Wednesday 25 November 2009

Hajj 2009: Sister Fatima Barkatulla's Experience

Sister Fatima Barkatulla (who also writes for Sisters magazine) has written a beautiful article in the Times (20 November 2009) about her journey to hajj, comparing her experiences to those of El-Hajj Malik al-Shabbaz in his biography.

"Labbaik Allahumma Labbaik! Here I am O God, here I am at Your service! Here I am, You have no partners, here I am!” millions chant in unison. As we taxi down the long, winding highways that meet at the foot of the Sacred Mosque, we crane our necks to catch a glimpse of the Kaaba. It slides into view and our eyes stream with tears. We have come home. Somehow our natural human instincts are bound to this once barren plot of earth an ocean away, where Abraham built the Kaaba — the first place built for the worship of the Creator alone.

Elderly and destitute people, having saved up for haj all their lives, have travelled here from every corner of the Earth. They sit cross-legged; gazing at the Kaaba or napping in between prayer times; as comfortable as if the palace-like building around them, with its gleaming marble floors and ornate lanterns, is their birthright. It is as much theirs as it is the next man’s. No need for intermediaries here, for you are a guest of God. You could have come from a mansion in Mayfair or a Mumbai slum and you would be standing shoulder to shoulder in prayer, one direction, one dress, one human family: all Children of Adam, all equal in the sight of the One God."

You can read the full article here.

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