Subhanallah, I had the opportunity to start my 2016 with a trip to the holy lands of Makkah & Madinah for Umrah. It was a stressful time to go – just days after #RIS2015 (which, was oh-so tiring and oh-so much work but alhumdulillah, thanks to your support it was oh-so succesful!) BUT when Allah swt calls, you respond. Alhumdulillah.
Off I went to the blessed lands and started off my 2016 on a spiritual foot. I wanted to share one particular story from my “umrah journal”, which is not actually my physical umrah journal (although I have one) but the special memories from my trip. There were many special memories. This is but one.
This story begins in Madinah (my most favorite place in the entire world, particularly inside Masjid Nabawi). I was reading my pink leather rainbow quran while sitting on my pink prayer mat. If you’ve been for Umrah, you know there are Umrah groups from all over the world. I happened to be sitting beside a Malaysian group of women, all matching in their prayer hijabs and skirts.
The lady beside me kept glancing at my quran and I could see her friends also glancing over and presumably chatting about its awesomeness. Finally, the lovely lady beside me, who I later learned was called Fitrana, asked me where I was from. I said Canada and then asked her where she was from. She wouldn’t believe me and said “I think you’re from here” (ie: Saudi). I chuckled and said yah / um / no / never (just kidding..I just said no).
She said “I love your pink quran and pink everything!”. I thanked her and continued reading quran. I was pretty focused and sometimes I find these conversations can get lengthy. I know, sounds so mean, but if you’ve been for Hajj or Umrah you know that sometimes the where are you from / are you married / do you have kids “convos” can go on and on. There’s something to be said of being kind to others (of course!) but I really needed to get some good hours of ibadah in!
Anyways, the story continues with Fitrana trying to sneakily take a pic of me…I saw her…looked at her…and we started laughing. Then she ASKED if she could take a photo of me. I said sure / why not! Then immediately asked for a selfie with her (LOL). She said “beautiful girl from Canada” and it melted my heart. I actually wiped a few tears when she wasn’t looking. Partially because I actually looked so darn ugly that day but mostly because of her kindness. Here I was, in my own world, reading my quran and unaware of my surroundings and unaware of my blessings. Of Canada. Of my ability to obtain a quran in pink leather and bring it all the way to Madinah while sitting on my pink prayer mat.
How blessed am I. Subhanallah!
Long story short, when Fitrana got up to leave, I gave her my pink rainbow quran. Those of you who know me (or follow me on Instagram) know that I LOVE my quran. Like love. It sits on my bedside table and I take it with me everywhere. You may have seen me at ISNA during taraweeh in a corner reading it. It’s like my security blanket of sorts.
But when I met Fitrana, I knew immediately I was going to give it to her. Why? Because my sister in law, Sahar bhabi, told me something a few years ago when I was prepping for Hajj that has stuck with me since. That Allah swt rewards you more when you give away something you LOVE. The more you love it, the more you will be rewarded for giving it away. So Fitrana was actually doing me a HUGE favor by accepting this little gift from me.
Fitrana gifted me back her sparkly prayer mat (she clearly new my style from a 10 minute encounter), which I will cherish. She taught me to be grateful for everything I have and something even more important – to not attach my love to objects. Of course I loved my Quran, but I can get another one (luckily I work at the coolest shop in town that carries them), but even if I couldn’t get another one, the love it brought was from Allah swt and He is always with me.
I wanted to share this story so that I could inspire you for 2016.
When you meet your “Fitrana” at the grocery store, at your child’s hockey game, or at the masjid, be giving and willing to part with something you love for Allah swt’s mercy and blessings.
I pray you and your family are blessed with a trip for Hajj or Umrah soon, inshallah. Ameen.