It's been a year since I went on a trip HajjI felt anxiety, fear and self-doubt, but also excitement, expectation and honor of all at once. This trip was the most important in my life. He fulfilled the fifth pillar of Islam, and I did not want to spoil it.
Moving on to the date of departure, I carefully packed and bound. Write your list, double checking it. I did not want to leave anything substantial. I would be more than 6,000 miles away from home. At the same time, I also had to pack light. There would be days spent in a tent with twenty-five other women, and we could not all have everything at every moment! The space was, of course, limited.
Speaking of other women, who are they? I was not exactly familiar with any of them or the months preceding our journey, I wondered who I would spend these very important days and nights with. We had a ladies text group to share tips or suggestions on things we collected for the trip, but this was not the most active of my chat groups.
Men and women are divided in different places of Hajj, such as Mina, Araf, and as much as possible in Muzdalif. Even in the days before the beginning of the actual days of the Hajj, when we stayed at the hotel in Mecca and the following days in Medina, the women were together and the men were separate. The only person I knew in our group of fifty pilgrims was my husband. He could not really be near me during the whole trip. It was a scary thought for me. Can I get along with these other women? What if they all knew someone in the group, and I was strange? Will they be able to help me if I get sick or nervous? Too much to think about.
A month before the trip, a meeting took place in our Hajj tourist group. I was icebreaking with other women and was pleased to meet many of my ages, all with the same fears and hopes regarding their hajj trip. No one lived next to me on the East Coast, but I knew that I would see them in about thirty days at the airport. Not everyone knew each other. Some were in the field of health, some were teachers, some were at home / at home. Everyone was wonderfully sweet.
Only in the rooms where they sat together and slept next to each other in tents, I realized how wonderful these women were. We shared the most important days of our life together – it was our hajj, the execution of a command from God! We walked around the holy lands together, we prayed in the most sacred places on earth together, we wept, asking God for our new beginning together, and we welcomed our Prophet (peace be upon him) at his resting place together. Until now, we all remember these moments and strive to return not only individually with our families, but also with each other. This is a dream.
These women cared for each other when they were sick, both spiritually and physically. Whether we were coughing or dealing with loss of appetite or vomiting, we had each other's backs in the hot sun, which broke out more than 100 degrees. We encouraged each other to keep going no matter how tired we were. We challenged each other to worshipWe kept each other on top to make the most of our time there on the best days of the year.
In these rooms and in these tents was the true sisterhood. These were the women with whom I performed a difficult task on my to-do list. I laughed with them, and I cried and felt that all kinds of emotions seemed overwhelming and calm because of the amazing experience that we all live together with – hajj. Today we still communicate very much in our text group, and we meet when we travel to each other’s home countries. We motivate each other to keep the momentum from our Hajj 2017, and we reflect on how quickly time has passed.
We know that this year there is another group of twenty-five or so in these rooms and tents, and we know that they, too, are experiencing what we did last year. This is a wonderful connection of the sisterhood, which over time does not disappear, and I hope that everyone will have the opportunity to participate in something special as a result of the haj trip.