MUSLIMS FROM AROUND the world dream of visiting Makkah to perform Hajj and Umrah and yearn to catch a glimpse of the Holy Kaᶜbah. Many are moved to tears upon first sight and drop in prostration. In the middle of September 2016, I was honored with a rare and unprecedented opportunity of a lifetime, an invitation to participate in the washing of the inside of the holy Ka‘bah. This opportunity was one that people could only ever dream of and provided me with an invaluable experience that goes beyond words.
There was an elation of emotion that went through my mind as I received the invitation from the General Presidency of Haramain – Al-Masjid Al-Haram. I was shocked, surprised and overjoyed at the thought of being inside the blessed Kaᶜbah, which had once been graced with the presence of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). I could not believe my ears when I received the official call and I had to pinch myself to make sure that I was not dreaming. Was I really being given this once in a lifetime opportunity?
It took me about 20 minutes to compose myself as I came to the realization that I had indeed, received the official invitation from Haramain – Masjid Al Haram and was about to embark on a spiritual and blessed experience that one could never envisage.
I began my journey to Saudi Arabia via Dubai, where our company, Divine Connect LLC, had won the prestigious Innovation4Impact Competition at the Global Islamic Economy Summit 2016.
My journey to the holy city of Makkah was one that was filled with a number of emotions from anxiety, enthusiasm, excitement and an enhanced and elevated spiritual connection which I had never experienced before, not even on my prior trips for Hajj and Umrah.
When the plane touched down at the airport in Jeddah my adrenalin, heart rate and breathing was at its peak. I was one step closer to the doors of the holy Kaᶜbah. As I step foot on the soil of Arabia, each footstep took my breath away as I envisaged what the inside of the Kaᶜbah would be like and how I would feel once I am actually inside.
I arrived at Masjid Al Haram and performed Umrah first and gave my gratitude to Allah. Walking into Masjid Al Haram gave me goosebumps, especially when I saw the, majestic holy Kaᶜbah standing tall before my eyes. It was like a dream seeing the black kiswa, which is the black embroidered cloth that covers the Kaᶜbah and contains beautifully crafted gold threads of Arabic inscriptions from the Holy Qur’an. For anyone who can see it up close, it is a magnificent sight and moved me to tears.
A few days later, the moment I was waiting for so anxiously arrived. I was invited to the office of the Haramain. From there I was led by the security escort to meet the Al-Shaibi family who are entrusted with the responsibility of holding the keys to the holy Kaᶜbah.
This blessed family has the unique honor and distinction of having been selected as the custodians of the keys to the golden doors of the holy Kaᶜbah by the Prophet œ till the day of resurrection, as guided by Allah the exalted, in verse 58 of Surat Al-Nisâ’.
I was firstly introduced to a group of highly respected individuals and scholars who were present. Shortly afterwards, army and police security escorted us to the Kaᶜbah and my heart was racing in anticipation. It was a tremendous moment in my life, walking side by side along with the Al-Shaibi family members to the holy Kaᶜbah. I was extremely humbled by this honor and felt that this was truly a gift from Allah.
As I walked towards the Kaᶜbah with tears building up in my eyes, I remembered my loving parents, may Allah have mercy on them, who passed away a decade ago. The thought of my mother, who was a very humble and pious woman, came into my mind as I held back the tears. I always remember my mother spending most of her time on the prayer rug and making duᶜâs for her eight children and all the underprivileged worldwide. My mother was very active in charity work and helped many people even though we ourselves were from a middle-class background from a village in Kerala, South India. I could have never imagined that I would be in this position today, being invited inside the Kaᶜbah and I know that my parents would have been extremely happy if they had been alive today.
We continued walking toward the Kaᶜbah accompanied by the Haram security, who was creating a ring around the Kaᶜbah without disturbing the ṭawâf which was still ongoing throughout the entire process.
As I walked towards the majestic door of the Kaᶜbah along with the Al-Shaibi family, I could see the Al-Ḥajar Al-Aswad (The Black Stone) with no one around it. It was a rare feeling to be in front of the black stone and can easily see it, in full view, with no distractions of pilgrims racing just to get a glimpse. Here I was with full access to Al-Ḥajar Al Aswad and it was a breathtaking moment.
I very respectfully stood in front of the black stone, removed my spectacles and with trembling hands put them inside my shirt pocket. Allâhu Akbar! I took this great opportunity to kiss the holy Al-Ḥajar Al-Aswad. My face reached out to the stone as I kissed it praising our creator, Almighty Allah by reciting “Allâhu Akbar”, Allah is the greatest. I took in my surroundings I gulped at the sheer magnitude of what I was about to experience.
I walked with the greatest anticipation upon the steps leading to the entrance of the holy Kaᶜbah. The members of the Al-Shaibi family led the way, as they were about to open the glorious door of the Kaᶜbah. My legs were trembling as I placed my foot upon each of the steps until finally reaching the pinnacle. I mustered up the courage and placed my right foot into the holy Kaᶜbah. I touched the beautiful golden doors of the Kaᶜbah as I entered inside the most sacred spot in the world whilst my hands shook in amazement! I was flooded with emotions and the thought that this was the very same place that our beloved Prophet Muhammad œ had prayed in.
My eyes were filled with tears and as I was overwhelmed with emotions. I began to take in all the features of inside the Kaᶜbah and made a quick 360-degree look at the captivating interior that spiritually moved my soul. It was at that point that I realized I had to thank Almighty Allah. I composed and prepared myself to do two-rakᶜât prayer. I raised my hands and said “Allâhu Akbar” with tears flooding down my eyes reciting Sûrat Al-Fâtiḥah. I had never been as emotional as I was then reciting inside the holy Kaᶜbah. It took me a while before I could finish Sûrat Al-Fâtiḥah and then Sûrat Al-Kâfirûn. After the rukûᶜ when my forehead touched the holy floor during the sujûd, I could feel something extraordinary. For sure this was an experience like never before, it was a moment of glory, happiness, emotions and thankfulness to our creator Almighty Allah.
