La nuit du Destin !

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Jeddah- Flying Saudi Arabian airlines first class was a delight, a brand new Boeing 777 with very comfortable seat very entertaining in-flight program delicious food and above all a terribly professional cabin crew. The flight was a non stop Paris -Jeddah, a six hours flying time trip. On the final approach I could see Jeddah by night the view was magnificent breath taking. I was on a one-day business trip after which I had to return back to Paris my home base.

The journey from the airport to Hyatt regency hotel Jeddah took about 25 minutes through Medina road the driver of the limousine was a Pakistani guy, very proud of communicating in arabic, never put the meter on (which was usual practice in the kingdom), on arrival to the hotel he asked for 50 SR (20TD).

Since I got on the plane in Paris Charles De Gaulle, I had something in mind, to go for Umra. Although my schedule was very tight I couldn’t resist the urge to go for Umra, specially that night coincided with the 26th night of the holy month of Ramadan, that means it could be the night of destiny. Beside the Prophet Mohammed PBUH saying "who ever makes Omra in Ramadan is the equivalent of Hajj with me".

Luckily I found a shop in the hotel that sells ahram(30 SR - 12 TD) and plastic slippers the Ihram is a dress which consists of two pieces of seamless cloth.


And here we go, it started by taking a full shower and ablution (oudoua Akbar) and 2 bows (rakatiin) with enneya for Omra.

I took a taxi to the city center (15minutes), where there was a special station for buses and taxis to Mecca.

The city of Jeddah was very busy the shops open after the trawih prayer and shut down at 3 in the morning. People were from different nationalities you would think you were in the halls of the United Nations.

The trip to Mecca took about 45 minutes it’s 70 Km highway all lit up although the road was very busy the traffic was fluid 10 km before Mecca there was a check point I was sharing the cab with 4 other people the fare was 10 SR per head. Entering Mecca suburb we started talbia “Labbaika allahouma Labbaik….”
Then there was a traffic jam only taxis and buses were allowed into Mecca all other cars were diverted to a parking lot from where people could take a bus for 2 SR this is to facilitate circulation in the pick times which were Ramadan and Hajj.

Mecca is not a big city it’s in a valley encountered by mountains I always thought that it was the oldest city of the word until I realized that Damascus in Syria is.

Getting in Mecca City took us a long time we were in tunnels that went underneath the city to find our self in the other side of Mecca.
I was so impatient to see kaaba but still nothing in sight getting out of the tunnel we found our selves in big place full of people every body was heading for a direction most of them were wearing the white ahram .I paid the driver and headed for the Haram.

The haram is one of the holy shrines (Mecca, Medina and bait al makdass in Jerusalem) it’s a huge construction with many gates each gate with a name in front of each gate there were thousands of slippers people leave before getting in.

I got rid of my slippers got in to the harram by Bab Essalam, in each gate there were security guys looking for suspicious belonging, no bags were allowed in.
The harram is huge big mosque by inside you would miss your way out if you don’t get the name or the number of the gate it took about hundred meters before I could see the Kaaba I got freaked for seeing it live; This is the heading for every Muslim in their prayer this the oldest construction on earth it’s foundation was built by angels then came Abraham and his son to finish it’s building.

It wasn’t easy finding half meter square to start the ritual of Omrah which was the arrival bows (salam AL Masjed) then I headed for the Kaaba to start Attawaf which is to round the Kaaba seven times I started by the corner where sits the Black stone (Al Hajjar Al Assoued) there were thousands of people doing the same, people advanced quarter of a meter per second rounding kaaba was not easy task in such special occasion (night of the 27th) there were congestion specially by the Yamani corner and the black stone corner where people after finishing the 7th round tried to kiss it ;It’s not compulsory so not doing so wouldn’t mess my Umrah ritual while rounding kaaba people recited supplication from a booklet each round has it’s own supplication although it’s not Sunnaa(as done by prophet PBUH ) as Mohammed PBUH was analphabet.

