First-hand testimonies from the first and second successors of the Promised Messiah (as), Hazrat Maulvi Nooruddin (ra) and Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra).
Compiled by Shahzad Ahmed and Ahmad Nooruddeen Jahangeer Khan
In 1866, Hazrat Hakeem Maulvi Nooruddin (ra), the first successor to the Promised Messiah (as) embarked upon a historic journey to visit the holy city of his Beloved Master, Muhammad (sa). In his quest for religious and spiritual knowledge, Hazrat Hakeem Maulvi Nooruddin (ra) spent several years in the sacred cities of Makkah and Madinah and twice had the blessed opportunity to perform the Hajj. Describing the moment when he first witnessed the Ka’bah, it is mentioned in one of his biographies:
‘On his arrival in Makkah, he was met by another pious man, Muhammad Hussain Sindhi, who immediately asked his son to escort Maulana Hakeem Nooruddin (ra) for the initial circuit of the Ka’bah (the House of Pilgrimage) known as a Tawaaf-e-Qudoom and it is rendered immediately upon arrival in Makkah. Maulana Hakeem Nooruddin (ra) had heard that any prayer made on the first sighting of the Ka’bah is accepted. Keeping this tradition, Maulana Hakeem Nooruddin (ra) prayed: “Oh my Lord, I am ever in need of thy mercy and blessings and I have a host of prayers, so my Lord, grant me the wish that whenever I pray and implore Thy mercy and blessings Thou bestow on me that favour.”’
Maulana Hakeem Nooruddin (ra) says in his book, Mirqaatul Yaqeen:
‘I believe in God, and in His great mercy, Who accepted my prayer. Whenever I came across atheists, non-believers, and philosophers in debates, I always triumphed over them on account of the acceptance of the prayer that I made on the first sighting of the House of God.’ 
Returning to Makkah from Madinah
‘After his sojourn in Madinah, he returned to Makkah. While travelling from Madinah to Makkah in 1868-69, a thought crossed his mind – why not enter Makkah via the route the Holy Prophet (sa) once adopted to enter Makkah via Kada’. Pilgrims do not take that route. This event is mentioned on page 128 of Hayaat-i-Noor: “I dismounted the camel and entered Makkah on foot via Kada’. It is a matter of sadness that now a few people take this route to Makkah.” He stayed a while in Kada’, and when all the passengers had gone away, he dismounted his camel and followed in the footprint of his Master (the Holy Prophet (sa)) and entered Makkah via Kada’ and spent the night with an elder of the place.’ 
‘Since more than a year had elapsed, while spending time in education in Madinah and Makkah, another Hajj season came again upon him, and, and he availed himself of the opportunity of performing the second Hajj. Writing about what he gained out of performing the second Hajj, Maulana Hakeem Nooruddin (ra) observed: ‘I learnt an interesting point. It dawned upon me that every year pilgrims come and go and they go away in a few days and that is why no person ever developed a real love and affection for this place. One is apt to lead to the conclusion that here, in Makkah, one is ever involved and encompassed by the love and devotion to God and that is the true object of Hajj to fully imbibe oneself in the love and devotion to God; other loves are transitory and vain.’
The Hajj of 1912
Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra) had the opportunity to perform the Hajj in 1912 and wrote about his experience: ‘The value of Hajj and its grandeur cannot be comprehended without performing it. Indeed, the prayers and attention drawn towards God which I have witnessed during this journey have never been witnessed before. By seeing people of various languages on-board a ship together and to hear them recite ‘Labaik Labaik’ [‘Here I am!’ – this is part of a longer prayer pilgrims recite on route to the Hajj], such emotions and affection were sparked that one is astounded by the excellences of the Holy Prophet (sa) and how that light which once emanated from Makkah has now reached the corners of the world. After all, what was that Quwat-e-Qudsi [divine force] which did not take thousands, but millions out of misguidance and showed them the path of guidance? While boarding [ship] from Rabigh and hearing the slogan of ‘Labaik Labaik’ [Here I am], and when witnessing the Turks reciting ‘Labaich Labaich’ [Here I am – but in their distinct accent] my eyes filled with tears. As although these people could not recite the words properly, yet the prayers and weeping of the Holy Prophet (sa) had brought them to the path of Islam. It was near Rabigh that God Almighty filled my heart with prayers and I was enabled to pray extensively. May I be sacrificed upon the blessings of God Almighty’s sovereignty!’ 
