The longest fast

No not today/yesterday, but time ago.

Back, time ago I went for umrah. as you do. during ramadan. As you do. Because my mum wanted to go and I had calculated that if I said no, I wouldn't hear the end of it for atleast a year. As you do.

any way, I tried at first to sort of drag my feet but eventually everything got sorted and we were off on our way.

The flight we were supposed to catch was setting off during the day - maybe a few hours before iftaari time and in the airport I saw a few people not fasting - as you do not need to fast when travelling. I was kind of ... feeling smug and superior... "in this day and age, how dare they? its not like there is any hardship they will face, besides the flight will be soon too, so why are they not keeping their fast? Surely it would be better to...". Unknown to me, I was soon to learn the lesson from my scoffing at these people.

It was an uneventful day really... the flight was a few hours late so we sat around in the airport, eventually boarded the flight and within minutes of takeoff we were viewing the sun go down and we opened our fast.

Easy said, easy done.

The flight was not a direct flight and on the way over it stopped in Libya, where I could get my ihraam on. We were in the main food area there and thought before getting any refreshments or food, may as well prepare, get the ihraam on, and read the prayers etc.

We did that, but before we could get some food or drink, the airport staff probably rest of the people there, so we were marshalled away to another empty part of the airport. One without any shops or water etc.

The plane was also late, so we had to wait there for longer than intended and eventualy we got onto the plane and we were on our way to jeddah.

It was warm on the plane, but I got some kip in I think. I may have had a small glass of water soon after getting on and I got my mum one too then. Later in the flight I got my mum some more, but I decided to not bother the flight attendants to get me some as they were being harangued for water (since it was really warm) and anyway... it was to be sehri soon.

Near the end of the flight they informed us of a change of plans - we will now have sehri after landing as it was too close to get the food out, feed people and then get the stuff away etc, but even then, not really a problem... I was thirsty but I could wait...

and then the plane went into landing mode... and landed... at precisely sehri-o-clock.

So we got off the plane and there was no sehri as the sehri had finished.

We went through the passport control (we were the last people as my way of queuing is to avoid people, which means stand right at the back) and out to the front to the waiting transport to our hotel in Makkah. Except that there was no waiting transport - the transport had waited, then got bored and left as the flight was delayed.

So we looked around for a bit, in the end managed to get some help from the airport staff who contacted the hotel, confirmed what was going on and got us a taxi to Makkah to be paid for by the hotel or something. But this did mean walking around in the hot morning sun for a while if not much longer than an hour.

We got to our room, quick shower and then off to do the first umrah, which you need to do quicktime. It was now around 10/11 in the morning and the sun was starting to really shine and while doing the tawaaf (going around the ka'bah 7 times), I was really really thirsty. I got the idea that the day ahead might be tough...

By the time the tawaaf was over, I was almost blacking out due to the lack of water, but even though we could not drink zamzam, we xould spash it over us and it was also ice cold, so that helped revive me. But I was close to thinking I needed to break the fast here.

Then there was the sa'ee (going from safah to marwah and then back 3.5 times), which gratefully is indoors which we got through that.

Next there was a haircut followed with the idea to get back to the hotel, but we got ambushed by a group of professional beggars and while getting away from them, we lost all bearings and had no idea where were were in relation to the hotel!

So there was an hour of walking around in the burning midday sun (we asked a few people for directions, but they had no idea and told us that we should carry a "hotel card" with us next time as they have mini maps on them), which was hard and eventually when were were about to give up, we had managed to go all the way around the grand mosque and eventually found the street where the hotel was.

(incidentally, the lesson from here was not well learned - later on when we went to madinah, we got there while taraveehs were being read and we could hear them from the hotel, so we quickly got ready, hurried to the mosque and then after the taraweehs, got lost again, trying to find where we needed to go. More walking around for over an hour, but this time it was night time and only around 30 celcius.)

But now the adhaan for the friday prayer was going, so quickly into the hotel, a quick shower to wash off any cut and sticking hair, change of clothes and back to the mosque. but because we were cutting it close to the time, the only places available were in the sun.

Have I mentioned that it is kind of warm in Saudi? The lack of water was getting to me as I had always been a big water drinker (I don't know how people only drink a little water when eating - I may not drink much at other times, but while eating I generally have loads of water.)

After friday prayer back to the hotel (felt like I had just made it back to the cool air conditioned room just about.. but others seemed to be dealing with the same situation much better than me) and had a quick nap til asr time. After Asr, I did same again as it was still way too hot.

Then maghrib time and we went to the mosque sat there as close as I could to the zamzam water dispenser thingies, waiting for the iftaari to start so that I could finally get some water in me.

and boy did I drink plenty of water when the time came - 11 cups of water and when standing in the prayer, my legs were wonky.

That is the story of my longest fast.


Long story too.
hunger is easy to ignore but THIRST! thirst is the worse...

Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?

Lilly wrote:
Long story too.

Yes, someone mentioned it on tribune that I should have titled it "the longest blog post".

"For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens 'as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone'" - David Cameron, UK Prime Minister. 13 May 2015.

just realised, it IS pretty long. well i guess to describe the longest fast.

did you know that the different doors at haram have names? so if you remember the one which is closest to your hotel its easier to not get lost.

professional beggars. you make them sound like CIA agents!

Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?

Wow, while i read that i kept thinking that you'll get rewards from Allah InshaAllah - how long ago was this by the way, how old were you?

Jihad of the Nafs (The Struggle of the Soul)

Back in 2007 I think.

"For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens 'as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone'" - David Cameron, UK Prime Minister. 13 May 2015.

How's taraweeh in Makkah?

Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?