When my forehead touched the floor of the Kaᶜbah on my second rakᶜah, I could feel a gust of positive energy passing through my entire body and the experience was something out of this world. It was a feeling of being blessed, being fortunate enough to pray inside the holy Kaᶜbah and being able to make duᶜâ’ in the holiest, sacred sites in the world. I completed my two-rakᶜahs prayer with the highest spiritual connection I had ever experienced in my life, Alḥamdulillâh.
After this I started making duᶜâ’ thinking of my deceased parents, sister, brother and all my relatives who had passed away. I asked Almighty Allah for their forgiveness and pleaded to give them Jannat Al-Firdous. This was the best place for me to make duᶜâ’ right inside the holy Kaᶜbah where the spiritual connection was at its highest and I felt nearer to Almighty Allah more than ever before.
I remembered many of my family members, friends and associates who have passed away and asked Almighty Allah for the forgiveness of the deceased from the Muslim ummah.
I prayed for our beloved Prophet Mohammed œ, his companions, their family members and thanked Allah for showing mankind the way of life as taught and led by our beloved Prophet œ.
I prayed for the custodians of the two holy mosques King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud and for all the Imams of the holy mosques including Dr. Sheikh Abdur Rahman Al Sudais, Chairman & President of the General Presidency of Haramain and Dr. Sheikh Mohammed Al Khuzaim, Vice President of the General Presidency of Haramain and all the employees of the two holy mosques.
I prayed to Allah to help alleviate the misery of Muslims worldwide especially the Muslims undergoing great difficulty in the lands of Syria, Iraq, Burma, Palestine and other places. I prayed for the refugees and asked Allah to give them a solution and guide them to lead a normal life. I prayed for world peace and peaceful coexistence among the people of different faiths.
I also prayed for my twin brother Mohamed Muyeenuddin who has been all along my support in my life both at work and family. I prayed for my dear wife and all that she has done and sacrificed for me all along in our married life. I prayed for my brothers and their wives, my nieces, nephews and all my relatives and also I prayed for my friends, my colleagues at work and for my business “Divine Connect” and its employees. I also prayed for my brothers and sisters at our West Palm Beach Mosque, Al Amin Center Mosque and DarulUloom in Florida.
It took me over 15 minutes for me to complete my duᶜâs and Alḥamdulillâh, I did not forget anyone at that moment as I remembered all the important people in my life and the ummah and I made duᶜâ’ for everyone in general, Alḥamdulillâh.
I got up from my duᶜâ’ and then prayed another two-rakᶜahs prayer facing the south, two rakᶜahs facing the east, two rakᶜahs facing the west. In total, I prayed four prayers of two rakᶜahs each in all the four directions Alḥamdulillâh. I realized that inside the Kaᶜbah is the only place in the entire planet where you can literally stand in one spot and pray in any direction.
After this I saw a table in the middle of the Kaᶜbah and placed upon this beautiful table was rose water, very exclusive and beautifully presented Attar perfumes and pieces of cloth. I was presented with the glorious opportunity of an ᶜiṭr (perfume) dipped cloth to wash the inside walls of the holy Kaᶜbah. I took the cloth and started wiping the walls of the Kaᶜbah with utmost respect and humility.
I would not have ever wiped any surface on this earth like this before. I remembered the days when I used to clean our small home in our village where I was born. However, this was different. I became overwhelmed and emotional. I made sure that every stroke that went from left to right and right to left be perfect and I could see the shining marble gleaming with more brightness.
I went to the table again and took another four pieces of cloth and started wiping different sections of the Kaᶜbah with utmost care. I was told that I could keep this Attar filled cloths as a souvenir of my visit. Alḥamdulillâh.
The Kaᶜbah measures approximately 50 feet (15.2 meters) high, 35 feet (10.7 meters) wide and 40 feet (12.2 meters) long.
Inside, the floor is made of marble and limestone and has three pillars which glistens and gleams in all its splendor. A small altar or table is set between the columns and lamp like objects hang from the ceiling. The wall directly adjacent to the entrance of the Kaᶜbah has six tablets inlaid with Arabic inscriptions, and there are several more tablets along the other walls.
Along the upper half of the walls runs a green cloth embroidered with gold Qur’anic verses which was absolutely breathtaking and a sight that is etched in my mind. The ceiling is of a darker color, similar in hue to the lower trimming.
A golden door, the Bab Al-Tawbah (Gate of Repentance) on the right wall (right of the entrance) opens to an enclosed staircase that leads to a hatch, which itself opens to the roof.
I spent the most electrifying 25 minutes of my entire life inside the holy Kaᶜbah. I took one last final look around and then I exited the door of the Kaᶜbah with great humility and made a small prayer that Almighty Allah bless and protect our Muslim Ummah.
* Founder & CTO of Divine Connect USA (Mohamed Sala’huddin Pazhoor, President & CTO of Divine Connect USA was honored with an invitation to participate in the washing of the inside of the holy Kaᶜbah during Muharaam 1438 (2016) by the General Presidency of Haramain – Masjid Al Haram. The two holy mosques Masjid Al Haram & Masjid Al Nabawi are governed by the Custodian of the two holy mosques His Highness King Salman bin Abdul Aziz from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.)