‘I have deduced by collectively looking at these events that it was the divine will to have me perform Hajj, and the intention of Egypt was a means for it. I am humbled to the point of death at this favour of Allah the Exalted. What worth did a sinful person like me have, that He looked upon me with such a degree of love and compassion, and in this manner engineers for me to visit such holy places. However, the love of Allah the Exalted for His servants cannot be comprehended. He is the Benefactor, but there is a lack of gratitude on our part. I seek refuge with Allah from Satan the accursed. Yesterday, performed Umrah [the pilgrimage at times other than that fixed for Hajj] and Allah the Exalted enabled me to pray beyond my expectations. I prayed as much as possible for Huzur [Hazrat Khalifatul Masih I (ra)], Huzur’s family, the entire Ahmadiyya Community, Islam and Muslims, while visiting the Baitullah [House of Allah] and during the Sa‘ee [running] between Safa and Marwah [two hills situated next to the House of Allah]. I especially prayed for the progress of the Community and for mutual unity and love. And Allah is the Acceptor of Prayers.’ 
Later he wrote: ‘On the day of Hajj my health had improved so much so that, by the Grace of Allah, the Hajj came to an excellent conclusion and gave me a sense of wellbeing. In many such places where it is said prayers are particularly accepted, I saw such blessings of Allah the Exalted that left me in awe. At Arafat [located approximately 20 kilometres from Makkah and is where the Holy Prophet (sa) delivered the Farewell Sermon to Muslims who had accompanied the Prophet for Hajj] I had the opportunity to pray for over four hours and saw signs of the mercy of God, which made it appear as if all prayers were being accepted. Moreover, prayers were being taught to me by God Himself which had never come to my mind before. All praise belongs to Allah! The inclination towards prayers, being taught prayers and the signs of the mercy of God, which I experienced especially in Makkah and during the days of Hajj, was a completely new experience for me. A passion arose in my heart that if a person is able to, he should perform Hajj repeatedly, as it is a source of many blessings.’ 
‘When a person looks towards the Baitullah [House of Allah – namely the Ka’bah] and his eyes fall upon it, there is a special feeling in the heart and there is a strange moment for the acceptance of prayer. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih I (ra) [the first Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Community] would often state that when he performed Hajj, he read a Hadith that at the very first instance upon seeing the Ka’bah, whatever prayer is made at that point is accepted. He further said that at the time there were many prayers that his heart desired for but suddenly a thought arose that if he made those prayers and they were to be accepted and later he was met with another need then what would he do? He would neither be able to perform the Hajj nor be able to see the Ka’bah. He stated that he pondered and eventually decided to supplicate the prayer: ‘O Allah! Whatever I pray for, accept it.’ So that this state of affairs continued in the future also. I had heard this from the first Caliph, and so while doing the Hajj, I remembered it. Therefore, as soon as we saw the Ka’bah, my [maternal] grandfather raised his hands and said to pray. While he was making various other prayers, I only prayed: “O Allah! It is not every day that I will get the opportunity to see this Ka’bah. Today, I am fortunate enough to have witnessed it in my lifetime. You have promised Your Messenger (sa) that you will accept the prayer of whosever witnesses [the Ka’bah] for the first time on the occasion of Hajj, therefore I pray that may my prayers continue to be accepted for the rest of my life.”’
‘I have had special experiences of prayer in certain places. Firstly, the prayer made whilst looking at the Ka’bah. During that moment, I witnessed a strange sight in which light was descending from the skies. This was not a feeling that simply emanated from the heart, in fact, it was something real and I witnessed it. Secondly, when in Arafat – which is a central part of Hajj, in this place blessings also descended. The third place was the Cave of Hira [Hira is a cave on a mountain called Jabal an-Nur, some three kilometres from Makkah. Hira is the cave where the Holy Prophet (sa) received his first revelation from God]; a special feeling is produced in the heart whilst praying there. One of the reasons for this feeling is because people do not give it the respect it truly deserves.’ 
 Syed Hasanat Ahmad, Hakeem Noor-Ud-Deen (Khalifatul Masih I) The Way of the Righteous, (Tilford, Surrey: Islam International Publications Ltd, 2003), 24-25.
 Syed Hasanat Ahmad, Hakeem Noor-Ud-Deen (Khalifatul Masih I) The Way of the Righteous, (Tilford, Surrey: Islam International Publications Ltd, 2003), 30-31.
 Syed Hasanat Ahmad, Hakeem Noor-Ud-Deen (Khalifatul Masih I) The Way of the Righteous, (Tilford, Surrey: Islam International Publications Ltd, 2003), 31.
 “Mahmud’s Letter From the Land of the Dearest One [Muhammadsa],” The Review of Religions, September 30, 2015. Accessed June 15, 2020.https://www.reviewofreligions.org/12204/mahmuds-letter-from-the-land-of-the-dearest-one-muhammadsa-2/.