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Muslims Get Hate Mail Too | Home | Ramadan Begins

September 19, 2006

“Here I Am, My Lord…”

My first glimpse of the ka’bah was veiled by an astounding wave of tears. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised. In the days leading up to the
trip, I’d found myself weeping uncontrollably for no apparent reason, and on the Saudi Airlines plane, I was clandestinely sapping up the
unwanted wetness on my face as I listened to beautifully melodious recitations of the Quran, grateful for the darkness that hid the naked longings
for my Creator.

Wait until the next day to perform umrah if you’re too tired, I’d been warned. But upon arrival to Mecca from the airport in Jeddah, I found
myself instantly drawn to the Grand Mosque. Sleep was impossible. An irrepressible urge had been building within from the very moment the
mere idea of umrah had entered my consciousness, and it could not be now ignored. No, I was too close. At 2 a.m., I was entering the King
Abdul Aziz Gate, walking like so many before me along the white marbled path that led to the ka’bah. When I eventually beheld the intense
beauty of that simple cube-like structure, I found myself disappointed: here I was finally, and human weakness prevented me from seeing the
very thing for which I longed. I really could not see the ka’bah. I blinked furiously, blinked again, and a wobbly black box came into view,
framed perfectly against the dark sky, its majestic simplicity in contrast with the intricate arches of the mosque surrounding it.



In awe, I succumbed to tears. All my life I had prayed towards this building, and here it stood before me, looking more breathtaking than I could
ever have imagined. It was surreal. The pictures I had seen, none of it had prepared me for the moment when my own eyes lit upon the
magnificence that was the ka’bah. It is said that one’s prayers are answered upon first viewing the ka’bah, but the incredible surge of emotions
prevented me from making any sort of coherent plea to my Lord. I simply stood there staring. ‘Here I am, my Lord,’ I thought, ‘here I am before
you,’ and I added, weeping, ‘I need Your Mercy and Compassion right now more than ever.’

The first couple of rounds about the ka’bah were mindless; I am ashamed to admit that my supplications were rather incomprehens

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