Yesterday I rearranged my entire bookshelf,
went to the beautiful city of Makkah to perform Umrah,
and felt spiritually rejuvenated and refreshed.
Not to mention the closeness I felt with my siblings because we performed Umrah together.
Today, a few minutes prior to the breaking of our fast, we found out about the Malaysian airlines that crashed at the Ukraine border due to a missile that was shot at it.
All our difficulties and struggles are a test from Allah عز و جل, and that is something I’ve realized in the past few weeks. With ease and comfort there will always be smaller tests of patience that follow.
Last night we took a taxi to Bab Makkah, one of the focal points from where people can hire another taxi that takes you to Makkah. The drive to Makkah is usually about an hour long. Earlier we could take a taxi from anywhere and go straight to Makkah, but from what I’ve been told that facility is now only available for Saudi nationals.
Alhumdullilah, after some delays and traffic, we reached Bab Makkah and easily found a taxi. This was especially a huge blessing for me because the taxi we took from home wasn’t convenient for 5 people to sit in and so I had to get squished and sit in ways which confirmed that flexibility is not my forte.
I felt really positive the whole way to Makkah. I kept remembering Allah عز و جل and praying to him to accept our Umrah and make this experience something to learn from.
The moon was so beautiful and the roads of Jeddah were packed. I thought about our city and how I am a part of it, how it’s so different from anywhere on earth, and the people are unique in their own ways. The taxi drivers, the street vendors, the shawarma cooks who make the most delicious meals ever, every child who plays in these streets, and every mother or father who raises that child – in the end we are all a part of Jeddah. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Saudi, Indian or Egyptian. You live here long enough and it grows on you.
Makkah was so beautiful when it came into view. All those lights sparkling so far away and we were driving towards in the darkness. I felt like all our struggles, pains, and discomforts make sense when you turn to Allah عز و جل and truly reflect upon them. Visiting Makkah felt so similar to that feeling. Here I was, with my family, leaving everything behind at home just to feed my soul and get closer to Allah عز و جل, so it made sense that we drove towards the lights and beauty through the night’s darkness.
Alhumdullilah, everything went well. We performed our Umrah, didn’t have any troubles, and I was refreshed.
But there was one tiny issue right after we were done. With only an hour left for Fajr prayer and our fast to start, we had to hurry up and get food which wouldn’t be easy because along with us, there would be hundreds of other people getting food. For a while, to me, it seemed as though we might have to survive on just water and dates if possible, but this wasn’t the case, Alhumdullilah, and we ate our Suhoor with peace and without any hurry.
It’s the part after this that bothers me, and it is the whole reason I am writing this post.
I never tell others if/when I give money or gifts to the poor and needy people. Any Muslim believer will tell you it’s best to give charity in the way that is just between you and your Lord.
I’d taken some money with me just for that reason, and May Allah عز و جلaccept my small, tiny effort. After we ate and got up, we realized some drinks got spilled in the process. There was a Bangladeshi cleaner nearby who was waiting for us to leave so he could clean up and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to spend for the sake of Allah عز و جل. I turned to the man and gave him some of the money, and just at that instant this other Bangladeshi cleaner came right in front of me and before I could give him something too (which was my intention), he asked me to give him some money. I would have given him if it were not for the things he said after it. He gave me the dirtiest smile ever, and said some really terribly shameless things and literally asked me to go out with him. I felt violated, offended and most of all I was outraged that someone had the audacity to behave in this vile manner in front of Allah عز و جل‘s House in Makkah, in the month of Ramadan, minutes before the call for Fajr prayer.
I quickly turned away and joined my brothers – who were throwing away the empty food bags and hence, didn’t see what had happened – and tried to calm myself down by remembering Allah عز و جل. I felt extremely upset and angry and it felt as though my whole night had been ruined.
Speaking in a disrespectful manner to a woman is as bad as violating her privacy, and men who do it are worse than animals to me. Animals act upon their desire, and these men go a step ahead and express it at the expense of other people’s comfort.
I felt much better after Fajr prayer. We weren’t able to find my sister-in-law and her phone was with me, so that was another stressful situation that followed. It really tested our patience because we were so tired and it was 5 in the morning. After that it took us at least half an hour to get a taxi, and another hour to finally reach home.Another test of patience.
The entire way home I was thinking about all these little difficulties that we faced, and how it could have been worse and we could have dealt them in negative manners, but we didn’t Alhumdullilah. Ramadan makes us patient and steers us towards the right perspective with which we should look at life.
Most women prefer to stay hush-hush about such incidents because it is sometimes better to ignore such things and what not. But I’m not one of those women. I am a human being, Allah عز و جل created me and gave me rights and our prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم guides us to speak the truth even if our voice shakes. I know there are hundreds, if not thousands, of women out there who face such situations every day.
There are issues every where in the world, and I know a lot of people who live in our country treat it like it’s a religious “utopia” but it’s time to wake up and realize that problems are everywhere, and you can’t act like you’re living in some perfect place with the most perfect social sensibilities, and and the most perfect sense of lifestyle. Because you’re not.