This post is a reflection of the Muslim ummah [Arabic word for community/nation], which in the past I only got to witness and felt a part of at Islamic talks and seminars in the UK or sometimes virtually online, but, now alhamdulillah I really get to see it when I visit the Ka'bah. For me it adds to the blessing of being there. We are the ummah, the nation of our blessed Prophet Muhammed pbuh! When you really reflect on that, you really feel honoured!
I see pilgrims in their hundreds and thousands! So many nationalities and cultures, it really warms my heart to see the reality of our amazing religion that can supersede yet encompass all those cultures and their traditions to unite us into one body, one ummah.
Yes, I am in awe when I see groups of Malaysians circulating the Ka'bah with the women dressed in their uniform pink head scarves so they don't get lost in the crowds. I don't even have to turn around whilst making tawaf [going around the Ka'bah] to know the group behind me that recites the prayer out loud after their one appointed reciter is a possible group from Iran or Afghanistan, because I can hear that beautiful Persian accent coming through. You certainly can't miss the Turkish if you've been to any Turkish restaurant or have happened to visit Istanbul, the fair skinned, dark haired men surrounding their women all dressed in purple head scarves [a lovely shade as well!]. I notice the women from the far east and how practically they drape their hijabs with an elasticated band that sits behind their head putting it all in place - the no pins needed scarf -genuis!
|View of the Ummah & clock tower|
Then you notice the age ranges, from the elderly to the little babies strapped around their mamas or dads. Many families take advantage of the wheelchair for their children, but especially for their elderly. So, when you are ushered to make way, you turn around and catch a glimpse of the noor [light] in the old gentlemen's face. You can see his determination to complete the tawaaf and Umrah [lesser pilgrimage] - it really is amazing to see.
In the case of gender, there seems to be more men, perhaps because of the visibility of the 2 pieces of cloth draped by the men, you notice the pilgrims performing their umrah straight away. However, there is a good presence of females as well as children, mothers, daughters, wives, sisters covered in black or colour coordinated scarves if they have travelled from abroad specifically for their Umrah.
And then you marvel at the beauty of the Ka'bah and the people that walk and pray around it and think, this is the ummah that the Prophet pbuh prayed for. This is on the largest scale I have seen it and I feel honoured and proud to be a part of this religion regardless of what anyone else thinks of it.
“Glad tidings to the one who believed in me and saw me, and sevenfold glad tidings to the one who believed in me but did not see me.”
Over the past few weeks I have felt part of a greater sisterhood here in Makkah and on the on-line sphere, connecting and being part of something amazing. From the kindness that friends and new friends have shown, surely no good deed is ever wasted especially when you are unaware of the impact it can have of on your fellow human. Feeling part of something and knowing you are helping others for the sake of Allah feels so rewarding. The encouragement I get from friends is beautiful. Their voices and words fight that satanic whisper that tells you you cannot achieve or do anything, or you are simply worthless! The following verse comes to mind and when it is seen in practice, in reality you really do see Allah's verses of the Qur'an in everything, if only we gave ourselves time to reflect.
So my advice to everyone is do not isolate yourself from the ummah; you are a part of it! Together we can make positive change when we are united. Think good of your fellow Muslim and non-Muslim alike. Don't hold grudges, excuse people for their short comings and live each day in progression. Be better than you were yesterday, do more than you did yesterday and together as you hold on to this Rope of Allah, you will find life more beautiful by the will and power of Allah. :)