We had already entered Haram Sharif, and it was minutes before the grand Kabah would be in front of us, showering the Glory of Allah and binding us with its sheer grandeur. I was prepared for it, but when the actual moment came, I was dumb-founded and felt as if all the strength had gone out of my body, all the thinking facility gone out of my head. We were now in front of the Holy Stone, and I had wished to pray, to ask Allah for so many things for my family and well-wishing relatives and friends, but my mind had gone dumb. Everything became still, nothing moved except the pilgrims circling around the Kabah. I could not ask for anything. I could only recite some verses and surahs from the Quran which I knew by heart.

Almost mechanically, we began the rituals of Umrah, circling around the Kabah seven times, offering two rakats of prayers by the Muquam-e-Ibrahim, drinking Zam Zam water, walking around Safa and Marwah and back as prescribed, and finally getting a haircut outside an exit by Marwah and having a hot cup of tea through the courtesy of a Pakistani barber.

It was upon reentering the Mosque, and sitting in front of the Kabah that I could feel strange nearness to God, as if God was now asking me what I desired. I began to pray with such intensity that I had never experienced in the past.

After Zuhr prayers we came back to the hotel, took lunch and slept soundly for a few hours, as we had missed last night’s sleep while traveling from Jeddah to Mecca.

The Kabah

During our four nights’ stay in Mecca we passed most of the time at the Mosque. The Kabah, which is only a cube of black stone, nine meters high and twenty-three meters in width, but in its magnanimity, surpasses any other monument in the world. It is simply awe-inspiring.

Haram Sharif

Haram Sharif is a widely-sprawled mosque with heat-resistant tiles in the courtyard. To keep the floor cool, water is continuously sprayed by attendants, followed by suction carts, which then drain the water from the floor, so that no pilgrim would slip. The prayer halls inside the mosque are air-conditioned, and you can drink Zam Zam from any of the containers placed in rows. The Mosque has the capacity to accommodate more than a million people at a time. Nine towering minarets give sheer elegance to the Mosque.

The City

Mecca, also known as Ummal Qura (The mother of Cities), Baitul Atiq (The Ancient House) or Baitullah (The House of God) is a seventy-kilometer square sanctuary in the west of Saudi Arabia, in the area of Hijaz, fourteen-hundred- kilometer along ridge of Sarat Mountains. Today, it is a modern city with many sky-scrappers and luxury hotels, streets bustling with cars, taxis, limousines and buses. Your visit to Mecca wouldn’t be complete if you do not see some sacred and historical sites.

Jabal Thaur

Sacred and Historical Sites

Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) birthplace is just a few furlongs away from Safa Hill. The government has constructed a library and a small school at the place. There is a hill near Safa called Jabi Abu Qubais where the Prophet (pbuh) performed the miracle of splitting the moon. At the top of the hill is Bilal Mosque.

Then there is Jabal Noor and the Cave of Hira, where our holy prophet meditated and where he received the first wahi. Our next stop was the Cave of Thaur, about eight kilometers south of Mecca. This is the cave which sheltered the Holy Prophet and Hadrat Abu Bakar for three days while migrating to Medina.

Cave of Hira

You can also see the sacred and well-known graveyard, Jannat-ul-Mualla, where the Holy Prophet’s mother, his first wife Hadrat Khadija and many other companions lay buried.

Nearby is Masjid-e-Jinn or Masjid-e-Bait, where the Prophet(pbuh) recited verses from the Quran to an assembly of jinn and took their oath of allegiance. A few steps away is Masjid-e-Raaet, where the flag of Islam was put up after conquering Mecca.

On the fourth day of our stay in Mecca, we bade farewell to the blessed place and boarded a bus for Medina, praying to Allah to invite us once again to this holy place.