Over the past few weeks, many of us have said farewell to friends who are headed towards the Holy Land to perform the Hajj or pilgrimage. It is custom for the pilgrims to seek forgiveness from relatives and friends before they depart. In return, we wish them a safe passage, ease in performing the required rituals and hopefully blessed with a haji mabrur, and finally a safe journey home.
Some of us would take the opportunity to request a small favour of our friend, and that is to pray (doa) on our behalf when he/she is in front of the Ka'abah. It is said that the Masjidil Haram in Mecca is the preferred place on earth where The Almighty listens to his subjects and grants them their requests. It is also mentioned that, within the mosque itself, there are a few spots where such prayers are especially heard and have a good chance of being answered. No doubt, such places are highly sought after by all pilgrims and one must really be brave to compete with the crowd to secure such a spot, especially during the Hajj season.
One such place or tempat mustajab as we say it in Malay, is the small zone of the Ka'abah wall between the door of the Ka'abah and the corner of the black stone called Hajarul Aswad. I was advised by a learned man that if I can squeeze my way to a spot on this wall, I should then spread my arms and place my chest flat against it as if in attempt to embrace. And then I should fully open my heart and reveal to Allah swt all that I have longed for all this while.
My first visit to Mecca was during hajj season many years ago. I wasn't brave enough to fight the crowd for this coveted spot. However, at my next visit a few years later for umrah, I managed to find a place on the Ka'abah wall after solat subuh and draped myself on the holy house of Allah for a precious few minutes.
It was one of the most moving experience in my life... with my chest flat against the wall, the house of Allah can feel my every heartbeat. It is as close as you can physically be to the symbol of your Maker.
In such moments, what do you pray for? What do you actually ask of God? You are there as his guest and you feel so humble. Would it then be proper of you to be asking of so many things?
Yes, it is... for Allah swt is All-Listener. And hence, there I was, embracing the Ka'abah with my eyes closed and pouring my heart out to the One and Only, seeking forgiveness, asking for compassion and requesting for help. After some minutes of saying my personal prayers, I continued with prayers requested by some friends back home. Among these is a doa by a female colleague who was still childless after being married for a number of years.
The first few years after my return from umrah, there wasn't any sign that the Almighty is answering her prayers. She was still childless... until one day, someone came to her with the news that a baby is available for adoption. She and her husband decided to take the baby.
We may well say that God has not actually answered my friend's prayers yet... but to me, seeing that the child has become the light of her life, it is a wish that was granted.
Perhaps the point of my story here is to say that we should never give up hope. Some of us may be facing problems that are so complicated that they seem insurmountable. Even after putting in all the effort to try this, that and everything else, the solution is still not in sight. In times like these, when there is possibly nothing else we could do, the only thing left for us to fall back on is the power of prayer.
If we can afford to travel to Baitullah in Mecca, then do so. If we can't, then do not despair. If we know of a friend who is going there, then do ask their favour to say a prayer on our behalf. Good friends would be glad to do it for us.