People were a mixture, their behavior would tell you their culture there were ambush, unrespectful manner, although in Islam we are asked to be as much disciplined as we could the Malaysian I noticed were by far the most disciplined the Nigerian and Pakistani were the opposite .In the right of The black stone is Kaaba door about 1.7 m above the floor the luckiest ones got their hands on it’s lower edge while asking god for his blessing.

After completing the 7th round I got to Makamou Abraham (place of Abraham) it’s the side facing kaabaaa door and where there is a the foot print of Abraham (puh) you could see in a golden window I had to do 2 bows as well. It’s also advantageous to do 2 bows in Makamou Ismail (puh) although not compulsory.
Like this half of Omraa was complete so I headed for Safaa and maroua, on my way I went down To see the Zem Zem well it’s under the Haram with thousands of tabs to drink from.

The construction the renovation is enormous, luxous marble is every where it was multi billion project funded by late King Fahd of Saudi Arabia who was known as custodian of the holy mosques. The entrepreneur for the renovation of Mecca and Medina were the Binladin family who’s son is the most wanted man by the US and who’s Saudi citizenship was taken away by the Saudi government due to his opposition to the throne.

Safaa and Maroua are 2 small mountains the distance from Safa to Maroua is about 600m or more it’s where Abraham left his wife Hajer with her son under god’s directives .her son got thirsty so she was running between those 2 high places to look for water after her doing this for seven times her son was upset crying and banging on the floor by his feet and saying zam zam zam zam then there were a splash of a holy cold water in the middle of a desert.
Because it was so full that night many people performed the safa and maroua ritual in the upper floor which is a clone of the ground floor it took quite a long time to finish the saafa and maroua it was a bit of relief when I knew ablution is not necessary for this ritual specially the ablution rooms are far away and are always full although there were thousands of them.

The cleaning of the haram is a huge business although there were 2.5millions of people around; the haram was always clean. Cleaning personnel in their special uniform were every where I knew that the man who won the contract for a decade was sheikh Salah kemel who owns dozens of banks worldwide and who is firm is AL Baraka he is the one behind Lac de Tunis project, no wonder he got the contract because he asked the Saudi government for the cleaning of Medina and Mecca holy shrines for only 1 SR (400 millimes) per year which was for free but when he was known as the founder of ART (TV bouquet Arab radio TV) the religious committee in Arabia asked him to leave the project .

I was in the 5th cycle between assafa and Marwa the time was 00 50 when started the Tahajjed prayer it’s prayer like the Trawih But done only in the last ten days of Ramadan this prayer is meant to get more praise from god although it’s not compulsory and take place after midnight .

La nuit du Destin !

After finishing the last cycle I found my self in Al marwa many people with scissors so I asked one of them to cut a bit from my hair that meant the end of Omra so I could leave the Ahram dress and change if I wish .

I got in to the top floor of the Haraam using a huge escalator there were the roof it’s so huge with a superb view breath taking. I never seen million people in my life but by that time I was sure I’ve seen more than a million much more…The view of people ends only with the horizon it’s a small view of resurrection day I tried to get myself a space to join the tahajjod prayer it wasn’t an easy task by the end I got a superb small space in the first row with a superb view in Kaabaa I was praying and seeing kaaba in the same time as the roof was so high. By the last bow which was called al water (impair) the Imam started supplication, which was much, awaited.

The holy place the crowd and the tone of the Imam reciting very touching supplication made the Haram a place of refuge. Most of the pilgrims were in high spiritual level they were not aware about the material surrounding it was a moment of asking god for blessing from taking refuge in god from an ill fated outcome with wealth and family for heaven on the day of resurrection, most of pilgrims were crying I never cried in my life as much as I did that night it was a big moment of refuge in gods hands it was a moment of trying to get blessing from god from sins and impeachment; isn’t prophet Mohammed (PBUH) who said “the nearest the god comes to his servant is in the middle of the night so if you are able to be of those who remember Allah at that time then be so” all this beside the holiness of that special night with it’s million of pilgrims made it a bit of the resurrection day .

After the fajr prayer I headed for Jeddah not much worried about a very busy day ahead of me as long as I was relieved from the stress of a material life I had to bare with it.

Babnet Founder

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