It’s been almost a year since I went on my first ever Umrah trip! As it was my first Umrah, I decided to go on a guided tour and chose Quba Travel as the tour operator. They had their February guided tour during half term break, which was perfect as I took the family along with me.
Allhamdulilah we were tested from the beginning with our flight from Heathrow being delayed by 3-4 hours. Apparently, the plane had a part that was not functioning and Saudi Airways was waiting on another airline to provide them with the part – I mean can’t make this stuff up. In the end, I think it was Etihad or Emirates who provided the part.
Because of the delay, we had missed our connecting flight to Madinah from Jeddah meaning more waiting. Allhamdulilah the flight to Madinah was really short, around 30/45mins, so it wasn’t too bad. As it was a domestic flight, the exit from Madinah Airport was swift, we got on the coach and off we went to our hotel. As we approached the Haram it was an unbelievable moment for me – all the stories and videos you see, it just doesn’t compare to actually being there. My first prayer there was amazing and I was in awe with the place, there was a surreal feeling to it all.
Madinah, in general, is a very relaxed place and our hotel (Majlis Mercure) was literally a 2minute walk to the haram (if that). We went on the Ziyarah I believe on a Saturday or Sunday and the first place of visit was Masjid Quba – which was a really great experience and inshaAllah the group obtained the reward of Umrah – praying 2 rakah there! We visited many other places including Uhud and various different masajid. The Ziyarah was really good and informative; the Quba team and tour guides were helpful and constantly had their flags, which made spotting them easy.
It was now time to leave the Prophet’s (SAW) city and go to Makkah. We all met outside the hotel and got on the coach and the journey began. Our first stop was Dhul Hulaifa, we prayed dhuhr and entered into ihram. The journey continued with another pit stop for lunch and asr and then we reached Makkah – I was both nervous and excited.
Checked in to our hotel (Conrad Makkah) took our luggage up and had a quick bite to eat – whilst doing this, all I was thinking about is going to the Haram and seeing the Kabaa! I and the family left our hotel and headed out to perform our Umrah. As it was February it was not very busy and entering the Haram and getting close to the Kabaa was something very easy – allhamdulilah. Seeing the Kabaa for the first time was a pretty insane experience, I didn’t know how to feel – it was a real mixed bag of emotions and then you have to remind yourself to do your Umrah and not just stare. Allhamdulilah Umrah complete and the rest of the days were spent praying in the Haram and regularly seeing the Kabaa – which you can’t complain about.
Slightly moving away from the main reason being there (worship and closeness to Allah), the hotel was located in a really good place, with a minute away from the Haram. The Jabal Omar complex has a 3-4 floor shopping mall with the top floor being all food – making it easy to have a vast variety of food.
It was a sad time when the day came for us to leave, but we had a great journey which was made easier and better by the Quba Travel team. They were always around should you have any questions, i.e. where to get laundry done or best places to eat and best of all they were there with advice on worship and how to perform Umrah! Which reminds me, the seminar in Madinah (organised by Quba Travel) was much needed before we set off.