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Emotional Ambush

"They call it the greatest show on earth so imagine how I felt taking part in such an event along with millions and millions of my brothers and sisters in islam.

Performing hajj is a once-in-a -lifetime obligation for every muslim and I was lucky enough to go to Makkah in January as a new convert to islam.

When I returned to the UK every-one wanted to know what the most spiritual moment was for me. Was it seeing it for the first time? Perhaps it was saying Salaams by the Prophets tomb in Medina? Could it have been climbing mount Arafat?

The questions came fast and furious, but there was only one answer the most spiritual event came to me by surprise, without warning, in fact my emotions were ambushed, seized by the moment you could say. I still get the little hairs on my neck bristling when I recall the moment it happened one afternoon as the azan rang out across the rooftops of the grand hotels, the palace and more humble dwellings in the boundaries of the world's holiest city.

I cursed my own tardiness because I was running late and so grabbed my prayer mat and ran from the hilltop hotel where I was staying. I scurried down the winding steps and onto the cobbled streets which cut a spiral swathe a cluster of shops and other businesses leading into the main thoroughfare. As I turned the final bend, there before me was an amazing sight tens of thousands of other pilgrims pushing and shoving to get into the Grand mosque through the main entrance it was chaotic. All of us, many different languages, skin colours, cultures not understanding a word each other was saying.

Then suddenly the first words of prayer came and within seconds out of the chaos came a unity that took my breath away. The higgledy crowds snapped into regimental lines that would have a regimental sergeant major green with envy.

My prayer mat, like so many others, was placed on the tarmac. Nothing, but nothing was going to stop us from observing our prayers even if we were standing in the middle of the road. I looked at the brother to my left seconds earlier he had been talking in a language totally alien to me, and the sister to my left was speaking urdu or possibly gujrati whatever it was, none of us could comprehend the other.

Despite our differences there we were standing to attention before Allah swt, all understanding the words of the prayer and responding accordingly. Tears welled up in my eyes as I said to myself "look at us-this is Allah's army. The most disciplined army in the world. If we can come together like this five times a day, every day of the year, then why can't we be like this 24/7 and it is not just us in Saudi there are millions more around the globe all praying in the same direction to the one God. "If we were like this every second of the day we would be so disciplined.

The biggest, most powerful army in the world would then command respect from so-called superpowers, people would no longer abuse our Holy Quran, or kidnap, torture and kill our brothers and sisters. No one would dare invade Muslim lands. That moment of my time as a pilgrim is locked in my heart and will live with me forever

We hope the above article has given you something to think about. We all hope to achieve the same feelings shared by Sister Yvonne Ridley Inshallah.