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Reflections From Umrah: A Spiritual Journey Of Faith And Diversity


spiritual journey

As Ramadan drew to a close and it was time for us to leave Makkah and return home to Qatar, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of inexplicable loneliness as I packed up our belongings for our journey back. On the bus ride to the airport, my gaze fixed on the window, watching as the Clock Tower and the sacred city of Makkah gradually faded from view. My heart yearned not only for the blessed month of Ramadan but also for the divine essence that saturates this blessed land.

The spiritual pilgrimage to Makkah and Madinah, where Islam was founded and established, leaves me in awe as I reflect on the past ten days of Ramadan I spent there. The intensity of emotions I experienced was truly unparalleled, and its impact will undoubtedly be etched in my memory for the entirety of my existence.

 The Beauty of Diversity and Spiritual Upliftment

 As my husband and I approached the holy site of Masjid al-Haram for the first time, a captivating sight unfolded before my eyes. An exuberant and diverse tapestry of humanity, adorned in their pristine ihram, had converged upon the sacred grounds to perform the sacred rites of Umrah. This magnificent gathering comprised a beautiful mosaic of individuals from a wide range of backgrounds, including those from the Middle East, Africa, and all regions of Asia, as well as those from North and South America and other parts of Europe. The sight of this vibrant congregation, representing the rich diversity of the global Muslim community, was a stirring reminder of the boundless potential of collective action in pursuit of a higher purpose.

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 The sheer magnificence of witnessing the Kaaba, engaging in the sacred ritual of Tawaf and Sa’i, and offering prayers in the Masjid al-Haram left an indelible impression on me, making it one of the most spiritually uplifting moments of my existence. I was humbled as I witnessed the multitude of devout Muslims, hailing from every corner of the world, who had come to worship and pay their respects.

The Power of Faith: Challenges Faced and Lessons Learned

The last ten nights of Ramadan hold a significant place in the hearts of the Muslim Ummah, especially because of the Night of Power or Laylat Al Qadr, which the Quran describes as “better than a thousand months.” [Surah Al-Qadr:3] The Night of Power is a significant event in Islamic history as it marks the revelation of the Holy Quran to the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.

The Grand Mosque in Makkah was overflowing with worshippers during this time, and the crowds spilled out into the streets of the Central Haram Area. There was a record-breaking turnout at the Holy Mosques on the 27th night of Ramadan.

The powerful imagery from Makkah and Madinah strikes a chord with the billions of Muslims who gathered in mosques worldwide and spent the night in humble prayers to the Almighty.

The journey was not without its challenges, however, each obstacle we faced only served to fortify our faith and determination. From the physical rigors of the journey to the mental and emotional struggles, each occurrence taught me the significance of forbearance and persistence. Being in the presence of the house of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and feeling the serenity and peace that enveloped me was truly a humbling and transformative experience.

In the same vein, visiting the blessed city of Madinah, where our beloved Prophet ﷺ once lived, was a deeply spiritual experience filled with overwhelming emotions and immense gratitude. I felt a deep stirring in my soul as soon as I set foot in the holy site of Masjid an-Nabawi.

 Building Connections and Rekindling Bonds

I count myself tremendously fortunate to have had the chance to visit these sacred sites and strengthen my relationship with almighty Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). This has also given me the chance to meet Muslims from all across the world in a meaningful way, allowing me to appreciate the splendor of our multifaceted ummah.

Because of my shy nature, I must confess that I was filled with a certain apprehension at first as I was faced with the challenge of engaging with individuals from diverse cultural and social backgrounds. As I immersed myself in the company of fellow pilgrims, I found solace in knowing that we are all on this journey together to reignite our connection with the divine Creator.

As the days went by, I found myself engaging in conversations with individuals hailing from diverse backgrounds and experiences. I had the opportunity to learn about the cultures, traditions, and beliefs of the people we encountered. I listened to stories of the diverse experiences of the present Muslims. It was amazing to see how, despite our differences, we all shared a common bond – our faith. I was fascinated to learn about the customs and traditions of Muslims from different countries, and it gave me a newfound appreciation for the diversity that our ummah embodies.

Moreover, it has been an incredible experience to have the opportunity to connect with such a diverse array of individuals from diverse cultural and societal upbringings.

 Unexpectedly running across members of my dad’s side of the family and being able to catch up with them was another highlight of the trip for me. Together with my cousin, I got to experience the joy of going down memory lane and reminiscing about the good old days. As I concluded my journey, I was filled with a profound sense of gratitude for the invaluable chance to rekindle my familial bonds with my cousins. The sight of them evoked memories of my beloved father who has since passed on.

Reflecting on the Transformative and Deeply Spiritual Experience

As I departed from the holy city of Makkah, I was loaded with a sense of pride and a deep connection to the global Muslim community. The experience I had was truly transformative and deeply spiritual.

As I settled into my seat and my fingers danced across the keyboard writing about my Umrah experience, I suddenly thought of Malcolm X‘s “Letter from Mecca,” wherein he recounts his pilgrimage experience as a pivotal moment that changed the direction of his life. I share his hope that his experience and his changed perspective on race and religion will encourage others to appreciate diversity and collaborate toward a common objective. His emphasis on education as a means to overcome prejudice and discrimination resonates with me. As he eloquently stated in his letter, “Education is the passport to the future, and we must educate ourselves and our communities in order to overcome prejudice and discrimination.” [Malcolm X. “Letter from Mecca.” The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Grove Press, 1965, pp. 370-377.]

As I move forward, I am filled with a renewed sense of purpose and a commitment to deepening my understanding of our faith. I am humbled by the numerous ways in which Islam enriches and brings us together as a global community. I am grateful for the lessons that this experience has taught me and I eagerly anticipate the opportunities that lie ahead as I continue to explore the beauty and diversity of Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) creation

For those who may have the resources and occasion to embark on such a journey, an opportunity presents itself. The chance to let yourself get swept up in the majesty and power of this spiritual encounter may not easily come by and should not be hastily overlooked. It’s worth considering making this journey at least once in our lifetime, as it can serve as an opportunity to reaffirm our dedication to our faith, community, and the Creator.

For those who have already been blessed to embark on this journey, May Allah  subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) accept our efforts and grant us the opportunity to return once again. May Allah  subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) make it easy for all of us to fulfill this sacred task and grant us the privilege to visit His sacred house and attain His mercy and forgiveness.




Your Ultimate Umrah Planning Resource [2023 Update] –

Reflections from Mecca (Makkah) and Madinah on my Umrah Trip –

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Famidah Mundir- Dirampaten, a Bangsamoro woman who was reared in the northern part of the Philippines but is originally from Marawi City in the South of the country. With exposure to a diverse mix of cultures, religions, and ways of life, she developed a passion for interfaith understanding. Her journey led her to study and earn a certificate in the Nonprofit Organization Development Program in Virginia. She studied for a Master's degree in Religious Studies with a concentration in interfaith peacebuilding and nonprofit leadership from UTS in New York City. She is currently based in Doha and more than anything else, she finds immense joy and fulfillment in her role as a mother.

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