What just happened?

To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

More information about how we have ‘runified’ this site

 

26 January – 15 April 2012

The exhibition is now closed

In partnership with

King Abdulaziz Public Library Riyadh, Saudia Arabia

King Abdulaziz Public Library
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

HSBC Amanah has supported the exhibition's international reach outside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Recommend this exhibition

Hajj stories

The Museum asked people to share a particular moment of Hajj or Umra to help create a picture of what this journey is like.

Hajj stories montage video

Download this video to watch in your favourite media player, or to view this video online please enable javascript.

Using this on a mobile device? Tap the image to watch.
On desktop, requires Flash player or click image to download.

  • HanaKent

    I was doing Tawaf from the top of the Haram and as I looked down there were waves of pilgirms - all nationalities, colours and sizes moving so peacefully around the Ka'ba. Once you go for Hajj, you leave a piece of your heart there and it makes you want to go again and again...           

  • Jameela KhanSouth Africa

    Video referenceJameela Khan shares her thoughts about going on Hajj. Recorded at the festival Living Islam.

  • Masoodah London

    I was fortunate enough to perform Hajj in 2006 where the entire stay in Makkah and Madinah was amazing, experiences and memories that will stay with me forever. There are so many moments I could talk about, one being when I saw the Prophets mosque in Madinah, the beauty and the grandness was overwhelming, especially against the pitch black night sky, and instantly I fell in love with Madinah. Also when I first saw the holy Ka'ba, it felt quite surreal and it was a really powerful moment. Finally the actual days of Hajj...if I am to talk about this I need more the 150 words but just a snippet of my experience I had the most incredible night of sleep in Muzdallifah and words cannot describe the emotions felt in Arafat. I hope I can visit Makkah and Madinah and perform Hajj many times in my life!     

  • Siraz KaziLondon

    I went for Umrah  in  2008 with my wife and two kids. First we went to Madina. The experience in Madina was amazing everything was so calm and very peaceful every one looked so relaxed. After three days we left Madina. I became very attached to Madina. I cried all the way I don't know why. Then we reached Makkah. The moment I saw the Ka’ba in front of me was the most unforgettable moment of my life. 

  • Zain BhikhaSouth Africa

    Video referenceZain Bhikha shares his thoughts about going on Hajj. Recorded at the festival Living Islam.

  • Umm abdurahman London

    Taking those few step toward the Ka'ba but not yet seeing it... The suspense was increasing, those few seconds felt like hours. Then...then... the moment I can never forget. Tears were flowing down my cheeks. I just stood there in awe being grateful that I was given the blessing to visit this beautiful place. I prayed to Allah and I just couldn't stop crying. The Ka’ba was stunning and time just stood still.  I think the second most vivid memory is the circumbulation of the Ka’ba. The last one I did was after the morning prayer and whilst I was going around the Ka’ba I looked up and saw birds flying around the Ka’ba! Although when I went back to my hotel I noticed bird poo on my clothed and thought "hmmm...great".     

  • Abdul Muizz AliLondon

    Amazing, words cannot describe how it was. Just laying eyes on the Ka’ba and knowing that you are one of the blessed ones which god had called is overwhelming. An spectacular experience and I would never forget it. My most vivid memory was when I fell at Muzdalifah and had to get stitches and behold the scar is still there. Every time I look at it I remember my great HAJJ!!!!!!!!!!           

  • Bushera HafeezCrawley

    It’s 2 million people doing the same thing, nobody going in a different directions. All nationalities, everybody bowing to the same voice, at the same time. the saying one voice one time applies. Peace, no worries.  

  • Farah AhmedLondon

    It was 1997, the year of the fire. When we were asked to evacuate the tents in Mina, everyone was calm and considerate of each other, We knew that we had journeyed here for Allah and to Him is our final return. As we walked away from Mina towards Makkah everyone began to recite the talbiyah (the special prayers that are receited when pilgrims arrive in Mecca); looking behind us we could see a wall of fire along the horizon, it seemed to be chasing after us. I will never forget the calm and sukoon despite the danger, nor the charred black soot of Mina as far as the eye could see when we returned that evening. We slept that night in the open on the charred ground. The next morning we awoke and somehow everyone managed to reach Arafat to stand before our Lord. Ya Rab have mercy those who died that year and enter them into jannah without account. Ameen  

  • Papa DjibrilDakar

    Being in Mecca and doing my Hajj was the most beautiful time of my life. I felt the happiest because something holds you when you are there. It cannot be described, it is a miraculous feeling. I felt so grateful, pure and humbled when I was in the Prophet's Mosque. My favorite memory is going around the Ka’ba seven times, then between Safa and Marva seven times, then drinking the scared water Zamzam. When I was there I felt like I was born a second time, surrounded by brothers and sisters from all around the world, all of us wearing our white robes, Ihram, all of us pure, so grateful, so happy, all of us one voice, one heart for Allah. My biggest dream is to go back to Mecca Inshallah one day again.

  • Ann ZubairIlford

    My clearest memory of Hajj is the complete serenity and simplicity of the experience. I have never felt closer to Allah then whilst at Mecca, nothing between us and no pull from anything but Allah. May Allah grant Hajj to all Muslims.           

  • MuizzAliLondon

    I was 9 years old when I performed my Hajj. It was a great experience. It was hard work but I enjoyed it. Whilst at Mazallaffa, I injured my leg and needed stitches and still have a scar. I went back for Umrah last year and always want to go back.   

  • SaedaOldham

    My days spent in Makkah and Medina whilst performing my Umra are days which I will never forget. I felt overwhelmed with happiness in Medina, I felt at home. I fulfilled my desire of talking to our beloved Prophet Muhammad (May peace be upon him) whilst visiting his grave in Masjid-Ul Nabi. How privileged is it to walk on the same land where our beloved Prophet (Peace be up on him) walked on? Peace and harmony entered my heart when I stepped into Haraam Sharif in Makkah. All these years of my life I had faced the Ka'ba from thousands of miles away whilst performing my salah. The times I had seen the Ka’ba on TV, in pictures was nothing compared to seeing it with my own eyes, in reality. I stood still and stared at it overwhelmed with joy and contentment and tears streamed my face.

  • R.N.Abu Dhabi

    How do you put so much in so few words? Where do I even begin? The most striking moment is seeing a unity of one people from all walks of life and during the Hajj (Tawaf) I saw the fit and  the handicapped going around the Ka'ba and the dead (being carried on wooden beds) in order that Muslims offer their prayers for the decease before they were buried. At prayers times, the males and females each go to designated areas for the prayers and the millions of Muslims prostrates in prayer all at the same time. One time I saw a handicapped man during the Tawaf without his lower legs get out of his wheelchair and pull himself around the Ka'ba in deep dedication. There is such a magnificent humbleness at Makkah that touches one heart and soul.      

  • Zaheen ShahLondon

    I performed Umrah with my family and it was a beautiful and spiritual experience. When it was time to leave Mecca, I went to look at the Kaaba one last time after the Zuhr prayers. I took in the Light and the sea of people in motion, it was more powerful than anything I had seen before. The vision is imprinted in my memory and always inspires awe and humility when I think of it.        

  • Syeda SardarLondon

    The most profound moment for me was when I put my head against the Ka’ba for the first time, that's when it hit me! I realised that billions of Muslims around the world pray towards this object and I, a simple me, had my head against it! How fortunate was I? That moment for me was beyond words...I didn’t want to leave ... I'd found that inner peace I was looking for... I felt like I really belonged to there and then....

  • HawraLondon

    Now that I was in Madina, it felt like I possessed the world. I was amazed by the beauty of the green dome. But once inside the masjid, it seemed like a luxury venue and nothing of it made me experience how it could have been during the time of the prophet. I searched for my prophet’s grave from one room to another but nothing was found. Tears started shedding in a desperate call to find my beloved's tomb, pulpit, rawdha and house but nothing was there. Instead, massive dividers were placed to prevent me from visiting my beloved’s rawdha, women were only allowed twice a day to see part of one covered with Qurans wall of the prophet’s grave after hours of wait. I did not get a sight of the prophet’s pulpit, nor all the historical part and my excitement was transformed to sadness and anger.            

  • Radwa GhannamLondon

    When I saw the Ka’ba for the first time I fell into deep crying and I felt that I did not want to go out to the real life, I just wanted to stay here for the rest for my life. It was an incredible feeling. I wish from the bottom of my heart that I could go there again.           

  • LusnaIpswich

    When I went to Hajj I felt so close to Allah every minute was amazing. On the day of Arafat few minutes before sun set I actually felt I was sin free like I was re born again. Nothing can replace that moment. Hajj 2011 was like a life time achievement, I would repeat every moment all over again and again.       

  • Shumaila YousufLondon

    There are two most vivid memories of Umra. The first time when I saw the Holy Ka’ba it was a dream come true. Forgetting the world and just thinking of how beautiful it is. I just wanted to stay there and thank Him for the opportunity to visit Makkah. The second one relates to the time for prayer. When it’s time for prayer, the entire city shuts down leaving no room for any worldly activities devoting time for Allah. Irrespective of race or nationality people stand shoulder to shoulder like brothers to worship Allah and thank Him for His blessings    

  • Jawad KhokharLondon

    One of my fondest memories of my first ever Umra (as a 13 year old) in 2000 was the first time I saw the awe of the Ka'abah. I was merely a teenager and did not have alot of intellectual baggage to digest the experience, yet when I bow down into prostation in my first ever prayer in the holy mosque I felt a state of elation. As a teenager growing up, I define my religious identity to the awe of that moment. I cried in my bow and i felt god's love all around me.

  • Farida JasatLondon

    My first Haj was an experience I will never forget. Labaik allah hummah labaik, these were the words that were chanted 24/7.Four vivid memories, that I would like to share.1: seeing the Ka’ba for the first time, made my whole body tremble, I was speechless and emotionally drained. 2: the day of Arafat; standing in the intense heat and asking Allah for forgiveness, listening to my son's voice reciting from the Quran, leading the pilgrims in prayers amongst the millions. 3: I was crying on the last day because I hadn't been able to touch the Hajre Aswaad. My husband took my hand and led the way, people seemed to be making way and within MINUTES I was touching the stone! This was truly a miracle. 4: Tawaf alvidah; my heart ached at the thought of leaving this holy place and not knowing when I would be able to return. May almighty Allah grant everyone this privilege, ameen.          

  • ZehraLondon

    Hajj is an experience beyond any other. No one can describe being born. But the experience of Hajj enables one to be reborn. The true meaning of unity that can be an answer to any nation in any time is the idyllic picture that is proven in Hajj as Ali Sharaiti beautifully puts it, ‘Be a particle and join the mass; as a drop, enter the ocean’.  All the nations and groups merge into one tribe. They face one Ka’ba.  Once you remove your clothes and all the signs which distinguish "you" as an individual, you may enter into the heart of the crowd. Everyone "melts" himself and assumes a new form as a "mankind". The egos and individual traits are buried. The group becomes a "people" or an "Umma". All the “I's” have died in Miqat; what has evolved is "We".           

  • SumaiyaLondon

    I was 13 years old when I went for my first ever time to Umrah...and the most amazing journey it was. The 2 weeks that changed my life. I know I was young and didn’t understand properly but when I first felt the rush of heat as I descended from the plane, I knew it would be a hard journey. First time I saw the Ka'ba my heart pounded, I didn’t know what to expect, I lifted my head and knelt to the floor, losing myself, crying, supplication and in awe. Circulating around the Ka'ba for the first time i thought would be hard but as I whispered and praised Allah, I knew... I knew this is what made me ME... this is what was a spiritual wakening... This is Islam           

  • Mohammad MonsefLondon

    Hi my name is Mohammad.12 year ago when I was 15 years old my father sent me to hajj alone and it was a amazing experience for me even at that time. I experienced many new things. And I was inspired by masjid nabvi in madina at the beginning of the trip. In makkah, when I went inside the masjid al haram I couldn’t stop crying and I seen many people who go around the Ka’ba and I joined them, some stages of hajj was difficult for me because I was alone and so young but I could see the thousands of Muslims are here for the same goal and that gave me the energy to continue the hajj stages as best as I can. I really enjoyed my holy trip to Saudi Arabia and I would love to go back there again soon inshallah.

  • Bushra MalikSlough

    When I first looked up at the Ka'ba it felt awesome and overwhelming. Your body becomes numb as you look up at this magnificent sight and you realise this is what you have been turning towards to pray every day. The whole atmosphere is of peace and serenity and it is amazing how you forget about all your worldly troubles and just submerge yourself in prayer and contemplation. It really is an experience of a lifetime.          

  • FariaIlford

    No doubt the best place on the earth. You need to see it to believe it. I walked up to the Ka’ba with my head down until I got close. I raised my head and there it was. Speechless and full of emotion, tears flooded out from my eyes. I didn't want to take my eyes off it. I only realized what I had left when I left.     

  • Rahat MoinLondon

    Did my Umra thirty years ago with my uncle, a resident in jeddah, did my umra without any feeling at all and actually thought of all the stories I had heard from people about it being an emotional time, but said to myself(may allah forgive me) dont know what the big deal is about!and when we were done my uncle said  shall we go ? and I turned around straight away and started walking off arrogantly with my back towards kaaba!! and at that moment felt a pull from behind that I can feel to this day, and suddenly thought omg, have come to this great place and haven’t asked for anything!!! then i did another umra from my heart!!!!          

  • Aslom Ullah London

    It was such a magical journey...I took my mother, and walking around the Ka'ba holding her hand brought tears to both our eyes. She told me, 'when I held your hand as a child and took you to school, I never dreamed you would grow up to become an English teacher, and hold my hand here, in this place.' Hajj opened my eyes to such a variety of people, but also let me look inwards, towards my own self. I realised my own good qualities, but also my own shortcomings. It truly changes your life-how can it not, when one treads on the very same places where Abraham himself stood? I shared my tent with a barrister, and one would never think he was a barrister from the way he was dressed. During Hajj, one realises that truly, we are all equal before the Sight of God.

  • AminaLondon

    My experience of Umra that I was blessed with was in June 2000, but still very vivid in my mind. My experience of Mecca was the feeling of being in front of Allah feeling the Jalal of Allah. As is the flavour of the city too. Madina is love and coming home to the Prophet Muhammad (Nabi Rasul Allah). The beloved Prophet Muhammed where you don’t want to leave. The most particular moment or experience was that i felt this magnetism in Mecca it was like a sound, unexplainable but like this resonance that could be felt in the air!   

  • Luqman KhanBirmingham

    My particular  story began when I first arrived in Meccah. I went with my brother, mother and wife. My brother wasn't entirely happy at being there as he missed his 'westernized' world too much. After a while we went out to do out tawaf. On completion to the tawaf we came back to the hotel. My brother was sitting on his bed and wanted some water, as he got up he did not realise that the ceiling fan was on, his head got wedged in and took a small chunk of his head, fortunately, he survived and had to go back to the UK earlier than planned. He went back with my mom, leaving me and my wife. Me and my wife got really close when we were on our own and have a 3 day old baby boy (that was the 1st thing we prayed for).     

  • Sister SamiLondon

    I went with my 10 year old daughter and alhumdulillah amazing journey never felt tired walking miles and my daughter never complained of heat and thirst. Will encourage people to take their kids show them the peace, love, brotherhood and how to live in this earth.

  • Qalbun SalimWest Midlands

    I had lost my father on the busiest day of Hajj when more than 4 million people were coming to the Haram (the Grand Mosque) in Makkah. Papa was not able to find his way back without my help – but I had lost him on the way to get chilled Zam Zam water from the fountain to quench his thirst. I prayed to Allah, Most High. Whilst searching, I found a lady who saw the water and she too was thirsty and asked for it. My father wasn't well so I wanted to take it to him asap. That moment I felt as if Allah wanted me to give it to her, so I poured half for her and at that exact moment I found my father after searching for so long. When we sacrifice and give to others, Allah - Most High, helps us.        

  • AishahEdgware

    Salaams, I came into Islam in 2009 which changed my life completely – Now I am at PEACE Al-hamdulillah (Praise be to Allah). I went on Umra (Scared Caravan) in 2011 with Sheikh Hamza Yusuf - one of the profound scholars on Islam. A revert himself. I was so nervous as I had little knowledge of how to perform Umra but one of Allah’s miracles, my beautiful friend/sister Aqueela from Gainsville, Florida was also on the trip. SubhanAllah (Allah is Absolutely Flawless). She helped me when I first became a Muslim and now here she was! Amazing. Sheikh Hamza, may Allah bless him, accompanied us on tours and his lectures were truly enlightening. My trip was just amazing – room overlooking the Kabba, praying in the Al-Hatim (a round building in the shape of half a circle- the most honored shade on earth, was the highlight of my trip.

  • Nimao FarahLondon

    What I remember from Umra was when the  people were praising Allah. I was six to five years old.           

  • Safiya Ascoli-BallManchester

    The first time I saw the Ka’ba was the most moving experience in my whole life. I had prepared the moment carefully, entering the precinct slowly from the main door; my eyes fixed in the distance to make sure that I would see it as soon as I’d cross the doors pass the crowds. I wasn’t however prepared for the flow of emotions and tears that burst out of my heart and eyes when I finally caught sight of it, standing high in all its beauty. I was home!  The focal point of my prayers since I became a Muslim was within a few feet from me, at last. It was like drinking from a fresh stream after a long walk in the desert and I just couldn’t get my fill.    

  • MariumLondon

    The day in Arafat was really hot, every small strip of shade was taken by someone consumed in prayers with tears and sweat running down their faces. I ventured out of the tent to look for a shaded spot somewhere further away where I could pray without getting disturbed. I had taken a large bottle of water with me which barely lasted 10 minutes. I did not want to risk filling up the bottle with water from the bathroom but I also did not want to go back to the tent. At that point a lorry full of bottled mineral water drove past with young boys passing the bottles to anyone who waved their hands to indicate they wanted one. I smiled to myself and said thank you God.            

  • ZaidLondon

    My memory is not a great one. I had done Umra, and we were sitting waiting for the sunset prayer. Some man started yelling at me, apparently because there was something he didn't like about the way I was wearing my robes. I can't understand Arabic, but could tell from the way that he spoke that he was Egyptian. I could never figure out why he was acting like a fool as I was in no way different from any of the other pilgrims. Was he trying to demonstrate his piety? It really soured the whole experience for me and that is my most vivid recollection. I wish I had gotten up and slapped him, but I didn't fancy a Saudi jail.     

  • Mr HussainLondon

    The hardest trip but most memorable and amazing trip of my life. The first time my eyes saw Ka’ba I was overwhelmed with the mighty power of Allah that brought all Muslims together in one place chanting the same words of "La illaha illa Allah"  I couldn't help but notice the night bats and birds circling above Ka’ba as if they also felt the might power and spiritual energy of this Holy Place. Knowing all the hardships of Hajj were to acknowledge existence of Allah and his Prophets and their hardships in delivering the message of Allah I felt empowered to carry out all my Hajj duties. Water of Zamzam has being a miracle from its very first day of existence and it remains to be one till this day. Finally shaving my head after completing all Hajj duties I felt reborn with a pure soul.  

  • Sulaiman RitchieRomford

    I had the  honour of performing Hajj in 2010 and it was an experience I will always remember fondly. For me, it was a spiritual renewal and I will never forget meeting Brothers from all around the world united by faith and in faith.      

  • Daddi addoun M'hammedLondon

    The Hajj is one of 5 standard of Islam and for me I haven’t chance to perform it but dependent of other people, the Hajj or Umra is the special change in all compartments life of person.     

  • ZahoorSrinagar

    My most memorable moment was when I with my family members including my grandmother who was in a wheel chair. It was in Muzdalifah when my father told me that we will go by road from Arafat to Muzdalifah and then it took three and a half hours to reach Muzdalifah and it is quite obvious that moving two wheel chairs (the one which was driven by me and other which was driven by my father) in between all of the pilgrims was very difficult but Allah helped us to complete all the formalities of Hajj though there where some stages, like moving from Muzdalifah to Jamarat, when the tyres of both the wheel chairs were lost and we thought we would never reach home safely but Allah helped us and we reached our Mina tents safely. May Allah Bless you all.

  • SuleikaLondon

    Hajj is the best 

  • RehanaSouth East London

    As I make my way inside, towards the first glimpse of the shiny black cloth draping the Ka'ba  and then the full sight of the Ka'ba itself, glimmering, towering majestically over me was most breathtaking and spiritually overwhelming: the feeling it strikes in the heart is indescribable, a mixture of both pleasure, pain, fear and a sense of closeness to Allah. The heart melts and the tears are unstoppable. All you can do is break down and beg Allah for forgiveness and that He destines you to return again and again!  The view from the roof; looking down into the centre of the Haaram is just as overwhelming; the millions of people like dots of black and white circumbulating around the focal Ka'ba in a rhythmic way and the hum of everyone reciting their prayers is so serene and peaceful!  Leaving Mecca was so heartbreaking, words cannot say.           

