Written By: Shahd Tashkandi
There are many significant walks in a person’s lifetime: the first few steps they take as a toddler, the walk to the stage on their graduation day, or the walk down the aisle on their wedding ceremony. And yet, not a single one of these walks elicits the same euphoria as the walk towards the Ka’ba.
The anticipation hits you as you get closer. And when you finally land your eyes on the glorious house of Allah SWT, a flood of peaceful emotions storm your chest. You feel as if you have returned home, even though you have never been to Makkah before. In a way, it is home. It is the dream destination of 1.7 billion people all around the world. And you cannot stop saying Alhamdulilah – all praise is due to Allah SWT – for giving you this blessing.
As you sit against a marble pillar watching the sun set behind Makkah’s magnificent mountain, the call for Maghrib prayer fills the air, and you take your first bite of Iftar – breaking the fast. Minutes pass, you stand up to pray sunnah, and you can’t help but notice the diverse mosaic around you. The wealthy and the poor, the different ranges of skin tones, the Arab and the non-Arabic speaker are all facing one direction and worshipping one God. The only thing you find in common between you and the 3 million Muslims around you is your faith.
Soon after you finish praying Maghrib, young boys start to walk around with a thermos of rich Arabic coffee, brewed by their mothers as an act of kindness towards the visitors. They pour the coffee and serve it with Saudi Arabia’s finest dates. And just when you thought you have seen enough of Makkah’s generosity, you are faced with yet another heartwarming gesture. The Turkish lady next to you pulls out dried figs from her purse, and insists that you try some of the goods and delights she had brought from home. You smile and eat, and although you’re a picky eater, those dried figs somehow taste heavenly.
After the long evening, you make your way back home, overwhelmed with the kindness you have just witnessed. And the beautiful part is that it never stops. From the corner of your eye, you notice that man feeding the cats some meat from the sandwich he just bought, you see the girls giving out sweets for the children, you see the young boy pushing the old lady on the wheel chair. None of them are doing these acts for a reward in this life; they do it for the sake of Allah SWT.
Ramadan in Makkah is indeed a wonderful experience. But, like everything else in life, this breathtaking visit comes to an end. You return to your hometown carrying a heart at peace, feelings of nostalgia, and a strong longing for the next trip to Masjid Al-Haram.
The only thing in your mind is a prayer; that one day, every Muslim finds the chance to experience this remarkable month in Makkah.