciation of being part of the global Muslim community. I had the opportunity to break fast and connect with other Muslims from all walks of life at Masjid Al-Nabawi.
Breaking fast at Masjid-Al-Nabawi
This trip has inspired me and motivated me to do more for our Muslim community and I hope to be able to continue doing this with my role at Bitsmedia and MuslimPro. Inshallah.
About the Author
Nik Emir Din hails from Malaysia and has been with Bitsmedia for the past 4 years. He recently moved over to Singapore and is currently the Co-CEO of Bitsmedia. As a digital and technology advocate, he strongly believes in and supports the use of digital technologies to help and empower different communities.