  • Wahid AnwarBirmingham

    Video referenceWahid Anwar shares his experience of Hajj. Recorded at the festival Living Islam.

  • Anisah ALondon

    Seeing the Ka’ba for the first time, I felt like there was this electrifying force pulling me in. My legs felt like jelly but sheer adrenaline was keeping me on my feet. Amidst the thousands of people was an air of tranquility. Utterly beautiful.

  • NaLondon

    Listening to the Azaan (call to prayer) is awe-inspiring. It sounds beautiful in the hot humidity of the desert. Everyone just stops what they're doing and listens. Humanity at its best.

  • Shazia KhanDerby

    An amazing experience where we witnessed miracles. When I saw the Ka'ba for the first time my whole body was overwhelmed by emotion and my eyes were flooded with tears naturally. I was holding my 3 yr old son and I made dua to Allah for my son to talk as I was told due to him being autistic he may never speak and would communicate via pictures and sign language. I had heard pilgrims first dua when they see the Ka'ba is accepted. With firm belief in Allah miracles I made dua for my son to speak and live a happy normal life...that same day my dua was accepted by Allah and my son said "mummy come here and sit down". My son is now 4 and talks and is happy...from low functioning he turned to high functioning Aspergers..Mashallah he was blessed with shifa.

  • Umair GhoriGold Coast

    The stay at Arafat was the most surreal moment in my life. Millions of people around me under the punishing afternoon sun of the desert...quietly contemplating or loudly crying for forgiveness. As the day moves on, silence descends and the sun feels hot no longer...That day is an enactment of the Day of Judgement when humanity assembles for the Reckoning. I will never forget the sound of warm afternoon wind which seemed to ignore so many around me - how can a place so crowded with millions be so quiet?

  • Raheel ShafiqLondon

    One of the best and most peaceful journey. I struggle to pick one or two parts of the trip as it was the complete journey which was unforgettable. Spending time in Haram most of the nights and visiting Prophet Mohammad's Roza in Medina are the top memories. Visiting Janat-ul-Baqi was also a somewhat a unique experience. The summary of the trip was "Patience" & "Blessings"

  • Zaakira AboobakerLondon

    Entering the haram and on viewing the Ka'ba for the first time: All my life I prayed in the direction of the House of Allah and when I finally saw it for the first time, my heart was filled with so much of awe at this fixed structure, providing a sense of direction over thousands of years- just a building standing ever so silently, yet its symbolism in Islam is outstanding and powerful. We all were there for the same purpose only- to worship our Creator- with no difference in colour, wealth or knowledge.

  • Danyal AhmedHarpenden

    My most vivid memory of my Umra was when I got my halq [mandatory cutting of the hair]. When I first arrived I was really tired as I was not used to the time zone change. After settling into my hotel, we visited the local barber. I was first and my cousin, taking advantage of my sleepiness, told me to take a 'blade zero cut'. Unaware of the consequences to occur, I said 'Blade Zero, Please'. After I got my haircut, I went to the hotel to sleep. When I was awoken in order to pray Fajr [morning prayer, first of the five prayers a day]. I went to the mirror. Just as I was putting on my topee [prayer hat], I felt my head to find it was purely stubble. Needless to say that I was angry with my cousin! Definitely a cold but spiritual Umra experience to remember.

  • Karamat HussainHuddersfield

    Video referenceKaramat Hussain shares his thoughts about going on Hajj. Recorded at the festival Living Islam.

  • MinoSouthend

    Hajj..truly an exhilarating experience!An invitation from Allah(swt)which some of the most fortunate are blessed with. The whole journey of the hajj is like being in a joyous, miraculous and exciting whirlwind. A journey which didnt end for me at the Ka’ba but started...the love , the taqwa , the tears, the happiness...I prayed to Allah that I would be able to carry his commands to Akhira and I should remain steadfast on Din of Islam.

  • NouraLondon

    Asalaam alaykum and Hi everyone! I went last year around the end of march for Umra which was my first ever visit to the blessed Ka'ba. It was awesome! I remember I was so nervous and my dad said that du'a, prayer at the first sight of the Ka'bah is accepted for sure and was told to recite the best du'a - Rabbana atina fidunya hasanah wa fil akhirati hasanah wa qi'na azaban naar. Oh Lord, grant us in this world good and in the hereafter good and save us from the hell fire. The first sight happened all of a sudden the blessed Ka'bah looked so mighty. I had the strangest feeling. Whenever I looked at the blessed Ka'ba I felt it looked back at me.

  • Saadia.London

    I was afraid of going for Umra for the first time. I felt I was not pure enough to stand before the house of God Almighty. I also feared I would not be overwhelmed by love and awe as most people are. Perhaps such a thing would shatter my faith? When that moment came, I just stood transfixed and only later did I discover my face was awash with tears. At that moment, nothing in the world matters. Time stops, you know you are home and that feeling is what true love is.

  • FaridaLondon

    I went to Umrah just before the first Gulf War, it was a couple of days before Saddam Hussein had said that he was going to attack the KSR. Therefore it was unusual that there were not that many foreign visitors. The experience was amazing with the locals and we circled the Ka’ba quickly and close. Just as we were in front of the main door the crowd stopped and some officials from Bahrian had come to pray inside the Ka’ba. They parted the curtain and opened the large gold doors taking the key for the traditional lock from a red velvet bag. We were told that this is something that is not normally seen and it was a first for our guide as well. A truly spiritual and gifting experience!

  • Zia AhmedCoventry

    Video referenceZia Ahmed shares his thoughts about going on Hajj. Recorded at the festival Living Islam.

  • Anam SalamLondon

    When I went on Umra my favourite moment was seeing the Ka'ba for the first time as it was really beautiful. Drinking Zamzam was enjoyable as it was clean and pure. I liked walking through Safar and Marwah, although it was tiring. It was nice to pray in the holy mosque with my family and the Imam's voice was pleasurable to listen to. It was a wonderful experience exploring the Haram and going upstairs to view it from different angles. I had a truly memorable experience visiting the holy masjid and look forward to going there again!

  • Saadia KhanHayes

    I went to Hajj 2011, I went with my husband…there is something in Ka’ba. It’s like seeing your most loved child after years, all mums know what I mean) I always think of duas I need to do when I have the first glimpse, but I always forget and end up thanking for everything I have. In Masjid e Haram, one feels the power of Allah. Oh..looking at Ka’ba.. and then coming back..is sooo difficult to say bye..I end up crying...and then again the missing starts, as if I left someone behind…I keep thinking about when next?? And been there 4 times including once at Hajj. I keep going back to look at Ka’ba. Although it’s black, but there is some sort of light coming out of it…there is lots of "noor". I wish I could stay there and that I die there and have my janaza prayers there…I wish that happens.

  • Nadirah 77London

    In Ramadan 2011 Mashallah I spent Umra in Mecca. My most vivid memory was when i was going around Ka’ba and Safa' marwa I had tears on my eyes throughout. When I was there at that moment I felt the world meant nothing to me and I was pleased to be there. Alhamdulilah. All the dua's that I made at that time thank god Allah has accepted, may Allah bless me and all my Muslim brothers and sisters. Inshalah hope to see you all in jannah.

  • Ahamed KhotPinner

    The patience that I needed to observe whilst on Umra is something that I had never felt so scared of as such. At several points of the journey I was told to do things that maybe I would have previously not agreed to but being on Umra has taught me to be more patient with people in day to day life. This is one of the big lessons I learnt and have brought it back with me from my journey.

  • Mohammed ZakiIlford Essex

    I had 2 prolapsed discs 3 weeks before I went for hajj so I had an operation doctors told me to rest for a least couple of months but I was in so much pain physically and mentally that while I prayed I could only see the Ka’ba, I was on many tablets even the night before I went to mount Arafat I was held down and forced fed sleeping tablets when I woke to go to mount Arafat as I stepped of the coach at mount Arafat I felt a bitter cold and all my pains had gone and I was physically better and from that time I have had no pains and no medicine.

  • SarahLondon

    I am sixteen years old and Hajj for me was something indescribable, and the feeling and the experience was amazing. I was left speechless when I first saw the Ka'ba from the top roof and I thought to myself, "Am I really here...?" I went with 4 other family members and we were with a Hajj package. Hajj requires a lot of patience. Hajj reminds us that we are all equal; rich or poor, black or white. Hajj is a pilgrimage which gathers all Muslims in one place, to worship God. We follow in the footsteps of Abraham's wife in what is called "Sa'ee", we circumambulate the Ka'ba anti-clockwise, in the same manner as the entire universe rotates, how electrons circles the atom, etcetera. It's all truly amazing.

  • Gloria AhmedAdelaide

    Assalamalaikum, my family call me 'the hajj queen’. I am a convert to Islam, how can one begin to describe the feeling of every moment at hajj, it is one of the greatest gifts Allah can give us. I am never so happy or at peace as when I am there, I love the Ka’ba, Allah has invited you to his house, what an honour, to visit the prophet, what a joy, but for me to stand on Arafat for those few hours between zuhur and magrib and be with Allah begging for forgiveness brings tears to my eyes because this is what he has promised us, inshallah, may we all be so lucky to visit.

  • Ms S. WaseemHertfordshire

    My most vivid memory is not singular. I have a couple of most abiding memories. For a journey that is highly metaphorical in its rites and allegorical in its entirety, I was enabled to experience a very physical reality during my circumambulation (tawaf) around the Holy Ka'ba. In the midst of the heaving crowd, being separated from family, I was aided and protected in the rite through an unknown figure, who when I turned to thank for his aid, was nowhere to be seen. The final memory was the Farewell Tawaf where I was able to pray in the courtyard and witnessed a funeral procession. A timely reminder of the road ahead and the Final Meeting place.

  • Rozina ChaudryManchester

    Video referenceRozina Chaudry shares her experience of Hajj. Recorded at the festival Living Islam.

  • Inam AlsharifiUxbridge

    No matter how you try to philosophy the acts and meanings of Hajj, there is something inexplicable, beyond norms, cannot be interpreted only as divine showering of mercy, solid ecstasy; you wish you die just to embrace it for ever. It is just what every human basically needs for his life journey, the infinite peace and insight into the metaphysical world.

  • Aysha KhalidNottingham

    A child's sentiment is considered half in weight, worthy of excitable mention in social conversations. This is my small story as a 10 year old on Hajj. The night before stoning of the Jamarat, I went far to collect the best of 50 stones my father asked for, and approached a gathering of tearful chants, " Inna lillahi wa’inna ilayhi raji'un." The deceased was the old man who on the bus journey to Muzdalifah who had offered his unused ihram as a blanket to me, while murmuring the Talbiyah in calm tears and a generous smile. The loss of this acquaintance left odd feelings of unexplainable spiritual affirmation and fear: fear of death, fear of the unknown, fear of Allah, in whispered recitation. My "halved judgment" should have been subjective towards the man, instead his timed presence left an ever-intoxicating reassurance of Allah in the powerful melody of the Talbiyah. Labaik.

  • Nasrin AhmadNew City, NY

    By the grace and mercy of Allah, I was blessed with the opportunity to perform my Hajj in 2011. When I went to the Ka’ba for the first time my heart was filled with emotions and feelings that words cannot describe. Tears started flowing from my eyes as my lifelong dream became a reality. There were millions of people praying to Allah in many different languages, and facing the Ka’ba at all different hours of the day. I tried several times within the night to get very close to the Ka’ba, hoping that the crowd would be less, but it was almost the same at all hours of the day or night. The view of the people circling the Ka’ba was breathtaking from the top floor, especially at night. It was a great time to reflect and beg for forgiveness. May Allah bring me back one day. (Insha Allah).

  • Yousuf Zeyoudi Brighton and Hove

    I haven't been on Hajj but I asked my father about Hajj and told me what his feelings about it were. It is an amazing, indescribable feeling being present in the house of Allah. He remembered looking at the Ka'ba for the first time. Tears flowed out automatically and he felt as if this was the day he was truly born to life; his soul, heart and eyes softened and eased at the glorious sight. It was incredible; he thought it wasa testament to the faith. He was overwhelmed with emotion when he saw the Ka'ba for the first time; he couldn't believe that he was really there and felt like it was a dream! He felt truly blessed for being given such an opportunity! Everything felt so peaceful.

  • Ahmed AlzahmiFujairah

    I remember when we went to Mecca in August 2011 it was a really good feeling but when I saw the Ka'ba I felt really different, the same as if all the bad things that I had done in my life had gone. I felt I was a new person, without any mistakes in my life and when I prayed I felt peaceful and relieved. The clearest water I had ever drunk was from Zamzam. When I drank it I felt I wanted to drink more. I drank about 60 glasses of Zamzam water a day when I was on Umra.

  • Mohamed AlmestakaBrighton

    When I went on Umra in 2010 I felt my heart trembling so much because it was happy to be near Ka’ba . When I was walking around the Ka’ba , I was so happy doing Umra as this made me want to study lslam and pray more than before.

  • Ateeqa Rajwani

    Video referenceAteeqa Rajwani shares her thoughts about going on Hajj. Recorded at the festival Living Islam.

  • Ahmed Saeed AlhattawiBrighton and Hove

    I went to the Hajj with my brothers Mohammed,29 years old, and Saeed, 25 years old, in 2008. When I saw the Ka'ba and I got near there for the first time my heart was beating so fast and I got goosebumps all around my body because I was so happy and thrilled from that feeling and it was all at the same time. Then I started asking God for forgiveness for all the bad things I had done in my life. I felt great after praying and that God had forgiven me.

  • Ahmed AlshehhiBrighton and Hove

    I have not been on Hajj but I went to Macca on Umra on 17/8/2011 and my strongest memory was when I saw the Ka'ba and when I went around it and prayed there, I felt a really wonderfully peaceful feeling, and I saw some people crying and asking for forgiveness and peace. I was praying for forgiveness for all my guilt. The imam who read the Quran with a wonderful voice reminded me of all my mistakes that I had made. I felt really bad and I couldn’t hold back my tears.

  • Sultan Abdulla Saeed Brighton and Hove

    I have not yet been an Hajj but I asked my dad about it. My dad said the moment he saw the Ka'ba in front of him was the most unforgettable moment of his life and he said there was a nice view when he saw everyone wearing Ihram and so many people in the same place and all there for the same reason. He said he could hardly believe he was in front of the Ka'ba and when he went to Masjid Al.Haram in Mecca his feeling was as if he was flying in Heaven. I hope to go and feel what my dad felt.

  • Malik AlshehhiBrighton and Hove

    I have not been on Hajj but my father was there in 2011 and I asked him what his strongest memory of Hajj is and he said when he went around the Ka'ba praying he felt that he had made a lot of mistakes in his life because he saw people crying, especially elderly people. He wished God would remove all of his mistakes and when he listened to the reading of the Quran he was thinking what would happen when he died with all of his mistakes because he would arrive at the Judgement day. I hope to go on Hajj myself at the next Ramadan, please God.

  • VahidaLondon

    First trip to umra in 04/2011 totally thrilling beautiful spiritual the experience of seeing the Ka'ba and circumbulating it is indescribable. Amazing order and cleanliness in the Haram area. Zam zam tasty water loved it!. So much history. I am going to try Hajj this year god willing. Visiting the Ka'ba is the most amazing journey to the centre of the earth.

  • Aliea RashidReading

    The only way to describe the Hajj is as overwhelming. It is the biggest emotional roller coaster I have ever experienced even more than having three children. Seeing millions of people of every different colour, background, from every corner of the earth, speaking every language come to together and worship one God was amazing. For me the most striking moment was watching very old people, some who could not even straighten their back performing the tawaaf with true conviction. Their determination was inspiring. As their bodies started to tire their determination to complete their tawaaf grew. Their love for Allah shone from their faces and they continued with their tawaaf taking small steps, pausing for a break and then carrying one whilst reciting duas. A truly inspiring moment which motivated me to do more.

  • Karim Manji Dar Es Salaam

    Every year the experience is unique. In one of the trip a young Haji was lost during a stampede in Safa-Marwa ( before the current extensions) . We spent almost 8-10 hours searching. Tired and hungry we returned back to Mina. All a the while frantically looking for him. It was then I realized, that's the only avenue we didn't pursue was seeking Allah! So with conviction I began a tasbih (a rosary of 100 beads) beseeching the Lord, the Host!!! Lo, and Behold, even before completion of the tasbih, the young Haji appeared in front of me... I was humbled...the tasbih said " to you O Allah I submit all my affairs" .....

  • AishaLondon

    Me and my family went for Umra last summer. It was the most amazing experience of my life. One of my most vivid memories of Umra was when we decided to perform Tawaf around the Ka’ba. It was during Ramadaan so we were all fasting and the sun was at its highest peak. The temperature was about 49 degrees C and it was before prayer time so it was very packed. We were exhausted and very thirsty but we still carried on. Whilst circulating the Ka’ba and getting closer to the centre I noticed something I will never forget. Despite being in one of the most congested spaces in my life I kept feeling a relaxing breeze and felt like I was in the most calmest and tranquil state. I have never felt such peace before, and I believe it can only be found on the holiest place on earth.

  • Mohammed AhmedLondon

    I went on my Hajj journey last year 2011 with my wife, prior to this I went on the Umra journey (which can be done any time of the year) this journey was the most amazing trip of my life, the Unity of all the Muslims coming together to worship and to complete our compulsory obligations for our Lord (Allah), this made me understand the values of life as well as appreciate the blessing Allah has granted us, I remember walking back to the tents after the Sunrise prayer and looking down at the valley - it was like a sea full of people all wearing white and this resembled the sign of purity, this trip was a journey of a lifetime and I wish to go back with my parents this year (if Allah wills).

  • Dr Sheeba RazaKarachi

    Yes it’s really a gift of my God that I got a chance to see the Ka’ba, looking at Ka’ba every time gives me satisfaction, Love, happiness and every thing, worlds not explains my feelings. The most important thing I’d like to share with each and every person in Mecca feel proud of himself as he is special guest over there – every person like me felt very proud that he/she is a chief guest of God.

  • Maryam ShariffLondon

    It's really exciting and not at all scary. One of the best moments in my life ever! The atmosphere is very religious which helps!

  • Raisklmoda SyiedBrent, London

    Video referenceRaisklmoda Syied shares his thoughts about going on Hajj. Recorded at the festival Living Islam.

  • Khaiser Khan Morden Surrey

    It was the month of November 2009; I was preparing to undertake the biggest journey of my life to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj. The word Hajj (pilgrimage) brings to my mind numerous cherished memories. The very sight of the Haram (the Sacred Mosque in Makkah) and the Ka’ba, was a greater depth of awe-inspiration that I was dumb struck by the sheer magnitude of beauty in front me. Words truly cannot express the feeling you have upon its sighting. It was truly an honour to be there in the blessed city of Makkah and to embark on the most important journey of my life, surrounded by millions of other Muslims; I was just awed by our common and feeble humanity and to be amongst the Muslim Umma. Hajj is a journey of the Heart and a true testament of one’s faith and connection with the mighty Allah SWT

  • RayhanaLondon

    I was 17. The moment I first witnessed the Ka’ba. It hit me like a wall, how mesmerizing it was, in front of me, the house of Allah. Tears, praises and high emotions come out. You unconsciously forget the world around you. That's the magnificence of performing Umra. I wonder how Hajj will be. Another amazing thing was, everybody else there, is feeling exactly the same way.

  • Faisal SiddiquiBasingstoke

    Absolutely phenomenal, unity, patience, tolerance, excitement, sense of achievement are just some of the words that come to mind.

  • Rezwana UddinGreater London

    One of my most vivid memories of March 2010 was holding my mother by her arm while completing one of the rites of Umra at Safa and Marwa. By the 5th or 6th walk she was feeling exhausted, so I felt the need to encourage her through the remembrance of Allah - the energy drink for the body, mind and soul. The sheer number of people, the heat, and the history behind such a path made it an overwhelming yet refreshing experience. By the end of the spiritual journey my troublesome heart felt light, I felt my connection with Allah had been recharged. I understood the beauty of being a servant of Allah; who created me, and knew me better than anyone or anything else. I am truly grateful for the invite from my Lord.

  • Mahizabin AhmedLondon

    I remember going to Umra in 2006, when I was 9 years old. When I first stepped into the mosque, was the moment I realised where I actually was. Seeing the Ka’ba and being overwhelmed, it seemed like a picture. As we went nearer to the Ka’ba, it looked grand and immediately tears were flowing from my eyes. It was by far the best experience of my life so far. Insha'Allah, the next best experience will be to attend Hajj.

