Friday, September 03, 2004


Day 1 ~ Tuesday 24th August 2004

6.50am GMT

OK so we are above the clouds right now. My head still pounds from lack of sleep. My companion has taken her sickness tablets. The turbulence didn’t affect us as bad as we thought – a very good start.

There’s a huge gap between the earth and the clouds. The clouds are piled like mountains and mountains of snow. They look full of pride sitting in air, but so fluffy. It looks like a whole new world out there! They look so delicate, soft and pure; so peaceful. We are passing clouds of different shapes, sizes and gaps. As if they have their own community.

Staring at them for just one moment is sufficient to lose me. Almost as if the world is stopping. The sun is shining at me – I’ve had to put the window halfway so as to not exacerbate my headache. I don’t want to lose sight of such amazing wonders of my Lords’ creation.

The sun looks so mighty from here, no wonder Prophet Ibrahim Alaisalam thought it was his Lord.

We are the only two wearing hijab. We spotted a few men and women who are Asian, maybe Muslim. The jet is small and not many Muslims.

I’m going to have a nap. 7am

11am Spanish time

Beautiful green waters we flew over with so much ‘earth’ visible amongst them. I am sitting on my suitcase outside Malaga Airport. We need to catch a certain bus number 19 to get into the main Bus Station. From there we will get the Autobus to Granada.

My companion has gone to find the Aseos. Its 24 degrees C here and yeah: we have just met someone else in hijab – 3 of us now. She is standing waiting at the bus stop aswell. My body feels wet with perspiration – ‘Sure’ has let me down!

Our breakfast: Barbeque Flavour Walkers crisps! My mum had insisted we bring some paranthas with us but being as brave as we are, we refused… bad move.

There’s too many smokers here…

And oh – the bus is here. But my companion isn’t. Guess I’ll have to wait for her! Do I have a choice?

My lecturer who had told me to keep a journal is also a ‘friend’. She has since retired and brought a villa in Spain where she retreats to throughout the year. She was kind to give me directions for where to go once we get outside the airport. Telling us we must take a right turn!

No sign of her still. There’s too many smokers in this place! Yuck! These people smoke like chimneys! The airport at Malaga is alright… anyhow I must go. 11.05am


We didn’t miss the bus! We caught it to the Estacion de Autobus. The driver spoke to us in Arabic! SubhanAllah seemed a pleasant chap. We are now on a second bus which will get us to Granada. On the way I spotted a second sister in hijab.

Still haven’t phoned mum to say we are here – we just about managed to purchase a ticket for Granada. Not knowing a country’s language is a serious issue. I wonder how my parents coped when they arrived to England many moons ago. Not being able to engage in verbal communication sure is not to be taken lightly.

So far – Spain looks a cross between a Middle Eastern and Asian country. The brown-ness of the earth is beautiful. Serves as a constant reminder that man comes from this humble matter.

The houses are built in the middle of mountains – and we noticed how even little cafes have floral décor and tilework. The ‘art’ is amazing.

The palm trees are ample and that’s why its really reminding me of Saudi.

My companion is shooting some footage of the mountains. This journey cost us 8.29 Euros and is 1½ hours!

After that we need to catch a cab or a bus to our hotel!

Amazing, how from the moment we left home till now we are travelling on our fourth transport! Reminds me of how in life to get to a certain destination we move through many channels before reaching the goal. Though tedious each transport must be mounted to get closer to the place we wish to go. We may not like it but we know that it must be mounted.

Similarly often to get the desired things in life we need to go through many life experiences, not all of which are pleasant; and not all of which we may think to ever be of benefit – but all of which need to happen and be in place for the final goal to be achieved. And the fulfilment of the prayers we seek from God Almighty.

But to think that certain distasteful events should not happen is like asking examiners not to set awkward questions in an exam paper. (Here creeps my experience in education). For surely, together, the questions form the credibility of the paper?

Thus the constant testing of the waters is necessary since its part of getting (ever closer to) the final gift. And that’s where, we need to be patient.

