Hajj: A Personal Account of Worship, Love, and Marriage

Yusuf Estes

Hajj: A Personal Account of Worship, Love, and Marriage - Part 1

Al Hamdulilah rabbil alameen was salat was salam ala rasool al kareem.

We were most priviledged to be able to travel first to New York and stay for a few days there with dear friends prior to leaving for Medinah.

Our trip over to Madinah was a beautiful experience. Our host family and ourselves were treated with the opportunity to fly in the FIRST CLASS cabin with complete services and luxury (and plenty of room). What a wonderful treat it was to be sure.

Landing in Madinah and clearing customs there was equally simple and easy and before you knew it, we were off to the hotel.

Our hotel was a lovely newly constructed building just across the street from entrance #6 of the Prophet's mosque. The very nice accomodations were quite lovely and certainly no one could complain.

The peace and tranquility of being so close to the prophet, peace be upon him, and visiting his masjid several times a day did wonders for the hearts and all of us in the group became closer and closer in understanding and love for each other.

A grand experience did occur just before leaving for Makkah and one which needs more explanation than space provides here. Suffice to say, that my daughter was married to a very lovely brother who happens to be studying there in Madinah. The occassion was made even more special due to our holding the actual signing of the marriage papers just outside of the door to the prophet's masjid. Our host and other guests along with locals and of course, our whole family were able to be there for this momentous occassion. I cried. (Fathers do that when their daughters get married)

The trip to Makkah was rather long and some grew weary as we had to endure a number of check points and other stops. We arrived late night (early morning) in the most holy of cities of Islam - Makkah.

Our rooms were not ready, but as we were already prepared for the 'umrah (lessor pilgrimage) we made off for the harem (holy place) to complete the rituals of 'umrah.

After 'umrah it was time to prepare for the Jummah salat. My youngest daughter joined me for what was to become an experience to remember forever. We found people already sitting in the streets waiting for the khutbah (Friday speech) to begin. So we purchased some prayer rugs, put them down in the street along with the others and sat waiting for the salat (prayers) to begin.

Just as the khatib (speaker) was finishing his talk, little drops of rain began to fall. Then as we prayed they continued to fall here and there. As the prayer ended, the rain increased and came heavier. A very good sign by the way as rain almost never falls in the desert of Arabia. The rain fell heavier and heavier until we had to seek refuge in a cafe.

Upon our return from the harem to the hotel we discovered that the rooms were still not completely ready. But the food was, and it was most tantalizing and delicious. The five star service completed a most excellent meal and all of us were now ready to lie down to take a well deserved rest. However, the rooms were not quite ready yet.

We did finally recieve keys to our rooms and were able to get in after the maghrib prayers. The exclusive suite and delightful treatment made up in many ways for any difficulties experienced while waiting.

Jazakum Allah khairan was salam alaykum,
Yusuf Estes

Hajj : A Personal Account of Worship, Love and Marriage - Part 2
Hajj : A Personal Account of Worship, Love and Marriage - Part 3
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