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The Ka’bah Essay

I finally arrived at my abode. I was not aware of this previously, but now I was most definitely sure this was the moment I had been waiting for, ever since I read about this wonderful place, eight years ago. There I stood, in the scorching summer of Saudi Arabia. It was baking. The air streamed around me. Everything I laid my greasy hands on sent a burning sensation through me. The heat was oppressive and stifling. I would have done anything for just a single sip of water. I felt a breeze of sand rushing across my face and body as I scratched my torrid, sweaty arm. The burning sand-covered me, like boiling water in a hot shower.

The night was a black velvet curtain, cloudless. Despite the departure of the dazzling sun from the endless sky, the blistering heat resulted in me becoming dehydrated and delirious. Salt began to seep from my fingers, as I stepped on the sunbaked earth. Fluorescent feathered pigeons whooshed past my fiery face at the speed of light. The atmosphere was extremely sticky. Due to the sweltering heat my Arabian-styled clothes stuck to my sweaty fatigued body. Soaking sweat dripped from my greasy hair, rolling down my forehead, and then falling off my sunburnt rosy cheeks, like a rattlesnake slithering from side to side alone in the most boiling desert in the world.

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I looked up at the still, black sheet of a sky. The night had settled, the darkness had masked the blinding sky of the day. It was illuminated by the shining stars, which were the suns of the night. They were as bright as a group of silver snowflakes. Up there they glittered guiding the three wise men to their chosen destination, the heart of the Christians, Bethlehem. It was at this point in time when it clicked to me why millions of people every year made a pilgrimage to this blessed land. This was paradise. The air danced with the delicious fragrance of Khubz and Aruz. This appetizing redolence reminded me of my beloved mother’s Indian cooking. They had the same spicy touch to them. The delectable smell diffused from the cooking pot, glided through the air and constantly punched my nose, chanting ‘eat me, eat me, eat me.’ It was Alice in Wonderland.

Everything around me was surreal. It was perfect. I wouldn’t have been surprised if I saw a group of animals, wearing clothes, and having a tea party. I felt it was all but a dream. The smell of chillies burnt the tip of my nose. The whiff of ginger, garlic and potato peeled off the outside skin of my sneezing nose. The mouth-watering aroma of fresh dates tickled the inside hairs of my petite nose. It was like sitting in the food market of paradise. My eyes deceived me, as I took a look at the tulip-red dates, sitting in a box right in front of me. The scrumptious fruit looked so delicious. I picked it up from the sack. It felt as soft as silk; I put it into my mouth and chewed slowly, it tasted heavenly. This was the greatest thing I had ever ingested. This was more luxurious than a million boxes of Cadburys ‘Milk Tray’. The juice of the fruit trickled down my moist tongue as slow as an ancient tortoise.

I clapped my tired miniature eyes on a cup, which sat on an old oak Victorian table beside the box. I gulped the liquid inside it down in three sips. This drink was as white as milk and as sweet as honey. The atmosphere was loud. People rushed from one end of the mosque to the other. They all embraced their family and friends, upon flashing their first glance at them. There I saw, rushing children towards the immaculate monument. All the men around me had shaved heads, and looked like Gandhi, in their Ihraams (white sheets of wool – worn by pilgrims only). Every man in the universe was dressed in a long milky white dress. It seemed like an endless sky, packed with cumulus clouds, all erect, side by side with tanned arms and legs sticking out of them.

It was at this point that I had clapped my eyes on a crying child. He must have been at the tender age of maybe three or four. The babe’s sad face turned to an even sadder image as tears leaked from his face. The infant placed his tiny hands in his silk dress pocket and took out a tissue. The minor wiped his large green eyes and his fear-filled white cheeks. The tears came rushing out like gushing water from a hosepipe. He cried “Mother, mother”. The nipper strolled around, shouting. The toddler had to catch sight of his mother amongst two million giants. The youngster eventually gave up and fell to the backbreaking marble floor. The nursling placed his microscopic head in between his two diminutive but chubby legs and cried. He had lost his precious mother for the rest of eternity. My eyes damped upon the sight of this most unfortunate child. I approached the child drying my eyes as I advance towards him. I took his soft hand and struggled, to comfort him.

I heard sonorous footsteps approaching me. I feasted my eyes up and received a big fat slap across the face. The attacker was a very short woman. She began exclaiming swears to me in the Arabic language. What had I performed to deserve this? The slap was as damaging as being swung across the face by a golf club, by Tiger Woods. She grasped the child into her arms and pampered it. I became furious inside but for the child’s sake did not portray my exasperation. The child explained to his dear mother, what event took place, and that I was just trying to help. The thought that glided around in my head, was that she should not have jumped to any conclusions. She should not have judged me by face value. The lesson I learnt from this is do not to judge a book its cover.

