Embarking on the spiritual journey of a lifetime, my heart brims with gratitude for the collaboration between Umrah4Ladies and Suci Cup. This sacred adventure has been nothing short of a blessing, and I can’t help but marvel at the twists and turns that have shaped my experience. From January 18th to 28th, 2024, my spiritual voyage came to life.
In the initial stages of preparation, I found myself grappling with fear, a common sentiment before diving into the unknown. The weight of my past sins cast a shadow over my anticipation. To maintain a sense of calm, I consciously avoided delving into others’ potentially daunting experiences, opting instead to focus on the positive.
The turning point occurred on our first night in Madinah al Munawarrah. As we paid our respects at the resting place of Prophet Muhammad saw along with his two most faithful companions and the first two caliphs of Islam, Abu Bakar Al-Siddiq & Umar ibn Al-Khattab in Masjid Nabawi, tears flowed freely. The immediate spiritual atmosphere that enveloped us brought an unexpected inner peace. Despite the chilly weather, it felt just right for us women, covered in layers to protect our aurat added to the serenity — not a bead of sweat in sight!
Challenge as a Woman
The journey took an unexpected turn when I faced a unique challenge as a woman. Scheduled to start my period on the day of departure, fate intervened. Thanks to Dr. Maiza’s recommendation and two months on Yasmin, the anticipated event did not occur as planned. However, Allah s.w.t had a different timeline in mind, and it unfolded just as I was to enter Raudah on the January 20th. Back pain and the familiar signs of menstruation emerged.
A drop of bright red blood in my Suci Cup which I use to collect my discharge marked the moment I was forbidden to enter Raudah. Fortunately, a close relative in Malaysia provided the necessary medication to halt the menses. Surprisingly, the pills (Primolut N – 1 tablet contains Norethisterone 5mg) worked like magic, and within 24 hours, I was clean, allowing me to perform Ghusl (Mandi Wajib) and enter Raudah via Nusuk without a hitch. It felt like a fast-forwarded movie moment, seamlessly entering the first saf and performing solat without any interference. Of course with the help of my roommate, Nabila & the other lady from Bus no 1. The feeling is simply indescribable.
After spending 5 days and 4 nights in Madinah, the journey continued with our departure from Madinah Station via the Haramain High-Speed Train at 5:30 pm. At the station, we recited our umrah intentions, entering ihram as the Bir Ali Meeqat boundary was merely 7 minutes away. With 13 prohibitions in mind, we embarked on a 2 hours journey to reach Makkah Al-Mukarramah. Performing Jamak Takhir at Makkah Station while awaiting the bus, we reached our hotel, conveniently located at the Clock Tower, a mere two-minute walk from Masjidil Haram.
The Journey: Blessings Unveiled
Directly after check-in and getting ready by 11.00pm at the lobby, the umrah rituals unfolded seamlessly under the guidance of our mutawwif, Ustaz Syed Aslamy. From entering the Haram to performing Tawaf which involves going around Kaabah anti-clockwise for 7 times starting from Hajar Aswad, drink the free flow ZamZam water, Saie whereby we need to walk (for women) 7 times between Safa & Marwah, and concluding with Tahallul by cutting off at least 3 strands of hair with an inch or more from the bottom, our first umrah which ended at 3.30am was a transformative experience. Despite the exhaustion that set in, the feeling of completing the umrah lingered, even if my legs seemed disconnected from my body.
The next chapter unfolded with unexpected moments of pain and prayer. A knee injury since 2018 resurfaced, hindering my plans to perform Subuh prayer at the mosque after completing the first umrah. A heartfelt prayer to Allah for relief resulted in manageable pain, enabling me to walk into Al-Haram to perform Zuhur prayer in the tears of joy and grateful for the door He open up for me. The journey continued with Tawaf Sunat and I’tikaf until Isya’ prayer, marked by encounters with two beautiful-hearted women—one from Egypt and the other from Uzbekistan. Their kindness during i’tikaf left an indelible mark on my heart.
