My Trip to Medina and Makkah - My tour and experience and how I had a Heart Attack and was medevac back home to London - thanks to Allah and the team of Doctor and Paramedic at Makkah.
My earliest recollection of the Ka’ba is of a framed photo which was hung in our family home. I’ve always had a desire to visit the Masjid Al Haram and when I finally booked my ticket from London to Jeddah, it was my dream that was going to come true. When the visa came through I was one step closer to reality.
There are many incidents where people were unable to go for Umrah or Hajj even after receiving their visas due to unfortunate circumstances. Visiting the house of Allah is truly something which Allah invites people to, something which a couple of my friends reminded me.
We landed in Jeddah airport and boarded our Airconditioned Bus to Makkah. Not too long ago, before air-transportation, Muslims would undertake arduous journeys on foot, on a camel, by car, and by ship. Allah has made travel easy for us and we thank Him for that.
As we entered the holy city of Makkah I was looking out for the clock tower. It would be the first sign pointing to the Masjid Al Haram. Seeing it only increased my anticipation which prompted me to look out for the minarets.
Finally, the beautiful minarets emerged from behind the hotels which surround the Masjid, this filled me and my friends with happiness and joy, we were just meters away from the Masjid.
We were dropped off out at our hotels where we unloaded and freshened up. We were tired and jet-lagged and had to decide if we should go to sleep and perform Umrah after waking up or if we should do it immediately.
Out of eagerness, we decided that we would do it straight away and then rest for the night.
As we approached the Masjid from the courtyard, it hit me, I was here. My du'as had been accepted and I was a guest invited to the house of Allah.
Seeing the Ka’bah for the First Time
We promptly made our way towards the Mataf, all the while lowering our gaze. Finally, when we were close enough, we lifted our eyes to behold the beautiful Ka’bah – towards which millions of Muslims face everyday. Such a moment can not be expressed in words, it can only be experienced. May Allah allow you all to do so.
We began by performing the seven Tawafs and we were filled with gratitude to Allah that He allowed us to be here. Allah made the Tawaf easy and after finishing that, we prayed two Rak’ahs behind the Maqam of Ibrahim (as).
There are many who try to pray right behind it in their eagerness, however, this inconveniences those performing Tawaf so we decided to find a spot at the back where we were able to pray behind it ensuring we were not disrupting others. We proceeded to drink some cool Zamzam before we made our way to the Mas’a.
The first few rounds were easy but it became difficult towards the last few rounds partly due to the fact that I was carrying my daughter who was three years old on my back on a baby carrier. What kept me going was thinking about how Haajar (ra) had run between the two mountains in the hot Arabian heat. There were no cooling systems nor were there any marble tiles in those days.
Alhamdulillah with Allah’s help we completed the Umrah and I made my way to a barber nearby to get my head shaved.
To me, shaving one’s hair is symbolic to one’s sins being forgiven (if Allah accepts). All our past mistakes and sins simply fall away as quickly as it takes for an experienced barber to glide a sharp blade across the head.
However, I was feeling uncomfortable in my chest. I felt a kind of pressure never felt before and the pain was radiating to my neck and jaw and on to my arms. I started sweating and difficulty breathing. I felt nausea and I told my barber to call an Ambulance and I was quickly whisked to a nearby clinic. The doctor at the clinic assessed me and thought I should be treated in a major Hospital setup.
I was tired and fatigued. However, with the help of friends, I was admitted to an ICU. I was sedated and given a no of medications.
My diagnosis was Unstable Angina.
Unstable angina is a pattern of angina that occurs randomly or unpredictably and is unrelated to any obvious trigger such as physical exertion or emotional stress. Unstable angina is a form of Acute coronary syndrome (ACS) and needs prompt treatment and procedure called Coronary Angiography.
I longed to go back home to be treated in familiar surroundings.
So I called my wife who informed an Air Ambulance company.
The company dispatched a team of Doctor and Paramedic to my Hospital and made arrangements to settle my bills.
I was taken in a ground ambulance to Jeddah Airport and to a medical room where I rested for a while. Further, they took me in the Ambulance to the tarmac and lifted me safely to the aircraft.
I understood later that the company making this arrangement was HI Flying - Air Ambulance International based out of Dubai and various other places who had made a Commercial Flight stretcher arrangements for me.
I was on a monitor and a probe on my finger. I was placed on oxygen.
On reaching London, I was offloaded to a Ground Ambulance to be taken to an NHS Hospital for treatment.
I felt comfortable here and stayed for a week after getting an appointment for a Coronary Angiography.
I was happy to be back home with my family.
I appreciate the prompt and efficient services offered by the Medevac - Air Ambulance company so I was treated free in my home country.
Their services were invaluable at that time of crisis.
Would love to share their contact tel no for anyone for any emergency situation in Makkah or Medina and for that matter in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. +91 9821150889.
Pictures of Makkah Medina to share - My Memories of Makkah Medina Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
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