  • Mufleha SaleemManchester

    I have taken part in the practice of Umra with my parents at the age of 10. I am now 22, but I still vividly remember my thoughts and feelings of that time. To me the Ka’ba is the most peaceful place on earth. The coolness of the marble floors and the fulfilling desire of the zam zam water, softens the heart in order to prepare a human being to be able to communicate to God. Within that mosque every human is stood shoulder by shoulder but unaware of the world around and truly feels him/her self closest to God. This is exactly what I felt at my tender age, and still I yearn to be back at the only place on earth that clears my mind and heart of all worries and anxieties. It gave me a peaceful experience that I will never forget and I wish to relive.

  • Mohammed RashidGants Hill

    The very moment you first see the Ka’ba is amazing. You are left breathless whilst you just gaze at an amazing sight which has had religious significance for thousands of years. I cannot wait to go back for Hajj – an experience I will never forget.

  • ArefaManor Park

    My hajj experience was something out of this world!! The spiritual experience was just amazing and gave my life a true meaning, Our purpose in this world, the reality of the hereafter and our submission to our lord. It all comes together their. And it stays with you for life the memories that you bring back. I hope to the hajj again inshallah. Indeed a memorable journey.

  • IzzLeicester

    I went for Umra in spring 2011. It was not my first time seeing Ka’ba live. However, no matter how many times I go there, the feeling is just the same; first, the heart felt extremely calm. Suddenly, I felt like all of problems were gone. It was very amazing and awesome. My eyes could not turn to anything else except looking at that big black square object (Ka’ba). I felt how small I was compared to the great thing (Baitullah) I saw in front of me. It really made me realise Allah is Great and Almighty. I really pray I can always go there many times until the end of my lifetime. I am sure other Muslims wish the same for themselves too..Ameen.

  • Ibrahim KhatibLondon

    Salaams, I went to Hajj in 2011 and the most emotional moment for me was after performing the final Tawaaf on the last day and seeing Kaabah for the last time before returning home. You feel that you are so close to Allah that you never want to leave. You feel at peace with yourself in Makkah and Madinah. You find out about Hajj through the media and other people's experiences, but you only appreciate the greatness of Islam, its history and a real sense of belonging to the Muslim Ummah when you are there. Going to Hajj has changed my perception of life for the better and has brought me peace within myself. For those who are thinking of going to Hajj, please put all your reservations and concerns aside and make the decision to go. Insha Allah you and your family will be rewarded in many ways.

  • Isa MutlibBirmingham

    My most memorable moment of Umra is performing a funeral prayer after every prayer. Seeing the arrival of the deceased whose ages ranged from newborn to the late 80s, it opens ones eyes to the reality of life and reminds one to thank his Lord for the blessings bestowed upon them before time is up.

  • DeeqaLondon

    It felt like I was being drawn to a very big magnet, from the moment I got out of the taxi, outside the Haram. I could not stop till I got a glimpse of That Dark Cloth, not even realizing that I was leaving my parents behind. I think my heart skipped a beat when I finally came face to face with the Ka’ba. Being there made me realize, even more, that only I am accountable for my deeds on the day of judgement and in front of Allah. Also seeing so many different people from around the world made me feel that I am not alone in this search for Allah’s forgiveness, but at the same time that there is nothing special about me and that I will have to be my absolute best in this life, on this earth (as it is the only chance I have).

  • AliRiffa

    You see the Ka’ba and Makkah on TV a lot. However, you cannot describe the moment you see the Ka’ba in real – it’s overwhelming. One of the most amazing moments too is praying there to the One and Only God, the God of Moses, Jesus, Mohammed and all the prophets may peace be upon them all.

  • Dr Karim MahjoubiLondon

    I had done my Hajj pilgrimage last year on 28/10/11, it was fabulous, tremendous and marvellous moment for me. I was able to perform it completely, met many friends around the world. I felt so grateful for such a blessing that Allah had given to me. When I walked around the Ka'ba, I felt so small among million of people, then I felt Allah is the greatest. I had a fantastic time during Hajj and felt that everything went as well as it possibly could. The Saudi authorities did a tremendous job managing more than 3 million pilgrims all descending upon Makkah, Mina, Arafat at the same time. The pilgrimage also enables Muslims from all around the world, of different colours, languages, races, and ethnicities, to come together in a spirit of universal brotherhood and sisterhood to worship the One God together. I wish to do it again.

  • Susan QaziBristol

    When we first arrived in Mecca it was Dhur prayer time and I saw were hundreds of people walking in the same direction. My first thoughts were, I am going to get lost! I remember the first time I saw the Ka’ba. As soon as it came into view I stopped and couldn't stop staring at it and the thousands of people swirling around it. Arriving in Mina and the thousands of tents that were quite literally awesome. Someone in our party got lost for 3 days! In Arafat it rained for the first time in years and people were rejoicing. Later walking from Mina to Mecca through the huge tunnels carved in the mountains it felt like we were real haji's. The last day sitting on some steps over looking the Ka’ba, feeling at peace, praying that I would be privileged enough to come visit it again.

  • Jahanara ChaudhrySouthall

    The most vivid memory of Umra I had was getting close to the Ka'ba's door and my mother gripping my hand, trying to hold onto me as hordes of people were sweeping us along. My mother told me to let go and try to make it to the door, after shaking my head vehemently she pushed through and we made it to the side of the door. Good enough for us, we saw a man being pushed along and resulting in him being hurt... A path to God's home shouldn't be paved with pain and panic, but it taught us to go through different avenues and accept the greatness we have received, we may not have reached the door, but we still made it the Ka'ba itself.

  • Mohammad RafiLondon

    Its a way to Paradise.

  • Foisol UddinTower Hamlets

    This is something I can’t describe, only Allahu alam knows. To this day I always cry and ask Allah to send his invitation again. At seeing the first site of the Ka’ba, I forgot the world, I forgot I had a family and I forgot all my dua’s (may Allah forgive me). Once while waiting for Fajar Salah, I was steering at the Ka’ba, I kept crying and crying. I was lucky enough to visit their twice. Once for Umra and once for Hajj in 2009. May Allah accept it from me and from the Muslim ummah.

  • Khalid SaeedOslo

    The logistics in terms of provision of food, accommodation and travelling to almost 4 million people from 8th of Zil Hajj (day of start of Hajj) until 12 Zil Hajj (completion of Hajj). This is really incredible and can only be experienced. Even more impressive is transportation of 4 million people starting from sunset until midnight from Arafat to Mazalfah. Imagine the entire popluation of Norway travelling a distance of 8 kilometer during few hours, without any major damage, hurdle, difficulty etc.

  • Afzal Amin UK

    The rush at the Black Stone was immense as scores of people flocked over it trying to gain access to kiss this other-worldly object. 'Please God', I prayed, 'if it's my destiny to reach it I praise You and if it's not I praise You'. Suddenly it seemed that the crowd parted, I could have held my arms out on either side and touched no-one and none stood in my way. As my head entered the vestibule I counselled my self, 'Do not tyrannise the others by lingering inside'. I planted five kisses as a representation of the five daily prayers. The stone was not rock, it was not plastic or like any other material I had contacted, it was unique. Inside I heard only silence. I opened my eyes and looked into nothingness, into Infinity. I emerged completely intoxicated and called out 'Allahu akbar!' God is Greater!

  • Azeem AliDewsbury

    I went to Hajj a few months ago with my mum, dad and sisters. I've never seen so many people in one place – there were millions of big, fat, thin, black, white and brown people all standing shoulder to shoulder. I had to wear a white cloth and sleep out in the desert! It doesn't matter if you are the richest person in the world, coz we are all the same in front of God during Hajj!

  • FatimaOxford

    I have been to Umra with my family and it was the best experience of my life, not only did I visit special places I also saw the prophets grave in Madinah. I also went to Makkah and saw the Ka’ba for the first time in my life. I went there for three whole weeks and they have been the best three weeks in my whole life and I would never trade it for anything.

  • Shaista ShiraziPinner

    The moment I saw the Ka’ba in front of me was the most unforgettable moment of my life. Although I was surrounded by thousands of people, I suddenly felt all alone and very, very small. There was a lump in my throat and I couldn't speak for a few minutes. All I could do was just stare at the beautiful sight ahead of me. I never imagined that the sight of the Ka’ba would have such a profound effect. Looking directly at the Ka’ba while praying, instead of looking at the ground (usually done when praying in other places) will be one of my most enduring memories.

  • JadeCanterbury

    Every morning at dawn prayer, hundreds of birds would fly, in a circle, around the top of the Ka’ba. They revolved around it, but not once did they fly across it. To me it looked as though they were worshipping, just like the people below them.

  • Sameera PatelLuton

    My most vivid memory was seeing everyone in the same clothes at the same place all for the same reason and goal. I had never before seen so many people in one place together and yet everything being so organised. The most striking being when azaan is called, how quick everyone lines up for prayers. By far, the most inspiring journey with memories that I will cherish forever.

  • M BLondon

    The Ka’ba is unbelievably captivating! The most distinctive memory of my journey was when I first saw the Ka’ba. I had been praying in this direction ever since I could remember, I had seen the pictures, the video footage and now I had travelled over 2000 miles and was standing directly in front of this magnificent and sacred structure. I cannot even begin to describe the emotions I was feeling. I was in awe, overwhelmed by how lucky I was to be here. I had left all my worldly desires and possessions behind and was here solely to please Allah. I remember circulating the Ka’ba in the scorching heat, another pilgrim taking water and washing my two year old niece’s face to cool her down. This simple action by a stranger demonstrated to me the beauty of this journey and the true meaning of unity in Islam.

  • Jawahr AbdullahDoha

    The best thing about the Hajj and Umra is when you walk through the Mosque to reach the Ka’ba, the view was stunning and in the Hajj I liked it when I spent the afternoon prayer till the evening prayer in the grand Mosque. Time was going quickly and it felt very peaceful. I slept a few times in there too. That was my experience thank you.

  • Qanta AhmedNew York

    Sighting the first glimpse of the Ka'ba was a deeply supernatural, humbling, frightening and inspiring experience for me. Divinity in that moment was palpable and proximal to me in a way I had never experienced. This moment marked a sea-change in my place in Islam and has influenced all my activities since.

  • JasmineManor Park

    I remember the sound of the "ameen" recited aloud and in unison. It really made me feel warm and full – and a part of something bigger than anyone can imagine.

  • Sira MehdiLondon

    I went to perform my Hajj with my mother in 2010. We are were excited yet very worried about the trip as we had heard many horror stories of previous pilgrims. Anyhow before landing in Jeddah, my Mum went to take her heart pills and found that she had forgotten to pack them. At that moment my whole trip was a nightmare, as I just could see the prospect of losing her on the trip. On our group was a very positive GP who. the minute we got to Mecca, started her search for the pills. The night before the start of Hajj she managed to get the same pills free of charge from the state dispensary and my Mum performed her Hajj in complete health. To us this was a miracle of Hajj.

  • Ali Hamza SyedHarrow

    When I saw the Ka’ba the first time I felt enlightened. The sheer number of people and the dedication and determination made me feel astounded and bided together with my religion.

  • Naureen KhanSheffield

    Hajj for me was a dream come true, walking on the holy land where once prophets have walked and talked. It was a magic journey which one can only feel while in the state of ihram and love for Allah. I looked at many different people with many different cultures but united on the words of ‘labaik’. Hajj 2007.

  • Nisa FarooqStevenage

    The first time I saw the Holy Ka’ba I was mesmerised by the Almighty's beauty. No photo nor any television footage can really give you the true image of the Holy Ka’ba other than seeing the Ka’ba with the naked eye. This is a moment in my life I will never forget: whilst praying the Haram Shareef, I saw a flock of birds circling the Ka’ba as if the birds were doing a Tawaaf around the Ka’ba. The echoes of the pilgrims can be heard from afar and it is an exhilarating experience to be amongst millions of pilgrims.

  • Amina S.London

    Umra: What surprised me was the immense calm and peace I felt despite being surrounded by hundreds of people. I was quite taken aback by that and have yet to experience such a moment again. It was fascinating to see the sea of pilgrims of all ages, economic status, sizes and colours - all equal in God’s eyes. This might sound odd but it felt like being at a friend’s house, where you can just walk in and out and feel totally relaxed and comfortable.

  • Afzal AminCalne

    The rush at the Black Stone was immense as scores of people flocked over it trying to gain access to kiss this other-worldly object. 'Please God', I prayed, 'if it's my destiny to reach it I praise You and if it's not I praise You'. Suddenly it seemed that the crowd parted, I could have held my arms out on either side and touched no-one and none stood in my way. As my head entered the vestibule I counselled my self, 'Do not tyrannise the others by lingering inside'. I planted five kisses as a representation of the five daily prayers. The stone was not rock, it was not plastic or like any other material I had contacted, it was unique. Inside I heard only silence. I opened my eyes and looked into nothingness, into Infinity. I emerged completely intoxicated and called out 'Allahu akbar!' God is Greater!

  • SabriLondon

    None of the words I use describes or makes you understand what Hajj was like for me nor for other brothers and sisters; each person needs to experience Hajj to understand what it is like. My journey started from London by wearing my ihram (white cloths) and each moment was so special until my Hajj was completed.

  • Khaver IdreesEssex

    Video referenceKhaver Idrees shares her thoughts about going on Hajj. Recorded at the festival Living Islam.

  • M.B.UK

    I have been blessed to perform two Umras. My first time setting eyes onto the Ka’ba will always be a moment I cherish. Nothing can compare to such an opportunity Allah has allowed me to have. The sight blows you away and you feel all the emotions in your body suddenly overtake you. Every dua (prayers) I have asked for in both my Umras have been accepted, you really feel a connection with Allah. For me, this is definitely the best of all vacations to go on. The experience is one never to forget. May Allah send those who have not yet had the chance to visit this blessed land.

  • Na'eem RazaGlasgow

    Video referenceNa'eem Raza shares his experience of Hajj. Recorded at the festival Living Islam.

  • Mujibur RahmanLondon

    I remember looking at the Ka'ba for the first time. Tears flowed out automatically and the feeling one cannot describe with words from any languages. The feeling is always memorable, always permanent within one’s heart. I have performed Hajj twice now (All praise to God) and would like to just go back again and again. The place is full of blessings, peace and harmony...

  • Zahoor AhmadSrinagar

    My most memorable moment was when I with my family members including my grandmother who was in a wheel chair. It was in Muzdalifah when my father told me that we will go by road from Arafat to Muzdalifah and then it took three and a half hours to reach Muzdalifah and it is quite obvious that moving two wheel chairs (the one which was driven by me and other which was driven by my father) in between all of the pilgrims was very difficult but Allah helped us to complete all the formalities of Hajj though there where some stages, like moving from Muzdalifah to Jamarat, when the tyres of both the wheel chairs were lost and we thought we would never reach home safely but Allah helped us and we reached our Mina tents safely. May Allah Bless you all.

  • RiffatDewsbury

    I will never forget the heat, the smells, the whole atmosphere of Saudi Arabia just hits you. One of the best moments was walking up to the Prophets’ Mosque– it was like walking into Jannah (paradise.)

  • Aayesha IraniRichardson

    The very first time I entered the Masjid al Harem, it was as if peace descended on my being. I set eyes on the Ka’ba and that was all that mattered, everything else in my worldly life seemed to become vastly insignificant by comparison. It was as if my real reason for being here on earth had finally made itself apparent. The magnetism of Mecca is something so intangible it is difficult to put into words, but one word is always at the forefront when I think of Mecca: PEACE. Mecca fills my being with peace. It also a place of respect, tolerance and acceptance as I sat reciting prayers on my tasbih (prayer beads) and watched all the people of different colors, shapes, languages and nationality circle the Holy Ka’ba together oblivious of every thing but that they were all human and devoting their time to the worship of one God.

  • Abdulrazak AbdullahLondon

    People often say that you are bound to shed tears when you first set eyes on the Ka’ba. I must admit that though I was overwhelmed when I first saw a glimpse of the Ka’ba, no tears came out. But as I stopped and performed my first prayer in front of the Ka’ba, tears kept flowing and I was humbled at the house of God.

  • Sharifah BakarKuala Lumpur

    I went for Hajj with my family in 2010. It was a deeply spiritual journey and throughout, we recited the Quran religiously. Although we recited it by chapter and verse from the beginning, somehow the verses matched every experience that we went through as it unfolded. A particularly moving moment was after I had just completed my Hajj. It was a Friday so I had to wait until after Juma'ah Solat (Friday prayers) before commencing the final ritual of Sa'ie. I sat in a quiet corner to recite the Quran. The first verse from where I last stopped declared that "..ALLAH has now completed your religion". It was revealed immediately after our beloved Prophet Muhammad himself had completed his own Hajj just before he passed away. I wept, somehow I was reading it at almost the exact moment that it had been revealed thousands of years ago. It defines me now.

  • Z.H.London

    The most memorable experience ever. Every moment touches the heart. The tears that rolls down your cheeks while repenting, the hair raising experience when you catch the first glimpse of the Ka'ba. The first prayer you make in the haram, the first drink of zam zam that quenches the thirst of a servant visiting his master. It’s an invitation never to be refused and an experience never to be forgotten.

  • Mohammed Rashid (Sammy)Gants Hill

    The first time you see the Ka’ba, the feeling is something you cannot describe. To think this site has always been a holy site and the Ka’ba was built thousands of years ago originally by beloved Prophet Ibrahim and his son Ismail (peace be upon them). Each subsequent time you get the chance to see the Ka’ba is just as amazing. I just wish I can go more often, Insha'Allah (God willing)!

  • Mohammed HanifCoventry

    The feeling you get, once you are standing in front of the Ka’ba is overwhelming. At first when you arrive in Makkah you quickly want to put your baggage in the hotel room get ready and head for Ka’ba. I was walking towards it but not really knowing which way to go, just following a mass of people like sheep. But once you’re in the mosque and you are aware you are just moments away, your heart starts beating faster and as soon as you see the Ka’ba you can not but feel humbled by the sight of Kaba.

  • Ashraf BadrGiza

    I've had to opportunity to perform Umra. Starting form landing in Al-Madina Al-Munawwarah, praying in the Prophet Mohammed's Mosque, it literally gives the most spiritual inner peace a human can ever get, ending with circumambulation around the Ka'ba.. Feeling Allah The Almighty in every inch of your body and soul. Giving you the feeling of how tiny we are compared to His creation and the universe. It gives the feeling of being lighter, purer and closer to Allah by all of your senses. And feeling and visualizing that Prophet Mohammed was right at the same place one day, doing what you're doing more than 1400 years ago. Not to mention how you see your life from a different prospective. You start to realize that life is too short for all of our sins and bad deeds. We were created to help one another.

  • Umer MurtazaLondon

    In my line of work I dispense medicines all day long. I give out drugs for depression, drugs for anxiety, pills for psychosis and pills for the sorts of mental conditions that are, in part, created by a lack of inner peace. Mecca, Ka’ba, gave me the sort of peace that I suspect we’ll experience up above the sky.

  • Muhammad IbrahimLondon

    Having been an ordained for the Church of England, being versed in Biblical history, it was like a journey home, as close as one can get to paradise on Earth. To walk the footsteps of Abraham, re-enact the temptations of the devil through to the stoning of the pillars, the kissing of the black stone recalling the oneness bestowed upon Adam. Prostrating before the station of Abraham brought a ineffable vividness, surrounding one in complete harmony, the harmony of the One God, the unity of the Abrahim faiths, the journey back – the journey home. The message I pray all humanity will share.

  • Ayesha IqbalBedford

    Went for Umra for the second time in my life this summer and I'm 18 in two months. I was sitting by the Ka'ba and an old Sri Lankan lady was near me. We started talking to her even though we couldn't understand each other. She was crying. She kept poking me and then pointing forwards, repeating 'bait Allah, bait Allah' - house of God, house of God. She was so, so happy to see the Ka'ba. I realised that people dream of coming here their whole LIVES and I'd had the privilege of being on my second visit before being an adult. We all speak different languages but Islam unites us all.

  • Laura AdrougParis

    I felt the first strong feeling of spiritual sensation in the airplane during the ''ihram''. The first time I saw the Ka’ba I felt like I was not in Earth. Moreover, at Medina City I discovered the beauty of the natural region and the History of Mohammed. The day I left Medina, I could not stop myself crying because I had this feeling that I will be back in reality, far from that paradise on Earth. I will never forget this amazing experience where millions of people from everywhere share the same feelings, passion and solidarity.

  • Mehtab TazimBradford

    I thank God for helping me to make the journey to Hajj in 2011. Before my journey I heard lots and lots of different stories from people who had visited, some good some scary, but I can honestly say that my experience was similar but different to other people. I believe I was spiritually awakened by the mesmerising cites of Mecca and Medina, yet so peaceful but at the same time so powerful. the first time my I set my eyes on the Holy Ka’ba, it was like an out of body experience ,was I really here? I was almost trying to make myself disbelieve the fact that I was standing in front of the Holy Ka’ba, this was something I only heard stories about and had only seen pictures of and then suddenly I was inside the picture, Something that was always imaginary is now real.

