a new beginning, birth.
Ya Allah, Ya Lateef, may the reality of emerging from responding to Your call, of being Your guest, be that all are blessed with being cleansed and purified. Make us ardent devotees, so enamoured of You and Yours SallAllahu alaihi wassalam, that joy and contentment are as encrusted jewels in all of our affairs.
The yellow banner on the central concrete wall was where we were staying. Four thousand internal Hujjaj from all over the Kingdom were in this group, predominantly Saudis, with a few of us being the exception, originating from Jordon, America, Egypt, Kenya, Australia, that I was aware of. Allahu ‘Alum, there may have been others.
There were fifty one steps up to the first level, seeming like Mount Everest after returning from walking to Makkah or from the Jamarat! Being a group organized by and for Saudis, segregation on the buses and in the compounds was strictly in place, the men’s section to the left with the ladies to the right with security checks at the main entrance as well as entering the women’s area. The Madian women occupied the equivalent of five tents, divided into two sections. Staff in the ladies section were mainly Nigerian and Indonesian girls.
Overlooking the sea of tents from the compound. One of the Royal Palaces on the mountain in the background.
"Hajj is Arafat"; a day far too precious to be thinking of taking photos. This was quickly taken as Maghrib was approaching, many had already left this hill, making their way towards the main arteries to Muzdalifah.
Looking from one of the two outer edges of the Shaytan pillar after stoning on the second day. SubhanAllah with the new arrangements the stoning ritual has become so easy compared to before. I was able pelt the Shaytan with so much venom from the immediate edge of the huge elliptical rim without fear of being trampled. The constant clicking sound of pebbles reverberating off the rugged texture of the pillar, along with the emotional outbursts against all that the Shaytan represents, created an amazing electric atmosphere in the massive lower enclosed area.
An evening view from our tents. The blue lights indicate where the Jamarat was, just behind the corner of the mountain. Note the people without tent accommodation already settled along the roadside for the night. It was very cold during the nights and mornings, and at times extremely windy, making the conditions quite harsh for those seeking a place to sleep. The security men attempting to move them from blocking the roads, so groups would be seen gathering their meager belongings seeking another piece of ground to settle, to be told to move on again and again. The squatting was far less around the vital routes leading to and from the Jamarat. The main tent city area was beyond the stoning towards Makkah, past Masjid Aqaba, where the tents were dense along with hundreds selling the usual trinkets, clothing and food.
Every possible patch of land was prime real estate!
The entrance to our Mina "home", decorated with coloured flags, artificial trees and greenery and flashing fairy lights! After returning from Arafat tinsel was strung along the corridors adding even more of a festive air to the maze inside. Many of us giggled as "couples" would "rendezvous" at the various scattered plastic chairs creating a "romantic" ambiance!
While walking to the Jamarat on the last day we saw the crew dismantling this arrangement.
In many ways I felt this Hajj to be far too luxurious compared to past memories of walking the entire time. Alhumdulillah, circumstances dictate different requirements. There were the usual 5 Star suites at SR80,000 for the few days! This bought the occupants a ritzy place with satellite dish and full internet connection, a Jacuzzi, international cuisine with professional chefs etc. The detail that amused me was that a tray of "selected" pebbles was presented to the Hajji so they could hand pick the best ones to be thrown!
May Allah Ta’ala guide us all to that which earns his favours and pleasure. May we all develop a love and desire to make this journey, supplicating tirelessly to Allah Ta’ala to grant us this so we may have the ability to see His House again and again. Ameen.
All good is from Allah Ta’ala whereas mistakes are from this humble speck. May Allah Ta’ala Bless all readers, bringing you all closer to Him and His Rasul SallAllahu alaihi wasallam. Ameen.