Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Umra: Medina.

After 4 hours of much needed sleep, I woke up at 4am and was forced by Mama to take a shower. Knowing how cold it would be, I put on a t shirt and long pants underneath my abaya before putting on my telekung (white prayer cover I wear). And it was still very very very cold. The walk took us about 5 minutes to get to Masjid Nabawi.

For the first time, I teared up inside the mosque. The sights, the environment and every single thing made me blinked away tears few times. After performing the prayer for entering a mosque, I sat and read the Quran before it was time for the Subuh prayer.

We then had breakfast at the hotel, where the most wonderful spread awaits us. I mostly ate bread, cheese and deli meat. They also had this juice + milk drink in boxes which became a favourite among us. After a nice very short nap, we went back to the mosque for Duha' and I enjoyed the environment once again. 

One thing about my two weeks is that I took a lot of naps. It was normal to wake at 4am and go to bed, earliest at 10.30pm, or the latest was 2.30am. After the Zohor prayer, we had lunch and only had enough time to brush our teeth etc before going back for Asar.

Near the mosque is Medina's branch of Starbucks. A tiny little store where we can only order from the window. The menu was different and I decided to try out the White Chocolate Mocha. It was yummy, but not as good as my favourite Dark Mocha. We then had just enough time to laze for 10 minutes before heading back to mosque.

I know, where did all the time went? Well, as we didn't want to sit outside, we went early to get a nice place. There were so so many people. We stayed there until Isyak, where I usually read the Quran and gossip with Mama about how pretty the abayas are and usually, some kind lady will offer me either chocolate/sweets/raisins/dates and that was common. We'll get back to our hotel around 8.30 pm and have dinner.

And that is how my four days at Medina went, with some variations where I go "shopping" after Isyak, or when we went to visit historical places. Usually, I'll be sleeping in the bus, waking up when we stop to get off the bus and take a closer look.

Even though its kinda routine-ish, I was never bored.

Here are some pictures:

I think this was taken after Zohor. This is in the Nabawi Mosque's court yard. See the umbrella thingies above? They are opened when the sun starts to shine bright right until it sets. Its probably because the floor is  white-ish and they didn't want there to be a major glare. The courtyard is really big, a rectangle around the rectangle mosque.

The path we take to go to the Mosque. Right and left are shops, and people selling things.

Inside the mosque, in an area in the men's section. They said there's about 4400-ish of those pillars. As you can see, there are those umbrellas inside, and according to Lil Bro, they open it sometimes and it becomes very windy.

See how close Starbucks is to the Mosque. I'm the one who's standing right under the green awning, arms crossed.

Sunset, and the umbrellas are closed. God, the view is beautiful.

I think its very easy to get lost in here because the view here, is replicated in nearly every part of the mosque. There's like tons of doors, differing from the numbers and there's plenty of pillars and chandeliers just like that. I remember the first time I set foot in there when I was 11. I spent the first 10 minutes gaping, looking up. You see the gold section on the pillars? I heard those are real gold. Haha. The air conditioning vents are at the base part of the pillars.

They have domes like this all over the Mosque. And sometimes, it slides open and let it gusts of winds and even more pigeons. Yes, pigeons fly around inside, swooping in from the open doors and they're quite tame. They walk around on the carpets, not flying away when people walk by.

The whole mosque is like a shining beacon. What is shown in this picture, is just a small part of the mosque. If you're interested to know how big it is, here is a picture of the whole structure.

Mom, Lil Bro and I after Isyak prayer. Or Subuh. But it was really really cold.

This was taken during one of the visits. As you can see, my sunglasses was my main and must have accessory over there. I think this was taken at a Mosque, I don't remember which one.

Random picture of a house in Medina, near the dates plantation.

The view from the main entrance of our hotel.

Jabal Uhud or Uhud Hill. There's a history to this place, I learned it back in school, had to write an essay on it and I don't remember it =.= . Google it?

Near the dates plantation, was this big store selling all kind of dates. Plain ones, ones soaked in honey, ones with a chocolate coating. Like those colourful wrapped ones. Some have almonds/cashews in them before being coated with chocolate. I is not a fan.

An entrance to the mosque.

In the Raudah section. This is where our Prophet and some of his beloved friends is laid to rest. This section is opened to women at certain times and man, it was really really packed when we went there. I teared up here too. This was taken by Dad, who said it was not as packed at the men's section. Lucky. The way the section is differed from the others is from the pillars, carpeting and walls. Its mostly green where in the other sections, the carpeting is red.

There's 3 doors behind me, and as you can see, all are packed. This is after Subuh.

As you can see inside, those white and grey squares are the arches between the pillars. And it goes on till the other end and it has this visual effect of seeming endless.

As I write this, I felt sad because I miss Medina, I miss going to that Mosque. 

One thing that struck me over there was how funny-ish it was to me to be in such a holy/beautiful place and to look around and see the phones used by the people were mostly those high tech/expensive ones. Iphones, Samsung Galaxy/Note and some Blackberry ones.

On the 2nd last day in Medina, I nearly bumped into a guy that reminds me of E.


Noelle said...

Hi you! It's great to read about your trip! Especially since most of us won't be able to see it in person :( Anyway, I love how you were able to convey that Medina manages to retain its traditional customs and practices but is also adapting to the modern world.

Your pictures are also beautiful! Saudi's buildings are so photogenic!

I can't wait to read more about your trip! :D :D :D More pictures!

P.S. Umbrella thingies? WIN.

Mark said...

I'm glad that even though your days were quite routine-ish you weren't bored. There are some very beautiful sights that would take your time as well. I don't find it that funny/surprising to see all the expensive phones. It would be more surprising some time ago, but not any more. To me anyway.

Jade said...

So interesting to read. And the umbrellas in the courtyard and the men's bit look cool haha. I'm not usually one for appreciating buildings and surroundings etc but I can fully appreciate that this mosque is beautiful. Couldn't imagine being able to see that everyday when I think about the grey, miserable views I have around uni!

Jade x

Laila N Mysis said...

Familiar places ♥

And I understand the routine of not boredom. To be honest, I have a minimum of how much Qu'ran I recite every day, but it's funny how over there... in that atmosphere... hours can go by and you're still praying or reciting. And you're not bored, or itching to check something online... I donno.

Love the photos :)

Ghadeer said...

Tayba <3
Everyone who visits Medina falls in love.

chimidama said...

hanis..beautiful photos. I wish to be there..especially to the Raudah.
well one day. and seeing the umbrella in motion is very mesmerizing to me actually..saw it on tv.


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