  • Ghaniah Hassan-SmithLeamington Spa

    Nothing could prepare us for our first sight of the Ka'ba, and it's very difficult to articulate our response. No-one had mentioned the bats and swallows performing their own tawaf (circambulation) in the sky high above the pilgrims, the endless arches and pillars hammering out in all directions from the central courtyard, the sensation that all of us there, wrapped in our white shrouds, had died together. The look on everyone's face summarised the truth of Islam; that, in our view, deep spiritual peace is only achieved by complete personal submission to an other-worldly force which we call God, or Allah. A surreal and incredible experience that I wish everyone could see, so well done to the British Museum for taking on this task and helping to convey some of this amazing event.

  • Dr M Ali AbbasiTooting

    On our way to Mina, the coach stopped on the bridge overlooking Mina. The blazing heat, the swathes of people, all in dazzling white, from all corners of the world standing by the flags of their respective countries...breathtaking…almost overwhelming. A shiver went down my spine as I imagined a chillingly similar scenario on the Day of Judgement, when each person will also stand with their nation in extreme fear and anxiety about the imminent scrutinisation of their deeds while on Earth by their Lord, the Most Powerful. The One that many of them had even denied existed. Waiting to hear their final fate. That, for me was the moment of clarity. The moment I finally realised why I and millions before me had actually made this incredible journey; to achieve the ultimate achievement of gaining Allah's Pleasure, to repent and seek His forgiveness for our deeds.

  • M RashidBradford

    The most vivid memory I have is arriving at Mina for the five days of Hajj. We slept in our tent to awake the next morning to see the spectacle of all the surrounding mountains having changed from a baron burnt landscape to a sheet of white. Hundreds of thousands of people had set up tents. Mina had come to life again for five days and nights.

  • Huda KhattabToronto

    I was blessed to perform Hajj in November 2010. It was a very humbling and emotional journey all the way. When I arrived in Makkah and first saw the Ka’ba, I was stunned; I could scarcely believe I was finally standing there, after longing for so many years to see the holy places. The sheer numbers of people were like no other crowd I have ever seen or experienced before or since, but when I walked around the Ka’ba it was just me and Him. I feel like I left a part of my heart there. I want to go back again and again...

  • Waqaas AliLondon

    The first time I saw the Ka'ba was the most warm experience I have ever had. I felt like something was hugging me and that I was standing in front of a picture. I then performed my Umra, on by birthday, I felt like it was a sign from God to tell me everything was going to be okay.

  • Zainub MusaLondon

    Most vivid memory of Hajj for me was when the call to prayer was made and millions of people gathered side to side to face Ka’ba. There was complete and utter silence the only sound that could be felt was of bodies moving in synchronisation. I still get choked when I think about it.

  • Saliqa RobinsonLondon

    Hajj is a challenging privilege and definitely a special experience! The requirements of Hajj has to be completed within a fixed time constraint. Our journey started from London our home direct flight to Medina. Our Hajj expedition started from Medina, we embarked via coach on 2nd Nov 2011, and at the Meeqat with Umrah/Hajj intention, and with a couple of days interval before Dull Hajj Nov 2011. It was eventful in Al Azziza apartment with prayers and preparations and coach transfer to Mina camp followed by Arafat, Muzdalifah, Jamraat/ stoning and momentously by Tawaf al Ifada and finally Tawaf al Wida. Locations in the Holy Land, specifically in Mecca and of course Medina Mosques were heavenly and being among 2.5 million Hajjis offering our devotion to the Almighty Allah of course with my mother who is visual impaired and brother was a honour.

  • Shahid QureshiBirmingham

    The Best Place On Earth, for every Muslim journey of a life time. Medina again the best place on Earth. The best experience I had in my life. It's a must go.

  • Mohammed Hassa

    It is terrifically indescribable.

  • Maryam Abdul KreemManchester

    When I went for Hajj and as soon as I enter in the Ka'ba I was in tears, speechless, and I was feeling so close to Allah we can feel in our mother's hugs...felt so pure like new born..and I just wanted to keep looking at the Ka'ba and its surroundings, it was a such nice beautiful feeling to be in such a holy place. Best time of my life.

  • Suhanis SulaimanKuwait City

    Every Muslim dreams of going to Mecca to perform Hajj but this will never happens if your name is not in Allah's invitation list. To be invited by Allah to this holy land was indeed an honour. When my husband and I wanted to go for Hajj in 2010, all our effort to confirm the journey met dead ends but we never gave up and we believed that if our names are on the list, regardless how difficult it is, we will make the journey. Alhamdulillah, just two weeks before the Hajj, everything falls into places and we made the journey that changed our life forever. It was the most peaceful time for both of us. Alhamdulillah.

  • RohinaEssex

    I did my Umra in 2009 and prayed for everyone who asked me to. God does answer your prayers but you do have to have faith. Remember God will only believe in you and help those who believe in him. I prayed for all the sick, the needy, the helpless, the orphaned and for those of other religions and beliefs as we are all intrinsically connected to each other. I recommend Umra before Hajj as it's not as demanding.

  • KehindeLagos

    Praying with other Muslims of every tribe and creed from all over the world. We were all dressed in the same simple clothing, all equal in worship. There was no reference to Sunni or Shia or any other sect, sex or station. It was the Islamic brotherhood. I was blown away in humility.

  • Amirah ChoudhuryHull

    It is an amazing indescribable feeling being present in the house of Allah. I was overwhelmed with emotion when I saw the Ka'ba for the first time, I could not believe that I was really there and felt like it was a dream! I felt truly blessed for being given such an opportunity! Everything felt so peaceful. I was united with my brothers and sisters from all over the world, I had never felt such a feeling of unity previous to this. Leaving Makkah was heartbreaking, only Allah knows when I will be able to go again, I just pray Allah blesses me and my family with that chance soon.

  • Alfy London

    My memory of Hajj is that which is in my dreams, the one which I visit each night when I am asleep. I have not had the opportunity to visit the holy land, but inshallah with Allah's grace one day soon. Until then I have a beautiful image of the emotions and feelings to expect from the verses in the Quran and I cannot wait until that date when the Almighty calls me. Till then I shall make it compulsory to daydream at least once a day of my journey to the heart of Islam.

  • Aadil NaeemManchester

    Video referenceAadil Naeem shares his experience of Hajj. Recorded at the festival Living Islam.

  • WaidahLondon

    I went to Hajj in 2010. It was beautiful journey which cannot be described. I walked from Mina to Arafah a day before Hajj. Arafah is called the main day of Hajj. All the Muslim read ‘talbiah’. I can see a lot of people. When I was performing tawaf, a lot of other people also perform tawaf and saie. It is a most memorable journey that I cannot forget. I wish to perform Hajj or Umra again.

  • Muna HassanEaling

    The moment most memorable for me out of my Umra experience, is most definitely when we were making our way from Medina to Mecca. We stopped at Al-Masjid al-Nabaw where we showered and prepared to continue our journey to Mecca. Outside the mosque there were hundreds of other pilgrims making the same journey as us, and what struck me the most was that every busload had people off all types from all around the world, but for that one moment every single one was reciting the same dua (prayer) verbatim, and as more people exited the mosque and some began to enter, the dua was never broken. I remember sitting in my father’s car completely amazed and overcome by the beauty of the dua and the beauty of witnessing these people, black, white, young and old come together for that one moment to praise and pray to their lord.

  • OmarRawalpindi

    Umra has always been one of the most enlightened periods in my life. While performing Umra everyone is equal in dress, code of conduct, rituals; which promotes brotherhood and fraternity. Umra and Hajj is the essence of Islamic monotheism. The biggest lessons learnt from Hajj and Umra experiences are spirituality and sense of mind comfort.

  • Zanita AnuarKuala Lumpur

    During my Umra I was careful not to miss anything. Hence when I was to experience my menstrual cycle at the time, I was sad. Still, I entered Masjidil Haram, ready to sit and watch my husband from a distant hillside of Safa and Marwah. Suddenly, a toddler tumbled down hill amidst people walking back and forth emulating Hajar's experience. Pick her up? Someone cautioned me against it but I was afraid she may be trampled. I held her close and she smiled as my husband snapped a picture, ran over to the security office and reported the case. He showed the picture to passers by anxiously. Seemed hours until her aunt came. Verily, Allah didn’t want me to miss anything, He led me to experience the anxiousness of Hajar with an abandoned child. What a lesson of trust and love!

  • M MurniatiLondon

    I went in 1996 with my parents. My father and I went up to a hill in the outskirt of Mecca where every night prophet Muhammad meditated in a small cave called 'Hira' before he received the first chapter in the Koran. The experience humbled me. Furthermore, in the Haram and Nabawi mosques I was moved by the sheer number of people from every race who were equal in front of Allah. Hajj has taught me the universal message of Islam. We might not speak the same language but understood each other having said 'salaam' to one another.

  • Nadim NayyarWest Yorkshire

    Video referenceNadim Nayyar shares his experience of Hajj. Recorded at the festival Living Islam.

  • SyhemLondon

    It was very hard for me to leave my two young children (the youngest 10 months old) with my mum to be able to perform Hajj but it was really worth it. Before you see the Ka’ba you notice the huge influx of people coming from all over the world which you feel that it will never end. And the Ka’ba is a cuboid form you will see in 3-D, amazing! Overwhelming, when you do tawaf for me it is comparable to neutron and electron anticlockwise which can have lots of meaning. Hajj is a beautiful experience also best to perform while you are young.

  • Jamir UddinBlackheath

    I completed my Hajj pilgrimage in 2010. No one can imagine the overwhelming feeling you feel when you see the Ka'ba for the first time. You forget any hardship you endured during the journey there and feel like the only person physically there. The thousands that circumbulate the Ka'ba do it in such military precision that no would ever believe unless you see it action. If you look down from the top floor of the Ka'ba the pilgrims look like ants. Its the duty of every Muslim to complete the Hajj pilgrimage, but it is by the grace of Allah's invitation that we are able to do so. Allahu Akbar.

  • Muhammad AliBradford

    I was in Mecca and had still to complete my tawafs (going round the Ka’ba) but had been hit by a fever. I spoke with a rep who took me to a restaurant above a hotel. My own hotel was on the outskirts. In the restaurant there was a mattress in the corner and he told me to catch some sleep. So there I lay between some chairs and tables in darkness sweating, thinking I'm not going to be able to complete my Hajj. Normally in the UK I'd be off work over a week with a fever like this. But then I lifted myself off the ground walked to the bathroom and looked in the mirror and said 'Muhammad you can do this, you can do this', I headed straight the mosque and a few hours later my tawafs were completed. The feeling I got was unbelievable…

  • Rabia BajwaLondon

    The most vivid memory I have of my Hajj in 2011 was the Day of ‘Arafah. It is the ninth day of Dhuh-ul-Hijjah, the day Muslims believe God will answer all prayers. The pilgrims stand before God, beg for forgiveness and make sincere supplications for whatever their hearts desire on this day. God’s closeness is tangible and hope fills the air. I will never forget the incredible scene of millions of Muslims crying from atop the Mount of Mercy to private corners in the insides of covered tents. All with hands wide up in the air, surrendering their weakest selves before God. I learned on this day that all humans from whatever backgrounds are weak, fragile and desperate for God’s forgiveness and acceptance. My deepest heartfelt prayers were being uttered next to thousands of others. It was truly the most spiritual and humbling experience I’ve ever had in my life.

  • Khalid AhmadNew City, NY

    Ka’ba is not only the symbol of the Unity of Allah but also that of all mankind. I went for Hajj last year. It was an experience out of heaven. Most exciting part was to look at Ka’ba for the first time. Soul started melting and tears started flowing immediately. I could not believe that I was taking a spiritual birth exactly on the same day when I was physically born. I used that moment to pray for family, friends & all mankind. Second most exciting part was to see people of almost all the races circumambulating around Ka’ba. That is where the unity of all mankind begins and ends. Hajj is really a life changing event which really humbles you. After that you embark on a journey of spiritual awakening. Hajj puts a tremendous responsibility on you towards your family and the rest of the mankind.

  • Norul SuhaimiBandar Seri Begawan

    I was about 19 years old when I performed Haj in 2002. To this day it was the most profound experience I have ever had. The moment I set foot in Mecca, I felt a certain calmness and humility that I have never felt before. Only during this pilgrimage can you feel that you are a part of the world, mixing with people from different countries and backgrounds. Here, you can truly see, hear and feel the miracles of Allah. It was not only a spiritual journey, Hajj also helped me realise my true strength and potential as a human being.

  • Saba AhmadEnschede

    I was 12 when I performed Hajj and I still have profound memories of the place. There was serenity, love and peace. My most profound memory is of the birds that were chirping and hovering over the Ka'ba. It was as though they could also feel the peace. I don't know if the birds are still there. I would like to visit again some day. Saying goodbye was very difficult even at that young age.

  • Mumzy ShahLuton

    My most vivid memory of Hajj is in 2001. Me and my mother were stood on the plain of Arafah with almost three million other human beings. From all different continents, different colours, languages, cultures, shapes and sizes, rich and poor. All there for one reason – to seek forgiveness and to seek the pleasure of Allah. All the men dressed in two plain white pieces of cloth. Totally amazing, spiritually uplifting, undeniably unforgettable. Gives me goose bumps just thinking about. Allahu Akbar - God is Great.

  • AbuahmadBirmingham

    How Allah (God Almighty) humbles a person. We arrived and slept (at first) in hotel beds. We then moved to Azziziyah (just outside of Mecca), where we slept sharing rooms with up to 10 people. The days of Hajj began. Arrived at Mina, and slept in tents of up to 50 people, on simple mattresses. Finally, we ended up in Muzdhalifa, where we slept on the floor, in the street, with thousands of others. It brought sharply into perspective, the way in which millions of people have to live. Unforgettable. I had been writing a 'list' of supplications and prayers to recite on the day of Arafat. Kept it safe for weeks and throughout the journey. The day of Arafat finally arrives... and I lose my list. My Sheikh tells me don't worry about lists – when you begin asking, the words will come from your heart. Any they did.

  • Giovanni SelmiLondon

    Video referenceGiovanni Selmi shares his thoughts about going on Hajj. Recorded at the festival Living Islam.

  • FaSydney

    People helping their brothers and sisters in faith. I was helped by so many: a stranger keeping space clear for me to pray within Hijr Ismail; a stranger lifting me to touch the door of the Ka’ba because I was too short; a stranger helping me to touch the sacred black stone; an elderly stranger I helped to circle the Ka’ba – he held my shoulder tight for support; a sick stranger I helped out of the crowd when they fainted; the strangers we took back to our hotel when they lost their groups and gave our beds and helped them find their groups again. The coming together of all races and classes, all dressed in white, all seeking the pleasure of Allah, it overwhelms and makes me cry every time I recall it. Hajj 2011.

  • Mariam DarrLondon

    Setting out from London, I couldn't imagine what the sites and rites of Hajj would be like to actually participate in. Once there, I was amazed to be amongst historical landmarks that I had learnt about growing up. I was delighted to be able to engage and communicate with so many other Muslims, though not verbally, but spiritually and through the medium of worship. If nothing else, I smiled a lot more at people as, in Islam, even smiling at another is charity. It was a humbling experience to be amongst so many others, all there for the same purpose, from so many different backgrounds, yet with the same belief.

  • Zaf AslamLondon

    As a British Asian Muslim I was praying between a Vietnamese and Sudanese Muslim, and I thought; this is Islam. Varying languages, cultures, norms, values and traditions but all united in the same belief.

  • BodrulSt Albans

    The first time you walk into Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, the feeling is unforgettable. You walk through the masjid and you head to the Ka’ba and you see it for the first time. There is a feeling of calm and warmth that flows through your body

  • Sofia AbbasiFeltham

    My first steps in towards the Ka'ba felt as if I had found myself all over again. The most amazing moment was touching the Ka'ba itself whilst tears flooded down my face. Tears of happiness and joy. I asked Allah to forgive my sins and prayed for all my family and the Ummah. There is no feeling that can compare and there is truly no place on this Earth that compares to the beauty and magnitude of inner peace felt when in this amazing place. I am truly blessed to have performed Umra and pray to be lucky enough to go again!

  • HafsahLeicester

    On my last day in Mecca, I went to the Holy Mosque to bid goodbye. As I stood in front of this vast symbol of truth, my eyes flowed with tears and my heart poured out its true feelings. I raised my hands to beg Allah to bring me here again as soon as possible. Slowly I dragged myself away walking backwards until I could no longer view the Ka’ba. As I turned to go I saw a man dressed smartly in a suit. However what struck me was his actions. He stood crying openly and waving so tenderly my heart felt it would burst with the feeling of unity. He was totally unaware of his surroundings as he stood and waved at the Ka'ba with such love like a parent would to a child. This is an image I will always cherish and sums up everything about this journey.

  • HafsaLeicester

    For me the most memorable moment during my first trip was when I completed the final Ramee, the symbolic pelting, I felt as though my soul had transcended above all the gathered people and was shouting "I AM A HAJI." My eyes filled with tears as I thought of those before me and those to come who would yearn for this honour and would leave the world without achieving this amazing experience.

  • Tania ChoudhuryLondon

    I wish I could confine my experience to a mere few words, but I cannot. When my eyes fell upon the Ka'ba, my heart trembled out of love for the One Lord, the One Creator, Who has no partner. It was a moment when all my worries ceased to exist. O how my heart yearns to be in al-Haram again to stand in Salaah, a time when the entire city pauses to pray in solitude to One God. The fragrance of the Attar and the beauty of the masses circulating in unison, the subtle breeze comforting my teary face. The mountains of Makkah and Madinah stand witness to the devotion of these pilgrims and a sense of nostalgia overcomes you.

  • Shafiqa HussainKarachi

    My first thought on arrival was the pleasure to see that all men and women were together and everyone dressed equally, so you could not tell who was rich or poor. They take great care of the disabled and the aged. I was amazed to see the number of people all moving as one, holding the sense of peace and tranquility that the place imbibes.

  • Yasmin DayaStanmore

    Umra for me is an unforgettable experience in my life. The most peaceful moment which I have cherished is indescribable. I met a lady who sat next to me who said money does not bring you to this place, it’s because your Karam (good deeds) that we are here. I have reflected on these words ever since and thank Allah for giving me the opportunity to perform Umra.

  • Waqas KhanLondon

    I had performed my Hajj in 2009 with my Mom. Our was on our way to perform Umra and I was obviously thinking about the Ka’ba and seeing it for the first time in front of my eyes. I closed my eyes and it was night time and when I reached near to ''Mataf'' I opened my eyes and when I saw the Ka’ba in front of me, my brain stopped working and I was so surprised to see all that true beauty of Allah's house. My tears did not stop that time and everyone there had the same feeling as me and that was my life's unforgettable moment.....I wanna be there every year.

  • Safia KhuramPlaistow

    My very first trip to umra was last year with my family. Initially I was very reluctant to go. I had heard the most compelling of stories from people who had visited but was still not convinced. The reality of the journey hit me when I first set eyes on the Holy Ka’ba and was completely mesmerized! No I'm not just saying it, but I felt the existence of the Ka’ba in every inch of my body. I was overpowered by a structure so simple yet so beautiful. I would love to go again and again.

  • FbGloucestershire

    My earliest memories are of my first Hajj when I was three years old – it was 1997, the year there was a tent fire in Mina. I can still remember the fire and panic but what I remember even more clearly is people smiling at me and calling me 'Hajjah Sagiraah' - ''Little Hajji'. So many different people, different skin, different languages but united by just one belief and all disagreements are forgotten - It's what I call peace.

  • Adama Juldeh MunuLondon

    The most memorable moment for me was Umra (the lesser Hajj). I remember entering the precincts of the haram and removing my shoes, almost clashing with those running between safa and marwah, turning down the corridors of grounds outside the Ka'aba. My eyes fixated on what was the centre of my worship. I watched the crowds...waiting for the moment, and when it came, I was choked. It felt like time had stopped. Emotions and tears unexpectedly revealed themselves at a moment that was almost magical and at the same time surreal. The Ka'ba is not worshipped by the Muslims, but rather it is the direction of our prayers. Before now, the Ka'ba was no more than a place of direction, but I realise its undoubting legacy of Abraham and the Prophets in their mission in preaching the Oneness of God, a mission that is my life's purpose and joy.

