I don’t know how to begin because I was not sure whether I wanted to go at first. I wanted to visit a friend overseas and I was bummed that the plan didn’t work out since I had been saving and planning for a whole year.

If I had stayed in KL, I would have gone to Sweden last spring, picnic at the park, photographed the Little Mermaid and castles in Denmark, thereafter walked down the aisle of the concentration camps in Krakow. (Yes, I have this morbid fantasy of visiting the concentration camps in Poland.)

But as the cliché goes, God has better plans.

I don’t know what this sinner is in His eyes. I have in so many occasions broken my promises and turned my back on Him. I am not talking about praying and fasting here. I have sinned inwardly and outwardly. Done things which I am not proud of. I question things and I think differently. The mass Muslim population especially in this country may think that I am not very Islamic. Can’t blame anyone because sometimes I myself think that I am not very Islamic.

So here I am, a sinner who questions, a disloyal person with confidence issues who breaks promises to her God (the disloyal part is worse I think because I think God likes the way I think :-P). I suppose while I was swimming in the sea of sins, I must have done something right that God felt that the time has come for me to go again, so He sent me the invitation even when I think that I don’t deserve it.

I have grown since my first visit at 18. I am certainly not the same person anymore. I have forgotten how to read and spell in arabic, lessons learnt in religious school, I stammer while reciting the Quran and there were times where my faith was wobbly. Of course, there were things that have gotten better but at 30, I am a worse Muslim than the short curly haired and bespectacled 18 year old me. Thus, the timing could not be even more perfect. I feel very stressed. I had my fair share of weird incidents in Mecca the first time around although it wasn’t that bad as compared to others, maybe. I blamed it on my big mouth actually. I’m not putting the experience on print, sorry because they were kinda funny. Hehehe.

I am accepting the invitation.

I shall go on 15th August until 24th. Yes, that means I will be celebrating the first and second day of Ramadan in Mecca. Ain’t that grand?

Mecca is not like any other destination. It is not a holiday. It is a place of peace, I still remember the peace in my heart walking from Safa to Marwa, praying with my face on the ground and looking up with the Kaabah right in front me. The feeling is just indescribable because it is not something that I have experienced anywhere else.I remember the surreal feeling of seeing all the things that I have read since I learnt how to read became real things that I could see, touch, feel and even kissed. I want to feel this all over again.

So here I am, scared but excited. Scaredly excited or excitedly scared, whichever.

I am going for Umrah.

Note : Nora Ahmad is the pen name of an in-house legal eagle in a corporation which doesn’t like its employees having individual opinions.

4 replies on “Umrah – A Holy Invitation to Peace”

  1. think positive—–i read your article and know that you are a nice person deep inside. remember all the fingers on one's are not of the same lenght. have a nice holiday at mecca.

    may god guide you always

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