Source: The National
As a young child, I had the privilege of living in the holiest and most sacred city in the world for Muslims: Makkah. To this day, I still have profound, fond memories of growing up there. It was where I saw people from all walks in life, and from nearly every country in the world, coming to my city. Yet, the most beautiful and dearest memories are the ones related to Hajj, which I performed almost every year of my life, from when I was born until I started high school.
In the past, the areas surrounding the Masjid Al-Haram, or the Great Mosque, were not filled with an abundance of hotels like they are today. So it was up to the people of Makkah to open up their homes to the pilgrims. My grandparents’ house was no exception.
Welcoming the pilgrims
My grandfather, whose name was Abdulwahab – although we grandchildren would call him Sido, a term commonly used in Makkah for your mother’s father – was in the business of importing textiles from Asia and Europe. He lived in a 10-storey building in Alfalq, an old Makkah neighbourhood that was less than five minutes’ walk away from the Great Mosque. From his house, we could hear the adhan and the five daily calls to prayer clearly.