  • Fazle HaqPeshawar

    It was 26/03/10 when I first came to Saudi Arabia and went for my first ever Umra in May 2010. When I reached there, a certain wish came to my heart that I could stand right there in front of Ka’ba and it would start raining. Sometimes when they show live on TV there was rain. I became so jealous that why I am not there. Time moved on and my wish was buried in my heart until Hajj 2010 in November right after we arrived back from Mina performing Hajj. I finished my last tawaf around Ka’ba and suddenly calling were offered for asar prayers and who knew what will happen in next 5 minutes right there in front of the Holy Ka'ba after first rakha in seconds sound of thunders and lighting and as skies just opened there doors it rained very heavily and i stood there as long as I could.

  • Mabrouk BechihiFulham

    Hajj stories for me is that dream come true. All I can say for the moment is that in some of my dreams I hear adhan (call to prayer) and sometimes I wake up hearing adhan even seconds before it’s time for me to go to the mosque

  • Zara YousafLondon

    Umra for me was one of the best experiences of my life, and seeing the Ka'ba just made it that much better. When you see the Ka'ba in pictures, you’re blinded by the beauty of it. When you see it, you can feel the power of it, and it just strengthens your belief in Allah, and standing where the prophet stood with his beloved companions is just the biggest honour of my life because you think back to the time of the prophets and you feel content. Because everyone around you is equal, dressed in white, people of all different colours and races all together, is just beautiful.

  • Mohammed Saad FayyazLondon

    The last time I visited the city of Makkah was in 2005 with my family when I used to live in Dubai. The experience was amazing, especially the drive from the UAE through Saudi Arabia. When you enter the mosque, it is said that as soon as one sees the face of the Ka’ba, one should make a dua (supplication) and that would be accepted. But the walk through the mosque, with over a thousand worshippers around you and the beautiful smell of Bakhoor spilling through the corridors of the mosque is so intense that one forgets. But then you see it, the famous square building, draped in a beautifully adorned black cloth with Arabic writing in gold. That is the most beautiful and the most emotional sight for a Muslim.

  • Muhammad AhmadLondon

    It was summer of 2004, Makkah, Ramadan, last 10 days, and we had just prayed Friday prayer. As you can imagine it was extremely packed and scorching hot. Forty five minutes passed and still me and my (young) uncle couldn't even enter the two million capacity 'Haram'. We ended up sneaking in via the ladies section and performed an Umra that took about 4 to 5 hours. The entire central area was dedicated to tawaaf (circumnavigation of the Ka’ba.) I've had easier Umras, some during the early hours of the night were beautifully serene and tranquil, taking 90 minutes. They are all so amazingly memorable.

  • Aysha ZiauddinNottingham

    My most vivid memory of Hajj is seeing the Ka’ba for the first time. You walk through the white marble of the sacred mosque and you see the house of God beyond the arches. The imposing black covered with gold inscriptions against the stark clear blue sky is an image I will never forget. You stand there amazed.

  • Juned AlamLondon

    What an experience…No words can ever describe how it feel to see the Ka'ba. Every step I took was special knowing the fact that our Prophet Muhammad trod this exact same path some 1400 years ago and I was a step closer to my Lord. Even to this day when I think about it I have tears in my eyes. The thing that sticks to my mind is when my brother held my hand and said to keep my eyes on the ground as I walked through the mosque I could feel my whole body wanting to look up and the tension building up…then came to a stop and looked up….what a sight! I could only stand there frozen, did not even realise tears were flowing down my cheeks. I pray to my lord that he never stops his invitation to me and takes me there again and again

  • Mustafa McphersonMississippi

    My most memorable moment of Hajj 2010 was on the 12th of Dhul-Hijjah at the time of Asr prayer when a rare thunderstorm came in the Saudi desert. I was praying in Masjid al-Haram at the time and I distinctly remember thinking this rain was symbolic that Hajj is a means of cleansing one's sins. What I enjoyed most was being able to offer prayer with Muslims from all over the world within sight of the Ka’ba. When I first became a Muslim I had psychological difficulty in being the only Caucasian Muslim in the mosque, but during Hajj I felt completely welcome and at peace with my fellow Hajjis. I felt like I was one of the colors of the rainbow and that I was exactly where I belonged.

  • Mohamed Haroon Batley

    Until one actually sees the Ka'ba with his own eyes, one cannot appreciate how beautiful it is. When the wind blows the kiswah covering, the radiance and magnificence of the House of Ibrahim hits you. Just amazing!

  • Ibrahim A YusufDubai

    My most vivid memory of Hajj is of my arrival in Jeddah. Having gone through the chaotic airport we boarded a bus from the wrong place and found ourselves sharing a bus with a 50+ group of pilgrims from Myanmar of all places. We asked where they were from. They asked where we were from. At that moment came an indescribable feeling of mutual respect, honour and happiness. Respect towards fellow Muslims also about to embark on the same journey. Honour to have met other Muslims from the other side of the world and from a country we hardly know or hear anything about. Happiness in the realisation that Islam is indeed a global religion.

  • Naveed MalikWashington DC

    My story is about Hajj's power to unite people. It was 2am and my wife and I had just completed the Umra the day prior to the Hajj in 2010. I was speaking with my wife (in English) when a man turned to me and asked my nationality. I replied "I'm American," and he smiled and said, "I am Irani. Here, this is for you," and handed me a pen with the country of Iran's name inscribed on it. I thanked him as we exchanged smiles, knowing that although our governments have yet to work out their differences, here in Makkah, we were brothers united in our worship of the One God, at peace. This is the power of Hajj: the ability to unite all mankind.

  • Ahsan AhmedLeicester

    Having been on Umra many times in my youth, there was one particular memory that has stuck with me forever. My most vivid memory was during my stay in Madina in the blessed Prophet's mosque, sitting and praying the Quran in front of the immaculate green dome after Zuhr prayer in 45 degrees centigrade heat. Suddenly we were blessed with a shower of rain and the shared delight and emotions on all who felt the sacredness. Can't forget the feeling!

  • Aamer NaeemManchester

    Video referenceAamer Naeem shares his experience of Hajj. Recorded at the festival Living Islam.

  • Serene KasimBangalore

    I went for Umra in the winter of 2004. I was living in Oman at the time. I'd heard from friends who'd been and told me how overwhelmed they felt. One of them in fact had burst into tears when she first saw the Ka'ba! I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I was excited about the journey. Nothing prepared me for the almost shattering silence and peace. I remember walking around the Ka'ba, touching a corner of it. I remember thinking how could it be so quiet when I'm surrounded by so many people. I heard whispered prayers. I saw eyes turned upward in unspoken prayers. I didn't care much for the commercialization around the shrine. But this is expected of any place of pilgrimage I think. What has remained with me is that surreal silence. There is an ethereal quality to the place that transcends everything. The faith of millions maybe?

  • Rauf HameedLahore

    Most of the memories from my religio-spiritual experiences in and around God's house are deep, bringing a lump in my throat. The most vivid and impactful memory is when I saw such a huge number of people for the first time, all these people from different cultures, colours, national and ethnically diverse backgrounds chanting the same religious prayers in a common fashion. True diversity in unison, a global united nations, all for one purpose, in one place, seeking forgiveness and eternal blessings from the Creator of universe.

  • Muhammed Ashraf Ali YusufLeicester

    The place is surely blessed. Until you are there you just cannot comprehend the shear greatness of the Prophet Muhammed. Life as we know it fades into oblivion when you are there. The feeling of serenity is overwhelming. This was for me when I believed in miracles. Millions of people with one purpose and that is the worship of the Almighty. It creates the most tranquil ambiance. This is a piece of HEAVEN on EARTH.

  • Amina BashirLondon

    I've been to Umra twice as a little girl – and twice I got lost in the sea of black and white robes hat rendered every pilgrim as equal and the same: the characteristics that normally differentiate us: heritage, patterns, symbolism, social class, culture, does not exist in Hajj. I grabbed hold of what I thought was my mother's clothing to find that it belonged to a stranger. In my desperation and panic, I saw my father’s face hundreds of times in the moving mass of the devout. To this day, I still feel the wave of nausea at the sheer impossibility of finding my parents in the heart of Islam, where master and servant, strong and weak, poor and rich, East and West are indistinguishable. Lessons learnt: 1. Never lose sight of your parents. 2. We are all but the same: Mankind.

  • Dr Abul Kalam AzadShadwell

    The first time I did my Hajj in 1990 is one of my best moments in my life. I felt so content with the amazing sight of the House of Allah, which was covered with specially-made attire. I could not simply move my eyes from the beauty of the House. The true experiences of Hajj made me more connected to Ibrahim and his descendent, and thereby to broaden the sense of brotherhood with everyone who is in love and connected with Ibrahim. Millions of people are making their best efforts to come closer to Allah. This is the place that never makes people bored of it. The more you stay there, the more you feel deeply about it. I wish if I could visit it every year.

  • Sofiya DawoodjeeLondon

    I remember when I first stepped into the Harram (the holy mosque) and remember it being so bright and white. And then laying eyes on the Ka'ba, hardly anyone was there allowing us to easily complete a tawaf (round) and easily touch it. After that whenever we went it was always packed – the first time felt so surreal after that I'm positive divine intervention played a role.

  • Muhammad DanielHastings

    One evening in Mecca I had a yearning for a burger. So off I went through the thick crowds. As I struggled through I felt a pull on my pocket, I put my hand down but it was too late - my wallet was gone with all my cash and credit cards. The next day, feeling sorry for myself, I went to the lost property office and queued up, only to be told I was in the wrong line; I started to complain and the police officer asked where I was from, then what football team I supported. He invited me in for tea, then said "Allah made you lose your wallet so you could kiss the Black Stone." A policeman took me by the hand and lead me through the crowds to the Kaaba, he shielded me from the masses and I kissed the blessed stone twice. Alhamdulillah.

  • Anum NadeemLondon

    I went to Umra with my family this summer. It was an amazing, breathtaking experience being in such a holy place. There's a feeling of safety and peace 24/7 and the actual experience of performing Umra was something totally incomparable to anything in the world. My most memorable view was my first live glance ever at Ka’ba. It was beautiful and simply perfect.

  • Farzana AmatullahKingston

    Changed my life. Whatever problems one is going through, you reach there and are reminded that there IS a purpose to this life and there IS an explanation for all the suffering and hardships. I wasn't practicing when I went, but my life can't be the same since Hajj. One moment: an elderly man had died on my lap, dressed in Ihram, content that he had made the journey and fulfilled its rites. His last prayers were being whispered, and his face turned towards the Ka'ba. He called out to Allah and proclaimed the testimony of faith. Every step I took after that moment and every breath I breathed, I tried to remember that I am blessed to be able to live any future moment of my life in worship to the One Lord, and seek His forgiveness for my failings – and I intend to keep to this promise, forever.

  • Afnan ChowdhuryBrighton

    "Rehearsal for the life hereafter", in a nutshell, that’s what Hajj taught me. As we are so busy with our life in this world and its activities (work, career progression, study, projects, business opportunity, friends, family and so on) it’s easy to forget that we all have to leave this world one day and this day is nearer than ever before. Allah said in Quran, "Verily, We it is Who give life and cause death; and to Us is the final return". Going through Hajj and performing its rituals reminded me this very true fact that we will all leave this world but will be brought back together in the day of judgment for the final gathering. We will have nothing other than a log book and will be judged on what we have done in this life.

  • Sajjad JivrajPeterborough

    My most memorable moment was when early every morning at 4am when millions of pilgrims walked from their homes and hotels to the centre of the Muslim world, the sound you could hear was only of footsteps, not a sound of talking, shouting of taxis or shop keepers, absolute silence.It felt like I was flying with Angels.

  • Idris WadeNorthampton

    After converting to Islam in 1989 at the young age of 17 I was always intrigued by the journey of Hajj. To be able to follow in the footsteps of a remarkable Prophet and recount the steps of time set out by God himself seemed incredible. We set out in 2004 and endured a long arduous journey that only added to the senses. I crumbled at the sight of the Ka’ba and stood for sometime pausing to reflect on this centre point of one of the greatest faiths at its achievements. To recall that exact moment is inspiring, as was the day of Arafat, which to me was the best day of my life, to see all colours and cultures together stood side by side to worship God was the most powerful vision I will take with me to the day I die.

  • Umm A'TikaSheffield

    I will never forget the strange sense of belonging, a mutual tie and common goal with everyone surrounding you – regardless of the fact you do not understand one another. A simple 'Assalam u alaikum' and a smile speak volumes. Everyone sharing a purpose, to attain the pleasure of the Lord of all of us......such beautiful moments will remain with me forever!!!

  • Mrs Julie SarriLondon

    I just remember thinking wow! How big the Ka’ba was. My twins were 21 months at the time and we all did Umra. It was a great feeling.

  • Kamel SenouciLondon

    When I saw the Ka’ba for the first time, I remember vividly feeling so overwhelmed with amazement and almost disbelief that I was really there. I felt so light and free from the trappings of this world and that in this moment I'm closer to Allah and this is everything to me. So many people arriving around me were crying as they gazed at the Ka’ba and I just knew that they have the same connection and feel this incredible peace too.

  • Monica AlauddinRichmond

    Born of Italian and Bangladeshi parents, my upbringing was varied and interesting to say the least. Little did I know my path would take me to Makkah. I heard of the “calling” when I was young but never believed in it would happen. My Umra calling came June 2011. Inside the Mosque I was frantically using my eyes, what I willed my body to do, I kept asking myself where is the Ka’ba, where is it? I edged forward, I began to feel warm but a strange coolness enveloped my body despite the heat, there the sight that I had dreamed of but never thought I would see was in my view. My breath stopped for a second, my heart stopped beating, my throat became dry, there was no thirst, I prayed towards this since I could understand the words La-Ilaha-Illaal-lahu. There was my calling, there was my Islam… Alhamdulillah.

  • Kamel BakshHanworth

    I still remember my first sight of the Ka’ba as if it was yesterday. We stepped into Masjid al-Haram trying to find a space for ourselves and my wife said to me “Look! It’s the ka’ba!” I turned around and was mesmerised by the structure whose purpose is to unify Muslims in prayer towards one direction. I was truly humbled to see the mass gathering of people united in worship irrespective of their status, race and nationality. They were adorned in simple white clothes worshipping the One Lord who created you and me. This unity is what I have tried to depict in my painting called ‘United for His sake’.

  • Carol-Ann DugganCork

    My little miracle was at Arafat. I was in a tent with some of the women from my group from Ireland. The food had arrived, Alhamdu Lillah (thank Allah), but it lacked flavour. I found a small sachet of salt in my purse, I shook some on my food and passed it to the sister next to me. It went to 5 or 6 other women (who happened to be Arabs and the Arabs like salt) who all took some but it was returned to me still half full. Subhan Allah (Glory to Allah). There were other miraculous things but this stood out because it included other people.

  • Wan A HulaimiLondon

    I told a Muslim lady (an Afro-Caribbean convert to Islam) that I was going for the Haj and her reply surprised me. “Insha Allah (God willing),” she said, “I'll see you there.” “Insha Allah,” I replied, and thought no more of it. We arrived in the Grand Mosque in Makkah that overflowing, tens and thousands of people in a sea of white. My friend and I found a gap in a row of fellow hujjaj where we stood to perform our prayers which ended in a seated position, when you turned your head to the right in a greeting of salaam (peace) and then to the left. My second salaam brought something totally unexpected. There, on my left, was the Caribbean sister, sitting and smiling without a hint of surprise. “Assalamu alaykum,” she said. “It's good to see you!” Masha Allah. As God has willed.

  • Alaa.JJeddah

    First of all it was the best thing that happened in my life, the vivid moment. When we went to throwing the gravels , I could not believe my eyes, all these people, massive number, move towards one direction, doing exact actions and men wearing white. Top of that without any specific community teams or the colour of the skin and we whisper to Allah, the pilgrims voice was stunning.

  • NoorjehanLondon

    From the moment you make the intention to perform Hajj you start making preparations to take on this spiritual journey. During the Hajj you are constantly striving to please and thank the Almighty Allah for his invitation. The memories sustain you for the rest of your life. The imprints of your experience is always fresh in your mind and heart.

  • Hamza QureshiLondon

    Seeing an elderly man with one leg and two crutches, very slowly doing tawaaf (circumambulation) around the Ka’ba on the roof. One circuit on the roof is about one kilometre so multiplied by seven he walked seven kilometres on his own (without any family, friends or helpers) and didn’t give up To see the determination and willpower of some people at a time when hardships can easily cause people to slack, get complacent or give up altogether. Seeing this man was an inspiration for me throughout the whole Hajj.

  • Sophia KhanSlough

    My most memorable moment was when I just happened to sit on some steps looking out to the Ka'aba... there were thousands of people from all over the world circumambulating this sacred structure at the centre of the Earth, all there for a common purpose of praising God, yet each engaged in private reflection oblivious of any other. Every few minutes, with a new group of people there was a fresh burst of energy. It suddenly hit me, like never before, that these people, I, had ‘literally’ followed in the footsteps of the beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) - he trod this exact same path some 1400 years ago declaring the oneness of God and I was doing it now – the message as pure now as it was when delivered. God bless his perfect Messenger.

  • Sajida ManjiPeterborough

    It was my last few days in Mecca which are the most vivid because of the wonderful time I had spent in Mecca. Each night I saw the holy mosque where the sacred Ka'ba is built embrace its guests, each arch and doorway filled with people, families and nations alike. It was one night when the mosque seemed so full, it felt as if the whole world was present. I remember looking around, everyone mesmerised by a small black box, the Ka'ba. The gold architecture or the big green clock, built to impress, was forgotten - all eyes focused on the Ka'ba. Whether praying or circumbulating, each of the guests had a common goal, a purpose, our souls united, praising our Lord. I sat infront of the Ka'ba, transfixed, I was witnessing an out of this world experience, me, you...us.

  • Farooq WandrooBirmingham

    I remember the first view of Ka’ba. I could not believe I was in front of what I had seen in pictures only. More so it had a hypnotising effect especially when you saw people in whites swirling round it. It was great to be walking with millions of people saying the same words 'Here I am at Thy service O Lord, here I am. Here I am at Thy service and Thou hast no partners. Thine alone is All Praise and All Bounty, and Thine alone is The Sovereignty. Thou hast no partners.'

  • Sanam BiLondon

    During our night journey to Mina via a coach, I felt so agitated and nauseous as I normally do whilst travelling for a long period of time. However, this particular time I really felt that my patience was running low. I was thinking, 'How long can I go on for?' The windows were open on the coach as we drove passed a huge truck, a strong and very unpleasant smell got to me. The passengers were excited to point out the sheep tightly packed together ready to be slaughtered for Hajj. I was at the end of my tether. My mother proclaimed to the passengers to close the windows as I was on the verge of vomiting. I then looked out to see so many tents, realising we were in Mina. I saw a banner which read 'Welcome to the guests of the Most Merciful'. I was overwhelmed with absolute joy!

  • Awais AliForest Gate

    I could not have asked for a better Umra experience during my time there. Once inside, I felt a sense of unity and equality similarly to how Malcolm X felt during his pilgrimage. You can try to imagine it many times, what it will feel like, but nothing compares, when you find yourself amongst some of the most diverse people from all walks of life all praising God together. Describing how I felt throughout is most difficult. For the first time I wasn't thinking about anything or anyone. The thoughts of how God had granted me this blessed opportunity filled me with emotions. Within the Haram, I felt a surge of energy as I conversed with my lord asking him to forgive me.

  • Mabashirah Birmingham

    I went hajj last week and it was the best experience of my life.

  • Tarik London

    It was on the evening of Eid Ul Adha, I had performed all the rites of Hajj in one day (about 10 miles of walking). This unfortunately didn't do my feet any good and I had really bad blisters. As I struggled back on foot to the Mina camp site, a brother (a stranger who I had never met) walked past me and could see I was in a lot of pain so decided to take his (what looked like a brand new pair) of trainers off and give them to me. The generosity and compassion my fellow Hajjis showed was beyond anything I had ever experienced. This is one of many instances of virtuous actions I witnessed. What a different world we would live if we all lived accordingly.

  • K.C.London

    The most vivid memory for me was the stay at the plains of Arafah. It was a magical experience where you could feel the absolute presence of the Almighty. Small requests on parched lips felt like they were immediately accepted. I've come back with a renewed security and conviction in prayers. The feeling of standing in the heat and praying with millions of others was an overwhelming experience that words alone cannot express! Hajj 2011

  • Kamran MajidLondon

    I was privileged to make the Hajj of 2011. The moment you enter the Harem Mosque and first lay eyes on the Ka’ba feels like the day you are truly born of life, your soul, heart and eyes soften and ease to the glorious sight. It’s incredible, so many Muslim around the globe pray towards and visualise this point before ever making the journey, now I have returned home I think it is testament to the faith.

  • Moriam Grillo-HenryDunstable

    The plains of Arafah are like stepping into another world. Being there is an opportunity to leave behind the world as we know it and retreat into your own personal space. A zone of solitude and reflection and, ultimately, remembrance and resolution.

