The flight to KLIA to Jeddah took 9 hours, I've not been in a flight that long for quite sometime and probably realized that fact when it was announced by the captain. I am with Tabung Haji's Topaz package and with me were about 30 couples. We only knew one couple at first, Yuzaini from Petronas as we were once facilitators for Projek Tekad more than 10 years ago! We met them earlier during the Kursus Intensif package in KL few weeks before departure. Its nice however to be in a group where you do not really know other people as it gives you the chance to obtain more friends and contacts from all ages.
Our flight were shared by a few other Malaysian package groups. Most significantly, a group which was invited personally by King Salman - the chief of Malaysian Police Tan Sri Khalid and Dr Maza, Perlis Mufti was in that group too. It was with this group that I met Fadzil - an acquaintance from my Perth days! We managed to catch up a bit, its good to meet up old friends in this journey of ibadah.
We were in our ihram and slowly building the momentum towards niat in miqat which means having to confirm our intention at the place designated for us to do so. This would be one of the pillars of hajj. It is haram to enter Makkah if not to worship him ie either umrah or hajj as planned. Since our flight was from Malaysia our miqat was Qarnul Manazil. Obviously being high up in the sky we would not know but we were informed by the flight authorities to confirm our intentions when we passed the area. And from there on, we are bounded to the 13 don'ts of ihram. Bismillah.
I guess it was the niat to ibadah that made me uncharacteristicly not taking as many pictures during this earlier part of the journey as I would have if travelling elsewhere.I was more comfortable after masyair and did take my chance to snap typical jemaah pics! haha The talbiah was recited again and again. My heart went racing as this is it. I am on my way to Makkah. I am on way to the holy land. The last i was there was when i was 16. A lot have changed i guess based on the stories which were told to us by fellow Hajj who went on previous years,
This is a journey where we were advised to be patient all the time. A lot of test will be encountered and one has to be true to one's intention. Being a "pendosa tegar", i was a bit worried if I am to be facing multiple dugaans haha But i guess this is the time to be tested. It was talbiah, zikr, talbiah zikr on my lips and in my heart.
Allahumma yassir Wa la Tu'assir.
Our arrival in Jeddah was on time and surprisingly the immigration wait was not too bad. It was not too long and made easy with the efficient movement by the authorities. 2-3 hours waiting was not too bad as compared to the experience of 8-14 hours by previous jemaahs. We arrived at 9pm and by 12am we were on our bus to Jeddah.
The true heat of Saudi was felt when we went out of the airport to the bus station area. Our Tabung Haji Travel CEO, Dato Yasmin was there to receive us and with her staff, making our journey experience as comfortable as it can be. Honestly, in my mind i was ready for any worst scenario.. as I've always been ready in my past travels. This time around it was different because my mind was then focused on my task ahead. The palpitation was getting more obvious as we were approaching makkah.