As we left madinah for Mecca we made a brief stop at Bir Ali for solat and niat. This is the place to solidify the intention for umrah which is the boundary of al haram. Everyone stops here to make a tw0 rakaat solat and does the niat. Met a friend of mine from Dungun, Ust Hussain, who used to be our neighbour in Dungun Terengganu. Before we moved to Sha Alam; small world isn’t it? Thaousands kilometers away from home and we were talking as we were many many years ago when we sued to have our daily chat late in the afternoon, you know, that neighbor-to-neighbor chat routine. The journey continued and we were backed into the bus for another 8-hour long journey to the holy city of Mecca. After the niat at Bir Ali (The Well of Ali) we were officially in the state of ihram (prohibition). During this state people have to follow strict rules….no killing, no cutting and no sex ……until you are done with the Tawaf and saie. The tawaf was okay although the big crowd slowed us down a little bit. The saie was a bit challenging as it was a compete physical test of stamina. Not easy especially when you run barefooted; the feet felt the excruciating pain against the marble floor especially during the ascending and descending of the two hills- Safa and Marwah. Our saie finished around 1 am and we have 3 hours into the Fajr—should we stay or go back to hit the sack? Everyone was very tired after the long journey, however, we decided to stay on.