It was unforgettable, absolutely unforgettable. It didn’t half change my life though. I saw the whole of mankind standing on the planes of resurrection on judgement day, handheld together as one. This was brotherhood. The famous saying of the prophet Muhammad sprung to my mind at that second. ‘The believers (in God) are the same as a single person. If his eye is in pain, his whole body is in pain, and if his head is in pain, his whole body is in pain.’ It was this picturesque scenery that has made me believe up until this day that we are all, black or white, rich or poor, all brothers and sisters. And if one of us is suffering then we should all feel even the most little bit of sympathy for this individual. I took a quick glance forward. All of a sudden, my body shot back. I could not believe my eyes. I was bewildered by this sight. I could not comprehend how this was constructed.

At this time a feeling bolted through my body as swift as a swooping eagle. This was a feeling I had never felt before. There it stood. In all its glory. Tall, square, and black shrouded. Was this surely the shrine illustrated in all those books we had at the library at home. It had depth to it. It was a definite duplicate of the photographs in the books, but at the same time, it appeared to look completely different. It was alive. It was breathing as heavily as an elephant that has run ten miles, without a second rest. The monument seemed to respond to the commotion of the crowd. It was almost a part of everything. A thought whipped through my head. It had more to it than met the eye. I felt this building was more than just a shrine. It was a box that was the headquarters of the All-knowing.

It felt as though this cenotaph in front of me, which everyone was extremely, astonished by, was rotating, and actually spinning on its axis. The continuous rotation made me weak at the knees, not to mention my eyes burning from the bright white moonlight; however I daren’t look away in case I missed something, anything. The box-shaped structure seemed as if to spring alive at any moment, while hundreds of people surrounding it waited patiently for that instant moment. This was the Ka’bah. I had travelled for days on end to see this, in the sizzling sun wearing a long white dress to which I was not normally accustomed, passing through the sultry desert with little food and drink and severe sunburn, but this single moment in time made everything feel worthwhile. The satisfaction that I received from being in that environment was something I had never felt before.

The Ka’bah was a bricked construction, covered in an expensive black velvet cloth, with verses of the glorious Qur’an sewn on it using real gold thread, exactly like the picture I had seen. The writing gleamed in the sunshine. The black singled it out from everything else in the area. Nothing else was black in the whole area. The fine velvet looked absolutely exquisite. The neat brickwork which had been laid by the father of the Hebrew Abraham was most appealing. Observing more closely at this building, something happened, all the sound of the pilgrims chanting their rituals, surrounding me, had faded, along with the mouth-watering smells of the succulent Arabian delights. There was a thunderous silence. Everything took place around me as normal, but I was deaf from it all. I began to panic believing I had turned deaf.

I thought, and then realized it was my intense concentration of the Ka’bah, that made me deaf from everything. I became deeply intoxicated with my love for it. Then the famous saying of the messenger Muhammad came to my mind. He says: ‘Love blinds and deafens’. Then I walked a few paces towards it, as I got closer I felt shocks running through my entire body. Every hair on my body stood right up. Like it was a soldier standing straight in front of his commander-in-chief. I began sauntering along with the rest of mankind around the Ka’bah. Every single one of us engaged in our rituals. It was everything, my beloved mother described to me as a child and more. There it stood, in the middle of the universe. Like a nucleus at the centre of an atom, and in each corner of the beautiful building a large proton, which covered its quarter of the nucleus.

It was rapidly being circled by electrons who were the millions of people orbiting it, whilst engaged in their rituals. The lights of the magnificent mosque glittered like stars in the pitch-black sky of the night. Water swished from the well of Zam Zam as the pilgrims performed the Wudhu (ablution). I proceeded to the well, and upon contact with the freshwater, felt a tingling in my toes. A sensation I had never felt before. As I washed all the filth and sins from my body. I felt blessed. This water felt as pleasant as the water given to the sinner after he is excused from hell and before he is granted admittance to heaven. That water, which fulfils all his needs.

I was in the middle of a tornado being continuously circled by the warmest heat on Earth. My feet burned as I stood on the burning, marvellous marble, carefully crafted and covered in heavenly colours. I looked up at the dazzling door. It was the largest donor in the world. It was like the door of paradise. Various verses from the glorious Qur’an carefully engraved on the door, coloured in the most beautiful gold that I had ever set eyes on. As I laid my hands on the Ka’bah, it felt like a shock ran through my entire body, ten times over. Buzzing every time it came across a cell. It must have been the greatest buzz in the world. As I passed my hands on the door, it felt like I was being poked by the sharpest needle in the world, every time I was hands-on with a place a verse was written.

It was like a car moving on an extremely rocky road. I gazed up at the picturesque night sky. The darkness had enveloped over all the clouds, the night was silent, and the sky was illuminated by the shining stars. The stars flickered in a rhythm as if they were in beat to a tune. I looked fixedly for the final time at the Ka’bah; it was the only thing in the world. It was the centre of my attention. I stared at it, and I stared at it, and I was unable to stop staring. I then closed my tired eyes. This was the place to be. This was the cr�me de la cr�me. This was paradise.

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