I’m going for a nap now… 12.32pm


We have just seen the Alhambra from the top of the hotel roof!

Absolutely wow!

My companion is in awe. I am numb. I actually can’t believe it. Just like when I first saw the Kabah. (It was an extremely numbing, emotionless, unreal feeling; as if it was a dream).

I really can’t believe we are here.

SubhanAllah for Muslim architecture – wow!


To reflect on today, what a day; from the comfort of my room to the chilly morning air in Manchester; to the presence above the clouds; to the warm heat in Malaga. The beautiful scenes through the forests of Sierra Nevada and finally to Granada we arrive.

I am sitting outside in the corridor / lounge of our 7th floor room whilst my companion tries to catch some kip. We checked into the hotel at about 2pm.

I’ve had a bit of a ‘culture shock’ … when we wait in a cue; the person at the desk doesn’t call “next” (or the Spanish equivalent) as often we are accustomed to in the UK. I thought we’d be rude if we went along to the desk tender without even some eye contact from them. But maybe this is the way things are here.

Indeed in the sharing of cultures is a message conveying the beauty of differences within the tribe of Prophet Adam Alaisalam.

I have already spoken about the smoking – but I didn’t realise it would be so widespread! Even when we checked into the hotel people were smoking as they waited! Most eating places were infested with smokers aswell. So I don’t hold prejudices against smokers but since they are one major trigger of my migraines – I have to assert that smoking in public places not only is a violation of someone’s air-space but also looks too damn cheap!

Alhamdulila, the rules in UK about designated smoke areas or smoking outside would get the thumbs up from me anyday!

That aside after unpacking and phoning home, I prayed my first prayer on Spanish soil. SubhanAllah who would have thought I’d get the chance to prostrate in a land wherein rested a community whose viability would amaze generations to come.

I truly feel blessed to lay my head on different parts of the world, in dire hope that this land may remember me when I am no more. That maybe it would testify to me when all those I love have forgotten about me. And until the end of time.

We went out to eat, and managed to find a place opposite our hotel which did cooked food. Ordering food was a nightmare!

Both of us had really bad headaches and I feared a migraine. We pointed to food dishes and asked if it was for vegetarians. Unfortunately the waiter could not understand us, so we found a menu card. We sat down to look at it and found pictures of pizza, egg, chips and other gastronomically familiar sights. The waiter sent his colleague to our table who could speak English and we ordered.

My migraine was about to kick me out of action and thus I knew it was time for a chill pill called Clotam Rapid. J It was almost 5pm and we headed back for the hotel and fell asleep. Sharing with the Spaniard siesta we slept a few hours before praying Asr and heading out again for a cup of tea.

As we wandered outside the hotel in our conquest for a cuppa – my companion spotted a man walking in traditional Pakistani attire – shalwaar kameez. “*** Look a Pakistani!”

We rushed towards him and asked if he understood urdu. We spoke to him and asked him about the direction of the Qibla, the whereabouts of other Muslims and whether he knew where the newly built mosque was.

He was a pleasant middle-aged man (uncle) and even invited us to his house for tea and roti. Of course we refused; our gender status would not allow it! Simple!

We managed to find a lovely place not far from the hotel for tea and then went shopping for some fruit!

We went into various shops asking about “le fruitee” and realised it was in the same place where we had ate earlier.

Our discussion with the lady at the fruit section was fruitful indeed. We asked her if we should call her “madam” or “senourita” and she explained how the former was for a married woman and the latter for a single. She told us that she was separated. We also asked how to say “thank you” and “excuse me” in Spanish.

She didn’t know much English but we were able to communicate effectively to the point of obtaining the information we needed. (In our rush to pack we didn’t manage to pick up a Spanish dictionary before leaving).

By now we were fully fledged in the Spanish language so it seemed. As a woman approached us and asked us in Spanish where she could get washing powder tablets for the machine!

In total we saw about 6 women in hijab.

I really really miss Muslim company ... Alhamdulila, we are hoping to visit the Albaicin tomorrow.

That will cheer me up, InshaAllah. 12.30am.

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