  • Haroon MotaCoventry

    I remember arriving at Mina, seeing thousands of white tents beyond my sight. It was incredible knowing that millions of people were coming in from all around the world, and would be camped here in between these mountains in the tents for the worship of Allah. Then it began to rain, and this was an experience I'll never forget!

  • FarooqBirmingham

    The highlight of my Hajj was to walk with millions of people wearing the same piece of simple cloth, saying same words here I am at thy service oh Lord, here I am, submitting ourselves to Allah. It was very uplifting to be united with people from all walks of life from all over the world as one umah (community) all for the sake of God Almighty. That sudden feeling of Joy once I completed all rituals of Hajj gave me the feeling I was reborn clean of sins and hoping that my Hajj has been accepted.

  • Ayse AkgunluLondon

    Seeing the Ka’ba all dressed up and welcoming you like a host waiting for his guests, gleaming, calling me like a shy bride all ornate and beautiful in black, as if He was beckoning for me to acknowledge its presence. Making me feel like, He is waiting and wanting me to come and be forgiven for all the sins, like a child running to his mother and the mother saying "don't worry I still love you and I will forgive you". Walking closer to it and finally, I put my head on the walls of the Ka’ba, feels like the furthest I could go to knock on His door, feels like there is no other destination that requires traveling. The final most peaceful point ever. Like a baby in a mothers arm, embraced by all the love and joy and feeling of being welcome to His presence, to His home.

  • Asima RashidWatford

    I performed the Hajj in 2007. The most amazing moment (obviously after the first sight of the Holy Ka’ba) was when we were going to the Jamarat for the (metaphorical) stoning of the devil. Everyone was walking in the same direction, on the same day and the same time for the stoning, reading the Takbir (Allah is great). As we approached the proximity of the stoning pillars, for a split second I looked back and I was speechless. I saw a flood of people as far as I could see, walking in unison, chanting the Takbir in chorus. The Takbir was resounding in the air from every possible direction. For a moment it felt like I was standing on the day of judgement with the whole of Humanity to be judged in front of Allah.

  • Rohana Mohd YusofSelayang

    I went for my Umra last year( 2010). It was my first time to Madinah and Mecca. It’s really emotional and upsetting…it’s very hard to describe, while looking at the Ka’ba. I hope Allah will give an opportunity to come again to be a guest of Allah for my Hajj. I am still learning to be a good Muslim and am grateful to be born a Muslim.

  • Hafsa GarciaPortsmouth

    I went for Umra when I was 10, which was a long time ago so I can't remember much and I didn't really understand the significance of Umra at the time. However, I remember two things clearly. One is seeing the Ka'ba for the last time before we left and feeling really sad – I actually cried, I didn't really know why but I just didn't want to leave. I also remember having some bottled water on the way home and asking my mum what is wrong with this water it tastes so horrible!! It was because I had gotten used to drinking the delicious fresh zam zam water, which they supply in abundance around the Ka’ba, I definitely miss that!

  • AtunManchester

    Video referenceAtun shares her thoughts about going on Hajj. Recorded at the festival Living Islam.

  • Rima MannanLuton

    Words cannot describe the first time you see the Ka'ba. My eyes were dazed at what I was looking at. My heart instantly was filled with peace. I was amazed seeing all the different types of Muslims from all over the world united to praise Allah. Black, white, brown people standing side by side to pray. No can tell who is rich and who is poor.

  • Fatma RaiToronto

    Hajj for me was a rollercoaster of emotions . I felt the true sense of devotion amongst millions of Muslims from all over the world going through the Hajj rituals. People from different parts of the world, regardless of colour, ethnic backgrounds, rich or poor, gathered in the holy land strapped with white cloth (ihram) on their bodies and only Allah shall see what lies within their hearts. We seek forgiveness and may the Almighty grant us our wishes.

  • JulieLondon

    When we went for Umra I remember having always seenthe Ka’ba on TV and it looked beautiful but you can’t judge just how big it is until you are standing looking up at it. It was so big, I felt very small. Tthe taste of the zam zam water was amazing, it doesn’t taste the same as normal water and you can drink and drink it.

  • Huma ShahLahore

    Although I've been on Umra twice before, Hajj was a totally different experience. It’s said that Madinah is benevolent and gentle, and that was true, the balmy evening/late night/early morning breeze and atmosphere is magical. Makkah is said to have a weightier atmosphere and truly Allah's presence seems magnified thousand-fold. It pulsates in the very air you breathe and is magical and awe-inspiring and you can literally taste the magic! Also the Ka’ba is magnetic and its gravitational pull on your entire being is awesome. I wished that I could just run headlong into it and stay stuck to the walls forever! There is a total peace of mind and cessation of being! The most fabulous experience of my life.

  • Farahnaz MuradPeterborough

    Umra in summer 2011. I was amazed to see thousands and thousands of people with the same intention. No one superior to any other. It was an overwhelming feeling. I visited the Ka’ba and from the outside it just seemed a vivid image…unreal to an extent. The intensity of knowing what I was about to see was emotional, the biggest landmark, the core and the only direction Muslims around the world unite to pray and I started crying before even stepping foot inside at gate 1 of the Ka’ba Sharif. You can’t describe the feeling that overwhelms you. Entering Mecca and Madina you can feel that big things have happened here. Loved the experience and love how so many people of different colours and backgrounds can unite to perform one of the pillars of Islam. Nothing else seems to matter.

  • Amalul MuttaqinBerakas

    Before, I could only see the Ka’ba from pictures but to stand before the Ka’ba in person is so superb an experience, there are no words to describe it! It’s so peaceful, calm and I felt really close to Allah. So did my first visit to Prophet’s grave where it felt so emotional to learn what he gone through to spread Islam and his sacrifices for Islam. To step my foot in the holy lands of Makkah and Madinah, it felt like home! It was a journey of a lifetime, it’s worth spending the money and my time for Hajj. I really miss being there, I wish to be given chance again to perform Hajj or Umra.

  • AhmedMuscat

    I went for Umra in 2011. I had a wonderful experience during my 2 day stay. I felt so blessed to be able to come here where other people can only dream of coming. The mosque was beautiful, so splendorous and majestic. I will never forget it....I have never felt so close to Allah and more humble than I was in Mecca. An added bonus was visiting the Prophet's mosque. I love Islam!!!

  • Mohamed KhateebCairo

    When I was in Hajj, and when I saw all these people had come for the sake of Allah .. it was an amazing feeling. Even though it’s a lot of effort you don’t feel tired...you ask Allah in Hajj and he gives you what you are asking for.

  • Nadeem JulaniManchester

    Video referenceNadeem Julani shares his thoughts about going on Hajj. Recorded at the festival Living Islam.

  • Shayma SheikhLeicester

    I made my Umra 7 years ago and to this day the memories send shivers down my spine. It was magical; more magical than Disneyland!! Words alone can't explain the uplifting and exhilarating feeling rippling through myself! My favourite part was when we set foot inside the Haram and my siblings and I were going to lay eyes on the Ka'ba for the first time. We kept our eyes on the ground and only when we reached the courtyard did we look up. Wow. Gobsmacked. Amazing. I could only hear the birds singing and the general hum of people praying; I'd zoned out and no word in the entire dictionary will come close to describing how I felt. Pure, pure serenity :) The overall experience is very humbling. As I'm writing this, I'm smiling.

  • MustafaLondon

    Bismi-llahi r-ra?mani r-ra?im (In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.) Patience and Humility is how I would sum up the journey of Hajj. Being allowed, invited and able to participate in Hajj is the most humbling feeling I have ever experienced. The draw of the both the holy mosques in Makkah and Medinah is overwhelming. I saw myself trembling and crying in fear of Allah. Knowing that I have sinned, and asking for Allah's mercy. Yet longing to return again and again if the Almighty allows me to. I often dream of my experience and try to better myself as a person each day.

  • Joseph CrookLondon

    We happened upon a group of Hajjis from Dagestan in Russia. They had travelled overland on a bus that looked like it was held together with paint. They'd converted it into a market stall where they were selling rugs and other textiles – the like of which we'd never seen before – to make enough money to get home. Travelling around the market that had sprung up around the tents in Mina felt like travelling back in time, seeing people selling the same way they had probably sold things for generations before us. Herbs and spices, potions, beads, incense and all manner of things we couldn't name. It felt like all human life was there.

  • N.C.Stuttgart

    There were so many emotions you feel in these few days. It was overwhelming. The first sight to the holy Ka’ba…words lose their meaning and you can just kneel down and be thankful. I wish that everyone who wants to make this blessed journey have a chance to do so.

  • YasminLondon

    As I walked towards the holy mosque I was imagining how I would feel seeing the Ka’ba. As I approached the gates of the mosque, my heart started beating really fast...I closed my eyes and took in a deep breath; my dream was about to come true. As I opened my eyes I saw this most amazing building and the tears started flowing down my cheeks. I cannot explain the emotions that I felt – the happiness I felt. I cried and cried as I made a prayer and spoke to my Lord. I looked around and each and every person was my equal and each and every person was there for the same reason: to be close to their Lord and ask for forgiveness. What an experience. Hajj 2011.

  • Fatiha AliNewport

    The most memorable moment for me was a truly magical moment. We had chosen to walk back with our group and hundreds of others to Makkah from Mina following our stay there. As we walked out of the tunnel in Makkah and saw the Masjid al Haram in front of us we felt raindrops and before long the rain was pouring down on us. I felt like crying with happiness and gratefulness to Allah. In that moment, it truly felt like Allah was showering his mercy and blessings on us following the days of Hajj. I can only pray that Allah had accepted our Hajj and this was the case although only Allah knows this.

  • Sabina QadriWakefield

    On my last morning in Mina I was overwhelmed by a great sense of rejuvenation, as if cleansed by the beautiful experience of Hajj. The people I met, the places I saw, and the emotions I felt will forever be etched into my memory. Never before has an experience impacted so strongly on my being. Hajj taught me many things; to strive patiently through hardships, to be grateful for every small blessing we have been endowed with, to appreciate the bounty of God's creation, but most of all, that we are One people, made by One God, regardless of our race, creed or gender. Standing amongst 3 million others on the day of Arafah made me forget where I came from or what colour my skin is. All I remember is the unity I felt with my brothers and sisters that day.

  • Mohammed Nurull IslamLondon

    Arafat – standing in the place where life began, a place where some say that mankind will be bought back when all life ends. The space around me was almost orange as the sun was setting in Arafat. Before I set to make the last prayer on the most holiest day of my life, I look around me, people pleading, begging, crying, smiling, in couples , in groups, by themselves, under a tree, on top of a mountain, in the open air, in ways they felt most comfortable, all facing the Ka’ba with their hands raised high to be the most closest to their lord they could ever be. A gust of the calmest wind brushed by my whole body on this final moment of Arafat. I smiled at this moment with a feeling that I have never experienced before. Words cannot fully justify this special moment that Allah gave me.

  • Tasneem AliBolton

    Performing Umra as a child is a memory I cherish very close to my heart, being overcome by the powerful emotions that I felt during this experience is indescribable in words and still resonates with me today. The atmosphere, the tranquility, the strong connection you feel in that moment to Allah and to those surrounding you is overwhelming yet so peaceful. Truly enlightening.

  • Marwa MostafaCairo

    When I went to Haji in 2010, I felt that I was reborn. It is an amazing experience. I felt I was in Paradise. I did not want to return to my country because I did not want to stop this feeling of enjoying not doing anything in my life except worshipping Allah. I wish I can go to Hajj every year.

  • Sakina SulemanMilton

    Circling (‘Tawaaf’ in Arabic) the Ka'ba with my wonderful late father and sisters among a sea of devotees purely for the sake of Allah alone was the most vivid moment. There is nothing quite like it. And there hasn't been anything like it since. That memory of utmost peace; a stillness – feeling somehow electrically charged, radiant by the pure energy surrounding this blessed House of God is truly incomparable.

  • Shamsun UddinLondon

    Video referenceShamsun Uddin shares her thoughts about going on Hajj. Recorded at the festival Living Islam.

  • Imran KhanPeterborough

    Umra in March 2011 was a very moving experience, a journey into the past for my future, to ask for forgiveness and to pray for my children. It was a journey of a life time...god willing I will return soon.

  • IdreesiaWatford

    Beautiful, peaceful, perfectly overwhelming! Millions of hearts pounding in love, respect and fear for Allah! All races, all colours, all heights and shapes circling around the most magnificent and perfect yet simple House on earth. The House of Allah! The Mosque of Allah! The Land of Allah! Everybody crying, smiling, silently, passionately, calmly, forcefully pushing their way through the crowds to complete the rituals and obey Allah. The call to prayer appears loudly and powerfully to the far corners of the sanctuary. The masses stop with all other rituals and stand shoulder to shoulder to bow in front of Allah and obey Allah. Time stops and only one voice among the million voices is heard. The voice praying, submitting, worshipping and obeying Allah. Hajj, Umrah, that unity is all devotion and love for Allah. Indeed it is the most perfect state of obeying Allah!

  • Zurqa RasulManchester

    You see pilgrims from all over the world, of all countries/tribes and backgrounds. When you are performing Hajj, you are stripped of your social status, your secular roles in this world, which is incredibly liberating. A precious memory of my Hajj in 2006 was just before the call to prayer had been made. Our hotel was close to the Sacred Mosque. I heard a rustling outside our window and looked out. The road was filled with people all heading in one direction, heading towards one place, in order to pray to the one God. It was beautiful.

  • IsaacBirmingham

    One of my abiding memories of Hajj this year....I was sat in the Haram, watching what seemed to be the mass of humanity performing the circumambulation of the Ka’ba. Because of the midday heat and the fact that only a madman would be sat in the sun at that time of the day, I literally had a whole set of stairs to myself... splendid isolation in a sea of thousands. Then someone offered me a cup of Zamzam water and came and sat next to me. We chatted for about ten minutes and he was a fascinating fellow in his sixties. Just as he got up to leave, he suggested we meet for breakfast. I asked which day he was free. That’s when he said, “We’ll meet in Jannah (Paradise) for breakfast brother, inshallah”. Probably the nicest thing a stranger has ever said to me.

  • Foiyz UddinLondon

    The most amazing journey I have ever been on. Seeing millions of people from all around the world in one place doing the same thing at the same time is astonishing.

  • Narjis ButtLondon

    Although the Ka’ba is the most beautiful sight you can possibly imagine, it is not what you see on this journey but what you feel. Your soul feels illuminated, it feels alive again. After much involvement in this materialistic world which is full of hypocrisy, depression and greed, your spirit feels free and very close to God, nothing like you have ever felt before. You find it easier to become completely submitted to God’s will and you find pleasure in doing so. All pain caused by this world becomes irrelevant, and all sores feel healed. Although you are amongst millions of people, you do miraculously feel that you have your Lord’s full attention and he is listening to your every word. You feel fortunate, blessed and close to God, as he has selected you to be one of the few chosen ones to arrive at his door.

  • SuzanaBandar Seri Begawan

    My second Hajj was in November 2011. I went to Madinah first and learned to disciplined myself here. It's a change from my daily life. I had to be early to enter Masjid and find a good place to do solat (prayer). Since I was early, I could relax and not hurry myself. I learned to be flexible while visiting Raudah (Grave of the Prophet). With so many women pushing and squeezing to get in, flexibility and patience let me enjoy my visits. By the time I reached Makkah, my heart was already softened and love for Allah, Rasul (the Prophet) and the holy cities grew deeper. I hope Allah forgives my sins, my parents' and all Muslims in the world. This was the best time of my life and I am still feeling it and feel blessed that Allah has invited me there again. I hope for more visits, for me and all Muslims.

  • Rania GonemWoking

    As we walked together with our Hajj group towards the ritual Devil stoning I felt as if we were going into battle! The excitement started to swell inside me as we joined thousands of other pilgrims all with one purpose. As we approached the spot the patter of a thousand pebbles hitting the expansive wall filled my ears mixed with the cries of “Allahu Akbar!" Grasping the little stones in my left hand I reached the wall, representing the devil, and one by one flung the stones and felt with all my heart that indeed "Allah is Great!"

  • FizaIlford

    At Hajj this year - in Mecca we stayed at a hotel in the tower opposite Kaabah. We had enough food and drinks on us and wanted to share them with other pilgrims. Next to the hotel was an open space. That night when we stepped out, the place was full of families (elderly, young couples, children) in pilgrim attire. These were people from around the world, who probably spent all their savings to reach Mecca but had no money for hotels etc. The resilience and calmness in them was humbling. When we offered them our supplies, they just put their hands out indicating give us however much you wish – there wasn't any greed or impatience. I thought to myself that I have to learn this focus and commitment from them – they are the true pilgrims.

  • Muhammad KarimJohannesburg

    I recall walking around the Ka'aba and feeling all at once like the luckiest, most blessed person on Earth and at the same time, amongst millions of others, insignificant. I recall smiling strangers, dirty streets, overwhelming numbers of people and a singular focus on the relationship between myself... and God. An experience all at once, individual and collective, the best experience of my entire life.

  • AminWakra

    Going to Makka and seeing Kaaba was just an amazing experience. It was a kind of feelings never experienced before. Something happened with my soul that cannot be expressed. Surely it must be something special from Allah (the creator of this universe). Men and women of all ages were walking together and no usual feelings other then just fear of Allah. Everyone's face is worried to seek mercy only. It is not possible to express the feelings in words exactly.

  • Siti Farha Binti GariebBatu Pahat

    I have been to Umra twice, in 2007 and 2010. Allah's will, I shall perform my Hajj soon. Being there heals one’s heart, brings us closer to our Maker and gives us patience. Surrounded by thousands of people, it gives me strength and trust in the solidarity of the Muslim people irrespective of color, race, rich or poor. I still remember fragrance in the air in Masjidil Haram and prayed to Allah, make my soul and heart smell as beautiful and as wonderful as that.

  • Hannah RiazCardiff

    At the start of 2010 I never imagined that I would complete the Hajj with my family by the end of that very same year. The single most vivid and amazing experience was when I was able to perform the Tawaaf (circumambulation of the Kaabah) as a part of my Hajj right next to the Kaabah and was able to do a dua (prayer) at each of its three exposed walls. This brought tears to my eyes as it was something that I could only dream of during such a busy period and I spiritually felt incredibly close to Allah during this act. Virtually every day was full of pleasant surprises as I experienced the unexpected. When I returned home my perception on almost everything changed and I learnt that if I always put my faith in Allah, something completely unexpected and what appears impossible yet positive can happen.

  • Forida KhatunLondon

    My husband and I have just returned from Hajj two weeks ago. My most vivid memory was NOT the first time I saw the ka'bah as a lot of people say. For me, it was during our Tawaf on the 10th Dhul Hijjah. We were on the roof and the call to payer was called. I was right up against the railing and during the whole prayer, I had my eyes on this black cube that invokes so much love and emotion in millions of people. It truly was 'the' time of my life. Now I've come back and pray on a prayer mat with a picture of the ka'bah...its not quite the same! I thank God for blessing me with the ability to perform this journey of a lifetime, and really is how to describe it.

  • Sultan ChowdhuryPotomac

    The experience is overwhelming! Feeling nearness to God, and the place that you pray towards everyday! Circling the Black Stone, set by Abraham (peace be upon him), the father of all monolithic religions! Arafat, where Adam descended to the earth; the day of judgment. Mujdalifa – sleeping under the open sky. Ascension of peace in the whole body as you approach Medina! Replicating Hagar's run between Safaa and Marwaa when Ishmael was born! Quenching thirst with ZamZam water! Mingling with 3-4 million people from around the world--an experience of universality that nobody can mimic unless you're there! Salaam – peace to all!

  • Farah And KhalilLondon

    We went to Hajj in 2011 for the first time. Two words come first when I think of Hajj: equality and unity! All of us, whether rich or poor, man or woman, were equal. All of us there were united in this love to our Allah and our strength in Islam. During Umra and Hajj, I felt (as a woman) how my marriage and love to my husband was deepened and made more strong by this experience – as if the unity of a man and a woman was being celebrated and encouraged. It was a beautiful experience which has given meaning to why life should be lived for and the life after...

  • Sarah IkramLondon

    My most vivid memory was seeing the Ka'ba for the first time. The magnificence of the Ka'ba and how majestic and grand it looked standing there before me, pitch black covering draped over it with the majestic golden writing like a crown across the top.

  • Sallehudin Hj Mohd LipKuala Lumpur

    My wife and I performed our Hajj in early 1990s. It was a divine experience when I went around Kaaba seven times, deeply thinking that I was following and retracing the foot steps of our great Prophet Abraham and his wife and later by Prophet Muhammad. Another great experience when we were in Arafat seeing an ocean of humans in white. I am very proud to be born a Muslim.

