Monday, May 18, 2009
Back to Cairo
I'm sitting in the Jeddah airport waiting for my plane to leave. Today has been a good and bad day. Good because the experience of Umrah has been amazing, and I am thankful that I got the chance to do it. Bad because I feel very sad and emotional about leaving Makkah. I've come to love it here and I wish I could spend the rest of my life praying at Masjid al-Haram and sitting by the Kaabah. My last prayer at Haram was Duhr and I couldn't stop praying. It was very emotional and before I left I went and looked at the Kaabah one last time. Inshallah I'll be back soon. It'll be difficult because I'm not married and I don't think my dad is coming again soon. I don't understand how a woman can't come to Makkah or Madinah alone until she's 45. Another one of Saudi's ridiculous rules, which I'm sure has no basis in Islam. So a woman is a mature adult when she's 45. Great. And I'm assuming a male reaches maturity at age 16. Ugghh. Anyway I'm trying to ignore all the annoying gender-related stuff that happened and focus on the good.
Someone asked me to elaborate on how Umrah changed me. I'm not sure how exactly, but I know something is different now. It's not that I didn't take Islam seriously before, but I feel like praying was something that I would do quickly before I went back to whatever I was doing. Here in Madinah and Makkah, my day revovled around prayer, and I would interrupt whatever I was doing to go and do it. I need to try and continue this in Cairo. I guess I'll have to wait till I get back to Cairo to see what exactly has changed. I feel more at peace, more calm, and definitely more happy. I've also been so inspired to become a much better Muslim, to focus on Islam as much as possible, and to study it. I'm planning on starting my MA this September inshallah, in Holland, and I'm planning on doing my dissertation on something to do with women and Islam. Umrah definitely made me even more excited about this.
I also can't wait to do Hajj now, even though I'm not ready for that yet. Learning classical Arabic is another to-do. Inshallah all these things will happen soon.
Overall the past 6 days were the best 6 days of my life, and I'm really sad that it's over now. I hope I'll be back in Makkah soon.