The road to Mekah will never be easy for many people.
But then again, some people just loooovvveeee to ask for trouble - like yours truly.
The moment the words "it's just a HOLIDAY..." came out from my mouth, a dormant chicken pox virus in my body decided to reactivate itself and I started to get shingles.
Yes my dear readers, SHINGLES! The painful rash along the nerves that normally only people above 60 get!
You can call me silly, imaginative or maybe even 'superstitious' all you want but I believe, the moment Allah SWT sends an invitation to you to go to Mekah, you must set one thing straight - your NIAT (intention).
No doubt, when I was talking about our Umrah trip and said the word 'holiday' to my mother in a telephone conversation, it was in one breath with the word children i.e. what I actually said was, "It's just a holiday ~ for the children". But still, I do believe now that the word should not be uttered or even come to one's mind when going to Mekah....seriously.
Saying that, I also do feel that Allah wanted to cleanse me a bit before going there...you can say anything you want but these things happen...dugaan (test), some people may call it.
To me, I just think that Allah SWT pitied me and wanted me to reorientate my bearings, before going to His House - to have some focus, you know.....so that I will fully use all the time I have there. So that my time there will not go to waste.
So I had about 7-10 days to re-orientate myself, while suffering from shingles. And I thank Allah for it.
I have been to Mekah before, but at the time I was 17 years old and although it was a wonderful and exhilarating experience then, travelling with arwah ayah, my mother and my younger sisters, I was young, and saw everything with young eyes.
It's different this time around.
The whole experience was different and new. Not just because I was going again after nearly 17 years later - there are so many changes there, I can tell you that! - but also this time around, I'm travelling with my husband and my children who are my responsibility unlike the last time when I was more or less a 'free agent', being able to go to Masjidil Haram at 2 am without anything to stop me.
But it's also because we were travelling from the west this time around. Not from Malaysia with other Malaysians in our group, and Malaysian food served during lunch and dinner and tea and breakfast. This time around we were travelling with Indians, Pakistanis, Afghans, Iranians, some of them with British passports, some of them Immigrants.
The whole experience was different.
Will write more about my journey soon, inshaAllah.