Lessons learnt during my Umrah journey
I am writing these details immediately after my return from the holy cities of Makkah and Madina.
I was accompanied by my family, and having my children by my side made everything much better.
The purpose of any pilgrimage is to change the course of one’s thinking. Observations made consciously are imperative for learning lessons.
I would like to share some of what I have learned from my encounters in the Holy land. Simplicity is key to a satisfied existence. I felt as if I stopped being an individual and instead became a part of the whole.
Wearing an unstitched garment without any pockets made me realize that I only have to carry myself, leaving behind everything I thought to be essential.
Carrying out the journey on foot brought me closer to the earth, by instilling humility, and made me realize my physical limitations.
Walking is hence imperative for physical and mental wellbeing. Offering Salat five times daily adds greatly to the productivity, it divides the day into six parts and helps in maintaining focus throughout the day.
Life should revolve around Salat timings. The working day should start at dawn and should wind up after Isha. We miss many productive hours by starting and ending our working days late.
The Multicultural/ethnic interactions that happen in the holy cities, pave way for tolerant and progressive societies.
If so many People from all races, backgrounds and cultures can act in unison to worship Allah, imagine what impact we can have if we get together to make the world a better and more just place for our future generations.
When we invite people from other cultures to interact with ours, good new things can be incorporated. One thing that is much needed is a common language.
Muslims from all regions of the world should choose Arabic language as their second language, that way we can all practice and share knowledge and ideas from our respective parts of the world in a better fashion.
English is also equally important in today’s world. If it is too late for us we should facilitate our children to do so.
Religion is meant to be an inwards journey, making it an outwards journey creates confounders.
All of us have our own problems and needs, but our ultimate escape from these diverse day to day difficulties is centred around one central point.
We need the Kabah, not Allah. The empiric nature of our thoughts limits us, however the One True God is far beyond what our minds can grasp.
The first verse of the ancient Daoist scripture (Tao Te Ching) states that “The tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.
” The same idea can also be seen in Surah-e-Ikhlas which paints the beautiful idea of a God that is far beyond human comprehension.
Honesty, corruption and tolerance exist because of cultural practices; culture is learned behaviour, hence the mood of a community sets the tone for individual behaviours.
Children should be exposed to religious and civic belief systems as early as possible so that they can carry productive ideas throughout their life.
Women are an essential part of any society. A society’s character can be assessed by the safety, confidence and productivity that the women enjoy.
How can any society thrive by keeping more than half of their population engaged in domestic chores only?
Lastly, I observed that smart phones use needs to be controlled, because they take you away from real world experiences, and make you believe that you can be at more than one places at the same time.
Sharing food and drink with affection and kindness should be practiced, instead of habituating a culture of begging.
—The writer is Assistant Professor, Islamabad Medical and Dental College.