The words Tawakkaltu a’lAllah (in Arabic: توكلت على الله) meaning “I have put my trust in Allah s.w.t” echoed within me as I surrendered myself to the soothing embrace of Masjidil Haram. The beauty of the people, guards, weather, environment, view, birds, sky, and Quran recitations created a calming and welcoming atmosphere. I really feel that I am being loved by Him. A sinner like myself never imagined experiencing such beauty, underscoring the mercy of Allah s.w.t, Ar-Rahman, and Al-Wadood.
The Unsung Heroes
The unsung heroes of this journey were undoubtedly our mutawwif, Ustaz Muhammad and Ustaz Syed Aslamy, both alumni of Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Eygpt. Our journey also showcased the dedication of both mutawwif in managing the Sabeel and our donations to Masjidil Haram. Their unwavering commitment, even in the face of sleepless nights and tight schedules, made a significant impact. Ustaz Muhammad’s punctuality, Islamic knowledge, and photography skills added a unique flavour to our experience.
Team Suci, placed under Bus no 2 and under Ustaz Syed Aslamy’s care, turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Despite my initial judgement at the airport, Ustaz Syed Aslamy’s laid-back persona and captivating insights into doa, zikir, sira, and hadith kept us calm and engaged. Special appreciation goes to Ustaz Syed Aslamy for the opportunity to perform Solat Sunat Tasbih together in Madinah.
Moment of Reflection
Reflecting on the moments of this spiritual expedition, Ustaz Syed Aslamy’s advice to do things consistently for at least 40 days hit home. As a learner taking baby steps toward embracing the Islamic way of life, this umrah trip illuminated the simplicity of practising it. Islam’s beauty unfolded in the simplicity of zikirs like Subhanallah (in Arabic: سبحان الله) meaning “Glory to Allah”. Alhamdulillah (in Arabic: ٱلْحَمْدُ لِلّٰهِ) meaning “Praise be to Allah”. LaIlahaIllallah (in Arabic: لَا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا ٱلله) meaning “There is no God but Allah”. Astaghfirullah (in Arabic: اَسْتَغْفِرُاللهَ) meaning “I seek forgiveness in Allah”. Allahuakhbar (in Arabic: الله أكبر) meaning “Allah is Greater”, serving as both bonus points and Food for the Soul.
Life’s ups and downs, a test of patience and faith, reminded me that Allah, Al-Muhaymin, is always with us as the Guardian, Witness, and Overseer. The journey also became a test of my relationships, patience, iman, niat, and focus, underscoring Allah’s role as Al-Mu’min, the One Who Gives Iman and Security.
This transformative journey wouldn’t have been possible without Pika’s proposal from Umrah4Ladies. My heart swells with gratitude for the opportunity. From late 2019, when I first yearned to perform umrah, to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, I had saved diligently for this pilgrimage. Allah s.w.t’s invitation in 2024 was the turning point, making my lifelong dream a reality. Special thanks to Umrah4Ladies by MK Haramain for orchestrating every detail — from dedicated staff, umrah courses, plane tickets to visas, hotel bookings, providing professional & helpful mutawwif — the guidance from first to our third Umrah and our safe return to Malaysia.
To my beloved companions in Bus no. 2, you made this journey a delightful one, and I cherish every one of you. Opah, Aunty Ros, Kak Gina, Kak Ziera, Kak Amirah, Kak Hasdalina, Adila, Fiza, Raidah, Farhana, Diyanah, Izzati, Azizah, Enna, Mari, Fikri, Mimi, Halijah, Aisyah & Nabila – And if I’ve unintentionally hurt any of you, I seek forgiveness and may our sisterhood be forever protected by Allah s.w.t.
I also encourage you, dear Suci Sister & readers, to embark on your spiritual journeys. Whether it’s Umrah, Hajj, or any form of self-discovery, trust in Allah’s guidance. Take a moment to express gratitude to those who have played a significant role in your journey and share your experiences. Let’s build a community of support, love, and shared blessings.
May Allah s.w.t repeatedly invite and honour us with the opportunity to enter the House of Him
May Allah s.w.t grant us the opportunity to perform Hajj & Umrah following the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w
May He accept our acts of worship towards Him
With love & prayers, N.