I just had my youngest child, loaded with loans, and longing to go to haj. i still remember that it was Ramadan, where normally we go to a mosque to listen to a speech by a scholar. In those days the scholar was Alwaeli (pbbuh). Few people were distributing all sorts of fliers, one of them caught my eyes, and I thought with a sigh if I would ever be able to perform Haj, especially that I don’t have the money for it. I kept the flier with me, and the next day at Iftar, I was telling my husband about this when the phone rang, I picked it up, it was my dad (GHMOH), telling me that he had signed me up to go to Haj with him that same year, I was baffled and didn’t know what to say, I almost cried as my wish had come true in less than 24 hours.

Few nights after that I had this weird but vivid dream, it was as if a group of us wearing all sorts of cloths, setting in a place that looked like a picnic area; the women were separate from the men, and in actual fact there was like a curtain separating us. Suddenly this person starts calling a name and then a number; he said Fatima 456, Maryam, 350, Ahlam 540, and so on until he reached my name and said Suad 640, so I shouted: why is my number bigger than the others. The next day I told my mum about this dream, she said that because I am in accountant I dream of numbers, it doesn’t have any relevance.

Dad and I arrived in Madina, stayed there for 10 days, which were really lovely, every morning we would all walk to the prophet’s Masjid, pray and listen to the reciting of duaa’s and wait until they open the humongous sized umbrellas when the sun rises. Then we would go back to the hotel, have our breakfast, transcend down to ask the shaikh our questions as he teaches us what to do and not to do during Ihram. I was writing everything down as I didn’t want to miss anything; of course we all have one chance for haj, unless of course you are rich or you go as a worker. The shaikh was teasing me as I was the most talkative one, and he gave me a copy of his book too. In the evening we would go shopping for rosaries and praying carpets. Then the day came when we had to move to Mekka. That was a strange day, it was as if something huge was going to happen, we all carried our whites in a small bag with us, and went to the buses, then we reached a place to wash and read our intentions. When we reached the hotel, straight away we placed our stuff in our rooms, and then moved on to do our Omra. Something came over me, I cried non-stop; it was just an unbelievable experience, I saw my life flashing in front of me; Everything I did, every deed, every lie, every dirham that I spent not in its place, I don’t know even the days of my little hood when I used to eat so much chocolates, even that came flashing, I felt maybe I was going to die. I can see magnetic circles, and realized that we must be approaching the house of God. The whole ceremony took less than an hour, however it was the most memorable hour in my life.

The 7th day of the month arrived, and we had to do Ihram again; to prepare for the pilgrim. That was something, despite the chaos, and the hoha, we were on the run, one forgets that one has a life, a family, a job, friends and everything that resembled life as one knows it. You live for that moment when you are as close to god as possible. The buses moved to go to Arafa, and then to the tents and the whole shebang of ceremonies. On the day we had to do the sacrifice, we paid money to the contractor I am not sure how much it was, so he buys our sheep. the tent was huge, and every night the women would gather and eat and laugh and say stories, and of course some would faint, and some would make fun of each other, which was fine as we are all there to have an enjoyable experience; one night a slimy animal came inside the tent by my mattress, I am scared of flies, let alone lizards or snakes, so I screamed and every one woke up and jumped around, until the poor lizard was caught but of course not killed, as we were not supposed to harm anything! the tent was split in halves and separated by a curtain, so we can hear the men and they can hear us, that is why we were asked to keep our laughter down, so they do not get aroused by our sounds !!. then a guy came and started to mention names and numbers, i was talking a friend at that time, then I can see that the names and numbers are continuing so I listened intensely, it was de ja vu, especially when he reached my name and said Suad, 650, and i said why is my number higher than the others, when i remembered my dream. it was meant to be i was going to Haj that year and that was written everywhere including my dreams.

I keep on telling my kids about these two incidents as they were the most beautiful incidents in my life.