In June 2015, my brother, my husband and I decided to perform our very first Umrah with our eldest daughter, Ulfah.
The four of us took a night flight which helped a lot especially if you have young children in tow. Our daughter slept almost throughout the flight. After about 9 hours of flight, transiting in Dubai, we finally arrived at Jeddah airport. The excitement was slowly kicking in…
Our hotel in Madinah was a very short walk to Masjid Nabawi. As we were there in June, the weather was very hot and bright and the air was dry with temperatures reaching up to 53 degree Celsius in midday. Nonetheless, the peace and tranquil in Masjid Nabawi was something that I really loved. Also, the readily available zam zam water in rows of dispensers was the perfect thirst quencher!
When I first entered the women’s prayer hall inside Masjid Nabawi, I was in awe, immersed in its majestic beauty. Instantaneously, I noticed that the prayer hall was segregated into two sections – the front meant for ladies praying without children and the back for mothers with children. It is really comforting to know that Masjid Nabawi is indeed truly, child-friendly! So, fret not, parents! The section meant for mothers and children was lively with mothers nursing their babies while reciting the Qur’an and little children playing, sprawling and napping on the carpet while their mothers prayed. There were also, of course, little ones who filled the air with cries and wails. Yet, throughout my four days of congregation prayers at this part of the mosque with Ulfah, I saw how ladies of different races, colours and ethnicities were receptive towards one another and the children. Honestly, it was a beautiful sight to witness because it reminded me of the sunnah of our Prophet Muhammad SAW which is to love, honour and embrace the presence of young children.
While in Madinah, I also had the chance to enter Raudah ul Jannah or Rawdah, for short. The prophet SAW used to narrate that “between my house and my pulpit, there is a garden from the gardens of paradise.” (Al-Bukhari) If you are in Masjid Nabawi, do try to make your way to Rawdah at least once, despite the constant tide of moving people. Make lots of doas while at it!
Masjidil Nabawi at night
After spending four meaningful days in Madinah, we headed to Makkah. It was a five-hour bus ride. We were expected to reach Masjidil Haram close to midnight and would be performing our umrah immediately.
View of Kaabah
Setting eyes on the Kaaba for the first time, tears built up as I felt an overwhelming stir of gratitude, contentment, remorse for past sins and a realisation that it is only through Allah’s greatness, mercy and love that He had chosen (the undeserving) me to be standing in front of the Kaaba alongside thousands of others.
Unlike the tranquil Masjid Nabawi, Masjidil Haram is very busy, fast paced and packed with pilgrims. For parents bringing small children, I highly encourage you to use carriers for safety reasons.
New Turkish friend
View from Hira Cave
The five days spent in Makkah passed by much too quickly. When you’re here, do take the opportunity to visit the historical sites as well such as Jabal Rahmah and the Hira’ cave. Also, while in Makkah, I’ve learned that we must not waste any minute in going the extra mile to earn rewards from Allah. After all, where else in this world is best in seeking Allah’s pleasure other than in His sacred holy land? There are so many ways to do so! Set a target to qatam the Qur’an, perform man sunnah prayers and tawaf in Masjidil Haram, look at the Kaabah frequently, busy our tongues with zikir, control our temper, help as many people in as many ways possible and be the most generous that you’ve ever been, especially in your doas to others. And, if you have received some money from family members before departing, use the money to buy small gifts like tasbih or siwak and donate them to the passers-by with the intention that your family members will reap the rewards as well! In a nutshell, strive to be the best version of you throughout your entire trip.
A beautiful coincidence. Grandmom, and Uncle were also in Makkah so we met up for a good few hours
Lastly, for those of you who are intending to perform Umrah, hasten your pure intention right away! If you’re bringing small children, take this as an opportunity to earn more rewards from Allah because taking care of our little ones is an ibadah too!
Brace yourself though, because once you’ve experienced Makkah and Madinah for the first time, your heart will definitely yearn to be in these lands over and over. I know mine does…
- Syaza Md Noor
Streets of Mecca