It was a rather calm, 2:30am airport with all sorts of men wearing their ihram in white.
I see creepy people everywhere. I cringed.
But in an instance, my mom's word of wisdom came slapping me.
"They believe in Allah, just like you."
Seriously, I could swear there's this lady that exactly looks like the old witch in Snow White. =_="
Soon after that when I realized I couldn't find my envelope that contained SR1500 (= around RM1450). Nope, not found until now. Took out 400 riyal from mom's Al-Rajhi bank account and one of us get 100 each instead. Better than not having any.
To my amazement, 1.5 litre of water cost about 10riyal.. or maybe because I bought it in the middle of nowhere on our way to Madinah from Jeddah. Nearly 6 hours of bus ride reminded me of my bus trip from Los Angeles to Arizona when I travelled to The States about 2 years ago. Long desert road, with sun shining straight inside the bus, but bone chilling air as soon as you step out.
Yes, I slept all the way. It was much more comfortable than the 6 hours flight from Dhaka, Bangladesh to Jeddah. Seriously.
Don't fly your own airline next time, United Airway. No wonder MAS always wins the best hospitality award. Though we should be thankful that both gets us where we want to go. *^^* astaghfirullah.
We're staying at this place called Elyas where we share a room of 4 people and they provide us with breakfast, lunch, and dinner Alhamdulillah. The catering guy is an Indonesian and he said he's been here for about 3 years now. He's pretty much amazed that I'm a 25 years old and still not married. Lol. I told him I'm busy working as orang minyak, and he said, "Petamina??". Iya ngak lah. Hehe
Since we arrived on a Friday, the guys went for solat Jumaat, which I think I should have followed them. The thing was, I have no idea where to go. Where's the masjid?? I couldn't find any map anywhere and the place was basically stranded since all the men left for prayers.
By the sound of the adzan, it should be on the left side of the hotel. Little did I know that Masjid Nabawi is a super huge long stretch of a masjid, and I was facing the opposite side looking for it. As soon as turn to my right, I was awed by how magnificently beautiful the masjid is. MasyaAllah... =,)
They had the giant umbrella opened at that time after Zohor, and the sun rays was piercing through the gaps between them and people were sitting around at the courtyard outside of the masjid enjoying the cool breeze in the middle of the desert.
My first impression was, this place is extremely beautiful and CLEAN!
The cleaning ladies work non-stop since I was there at 1pm until 11pm. They vacuumed, mopped, took rounds of picking up small rubbish here and there, wiped the doors, sanitized the ablution area with Dettol! and of course, the toilets are super clean thanks to them. They kept the drinking area dry and top-up new zam-zam water with new cups. Word of the day should be CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN.
Even the men was wiping the gates when I exited the masjid.
Oh. Most of the workers are Indonesian by the way. I salute them much for such a dedication to preserve the Prophet's Masjid. He was the best role model for cleanliness and they sure made him proud.
When they said you can't bring in handphones inside the Masjid, I guess it's not true.
Handphones are everywhere. They'll have your bag checked, but that's it. Don't go around taking photos like a tourist though. You're there to make your prayers and do'a.
Keep them in silent mode. That should be easy, but talk outside if you have to use them. Especially when you're talking in a foreign language, it's really annoying (at least to me, or I'll try to think that you're having a life-family crisis and I'll sympathize with you).=P
After each prayers, they'll have Solat Jenazah for those who passed away near the masjid. I was pretty much puzzled at first since they only did 4 takbir with one salam. Haha. Noob. I don't even memorize the Doa for that prayer, so I ended up only doing the takbir and salawat after the first takbir.
It felt awkward. -_-, many I see didn't know that you only give a Salam once to your right. Not to your left. An Arabic lady told me that when she saw me giving Salam to my left. Ahaha. She also mentioned that you get a space of Jabr Uhud everytime you pray for the janazah.
Imagine to be doing it 5 times a day in Madinah!
The visiting time to Raudah for the ladies is after Zohor and after Isyak. I didn't know that until I walked back all the way to the lodging place, and the rest of the group asked me if I wanted to go. I was exhausted but I couldn't get into my room since I don't have the keys. I had no choice but to follow. Haha. No lah.
It seems like there's 3 stages of waiting ( this only applies to the women since the men can visit Raudhah 24 hours round).
1. Before entering the masjid.
2. Before entering Raudhah.
3. Inside Raudhah itself.
I thought I was already in Raudhah when I reached the middle entrance of the masjid. I was like, "Hey, I can even read Yasin and no one is stepping on my head. I guess some people need to plan their time to enter this place,". Man, I was wrong. After an hour or so, I decided to leave when I saw a huge crowd of 200-300 people gathering at another entrance which soon I realized, was the REAL RAUDHAH. That is where the start of the pushing war begun.
There was a pool of Indonesian group sitting patiently waiting for their turn, and then came a wave of ladies in all black I believe to be a majority of non-Arabs swooshing the small ladies over and ran fanatically to the main entrance. Uh-oh.
This is the stage 2 of waiting that I missed.
Once the previous group inside Raudhah is done, then they'll release this group from outside to pray inside the Raudhah. The thing is, people are pushing real hard and the Indonesians thought that I was one of them!! They told me to wait with them inside, at the back of the Raudhah, and let the others pray. The trick is to wait for them until they're done and quickly pick a spot right before they release another group from the outside.
Ouch. That wasn't easy either.
You know why? Because everyone wants to pray on the GREEN CARPET. That is the "it" place to pray and the green area can only fit less than 10 saf, like a small surau. 300 people coming in at once and you think you can pray without anyone bumping into you, stepping on your head, or finding yourself inside someone else's clothes, think again. I had to pray twice because I couldn't do my last sujud since there's this lady who stand right in front of me and someone behind me is already stepping on my clothes. I WAS STUCK.
I had to break my prayer, and leave for a spot right behind a guard stool near a small wall. I managed to get my 2 rakaats done, and before I got up from my extra sujud, someone sat on my head. I can't believe one day some stranger would be SITTING ON MY HEAD.
Haha. Ouh well. I'm content on my own terms.
InsyaAllah I'll visit Raudhah again, and try not having anyone step or sit on me.
That was a whole first day. InsyaAllah I'll update more soon.