BismIllah wa as salaamu alaykum wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh.
We have been for Umrah twice in the past few months - al hamdul'Illah. There is nothing so soothing and healing to me than sitting in the sahan basking in the healing medicine of the Kaaba air.
However, when we walk back to our hotel amongst the construction, the demolished mountains, the extravagant sky-high hotels, and fancy marble I remember, yet again, Surah al Asr..."By the time, verily mankind is in a state of loss!" We are in the holy city of Makkah, birthplace and one of the homes of our Prophet, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, and yet we see nothing of the life we are supposed to emulate. We cannot see the homes they lived in, we cannot find the foods they ate, we cannot even buy the simple, natural fiber, clothes they wore. We are told that the Prophet's example was the best way, and yet we have no real idea of his life anymore outside of books.
Subhaan Allah! When we travel in other parts of Saudi Arabia, the Middle East, Europe, the Far East, USA, etc. we can find preserved villages from hundreds of years ago, and places that show the history. However, we go to Makkah and see nothing but polyester abayas and thobes, processed cake and candy wrappers, extravagant marble and granite floors, high rise buildings, and electronic billboards showing plans to make it into a fancy, gleaming city of modernity.
The clock tower that is being built, the tallest in the world, may be a world renowned landmark in the future. However, to me, it is a great reminder of those ever true and horrifying two ayaat from Surah al Asr..."By the time, verily mankind is in a state of loss!"