Today was very uncertain with regards to the weather. Mostly cloudy all day long with small pockets of rain all over the Bay Area. Given that today was a moon sighting evening the weather made for some tense moments leading up to sunset. As the day came to a close, I rushed to one of my back up locations to search for the moon, however I had little hope. The sky was quite thick with clouds but as the sky grew darker the clouds started to break up. I searched intently all alone. Suddenly my phone beeped. It was a friend about 40 miles to my north east, also searching. He sent a photo of the sky from his location in the Bay Area. His photo showed some dense cloud cover, similar to what I was seeing. I reply with a photo of the sky I was seeing and a message that I could not see the moon.
Not more than a few minutes had passed when he sends another message containing just two words; Got It.
I ask, “you see it!” but before I could hit send, I glance up and from behind a dark cloud bank I see that fine sliver of light emerge from behind the clouds! And to think I almost threw in the towel and called it a night. Then appended to the above, I write “I see it too!” and send the message.
Obscured by the clouds, the moon played hide and seek with me for about 5 minutes before it dropped down below that lower cloud deck hugging the mountains. It moved so fast.
And so that moon marked the beginning of the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. An endeavor that challenges men and women of all ages, cultures, languages, financial status, and backgrounds to ten days of rigor in the Arabian Desert, all for one reason; answering the call of God to come and visit the Ancient House, to stand there on a desert plain and seek Divine forgiveness and mercy. Not everyone can go at the same time. Physically Mecca could not hold the entire Muslim population on the planet. It reaches its bursting point at just about 2 million people! And yet, Muslims will intend to go all their lives until they finally get the chance, never giving up year after year as they save what they can to afford the trip. Some will make it when they are young if they are fortunate, others will wait a lifetime and only make it there in old age. Nonetheless, once there they strive to accomplish the rites irrespective of the challenges and again never giving up until they complete the rites or die trying! Having gone myself and experienced it first hand, it is an awe inspiring event that has no equal in all the world.
The reward always comes at the end, and it is a sweet reward, made even sweeter when one arrives knowing that they did not give up.
May God accept the pilgrimage of all the pilgrims there in Mecca this year!
Till next time, Peace to you All!