Despite such little sleep and such busy days, I was still going quite strong. The only thing was a nagging cough that I had caught in Madinah. It had decided to be my companion throughout the journey!
At 3:30am this morning we made our way to the Haram for Prayers. Though I did not want to think about it, we only had a few days left before we would be heading back to our hometowns. I was going to miss this routine, the amazing view and the inner peace so much! I just wanted to savour every moment.
After Fajr prayers, we made our way to the Souk. Both Asif and I wanted to get something memorable to take back home. I saw this beautiful memory foam prayer mat in one of the first stores I entered. It was cream with pink embroidery and seemed extremely comfortable! I had decided that this is what I wanted to take back home, and Asif bought it for me as a gift. He liked the prayer mat so much, he bought himself one too with a varied pattern. Whilst a wonderful thing for us to take back, I hoped we had enough space in our suitacases to carry these!
Back at the hotel it was pretty much routine; we ate breakfast, and then rested until Dhuhr time. We had fulfilled our Wajibat of Hajj, and now had the remainder of our time in Makkah to do as we wish. Some of us really wanted to go to and climb Mount Hira – the cave where Prophet Muhammad (s) would go to receive revelations. Others chose to perform a second Umrah as a gift to their family members and deceased ones.
We requested Abbas mama to assist us in making arrangements to climb Mount Hira, as he was more familiar with how to prepare for such trips. Within no time, he had arranged for a bus that would be departing from the highway at 4:00pm.
I was quite nervous after hearing stories from others who had climbed the mountain previously. The climb seemed long and steep, but I was determined to do this. I felt it would give me a deeper sense of appreciation of the journey the Holy Prophet (S) undertook and if I could reach the top, I would be so close to where the Holy Prophet (S) spent a lot of his time in conversation with Allah (SWT).
We were a group of 35 people that met in the lobby at 3:30pm. First, we had to walk 20 minutes to where the bus was waiting for us. Abbas Mama and Murtaza Uncle guided us to where the bus had parked, through the tunnel that we were now quite familiar with. The two gentlemen were not going to be joining us on the climb. It was, however, comforting to know that Br. Mazaher was going to be with us. Not only was he a family member, but also a doctor!
The journey by bus was another 20 minutes to the bottom of the mountain. At first sight, seeing how steep the climb was, I honestly felt there was no way I would make it to the top. I wasn’t going to give up that easily, but maybe I would need one (or two) of those walking sticks that the locals were selling for 5 riyals in shops on either side of the initial climb!
God gives strength! We began the climb and Asif and I decided that no matter what the rest of the group does or how fast they are, we would just take it one step at a time and at our own pace. The initial 15 minutes was extremely steep, but soon we were past that and came to where there were now steps up the rest of the mountain.
We stopped several times to pace ourselves, and to keep hydrated. It was about 30+ degrees and I had easily gone through 6-7 bottles of water. An hour and 15 minutes later, we were at the top. I cried happy tears! I could not believe that I had actually managed to reach the top!
The sun was setting in the distance, and we could see the Clock Tower that neighboured the Haram. We could also see the bottom of the mountain where we began our journey and it seemed so far away!
At the top, we managed to see the cave where the Holy Prophet (s) would sit and converse with Allah (swt), but only from the outside. The route to the cave was packed and was not an easy route (it required sliding down and across a few large rocks which seemed impossible in chadar). It was getting darker and because it was so crowded, we weren’t able to go inside the cave. The climb itself, though, was a huge accomplishment.
We heard the Adhan for Maghribain prayers, and Br. Mazaher advised that we begin making our way down. There was no light on the way back down, and we had to be extremely careful, so we began the descent before it got too dark.
In 45 minutes, we were near the bottom of the mountain, and there we saw a mosque. We decided not to delay our prayers and entered the masjid. Strays cats and kittens strolled around inside the ladies area of the mosque. Thanks to Sabira, they were kept entertained after she finished praying, so that the rest of could pray.
At 7:50pm we were on the bus and on our way back to the hotel. I thought we would be back in no time, as it had only taken us 20 minutes initially to the mountain. But a 20-minute bus journey took us an hour and a half simply because of roadblocks and traffic. We were heading in the direction of the Haram and we weren’t the only ones! There were many more who were also heading the same way.
The bus dropped us as close as it could to our hotel, leaving us to walk the final 10 minutes.. We made it back just in time for dinner. Tonight’s menu had been Chicken and Chips.
After dinner, some of our family from other groups came to the hotel where we were staying to meet up. It was nice as I met cousins that I had not seen in quite a while. At midnight, I decided that I had to call it a night! Whatever little sleep I could get right now was much needed!