Since I have been born and brought up in a country where the sun is always shining bright, I never could fall in love with it! Inspite of all its glory and might, the shining star did not do enough to please me. It was always a much detested and much discussed focus of all conversations round the year. There were days when we wondered how it could possibly shine so painfully bright on winter mornings also! Then there was the very crazy discussion on how irritating and ruthless the star could be in summers( as if it could reduce it's energy in the HOT months of the year!)
Exams always managed to take place in hot, sweaty days. Whatever occassion or family event that, we as kids, were least interested in attending also happened when temperatures were rising high and activities like visiting the bazaars and dressing up were a loathsome duty! Oh how we disliked the heat and light of the Sun!
But what I failed to realize in the daze of youth, was the charm that this mighty star held! It took me a lifetime to see the sun in a different "light":)
Alhamdolillah in late March last year I went for my second umra with my husband and children. Once again we were wowed by everything. The people, the rites, the Harmain, zamzam, the ihraam ... everything was a matter of fascination and love. Devotion and sincerety take form for everybody during the journey to the Harmain. We feel close to Allah swt and here is where perceptions change!
It was always convenient for me to perform my nafl tawaaf and prayers after zuhr prayers. My dear husband stayed with the kids while I went about my prayers worry-free. On one such day, when Iwas in the Haram alone and I was done performing my voluntary prayers under the bright desert sun, I joined the many people rythmically moving around the kaaba and fell into the rythm. The sun continued to perform its duty with all might and dedication. My eyes closed, I went with the flow and recited my prayers under my beath. My back and head were wet with perspiration; as was everybody else's. But nobody was bothered about the heat and continued with their tawaaf. Since my children were safely enjoying an afternoon siesta, my mind was unoccupied. My thoughts only focused on my duaas. I gradually became unaware of all the activity around me. The freshly arrived groups of men and women in white performing their umra; the elderly managing their rites with bravery and strength; the young getting involved in the rites with vigour and excitement... I continued with my tawaaf, falling in love with the Almighty with each round; feeling my duaas being heard with every utterance; shedding tears with every movement i made. And then the defining moment took place! I passed under the shadow of the Holy Kaaba! It must have been my fourth round. And not my first tawaaf during the trip! But that epiphanous moment changed everything forever! I was sheltered by the Holy House of Allah from the burning heat of the Sun! It was unbelievable to have suddenly realized that Almighty Allah had been kind enough to have sheltered me in the shade of the Kaaba. I cried now, as if dams had been released. I sobbed uncontrollably! I moved out of the shade towards the sun-lit area to continue towards my next round. Oh how I loved the sun at that point, for had it not been for its heat I would not have experienced the shadow of the Kaaba on myself. SubhanAllah. I wondered how I had been so fortunate to have found shelter under the Kaaba from the glaring sun! It was probably not my luck, it was just an act of great mercy from Allah swt.
Today when I rise on a hot morning to refresh myself for fajr, I am touched by the beauty of the rays of sun filtering through my kitchen window, the curtains in my lounge and the tiny spaces in my wooden front door. I glorify Allah almighty for providing us with the magic of light, heat and their benefits. I open my doors and windows to welcome sun-light in every corner of my house, feeling bad for the corners where it does not reach; smiling at the plants that waited all night for the rise of dawn to fill themselves with color; hearing the happy sounds of birds who have quickly fallen into their daily routine!
Surely, there are signs for us in all of Allah's Creation!