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The Imam's Daughter

My Hajj Journal: Part 1
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Friday Jan. 31, 2003


4:00 pm – Saying goodbye to Sumayyah was difficult. I was crying a lot because I love her so much and she is like a part of me. It is just sad to say goodbye. When I told her I’m leaving, she started crying. I told her to give me a kiss and she did. I kissed her too. Then I waved bye from the car and she had stopped crying by then. I will miss her a lot. I brought some pictures to look at when I need to. I talked to her on the phone before getting on the plane in Boston. I heard her say “hello” in her cute way.


7:00 pm – We were the last people to board the plane. The plane left a few minutes late because of de-icing. There is turbulence during the first part of the flight that made me sick and I threw up. I felt better after that. I slept one hour. 6 hour flight to Munich. I skipped breakfast, I don’t eat in the middle of the night.

Saturday Feb. 1, 2003


8:00 am – Arrive in Munich on time. Boston time – 2:00 am. It is snowing her in Germany. It looks beautiful. At the gate, we pray Fajr and then walk around and talk to others in the group.


9:20 am – Boarding time, delayed departure waiting for people who’s plane was late due to the weather. Khaled (my husband) is almost done reading the Hajj book. We are just waiting in the plane. We are going next to Cairo – 2 hours- then to Madina.


3:30 pm – We arrived in Cairo now since hour. We are in the transit lounge. The bathrooms are old style and only 2 stalls and no toilet paper. And the cleaning ladies wanted a tip! Now we are going to pray duhr and asr. The weather seems nice here. I only wish I had brought a change of underwear and socks in my carry on. And a prayer rug. I’m excited to be in Egypt the first time, even if it only is the airport. One of the shops was selling red refrigerators and green washing machines! It is now 8:30 am in boston. Sumayyah must be awake by now, having her milk. And the kids are having breakfast. I miss her and hope she slept ok. I slept on the plane but woke up with everything in my body aching, including my ear. But it’s gone now I also didn’t have the appetite to eat the pancake breakfast. I am hoping to eat here in Egypt. Khaled and the guys went to pray in the airport mosque. The women have to stay in the lounge and watch the carry-ons. Then we switched.


8:13 pm – We arrived in Medina! Alhamdulillah. The weather is very nice. It reminds me of Jordan. We stand in line to get our passports processed. The Saudi airplane from Cairo to Medina was nice and the trip was short. The food was great – chicken biryani. Medina looks nice from the airplane at night with all the lights. I slept most of the time. We found our luggage easily because I remembered to tie the green and white ribbon on all the luggage. The sleeping bags we brought are a little big and cumbersome to carry. I hope they are worth the trouble. They took our passports on the way out of the airport. They also gave us one tablet of Cipro- antibiotics. We are now waiting in the bus to take us to the hotel. Khaled is standing outside with the sheikh to smell some fresh air. I am tired from all the standing. I’m glad I brought this chocolate with me. I had a hard time eating much on the plane. I am happy that the weather is nice here - a nice change from -15 every day for the past 1 months. It was interesting that some groups had all the same type and color of luggage. I wonder how Sumayyah is doing. We will call her when we get to the hotel.

Munich airport, Germany (from the web)

View of Cairo, Egypt (from the web)

Inside a Saudi Airlines plane, notice the flight attendant is covered (from the web)

Sunday Feb. 2, 2003


2:06 am – We are waiting now for the bus to go to Masjid al-Nabawi or are we walking there? Last night on the way from the airport to the hotel we passed by it and saw the beautiful minarets from the bus. We got to the hotel, washed up and ate dinner – very nice. Then we went back to our rooms. Prayed maghrib and isha and went to sleep for 1 hour. Then woke up at 1 am to meet downstairs at 1:30 am. We walked to Masjid Al- Nabawi, it was within walking distance. We were the first women to go in the women’s section. MashaAllah it is beautiful here. There are columns and arches of blue marble and white marble columns crowned with gold scrollwork. The ceiling is beautiful and ornate. It is carpeted and there are water stations and Qur’an stations everywhere. We prayed tahajjud and read Qur’an and said du3a’s in between. As fajr time approached,  more and more women came in. Suddenly it was filled and people were walking right in front of me while I was praying. There is a women behind me reading Qur’an loudly. Each group from different countries is wearing a special headcovering with their group name embroidered on it or a certain color or print. (not us though) The weather is nice here, even in the early morning. I made du3a for everyone in my du3a list.


4:45 am – Fajr adhan. Pray sunnah. Keep thinking about Sumayyah. I miss her. I heard a baby saying ‘Mama Mama’ and crying and it reminded me of sumayyah when she says ‘mama’. It brought me to tears. I kept imagining her trying to copy my prayer and pulling at my scarf and running around the mosque. She would have so much fun here, but I would be so tired chasing after her and wouldn’t be able to pray and read Qur’an.


5:18 am – Waiting for fajr prayer. To be continued...

Masjid Al - Nabawi , the Prophet's Mosque at night (from the web)

Masjid Al-Nabawi from the inside (from the web)

Part 2 - coming next week: The events of my stay in Medina, praying in the Rawda (the original part of the Prophet's Mosque), and the trip to Mecca.

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