Holyland - Makkah and Medina
Perhaps it is only the abstract things that matter in life – such as belief, love, faith, trust, kindness, a connection with the God, a prayer which is said from the heart, an intention to do good, and showing gratitude towards what you have.
We were also destined to meet Shazil’s Anum Khala in Haram, Makkah. Shazil and Anum met each other for the first time and it felt like home. We did non-stop talking from Maghrib to Isha. Prayed Isha together and said goodbye. Anum and I have been friends since grade 6th. She was visiting from UK. Shazil got along with his Anum khala quite well. And I got to know how it feels to meet a friend in Makkah. I remember offering prayers with her in our academy days and there we were together offering prayers again but this time right in front of Kabba. And so the abstract part came into action i.e. destiny.
What we learned and few tips..
In Makkah, there are numerous options for food near Haram; so you do not have to worry about it. There is Makkah Tower right across Haram and on your way to and from Haram you can find number of shops offering desi or fast food.
In Medina, it depends on your hotel location. Usually, if you are living near gate number 17 to 25; there are many options to eat in contrast with gate number 5 to 7.
Generally, a desi dish ranges from 7 to 15 Riyal and its quantity is enough for two people while a burger would start from 19 to 22 Riyal.
In Makkah a taxi cab would take 150 Riyals for all the ziaraats while in Medina it would take 100 Riyals. However, do not miss out on them and plan as soon as you get there. You can visualize Islamic History through these visits which you might have just read somewhere. For us, we had read it as a part of Islamic Studies curriculum and learnt it by heart for our exams in school. But seeing it made us wondered how the companions of Prophet (SAW) must have fought on those mountains of Uhud. And we imagined how must have the wars looked like in the times when there were no guns or bombs or chemical weapons.
Shazil: Oh well! I also served as a security guard on one of the entrance gates in Masjid-e-Nabwi. Kidding! Hats off to all those people who have been manually checking all the bags of hundreds of people before each prayer. And to those who have been taking care of the cleanliness of the mosques. You guys are doing a great job!
Stay tuned for our Part II in Brotherland!