Written by Ammar Ali — Year 8
My trip to Umrah was a memorable one, it all started when Redstone Academy’s head teacher – Ustaadh Saadat announced in assembly that Redstone Academy had partnered with Premier Hajj to organize a trip to the two most Holy cities on the planet, the city of Makkah al- Mukkarramah, and Madinah al- Munawwarah. It was a two week trip from the twenty-second of February to the Eighth of March 2018.
I will never forget when I was told that I would be going, it felt like my head almost exploded! I was so jubilant, and for the next three weeks I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
Fast forward three weeks and the glorious travelling day had arrived! As soon as my consciousness was regained I jumped up it was travelling day and I wanted to get going straight away.
At 12:00, we left my house in a taxi to the Salafi Masjid on Wright Street Birmingham, we combined the Dhuhr and ‘Asr prayers and we left the masjid, once again I was excited, we boarded the coach and put all our luggage on the coach, then we left for London’s famous Heathrow airport.
There was a small group of us from different year groups, we barely knew each other, but other the course of the journey, we got to know each other more and became friends.
After a short stop at a service station, we arrived at Heathrow airport. After we had checked-in we got some food to eat. Shortly after we boarded the plane, we flew on Saudia airlines. As we took off I was thinking about when we got there and contemplating on the 6-hour flight ahead of me.
When we reached the meeqaat I entered into the state of ihram, and a few moments later we were landing.
All praise be to Allah that we landed ok. Instantly I felt a wave of heat hit me as my body felt Jaddah at four o’clock in the morning in was twenty-seven degrees Celsius, then we got onto a bus to the indoor part of the airport. Inside was cooler and was smaller than Heathrow airport. We checked into the airport then we relaxed for a bit, we sat outside for a bit then we went to pray Fajr, after that we boarded the coach and set off to Makkah—the home of the Ka’bah.
I don’t know how long the coach drive was to Makkah because I slept most of it, I must have stayed awake for about ten minutes because I remember waking up when we had just arrived in Makkah. When we finally reached our hotel we got our luggage from the coach and went to our rooms. The rooms that Premier Hajj gave us were really nice. They had huge windows and a nice view, but at that point I was exhausted and we all went to sleep.
After the Maghrib prayer, we went to perform Umrah. Believe me, seeing the Ka’bah is one of the most amazing life experiences you can witness! Not many things are as beautiful as that. After we made Tawaaf we performed sa’i, which is the walking between mounts safa and marwah seven times. Personally, I think sa’i was harder than Tawaaf. We stopped in the middle of tawaaf to pray.
After we performed the Sa’i I went to get my head shaved at the barbers. After we had done that we were out of the state of ihram, and we went to get some food. That meal was one of the best I’ve ever had, because it tasted so good but also because I hadn’t been eating properly while we were travelling, I’ve never been a fan of plane food!
We went back to the hotel and had a shower and put on clean fresh clothes. It felt nice to be back in normal garments again instead of cloth. At this point I wasn’t even tired.
In our hotel there was a nice mall where we could do shopping, I liked that feature of the hotel. While we were in Makkah it rained and the people there looked so happy, we often don’t remember what a huge blessing the rain is here.
Whilst in Makkah we went to the Zamzam depot where we met a brother. The next day, we went on an educational trip by coach to historical sites around Makkah, we went to mount Arafah, the valley of Namirah, we went to mina etc.
After around five days in Makkah, it was time for us to leave, I was sad that we had to leave but I knew we weren’t going back to England; instead, we were going to Al-Madinah the city that the Prophet (SalAllahu’alayhiwaSalam) migrated to.
The next day we went from Makkah to Madinah. It took us a long while but we got there in the end. We got to our hotel and we went to get food since we had not yet had dinner. After we had dinner we took a walk around the Prophet’s masjid.
In Madinah we went to a tailor who made me thowbs, I chose the material and he made the thowbs, it took him a few days to do. Later on in the day, we prayed Maghrib at the Prophet’s masjid then we stayed at the masjid for a lesson by the Shaikh ‘Abdul-Muhsin al-Abbaad.
The next day we went to the famous Dar ul-Madinah museum where we learnt about the history of Madinah, including the masjid expansion project.
The very next day we went to the desert. It was an amazing, once in a lifetime experience. When we got there we looked at different things like how to find water, camel footprints, and we also climbed a mountain and made it to the top. When we came down we relaxed and had some dates, it was a nice experience. We went back to the city and went to pray the Jumu’ah prayer.
The next day we went to a brother’s son’s Aqiqah we had beautifully cooked lamb and rice. Later that day Shaykh Ubayd al-Jaabiri did a lesson. That was a very nice personal experience for me. Then Shaykh Abdullah Bukhari did a lesson, we went back to the hotel later on in the night.
The day after that we went on a tour of Madinah, we went to Masjid Quba and Mount Uhud. After the Isha prayer we went to the Prophet’s grave and gave Salaam.
The next day we went to the White Mountains, we hired quad bikes and did quad biking that was a very enjoyable part of the trip, it was so much fun. We relaxed there for a short while then we went to collect my thowbs from the tailor.
The next day was our last full day in Saudi, before Dhuhr we went to a cupping Centre in Quba, we prayed Dhuhr at Masjid Quba, then we went to a very nice restaurant later that day. We also visited a bookshop.
Before I knew it the next day we were in Madinah airport waiting for our flight, the trip had gone so quickly, as they say, time flies when you’re having fun! We caught our flight from Madinah to Jeddah then we went from Jeddah to London, The first thing I noticed when I stepped off the plane was the temperature, it was freezing!
Our coach was awaiting us at the airport and we travelled from London to Birmingham to the Salafi Masjid, there was a taxi waiting for us to take us home, I couldn’t believe it, it was snowing! Our head teacher was there to welcome us back.
And there you have it! Redstone Academy’s trip to Saudi Arabia, I would recommend Premier Hajj for my umrah trip again and I would like to thank the whole team, especially my teacher. I would like to thank Redstone academy for the trip and everybody else involved in what was the best school trip ever.