Nowadays, it’s the midst of Ramadan, the holy month of the Islamic calendar in which Muslims try to achieve their spiritual zenith through the act of fasting. So, in the midst of my endeavours for attaining such an atmosphere, I recalled the latest time I had lived it to the utmost and realized how I easily tended to forget the intensity of the events, at the same time having longing for those unique moments deeply. It was the time we, as a family, had a Umrah at this semester break, which took place at the end of January and at the first few days of February. It lasted exactly 10 days, yet I can acknowledge that it was the best 10 days of my entire life of 19 years. It was such a journey no matter how many more days you add to it, it would still feel inadequate, as if you want to make it for a lifetime. That’s why it was so incredibly precious, maybe the very few times in your life when you get the true gist of “every moment counts, so try to make the best of it”.
Whoever I heard going there used to say the words can’t suffice to express the atmosphere there, it’s partly true but I’ll give it a try. To be honest, before going on this journey, I wasn’t super duper excited about it. I’m afraid it was due to my ignorance of the point of this journey. But luckily the environment, the events and having reduced the level of my insufficient knowledge helped me to be in such a mood. So the greatest source of excitement for me was that it was my first experience of abroad. Considering that I had been dying to step outside the borders of my country in one way or another, I couldn’t help being happier than ever to find the means of having a wish come true. In one moment when my excitement level was at the climax was when the plane was flying over Egypt, as I detected from my constant watch on the map on the digital screen. Yes, it was a night flight and I could see nothing but the lights of the objects which were indiscernible, but after all Egypt was the first country that I had wanted to visit during my struggles of going abroad. So my enthusiasm was insurmountable.
When it came to seeing to actual place, I remember my elders who visited there used to watch the channel broadcasting Kabah 7/24. Honestly, it wouldn’t mean much of a thing to me back then watching those people whirling around performing tawaf, I didn’t even know what that meant. But now I understood seeing with my own eyes, breathing the fresh air of sacredness, hearing the beautiful adhans(call for prayer) and recitations of Qur’an..it’s simply fascinating. Due to all of these reasons, I had much more taste in my prayers or my usual ibadah (the acts of worship). Some say there is some kind of energy attracting people there. It may be true because the moment you enter into the masjid, it’s hard to leave at the end of the day. It feels so natural just like it’s your home even though you share this same home with thousands of other people. All the differences among those people, their races, ages, nationalities, traditions, languages suddenly disappear and you become like brothers and sisters. This strange atmosphere also brings forth a positivism, peacefulness upon people. On the other hand, the malevolent nature of human-being such as looking down on others, aggressiveness, envying, hatred and so on, turns into some kind of benevolence. That’s when you realize the source of the bind connecting people, the love of their creator, the Almighty.
In addition to that, I noticed that it’s somehow easier to find people who seem to have found the genuine happiness there. In fact, I assume nothing in the world could give a sense of happiness equal to that other than being there. Of course some weep and tear themselves apart while pouring their hearts to God, but one sees the satisfaction in being so close to the sole creator. Another thing that caught my attention was,despite the obvious cultural differences, no one seems to care for them..what “the others” wear, how colorful they wear, how they look like, what they bring with them, whether one plays with his phone while the other prays or another one rests on the carpet..or while she lifts up her hands to her head and the other she to her shoulder while starting salah.. Nothing matters! All is welcomed and the feeling of being welcome is just amazing.!!! That’s one of the reasons why it feels like home. Seeing that, it made me say I wish the perception of people in Turkey was like that, not only among believers but disbelievers too. The majority of the people are so ready to labelize and judge each other for the choices they make and interfere with other’s business that there is neither respect nor tolerance.
To my surprise, I fell short of my expectations of using English as a means to communicate with people there, since as much as I imagined, people from various countries, carrying various cultures, speaking different languages are supposed to be combined with a might of a universal language, right? Nope, that was not the case. I should admit that it was thrilling, as a beginner of Arabic, to be in a land where it’s spoken throughout. But even with that curiosity, I didn’t think the most common communication language would be Arabic, no matter how international and multicultural the place gets. It’s as if English is regarded as an out-fashioned language (expect the recurring translations of road signs etc.) Yet that wasn’t all, also the people from other countries, chose to communicate in their own mother tongue as if the other person was understanding what they were talking about. Most of the times they would get so intense in explaining something that they hardly give a break so I would doubt whether they’re convinced I’m Arab, Indian, Pakistani, Indonesian or something like. The funny thing was, in one occasion I gave up from my attempts to speak English and responded in Turkish to an Arabic speaking person, and the person replied me back in English as if trying to restore my long-gone expectations. That truly made my day.
Jumping from this point to that point but I’m having a hard time to collect my thoughts, maybe because months had passed over it or owing to the reasons I had listed in my 1st post “A Writing About Writing”. Anyway, one of the most amazing trace the experience leaves upon you is that it makes you forget your all worldly concerns, the duties and problems left behind, the job, the studies or for me, the remaining two exams I left without learning their results. However, fortunately nothing reminded me of them or any other things. It’s just like going for a vacation to clear your mind, soothe and relax except that you’re not actually intending it to be a holiday.
Before sharing my final thoughts, I would like to state one thing that I had collected from my observations and adding to my future expectations. I had lived this life-changing & spiritually up-lifting experience with my family, as four people, no matter how many times we departed at our paths even in that environment due to our differing characteristics and various selection of choices. I’m also utterly thankful to Allah (Subḥānahu wa ta’āla) that I had the opportunity of having such an experience at such a young age and with my family. In the meantime, I cannot deny the fact that I had partly envied the happiness of the young couples, who came with their little children. Therefore, this circumstance resulted in me by taking care of dozens of children, spending playful time with them, giving sweets and so on. Suddenly, I turned out to be an overly-attached caretaker, a role I had given myself to seeing so many cuties. I had really hard time restricting myself to kidnap a few, especially those I’m well aware I could never have together lol.
If you, the reader, found yourself skimming this page at the hopes of finding valuable information about the journey itself, I won’t fail to supplicate you with so. To my foolishness, I hadn’t checked this extremely beneficial list of tips for a productive Umrah/Hajj, even though I bookmarked it long ago. So, it’s my advice to take heed of this. http://productivemuslim.com/tips-for-a-productive-hajj/
~May you have a productive journey with your beloved ones.