  • Mr Alihusaine Jameel KamaraLondon

    My most vivid memory of Hajj was when we slept in Muzdahlifah. I felt so humble by the whole thing. People were walking past my head as lay on the desert floor. It was beautiful and at that point I realised I am nothing compared to Allah the almighty. The best people on Hajj where the Filipinos, they are the epitome of brotherhood and I will always remember their kindness and humility.

  • Madiha RazaLondon

    One of the most beautiful things about Hajj was to watch everyone worship in their individual way. I saw a lady from Africa in the most beautiful form of worship, she was looking towards the sky and gesturing to God and crying, she was speaking to Him as if He was right there in front of her and I loved it. This is how we should all worship, after all He has said He is 'closer to us than our jugular veins'. Looking around, you can see people from different countries portray their culture through their particular way of worship which was beautiful :)

  • Zeynita Gibbons Colchester

    I have just returned from the Hajj. It took a long time until I decided to go to the Hajj, I believe for the pilgrimage to the Baitullah (House of God) I need an invitation from God, who chose me from the millions of people around the world to come to Makkah Al Mukarramah. Thank God, I hope I become a pilgrimage Mabrur.

  • Taahira KhanBirmingham

    I went to Umrah around 2 years ago and the it was the first time I had ever seen the Kaaba, and I was so overwhelmed with emotion – everything from shock, to awe, to happiness. At the end of my first ever Tawaaf I burst into tears while looking at the Kaaba. I honestly, do not know what came over me, it was this strange but very powerful emotion that came out in this odd way. It was so moving and powerful - I LOVED IT!

  • Mohammad ShahidGlasgow

    Video referenceMohammad Shahid shares his thoughts about going on Hajj. Recorded at the festival Living Islam.

  • Tariq KGreater London

    Difficult to describe and put into words, as it’s a journey of the spiritual heart but I’ll try. Three million people, trying to do the same thing, in the same place, at the same time. That is the essence of Hajj, an ocean of humanity, rich and poor, side by side, all wanting the same thing; forgiveness. Stripped of all worldly attributes and social status, your true nature WILL BE revealed. The energy during Tawaaf is uniquely powerful, made more special knowing that this is the only place in the world that this act of worship can be practised. Appreciating how lucky I was that out of seven billion people, I get the honour and privilege to be a guest of Allah at his ancient house. I returned feeling purified and cleansed, ‘lighter’, committed to becoming a better person.

  • AnonymousLondon

    I have never been but just watching videos and listening to stories gives me tears which I don’t think can happen with any other thought, that is how powerful this place is. I really wish to go one day so could you all pray thank you.

  • Abul ChowdhuryLondon

    When I saw the Ka’ba for the first time, I could not control my emotion. I just cried.

  • NazminLondon

    I sat with my family listening to the last Friday sermon in Mecca before the we began our trip to Mina. I remember the hush of millions of people as we listened to Imam capture the journey that lay before us and how we would tread in the footsteps of Ibraheem and Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon them). And the feeling of nerves, gratitude and humility apparent in everyone's faces, as tears rolled down cheeks and the Imam's voice quivered with emotion.

  • SamiaChelmsford

    I went to hajj last year. It was a memorable trip. I was scared before I went as some of the people had told me stories and I was going alone with three other men (‘mahrams’ – chaperones). When I got there it was amazing. Everyone was like a family. Loved the of Hajj days, walking around the Kaba, doing sa'ey, sleeping on the bare grounds of Muzdalifa, pelting the devil, staying at Mina, standing and praying in Arafat – oh and sight seeing was really lovely too. I was thinking ‘Wow, I have now seen where the prophet use to live, walk, stay’. I really loved every moment there.

  • Hagir MohamedManchester

    I remember my last Hajj as a 14 year old and the sensational feeling of being surrounded of so many happy people together all seeking joy from performing one pillar of Islam. It gave me a feeling of excitement to be part of it…like everyone had a leading role in the extraordinary journey.

  • Shahzad HussainLeeds

    Seeing and entering the Sacred Mosque, my heart was beating so fast I could feel the blood in my body. Upon approaching the final steps, and seeing the Ka’aba in its full glory, tears began flooding. I stood there for at least 10 minutes, just crying, Allah had bought me to a place which I bow my head to 5 times a day. It was my birthday, 1 Dec 2007, the best present I could have had in a lifetime, and no one could take that away from me except the creator!

  • Mohammed AminManchester

    For me, going on Hajj in 2002 was relatively easy. You book some holidays and write out a cheque. The first night in Mecca, after completing the rites for that day, my wife and I sat on a wall outside the Mecca Hilton eating a chicken sandwich. Many third world pilgrims were sleeping rough on the pavement outside the hotel and my eyes rested on the cracked feet of one of them. I realised the financial commitment Hajj represented to him, the depth of faith that made him come, and felt deeply humbled. As I tried to explain this to my wife, I started crying.

  • AselaEssex

    My first memory is as a child with my parents circling the Ka'aba and throwing stones at the Jamrah. But my best and equally vivid memory is while I was living in Makkah as a student and my father visiting a few months before he died. We made Umrah together and at the Haram my father watched me as I performed all the duties. My father was always a critical friend and not known for showing his feelings. But after all the rituals when it was time to cut my hair, we sat quietly and he whispered that he was proud to have carried me on his shoulders round the Kaaba and then later held my hand walking together and just then watching me do it by myself. I recollect feeling the blessing of the most holy place - for me the Haram represents the ultimate father-daughter moment.

  • MadeehaChicago

    When you see the majestic Kaaba for the first time there are no words to describe what you feel. Once you have been to the holy land you are left with a yearning to go back. It is a blessing to be able to experience the journey of Hajj.

  • Heni SetiyowatiBandung Jawa Barat

    I am from Indonesia. One year ago I am go to Mecca with my husband. Seeing so many people from all around the world, from different countries, different skin colour but can praying together is the thing I remember the most. So many people and yet such a peaceful and safe place.

  • ShaheenBerkshire

    It is the most heart filling experience in the world, the power that you feel there at the kaabah it is so indescribable – the calmness, the tranquillity, the wonderful feeling of everyone worshipping the one God Allah all united doing the tawaaf (circumbulation) it is just the most amazing thing on this world when you go to Mina (the tent city). Wow what a wonderful place, people all reading out Labaik Allahumma Labaik (here i am Allah here i am) Talliybya it is so touching.

  • Amal AlabdulkarimRiyadh

    Hajj, it’s when you feel Allah's mercy is surrounding you! It’s when your heart believes that Allah will forgive all of your mistakes just for doing Hajj. Hajj is the journey of pureness, love, Hope and Optimism. It taught me humility, patience and justice. Hajj has also made me realize that what makes people different is not their looks or their money! What really matters is what inside their hearts and we should judge them by these measures not by their external form. When it rains in Mina everyone start to pray. Asking him to make their wishes come true with strong faith that he will give them what they've asked for! Happiness tears, ZamZam water, rain in Mina and the sight of Ka'abah , are fingerprints which make your Hajj an unforgettable journey :")

  • Nurun UddinLondon

    Video referenceNurun Uddin shares her thoughts about going on Hajj. Recorded at the festival Living Islam.

  • Mohamed FortiaCoventry

    The first time I went to Umrah I was 9 years old and I remember when I arrived to the hotel there was a lot of noise from the cars and people outside in the streets. However as soon as I stepped into the Masjid Al-Haram there was this sense of peace and tranquillity even though there were thousands of people around me and it was the most spectacular feeling of my life.

  • Haji Rafiki Haji RashidPetaling Jaya

    There's a sense of peace within myself during my Hajj journey in 2007. I felt the true sense of devotion amongst millions of Muslims from all over the world going through the Hajj rituals. People from different parts of the world regardless of colour, ethnic backgrounds, rich or poor gathered in the holy land strapped with white cloth (ihram) on their bodies and only Allah shall see what lies within their hearts. We seek forgiveness and may the Almighty grant us our wishes.

  • Affifa RashidEllicott City

    There is no feeling like seeing the Ka'ba for the very first time. You grow up hearing about it, seeing pictures, and watching videos. But when you finally get there and lay your eyes on this historic symbol of Islam, words will escape you. This is when you feel the ultimate contentment. All the worries of the material world are wiped away, and you feel as if you have finally come home.

  • Hafeez SaeedWaltham Forest

    There were times when I had no idea how my father was going to complete the Hajj due to his deteriorating health, but somehow he did it. We had just completed the Farewell Tawaaf. As we were leaving, my father said ‘wait son, let me look one last time.’ His words struck me, as I paused in recollection. We were blessed to share this moment. For one last time we turned to face it, engulfed by its magnificence and frozen in contemplation. Naturally I became emotional as I knew this may be the first and last time I completed Hajj with my father, as he had found it really tough. Eventually, with mixed emotions we left the Masjid and I thought to myself, truly it is only after you experience hardship that you taste the sweetness of ease.

  • Adam S.Toronto

    The single most moving experience in Hajj has to be the Day of Arafat. This is the pinnacle of pilgrimage. (Tradition goes that if you miss everything else, and just be present at this location, at this day, your Hajj is valid). It's not any one event during the day, it is just the aura of the entire day itself. The whole day plays back in HD in my mind. Mostly that we got stuck on a bus for 24 hours to cover a distance of about 8 miles.

  • Laila MohammedDoncaster

    My most vivid memory of hajj was when I first saw the Kaabah. I could feel the dry scorching desert heat and hear the prayers of my fellow Muslim brothers and sisters as I walked through the Masjid towards the most holy place on earth until I could see it. The image from that moment on was imprinted in my memory and will be for the rest of my life. A feeling of complete peace filled my mind and I felt a light in the core of my soul. Nothing else I have ever experienced from the thrill of a rollercoaster as it falls to the first time I rode a bike can even compare to this moment.

  • Danial MohammedDoncaster

    Those first steps into the Masjid are unforgettable...you can just feel the flow of spiritual energy flowing towards the ka'ba as if it is like a heart. The sense of power and spirituality pushes down onto me but in the city of the prophet, Al-Madina, the atmosphere is the opposite with sweet dates and the soothing sound of Quran which echoes down every street and alley. It is almost as if you can feel the shadow of the prophet shading me from the harsh desert sun. My Umrah was the best thing that happened in my life, and I will never forget it.

  • Lipena BegumLondon

    In 2006 I took the biggest step of my life to perform hajj with my parents. It felt like I had come home. A home which I knew of before entering this world, where I was in the presence of the Almighty. One particular moment where I felt my breath truly lift was after I had finished performing the noon prayer. I went over to the balcony overseeing the millions of pilgrims circumambulate the Ka'bah. I couldn't believe I finally made it. The floating movement of the pilgrims really swept me away. It felt like a moment frozen in time where nothing mattered, a feeling beyond this world and yet central to our core. The movement of the pilgrims with the stillness of the Ka'bah resonated the presence of the Almighty Lord in our life. Whilst we step in and out of this world, He remains the Absolute, the Eternal.

  • Michael WolfeSan Francisco

    We were waiting for sunset, to move from Arafat. I was in an encampment among thousands of pilgrims, loosely arranged in tent neighbourhoods by language and culture. I stopped in a section of Pakistani hajjis and a hand slipped into mine. Beside me stood a small woman of about 90 looking up at me with huge round wet hopeful eyes. She was lost. She had decided someone taller than she might save her. I didn’t know her language. She didn’t know mine. We knew ‘Salaamu laikum’. We stood there another minute, holding hands. Then I recalled there were Lost and Found tents around the Hajj grounds—not for lost wallets, for lost people. We walked until we found one. They had cots, water, orange juice and bread. They made her comfortable and found someone who spoke her language. When I checked back later, someone had come for her and she was gone.

  • Dr Ismail MaritheriCalicut

    Hajj, for me, was a series of humbling experiences filled with unspeakable moments of bliss and closeness with those millions of fellow beings from different corners of the world and feeling the presence within me of the Maker and Sustainer of the Worlds at every twist and turn. The nightstay on the 9th of Dul Hijjah at Muzdalifa after the day's standing at Arafa was inexplicably remarkable. Words fail to describe or pictures fail to portray that spiritual ecstasy. Lying on the ground of Muzdalifa looking at the vast sky makes us feel the incomparable majesty of our Lord. There everyone is equal beyond all diversities.

  • Mukhtar Haruna AminuKano City

    My journey to Umrah was very exciting because I met many people from different countries which gave me a great opportunity to interact with them in order to know much about people that do not belong to my country or even continent.

  • Josephine AufdermauerGeneva

    Sitting on the ground, in the outside prayer area of Masjid Haram, and watching feet of all sizes, shapes and colours as they walked by to find a place to pray. Wondering which land, which type of soil, sand or pavement those feet usually touched.

  • Mrs P BatiLondon

    My grandfather, who died in 1929, went on hajj in the early years of the 20th century. He was a caravan master who was used to long and arduous journeys. It took him three months to return to what is now Pakistan and he brought back a piece of the Kaaba cloth, as it used to be cut up and distributed to hajis in those days, as far as I know.

  • Ms Amnah Md KhirButterworth Penang

    Last Ramadan 2011 I did my journey to perform Umrah at Mecca and visited Madinah. The journey had given me a very good strength and soul to myself to become a good Muslim. Every pilgrim, from wherever countries competed to sacrifice whatever they had, by giving food, drink to pilgrim for iftar. It was amazing, Islam shows unity, peace and love among Muslims without prejudice.

  • Sofia ShariefLondon

    I have never been to Hajj or Umrah but I always hope and dream of it one day. I hear the stories of others and long to be part of it. I see the prices of Hajj and Umrah increasing every year and I see hopes of myself being there any time soon dwindling away. But inshaa Allah we have trust in Allah that one day he will make for us a way.

  • Naz AliLondon

    Whilst standing within the gates of Haram Sharif looking at the Kabah in the distance for the first time was the most overwhelming experience of my life. There I was in front of the house of Allah. There was a constant humming noise from people chanting verses of the Quran. Ababil sparrows gliding in and out of the shades. My heart was beating faster and louder than normal. Heat was rising and tears slowing gathering in my eyes...full of fear, for I have sinned!

  • Aliya MaharKarachi

    The plain of Arafat , totally breathtaking.

  • Robi ChowdhuryLondon

    Entering through the gates of Ka'ba for the first time and hearing the crescendo of voices getting louder as we were getting closer. I kept my gaze down as I went in. I felt overwhelmed to be able to look up at the House of God…and as we crept closer through the large crowds of people, we found ourselves at the white tiles surrounding the haram. I looked up…and sure enough, I was awestruck. The presence along of this structure, what it represents…and the thousands of people of all colours and creeds, all united and all facing one direction. I was lost for words.

  • Altaf AbbasLeyton

    My wife and I will Inshallah (god willing) be going to Hajj Nov 2011, whilst apprehensive at rubbing shoulders with 3m+ other pilgrims, the excitement is overwhelming. It will be a life changing experience, to have the opportunity to focus on spirituality and humble ourselves before our Lord on the mount of Arafat. The wearing of the 2 white sheets and the shaving of the head leading to everyone being equal, is something you cannot experience anywhere else. When we get back we would like to share our experiences.

  • Safiyyah ShahidGlasgow

    Video referenceSafiyyah Shahid shares her thoughts about going on Hajj. Recorded at the festival Living Islam.

  • Umm A'IshahIlford

    I went for Hajj when I was 12 years old (I am 36 now). My most vivid memory is going around the Ka'aba alone amongst so many pilgrims and managing to kiss the black stone which is positioned at the Eastern corner of the Ka'aba. One must kiss it 7 times per circumambulation or merely point towards it if unable to reach it. I managed three times during one 'Tawaaf' (circumambulation). I have since been for Hajj once more and Umrah twice and have never been able to kiss the stone again. My husband went for the first time, and he too was unable to kiss the stone due to much crowding. I consider myself blessed as this stone is believed to have come directly from Paradise at the time of Prophet Adam.

  • NfmmKuala Lumpur

    It has been a year since I performed Hajj last year (2010) when I was 22. It was great. Especially when we went to 'Arafah and Mina. That was really a test for us. Now I am 23 years old but I really hope that I can go there again and again.

  • BawaBury

    On day of the Hajj we were camped in the plains of Arafat. Most people were chatting away as if on a picnic and I saw very little signs of spirituality or maybe it was just my camp. I had seen very little positive action from our tour guide in Makkah Sharif but on this day he prepared food for the whole camp and then led the group in supplication. He made sincere supplications for an hour. It was the most powerful moment of our Hajj and my opinion about him changed. The day of Hajj concluded on a spiritual note. I was now fully charged (in a spiritual sense) and just looked around in awe at the magnitude of the Hajj spectacle. Although people seemed different in appearance and spoke various languages and represented cultures from around the world, there was something that made one see unity in multiplicity.

  • Fokrul IslamLondon

    Nowhere else on earth do over 3 million people come together from across the world, every year! Recently I was in Umrah during the blessed month of Ramadan. The average temperature was 45C, yet I, like the other millions of people, was able to go around the House of God without any problems. I felt that God was helping me and others. I’ve been to Hajj and Umrah before but the experience, the reconnection with God, the spiritual and physical uplifting was never the same – I felt that as though these were uniquely new experiences! Prior to going to Umrah, I always thought that probably only Asian and Arabs are the only Muslims, but what I saw there was a gathering of people from all across the world, of different shape, colour, race, culture, etc. yet all of them doing the same thing at the same time to please God/Allah the Almighty.

  • Dr M KhanBury

    You will go for Hajj,' a wise old man explained as he interpreted my dream in which I was fortunate enough to see and speak to the Holy Prophet. I had thought my dream had nothing to do with Hajj, but I was wrong and the old man’s words proved prophetic. Indeed at that stage of my life (aged 24), Hajj was not foremost in my thoughts but after visiting an old lady (formerly our neighbour) who had recently returned from performing Hajj, a desire grew in my heart to one day visit the holy lands. One of the prerequisites of the Hajj is the ability to afford the cost of the journey. I am not any good at saving money, or for that matter, earning it. However, when the divine plan is at work things tend to happen.

  • Sayeeda QureshiLondon

    I completed Umrah last July 2011. It was the best 10 days of my life. Despite the fact that it was 54 degrees HOT there, I didn't want to come back. It was beautiful, peaceful and the best thing I've ever done. Getting there was long, with all the security checks, and long drives, but once we got into Mecca, the city of the grand Mosque Masjid Al-haram tears just kept rolling down my eyes. It was so sunny I could barely see through my tears, I was so overwhelmed. Everyone there dressed in white, all here for one reason, for forgiveness. It was quiet, clear skies, and very humid. I walked into the masjid, through the hall where everyone's praying or reading Qur'an and greeting one another as they walked by, and then back outside where the Kaaba is located in the centre. The feeling was unreal.

  • JamalLondon

    Without a doubt, Hajj has been the greatest experience of my twenty-year old life and it'll probably stay that way even when all my hair has turned white! I don't mean to say that in terms of spirituality and worship such as Quranic recitation and prayers (however, if you consider every step, every breath as an ibadat [servitude] during Hajj, then it doesn't mean that closeness to Allah in Hajj depends on simply recitation or offering Salah).

  • Rukhsana YaqoobLondon

    Hajj is the most amazing experience of a lifetime. You cannot begin to describe what it is like to others. The most amazing time is when you first enter the main mosque in Mecca and look up and see the Kabah for the first time – it just take your breath away. I loved namaz (prayer) times when you would be praying with two other women on either side of you – all with different languages, different types of clothes, different colours of skin – but all united in our faith of Islam. When the Imam said the word 'Ameen' and all the men repeated this, their thousands of voices all mingled together in the air and blended into one another in unity, the sound held in the air for a second and was magical. During Hajj, poor, rich, young, old, men, women, healthy, ill individuals are all the same in the eyes of Allah.

  • Sahra EdriesLondon

    When I touched the Ka'ba for the first time I felt as though I'd come home. I felt comfort, the way I recall feeling as a baby, when I would embrace my mother, and place my cheek against her breast, the way my baby does to me. I sighed, the way he does, the way all babies do, out of relief. I heard myself pour out appeals to God, from the innermost recesses of my heart. In an instant my worldly troubles were lifted. I ached to be near to my Lord. Then I became aware of hundreds of pilgrims around me, in different languages, imploring from the heart- asking the One True Almighty God. Then I joined the crowd, circling, my eyes never wavering from the Ka'ba, the house of God.

  • Kaneez ShaidWaltham Forest

    Entering the two mosques of the cities of Mecca and Medina, your body experiences a breath-taking moment that translates into memories that last a lifetime. The majestic power of God is felt at the first sight of seeing the mosque minarets. The experience triggers a spiritually and physically awakening within and one can actually ‘feel’ the holy presence; the souls feels enlightened, free and gratified – it’s like being given the opportunity to start your life all over again, all troubles set aside, prays answered and heaven within reach. All this, as you stand side by side with men and women from all over the world, different cultures, different lifestyles, but all brought together for one mission, to serve their Lord.

