As I am preparing for Umrah I realise that I need to start panicking. First because I haven’t prepared anything and second because of my bad back. On my birthday (out of all other days) I got a trapped nerve of some sort which left me in bed for about 7 days. I couldn’t walk, sit or pray. What makes this even more interesting is the fact that in order to perform Umrah you need to have some level of good physical health. Currently I am managing few minutes of walking without pain. This Umrah is going to be so much fun. 🙂
Why is physical health important for Umrah:
When you perform Umrah or Hajj (even more) you do walk a lot! You have to perform certain rituals which include a lot of walking. You need to circle 7 times around the Kabah (black stone) and walk 7 times across Safa and Marwa the two mountains where Hajar the wife of Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) left Ismail (peace be upon him) while looking for water and other provisions.
Ibrahim (Abraham) was commanded by God to leave his wife Hajar (Hagar) and their infant son alone in the desert between Al-Safa and Al-Marwah with only basic provisions to test their faith. When their provisions were exhausted, Hagar went in search of help or water. To make her search easier and faster, she went alone, leaving the infant Ismail (Ishmael) on the ground.
She first climbed the nearest hill, Al-Safa, to look over the surrounding area. When she saw nothing, she then went to the other hill, Al-Marwah, to look around. While Hagar was on either hillside, she was able to see Ismael and know he was safe. However, when she was in the valley between the hills she was unable to see her son, and would thus run whilst in the valley and walk at a normal pace when on the hillsides. Hagar travelled back and forth between the hills seven times in the scorching heat before returning to her son. When she arrived, she found that a spring had broken forth from where the Angel Jibreel hit the ground with his wing. This spring is now known as the Zamzam Well, and was revealed by the angel of God as both sustenance and a reward for Hagar’s patience.
The whole process with circulating the Kabah comes to approximately 3miles, which will make it a very interesting experience for me. I usually can’t even walk for half a mile let alone 3 miles with a bad back.However for some reason I feel confident that I will do it and enjoy the whole process. As this is part of the Islamic and Christian tradition it will be an interesting feeling for me. I remember watching all these historical movies when I was young and have such vivid images that I am sure I will be overly excited to even notice any pain. God willing. 🙂
I will of course try to take some nice photos for a walk through with me and share, as I know many of you will like it. I only hope that it is not very busy as I would like to enjoy the peace and quiet. That will be a miracle! I will be aiming to perform my Umrah in the middle of the night and praying that everyone will be asleep. 🙂
The other thing that makes me panic is that we have to have our vaccines 10 days before we leave for Umrah, which is the amount of time I have left. Thankfully the MCB (Muslim Council of Britain) have a lovely website which helps you find the pharmacy nearest to you that does meningitis vaccines for Umrah and Hajj. The last time I was actually vaccinated was in primary school, where the nurses where running around the room chasing me as I refused to take the vaccine. I was a rebel back then and I definitely don’t like vaccines even 20 something years later.