For anyone who has planned, is planning, or has thought of performing Umrah, there is always an imagined 'feeling' and exclusive spiritual connection that one expects to experience during this sacred journey.
I felt the pressure, so to speak. I yearned to have that profound 'feeling' when I first laid eyes on the Kaaba. I longed to be overwhelmed by a new spiritual awakening that people often speak of. My mind and body were filled with anticipation, wondering how I would feel and react upon seeing and touching the Kaaba. My thoughts incessantly revolved around what I should do and how I should act.
When I finally caught sight of the Kaaba, I was awestruck by its size. However, my focus quickly shifted to performing the tawaf. While some people around me were shedding tears or falling to the ground, I continued to walk and recite my duas.
Honestly, I felt disheartened by the absence of that expected 'feeling.' It impacted my psyche, causing doubts about whether I was performing Umrah correctly or if Allah had accepted my acts of worship.
Nevertheless, the actions of others during the tawaf and my continuous efforts to ensure the group's safety hindered my personal spiritual connection with the Creator. Tawaf is not as serene as portrayed on TV; there is chaos, with people barging, fighting, and cutting in line to touch or be close to the Kaaba. It was challenging for me to tune in spiritually when surrounded by such anarchy. Imagine being in a mosque where shouting and pushing prevail. The environment around the Kaaba, for me, was not conducive to fostering a connection between myself and Allah ﷻ.
Additionally, being part of a group had its positives and negatives. The major drawback was that, as a man, it fell upon me to act as a security guard for the group during the tawaf, protecting them from others barging in. Thus, I was sacrificing my spiritual experience to ensure others could perform the tawaf correctly.
However, when my wife and I performed the tawaf and walked between Safa and Marwa, I finally felt that 'feeling'. For me, performing those acts alone made a significant difference.
The best way to describe that 'feeling' is that elevated feeling you experience during prayer or when contemplating the greatness of Allah ﷻ. It is a state where your mind and body find tranquillity and feel connected to a different metaphysical realm.
My experience at Safa and Marwa was terrific. I thoroughly enjoyed the walk between the two mountains, not only because I enjoy walking but also because I was retracing the steps of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and reenacting the actions of Hajra (ra). Additionally, praying in Masjid Al-Haram, Masjid Al-Nabawi, visiting Masjid Quba, and Masjid Khandaq created a profound spiritual connection between myself and my love for this religion and the Prophet Muhammad.
It's an unparalleled connection that can only be achieved by being there.
But, to be frank, I didn't enjoy the Umrah experience, and it feels almost blasphemous to admit it. However, I take solace in knowing that I did my best for the sake of Allah ﷻ. He blessed me by inviting me to His house, which was never promised to be easy.
Overall, my Umrah experience was unexpected. I had anticipated feeling that special 'feeling,' but it manifested in the simplest acts. I don't plan to go again; my next goal is to perform Hajj. However, for now, I will continue to strive to achieve the simple acts of worship to the best of my ability.
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