It is Friday and the word is that we should be in the Haram at least 90 minutes before adhaan. I stand at the window and like ants I see groups of hajis and their women converging onto the Haram. A slight tremor of trepidation goes through me; perhaps I need to get going even though it is only 10.15 am. I look out and down I am not even two minutes walk from the entrance, I think, I can make a dash, there is no hurry.
Slowly I gather my backpack and stroll towards the elevators.
This where I realize that either my clock was wrong or I had overestimated my ease of getting to the Haram. After getting off the packed elevator, I almost fly to the Haram. As I reach the Haram there are two women in front of me at the Nisa entrance, and they have been stopped. My heart sinks; the guard is saying to them in Arabic that the Haram is full to capacity.
I look up. The red “no entry” sign is on while a second ago it was green and it is only 10.30 am. The red sign indicates that the Harm is full and there is no more entry permitted.
I am bathed with self-recrimination at my earlier feelings of over confidence.
It is Allah reading my heart recognizing my priorities and then showing them to me in real-time.
I am in Mecca, it is Jumma, I am in front of the Haram and yet I cannot enter it!
I know now that those whisperings of “you have plenty of time to get to the Haram because you are in this hotel not even 500 ft. from the entrance” were from the sworn enemy of the Children of Adam.
I find a place near the entrance barely enough to put down my sajadah. I look at the wall of the Haram and in front of me are the trashcans and a mound of shoes of the worshippers who are inside or somewhere………
Above me the sun moves and shines in full glory on me without the shadow of the Haram to protect me and give me shade.
I am reminded of the seven who will get shade on the Day of Judgment. As the heat of the sun penetrates every cell of my body, I pray fervently that Allah make me one of the seven for even with the sun so far away …………..I am needing shade.
I know now that when Allah is not first in my heart, I am not first in his priority………..
All the Istighfaar I do is not enough. My first Jumma before Hajj in Mecca will always remain imprinted on my heart and brain, and I pray that Allah will always be first in my heart and soul!
Please keep me in your duas…….. I need them!