  • Mehran IqbalLondon

    I went for Umrah recently during the holy month of Ramadan. It is quite interesting to note that during Ramadan more people come to the holy city of Makkah than during the period of Hajj. My feelings when I first saw the Holy Kaaba were quite unexpected. I had thought of so many things but the instance I looked at it, I just forgot everything. It was like that nothing existed except me and the Kaaba. I prayed to God as tears filled my eyes. It was a unique experience. Looking at the number of people performing Umrah reminded me of one person. Prophet Abraham and the exalted status he was granted by God such that this whole house is like a tribute to the that friend of God. And then after that one thinks of Prophet Muhammad and how God chose him to make this House once again, the centre of Islam.

  • Raheel ShafiqLondon

    There are a number of great memories as every moment during my journey was an eye opening experience and had a significant impact on my life since. Majority of our time was spent in the Holy Mosque in Mecca. I visited number of different holy sites including two famous cave, Arafat valley, Mina valley, the house where Prophet born. Our journey to Madina was another great experience. Visit to the Holy mosque in Madina was very rewarding. Also visit number of other holy places around Madina including the first mosque, Qiblataine Mosque, Uhad (2nd war in Islamic history) battle field, Jenat-ul-Baqi (the great cemetery where many companions of Prophet and some of his wives are buried), the most peaceful part of land I ever observed in my life. Overall a great journey in 2007 and it helped me to be more patience and tolerant towards others since.

  • Alayna ZangieWimbledon

    My first experience of Hajj was at the age of 11. The first thing I remember is the intense heat as we arrived in Jeddah. My sister leaning on my shoulder on the journey to Mecca. We patiently waited. As we arrived my mother and father took us to the Harem. My sister and I had a tingling feeling as we walked towards the Kabah. The first site amazed me, and it was as if it was a miracle that so many people were united together in one place. I held my hands in Dua and the tears in my eyes dropped in my hands, I looked around as we were all united as one. I turned to my sister and she asked why I was crying, I said to her in the House of Allah these are tears of happiness. The Hajj was the most amazing experience.

  • HussainLondon

    Equality of every human being in Mecca, regardless of level of wealth, power or race. Every person had to follow the same protocol and perform the same actions. It was a true image of unification.

  • Jawed AkhtarSheffield

    I have performed Hajj once and Umra many times but still I can’t express my feeling in words. Amongst so many unforgettable observations, I would like to share my feelings about two very important points about the pilgrimage, two living miracles: First, the Water of Zamzam. You can drink water lot more than you could drink anything in normal course without feeling of heaviness or lousiness. Even if you keep drinking plenty of water during Umra you can’t feel any sign of over drinking or sweating or need to go to bathroom. Second, size of the Muzdalfa. You will be surprise that the ground of that size can accommodate 3.5 million at a time. While performing Hajj, I have seen it myself and couldn’t believe that even after every one was there, we can see plenty of space for every one to move, sleep and pray.

  • DemetLondon

    A place of peace where there was caring, sharing and forgiveness. No mention of race nor colour but just synthesis as one. Never felt more at ease anywhere else. The beauty of everyone praying at the same time just like a rhythm. The echo the Azan leaves in your heart. So little to explain but so much to experience. Words just limit what could be said. An experience that can never be forgotten.

  • Zarina AbdullahLondon

    Whenever I visited Al Masjid Al Haram and beheld the Ka'bah, I became enveloped in a feeling of peace, softness, calm and light. I felt that I was in a divine presence almost like being at home and with a beloved friend. Making the circumbulation is like being caught up in a spinning vortex, you get drawn in, some areas are thick and challenging, elsewhere an unexplainable, mystical cool breeze appears. At Fajr prayers a flock of swallows fly above us, so beautiful. Back in the hotel you constantly think about returning to Al-Haraam, it's like an addiction, same goes for the ZamZam, they are both something you cannot be without. The last few days of Ramadan brought with it extreme heat and fierce crowds which gave "Push comes to shove" a whole new meaning. A truly wonderful, humbling experience, InshAllah I shall return next time for Hajj.

  • Omar MahrooLondon

    I remember the walk in Mina from our camp to the pillars. The British camp seemed to be the furthest. The advantage however was you’d see the whole world in the space of an hour. Apart from familiar smells of biryani from the South Asian camps, you’d hear languages you’d never heard, see every shade of skin colour and at once be aware of the wonderful differences, and yet sameness, of humanity. I’d read Malcolm X’s autobiography and could see what he meant. More vivid still is my first view of the Ka’bah, orbited by a swirl of white. As I approached, I saw these were people, again of all races, all dressed in white. The vision of white swirling around a black centre reminded me of galaxies or cosmic accretion discs. Both are signs of God, inspiring awe and praise.

  • Sura QadiriLondon

    I had believed the Hajj to be a form of retreat from society, where I would feel a sense of isolation with God. I found, however, that I was constantly in the company of the millions of other pilgrims, and intensely aware of it. I was always weaving and jostling my way through crowds or asking others for advice on where to get a good meal or the best view of the Ka’bah. It became apparent that these interactions were not a distraction from true worship, but very much a part of it. I was supposed either to enjoy the company of others, or to tolerate it well where it was not welcome. It was a precious reminder that Islam is not a religion of hermits. True spiritual success involves meeting the challenge of being a part of the world, whilst remaining conscious of the reality that lies beyond it.

  • Shaistah AhmedLondon

    My vivid memory of Umrah was when I touched and kissed the black stone. My determination had led me easily through the sea of people. I felt overwhelmed by fear and excitement rolled into one. I was here. I was invited by Allah, the impossible had become possible. I felt that my conviction of trusting Allah had been securely stamped onto my heart, tears rolled and a sensation of calmness embedded my heart. Subsequently, this blessing has been my rock, it has anchored me in turbulent times, it has soothed me in my darkest and loneliest moments. It has helped me to accept his will when things haven't gone my way. My trust in Allah builds my confidence that he is the all hearing and knowing and what he does is the best for me. My outlook on life has changed for better.

  • Sarah Joseph

    Video referenceSarah Joseph shares her thoughts about going on Hajj. Recorded at the festival Living Islam.

  • SherazLondon

    It was early and dawn had just broken. I was looking at the Kaba and a flock of birds flew into the mosque and started to circle the Kaba. It was incredibly serene. I had wondered the day before if there was ever going to be a time that no one would be there to go around the Kaba. A old man had told me about the birds and said whether it was man or beast something would always be there to pay tribute. Among the many feelings I had on the trip I remember this sense of peace and endurance above all others.

  • UzmaLondon

    When I first saw the Kaaba I remember saying in my heart 'the house of Allah is so beautiful' and after that all I wanted to do is keep staring at it, it drew me in like a magnet. On the day I had to circumambulate the Kaaba to complete the rites of Hajj the entire place was packed, we were going around at a slow pace on the top floor of the Haram and I was amazed how we all just flowed around without pushing one another. Truly amazing experience where you forget your friends and family, it is only you and He, the one and only Allah.

  • Mostahfiz GaniLondon

    I was scheduled to meet my parents in Hajj, who had reached Makkah before me. I searched a whole week desperately for them but to no avail. I slumped down with a large rucksack just after the evening prayer at the doorstep of a hotel. On that doorstep, I prayed to God like never before, to help me find them before their flight home the next day. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I beseeched God to answer the prayer of a lowly servant. After an hour, exasperated, I turned and walked away from the hotels and towards the Ka'aba in the opposite direction of the pilgrims who were now returning to their hotels in droves. As I delicately laboured against the crowds, I dared to hope against all odds, that my prayers would be answered...that I would find them amongst the millions. I found them.

  • Hana Che NohWoking

    I became a Muslim in 1978, just before I married. I made Hajj in 1987, when I was in the early stages of pregnancy with my first child; we had been trying for a child for a long time. I found it particularly emotional going between safa and marwah (the 2 hills) thinking about Hajar looking for water for her baby Ismaeel. We named our baby Hajar (born 9th March 1988). She has recently had a son and has called him Ismaeel!! For me, completing Hajj was a bit like giving birth; it was very difficult but miraculous and rewarding at the same time. However after a while the yearning comes back, the difficulties are forgotten and you want to have that amazing experience again.

  • Urfan Rafiq Crawley

    My greatest memory is seeing the Kaaba for the first time with my wife and just crying because of how beautiful it was. Also the day we saw the 90 year old man who had a bent back of near 90 degrees with his 65 year old son taking him up and down Safa & Marwa as he approached the space to run he would get this burst of energy and seem to fly. We had hard time to run, we were humbled by them and started to cry because it showed how Allah’s greatness is, he had shown us his strength and wisdom in that instance. Every day there seemed to be people who helped us through each day. We met some amazing friends that are still close to us. I couldn't imagine the amount of people we met, all doing the same thing and how happy all the people were.

  • Zakaria SayedLondon

    A journey of a lifetime. Once you’ve been you will long to go there time and time again. You can hear the Athaan, the streets, the crowds, and the atmosphere of Madinah just cannot be explained in words. You have to go and feel it for yourself. People are so welcoming. A day will not pass in Ramadhan in which you will be invited to at least five different families’ tables to dine. A very lovely experience indeed.

  • KhadijaBirmingham

    I went to Hajj at the age of 25 and it was one of the most fascinating experiences I have had. Even today I remember standing in front of the Kaaba and not believing that I was fortunate enough to be at this beautiful place. I felt I was one of the lucky ones who God had called to his house. It was beautiful to see people of all different races and countries together.

  • KanFarnham Royal

    I'd heard stories, of course. But nothing prepares you for that powerful impact when you first enter Haram-Sharif and glimpse the Ka'ba. From that first vantage point it is framed by the graceful marble columns of the mosque. Hundreds of black- and white-clad figures circle at its base. Above, the birds mirror their movement as if performing their own Tawaf - no randomness to their circling. The imam's voice is melodic, musical. When the congregation rumbles Ameen (Amen) you feel it shiver down your spine.  As you line up for prayer, you realise that every person around you, as far as the eye can see, is a brother or sister in Islam. You kneel before only the One God, but you kneel together. And in that instant you are equal.

  • ReefatLondon

    I could not believe I was at the centre of my faith. Totally mesmerised as I looked up at the Holy Kabah, numb and filled with happiness. I felt as if I were the chosen one, God's guest. Nothing mattered. I was at peace at the heart of my religion. For me, going for Hajj has been a life-changing experience that I will never forget.

  • Ashfaq SiddiqueBarking

    As I stood praying in the plains of Arafat at the time 'of the standing', I felt a presence before me. I cannot describe it but it thrilled me, it frightened me, it amazed me, it shook me to my core, my heart began to race and my body trembled, it humbled me. At that moment I new I was in the presence of Majesty. My Creator was listening to me just as he had always said he would At that moment I learnt the meaning of life. That moment has shaped my existence ever since.

  • Naveed RahmanBanbury

    It was my first ummrah, and visiting the kaaba was the most incredible thing that I had ever done, setting my eyes on this beautiful building that had been visited by many prophets in history made me feel apart of history, truly amazing.

  • Nayyer Tamimi

    Video referenceNayyer Tamimi shares his thoughts about going on Hajj. Recorded at the festival Living Islam.

  • HusmanBradford

    Most vivid memory was when things started to fall apart in Mina. I was trying to stay with my group in the midst of a sea of people going the other way and I lost them and our bus. I was carrying some bedding and other things that I intended to return to room in Mecca before travelling there the next day with my mother so I could take care of her. It all got knocked out of my hands and when I got it all picked up they had left me. My memory is of an overwhelming feeling of despair telling myself I really cannot do this, followed by a crashing realisation that I absolutely could - because God would not place a burden on me that I could not cope with. The choice of whether to cope or not was mine to make. So I did - and walked to Mecca. The bus arrived an hour before I had since they were jammed in traffic. I was glad I wasn't on it as they were very tired from a hot journey where as my energy levels were still good. I will not forget that moment - God teaching me a lesson so profoundly - and it endures even now when faced with adversity and challenge.

  • Rehana AzamBirmingham

    My very first experience of Hajj came at the age of 9. I had just recovered from life saving cancer treatment and unbenown to me, my father had dreamt of the journey while I was in theatre being operated on. Seeing the Kabah for the first time, I could not get over how big it was and hearing the azan from the top of mount Noor was moving even at that young age. I just felt so special, because there were very few children and everyone I came into contact with was so warm and loving, the sense of belonging will remain with me forever. It truly was for me the beginning of my life!

  • Sohail MayatBradford

    As there are so many people there doing Hajj, I thought of this little saying while on my visit to Mecca, "Each single individual may be insignificant, but for each single individual Hajj is the most significant moment of their lives"

  • Lala SehraiBirmingham

    The first time I had the chance to get close to the Kaaba - the House of God built by Abraham and Ishmael, and among the hundreds of people crowded at the main door of the Kaaba, I just wept and wept, remembering how ungrateful to God I have been my whole life in return for His countless bounties on me. I resolved that in future I'll remember His infinite mercy on me.

  • Sururah BelloIle-Ife

    The crowd at the sight of Ka'aba is a thing I can never forget. The miracle of zamzam water is still unforgetable. During the three days at Muna after Arafat I actually felt sins were dropping off from my body physically. On getting back to Mecca, I feel fulfilled. All my requests during Hajj have been fulfilled. I want to do Hajj again, again and again!

  • Umar TahirRochdale

    The most amazing thing for me while circling the Kaaba, was contemplating that these are the same steps taken by the last messenger sent to the world, peace be upon him, this is from where him and his companions changed the world forever. I felt a connection which spanned 1400 years.

  • KaremBirmingham

    I performed the Hajj at the age of 12. My most vivid memory is of the fire which spread through Mina that year. Our tent was on the hillside overlooking the plain at Mina, and we were sitting observing the helicopters spraying water over the fire in an attempt to put it out and save lives. Looking on it was a distraction from the spirituality of the setting perhaps, but also a vivid reminder of how suddenly and unexpectedly life can be taken away and the need to always be prepared. Thankfully, health and safety measures have been much improved at Hajj in recent years, with large amounts of money invested to make it a safe experience.

  • Nesreen AmjidGlasgow

    It was about 8 years ago now. It was one of my wishes for a long time and I went with my four children and husband. When I saw the Ka'ba I felt it was one of my best moments. I want to go back for Hajj. I want to be a good Muslim and a good practicing Muslim like Mohammed said. Peace be upon him.

  • Helen S.United Kingdom

    My first and only journey to Mecca was for Hajj. On approaching the place where the last divine revelation was sent to Humanity, I was stunned by the dry and rocky landscape that paved the way to Mecca from Medina. To this barren and solemn land, millions of people from all around the world pour in perfect unity, humility and sincerity. What a wonderful and memorable feeling that was!

  • Faysal MarufCornwall

    Video referenceFaysal Maruf shares his thoughts about going on Hajj. Recorded at the festival Living Islam.

  • Masud HadadiHigh Wycombe

    I have been several times on umrah however the hajj experience was most captivating. We took our two daughters who were 9 and 11 years old then. We thought this would be difficult for them and us and Allah made it easy for us. We had an enjoyable and memorable time. Due to different transport arrangements at Mina they were lost for about half a day. It made us appreciate the gift of God in children.

  • Bilal RahmanBirmingham

    Well what can I say, no words in any dictionary can describe how beautiful and amazing Mecca and Medina are. I still remember when I first went at the age of 16 and when I entered the mosque and set my gaze on the kabbah it was literally breath-taking. I can go on and on about my journey to this amazing place but I would be here forever, it’s one of those places that you can’t really explain and describe how it is until you actually go yourself and witness it all.

  • Miss Ghazala HakeemGlasgow

    I have not been to Hajj or Umrah as yet and I am 35 years old. I would very much love to go. One of my fears is that I shall pass away before having had the opportunity to go. My parents and sisters have been as have other relatives. I am a single parent and am aware that I need a mehram. I wish I had a husband that could go with me. That would be ideal. My family going together to the most special and precious place on earth. I feel it would not only make us better people and better Muslims but would bring blessings and happiness into our family life. I hope I get the chance to go.

  • Mohsin TutlaLondon

    The Hajj, the journey reconciled family relations bringing together nephew and aunt, niece and uncle. Our families had been distant for over 10 years and making the journey together brought us so close, sharing experiences, laughter and memories. Last year my aunt passed away and knowing we shared Hajj together was my greatest comfort and will be with me always.

  • Mohammed KhanLondon

    When I went for Hajj in 2008, I remember waiting outside the city of Mecca around 1 or 2 AM for our bus to take us to Mina. From seemingly nowhere a bedouin drove up to us in his pick up truck and from the back jumped out around 4 or 5 children. They then proceeded to hand each of us a bag of fresh fruit. One of our tour guides told us that this is a common practice of the people who live around Mecca, and it is something they do every year. After just 5 minutes they all got back into the truck, the children waving to us as they left, and they returned back into the night darkness from where they came. The kindness of the people and the sense of brotherhood that everyone has towards one another, despite the differences in colour, race or culture is one of the greatest experiences of the journey, and this moment highlighted it for me especially out of all the journeys I have made to the Holy Land.

  • Qaisra KhanLondon

    Hajj is an opportunity for self-improvement and for closeness to God. It teaches patience and humility, and just being there is a great privilege. Most importantly for me, it means being present at the Heart of Islam and protected from all worldly concerns. It's an environment of the most perfect serenity.

  • Nabeel ShariffLondon

    Hi there. Hajj for me was a rollercoaster of emotions and experiences. I witnessed humility, submission, friendship, anger and most vividly I witnessed my first death. The moment where the meaning of life became an epiphany on the most sacred and powerful day of Hajj; the day of Arafat. I was in the presence of a martyr, a person who was with my father and myself only minutes before. He had a gentle smile, a quiet old man who only spoke when he needed to, and only spoke kindly. His human attributes only shone when we looked back and reflected on the short time we knew this person, because moments after he walked away with his son to pray, and collapsed next to the white sheet of the tent, in his two piece Ihram, making him an honorary martyr to die in this state. He suffered a short 45 minutes of his final moments, and left us in the final hour before Maghrib prayer, known as the most powerful hour of the most sacred day. After that, I thought that could have been my father, and wept in the shadow of Mount Arafat as my life Hajj truly began, as I learnt that being someone who only speaks when he needs to speak, and smiles to people are the attributes of who Allah loves most.

  • A MLondon

    We lose our outer unique identity by removing our clothes and wearing the ihram - 2 pieces of simple white cloth. Nothing differentiates the people other than their level of belief and faith. The Hajj reminds us of our true purpose: to worship Allah.

  • Lubna IlyasLondon

    I have not been on Hajj as yet but hope and pray to attend soon I have heard such wonderful stories from people who have already experienced it.

  • ShereenLondon

    The feeling of connection with God I had on the day of Arafat was like nothing I have ever experienced before or since. There is a verse in the Quran that says : "We know what dark suggestions his soul makes to him: for We are nearer to him than his jugular vein". I finally knew exactly what that meant and it was incredible.

  • Iqeel AhmedLuton

    If you were to tell me that I would have to face a life of hardship and struggle for the reward of the Hajj - I'd sign up in a second.

  • Sumra KhanLondon

    There is no book or account that can prepare you for the breathtaking experience that is Hajj.The sheer magnitude of people, the intensity of collective worship, the solidarity of Muslim brotherhood which leaves you humbled and speechless and spiritually elevated. A once-in-a-lifetime experience.

  • Maryam GhadacheLondon

    The journey to Mecca has been the greatest achievement in my life. Hajj is a part of the purification of the soul, the heart and the mind. To me, completing Hajj has made me who I am The journey to Mecca has been the greatest achievement in my life. Hajj is a part of the purification of the soul, the heart and the mind. To me, completing Hajj has made me who I am today, a servant to Allah

  • Dr Mohammed AkhterLondon

    What does Hajj mean to me? It is standing amongst the millions, yet being alone with God. It is being constantly on the move, yet establishing a calm stillness in your soul. It is appreciating the diversity of people, yet understanding that - at the core - we are all human. Hajj is a once-in-a-lifetime reminder from God that we are all on a journey... and that He is the destination.

  • Monna RizviLondon

    When I reached the plains of Arafat and before me were people and tents as far as the eye could see, I could not help but cry. My tears were of happiness and wonder that God had allowed me to reach this wondrous place. As I made my prayers I felt a closeness to God which I had never felt before, both physical and spiritual - a feeling that I wil never forget and one that I strive to reach every day.

  • AyseNew York

    Words are not enough to express how I felt. it was the most incredible journey and meeting that I had ever attended. Kabaa, as an alive companion during Hajj, was talking to me. It is not just a building covered with black dress. It is a guide, friend and confidant.