Nov 25th 8th Zilhajj
We arrived at Mina from Azizia (Makaah ) today. It was altogether changed than the hajj that we performed in 1983. Lots of improvements have been done here.Tent is big enough to accommodate all three groups of us. Ladies in one tent and gents in the other one. We arrived here by bus after 12pm. The sky in Makaah was over cast since morning, a significant scene to watch.(After arrival in Makaah Namaz-i- istisqa was offered in Haram because of the drought situation).Therefore every one was waiting for rain. With Allah ‘s blessings There was a big thunderstorm and it rained heavily . Our tent was leaking a bit from corners. We turned our umbrellas upside down to prevent leakage and put the empty blankets plastic bags to save our beds. The streets of Mina got flooded in a while. It is a common concept that if it rained on hajis, their hajj is accepted. May it be like this Allah is the most merciful. It rained for at least 3-4 hours with light drizzle for the whole day.
To watch the tented city was an amazing, amusing sight. These tents are now especially designed of fireproof material and any type of cooking stove or fire hazards are banned in Mina now. The food arrives from caterers. The arrangement inside were fantastic and luxurious. Thick foam mattresses which could be folded in a couch seat, brand new blankets ,brand new pillows and sheets. Tent had a special air conditioning system and these tents are fireproof. The food was quite festive with lots of dishes of Arabic and Mediterranean cuisine. It seemed like we are attending a banquet .
Wondered if our organizers had provided us a part of this food during our earlier stay, when we ran after arranging our food and meals. In fact the arrangements in Mina were a lot better than my expectations. Over all the arrangements were lot more better than 26 years earlier. Mina had paved streets in the middle of tents. Bathrooms had shower facilities too over the commodes. Which some of the ladies resisted earlier but ultimately had the shower. There is no proper sewerage system, all the toilets are set up on an open drain, that is why one can smell a lot of stink . Every toilet had a water pipe or hose. However some of the toilets got messed up soon and the back up cleaning system was a total failure. There were clear signs for men and Women toilets with الرجال ,النساء signs ,but still the people did not follow.
A bazaar was set up on the side of the main road and lot of vendors were selling off nice stuff.
Our region of tents were assigned to Hajjis from North America, Europe, Australia and Turkey. In other words those were hajjis of the developed world. There was a microphone connection to our tent from men’s tent and we could listen to all the announcements, tazkirs and prayed together.
For food mostly the ladies first was the motto. We were side by side. Soon we got befriended to our tent mates, some of whom we already knew.
The best motto from our sheikh was , Hajj = patience.
Nov 26th 9th Zilhajj Yaumi Arafaa
It is the day of Arafat the main pillar of Hajj ,we have to leave for Arafaat as soon as possible in the morning. It was 9 am that we proceeded through big buses for Arafaat, Saudi Government has restricted movement only by big buses and the roads are wide open. Therefore it was a good flow of traffic and did not notice any traffic jam. We took our lunch boxes along, which were more of snacks mostly white creamy sweat stuff. The carpets in the tents were a bit wet with yesterday’s rains. Every where hajis could be seen reciting talbiyah Labaika Allahumma Labaik Labiaka la sharika laka labaik innal hamda wa naimata laka wal mulk la sharika lak ( O Allah I am present at your service and there is no one equal you, all the praise and glory is for you, you are the king and there is no one equal you) The media and surveillance helicopters were howling over head. We were given nice Pulao in lunch.
We prayed and prayed to Allah (swt) for our forgiveness and mercy .Forgiveness of our departed loved ones and my intention of doing this hajj for my beloved martyred son. Begged for his mercy and blessings for my self, for the departed loved ones , for whole Umma and especially for my kids, grand kids, brothers, sister and all those gracious people who did Ehsaan with me.Prayed while standing in the later part of the day. Most of us went out and prayed ,cried and begged to Allah(SWT) for his mercy ,blessings ,forgiveness and for the strength of Umma . Here I could see a sea of Muslims all around. Men in white ahraams ,ladies in different colors. “O Allah we are so many in numbers but we do not have any weight any strength, any power. Give us strength give us supremacy, grant us with wisdom, great leadership and good judgment.” Ameen
The pathetic part is that we all are God fearing, God loving people but extremely disorganized and undisciplined. By the end of the day the whole area was just littered up with garbage, water gushing from broken pipes in the toilets which were unbearable. O Allah give them strength ,unity and discipline.Although the conditions are a lot more better than 26 years back but still more improvement is required.
At 9pm we started for Muzdalifa and I was again back on my memory lane of the last hajj, when it took us almost 5 hours to reach there by 24 seater coaster van. It was so suffocating with running engines and traffic jam that I cried a lot like a small kid and Ahad (my Late husband)was comforting me.It was the toughest time in that hajj. This time we reached there mso quickly . The whole area was fully bright and well lit like day. Whole of the big ground covered with hajis, we were supposed to find our place in between. We had only our valuables and sleeping bags.
Following the sunnah of Prophet (SAWS) there was one azaan and two aqamaas for Maghrib and Isha prayers. Which were Qasr( shortened prayers).we spread out sleeping bags and tried to sleep which was extremely difficult. It was like if we were fixed in a match box, just neck to feet with each other. All the hajis were sleeping like this with so much humility on this hard ground just for the pleasure of Allah( SWT) to be successful; in the eternal life to fulfill the fifth pillar of Islam. Hajj is a tradition of Ibrahim(AS) followed by Mohammad (SAWS) and obligatory for those Muslims who can afford. Our muallim sheikh Abu Abdussalaam described Muzdalifa as a thousand star hotel, which is absolutely correct.I was trying to avoid the feet of the men sleeping to my head side.
I tried to sleep which was extremely difficult, the lady next to me was snoring a lot.Despite that slept for a couple of hours. At 2:15 am got up and went to toilet. It was absolutely busy with a very long line and almost took an hour . Offered tahjjud and then fajr. Did some tilawat (recitation of holy Quran) ,talbiya and started waiting for bus to be back to Mina. Got the bus at 8:30 am and arrived back at Mina to our tent which was like coming back home. While leaving Muzdalifa the whole ground was littered with sleeping bags, mats, pillows and carpets. A lot of needy people were collecting those. We brought our ones back.