In November, I had the opportunity to witness the sunrise in the desert, which is something that I think should be experienced at least once in a lifetime.

There was a story behind this visit, but let me show you the photos first.

I have always wanted to see sunrise in the desert, as Prophet Muhammad SAW lived in the desert and was a morning person. Having seen breathtaking sunrises elsewhere in this world, I have always wondered how majestic it might be in the desert. I wondered how Prophet Muhammad SAS felt all those days he woke up early.

When we reached Dubai in November, one of the first things I did was look for a desert safari company that could bring us to see the sunrise. I got Dubai Safari Trips, but the cost is double the sunset trips, because it was just the two of us. On top of that, we only get to do the dune bashing. No camel ride, no bellydance show, no henna painting. It really is expensive.

But I really really wanted to watch the sunrise there.

The driver picked us up at 4am. He was accompanied by his friend because he said he’s sleepy. He made a huge noise about us asking for a sunrise trip rather than sunset like everyone else. “Why should you do sunrise? You should do sunset like everyone else. This is my sleeping time, you know.” I did not feel offended, neither did I feel angry, because number one, we’re paying him a hefty amount. Number two, he could have said no when I asked at the first place. Number three, he joked around with us anyway, so I didn’t think he was that serious, although I think yes, he was sleepy.

As the roads got smaller when we drove out of town, I felt a little scared. Two young girls riding with two strangers…hmm…I just prayed hard that we will be fine.

We stopped at a restaurant (already open at 5am) for fajr prayers (sadly the mosque at that area is only open for men). Well, it’s fine because us Muslims believe the world is a masjid. Actually I was hoping I could pray in the desert itself. After that we reached Al Madam, and the driver stopped by to reduce the air from the tyres. Then he stopped at the camel farm, but the camels were still sort of asleep (some of them were chewing their ruminated food), and it was a little dark.

So we rode further into the desert. It started to become bumpy, but we enjoyed it. We asked, “How long did you learn to drive like this?” He said, “I try.”

That’s funny.

But soon we understood why he said that.

Apparently it rained heavily the night before. When he finally stopped on top of one hill, we noticed that the sand was all wet. Perhaps he’s not used to driving with that kind of texture. There was no one else except for another land cruiser on another hill. He said, if I were to go during sunset, there would be a crowd and we would be waiting to ride from one dune to another.

It was really cold that morning. The wind was continuously blowing, it felt like 16 degrees (Celsius) the whole time.

But the view.

I teared up when I looked around. The vast landscape, the soft colour and light coming out from the east, the wind, the patches of grass.

It was magnificent.

Overwhelming.

I told my sister, “This is exactly what I wanted.”

I did not regret every single penny spent, I relished every second there. My heart was filled with gratefulness, with amazement, with wonder, with peace.

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