Today is the day of Arafah and this takes me back to 2010 when I was there.
In 2010 I performed Hajj with my wife. It was a decision we made before we got married, and 2 years into our marriage we were able to fulfill our promise to each other.
Hajj is a pillar of Islam. Those who can afford it should go at least once in their life. We used almost all of our life savings. When someone is going or has gone to Makkah for Hajj it is said that God has invited them and they are the guests of Allah.
You go there with an open mind and heart. On the way there will of course be some stressful situations, but you also meet people from all across the world. They will come wearing their cultural clothing, and they will do things differently from you.
Yet once Hajj starts all men are in just 2 pieces of white cloth, and although there are no restrictions for women, they normally wear white or black long clothing. Everyone is the same. There is no difference between a rich person, or a poor person. It’s a beautiful sight and feeling.
On the last day of Hajj, walking back from the Jamaarats to the Kaba, we found that the heavens had opened and rain was pouring down. It was warm and you could see the dirt being washed away from the streets. We started to pray and by the last sujood my head was deep in water. What a way to end Hajj, as if all of our sins were being washed away!
Hajj is an incredible experience and those who are invited are truly blessed. You go from having everything to just 2 pieces of cloth, staying out in the open air. You are humbled and grateful for the experience.