Crowds: SubhanAllah, the squash sisters endure! Ziyarah in Rowdha Shareef and on the viewing balcony of Jannatul Baqi one confronts the fine line between life and death. Bodies are packed so close together that one does not have to consciously be reminded to actually stand up! We are all held up by each other! Faces are red, smeared with a mixture of tears and perspiration in these days of stifling heat. Ziyarah times for sisters in both of these Mubarak places is so limited.
The recently extended ramp, open only after Asr for sisters, leads to the platform where sisters can offer Salam to the residents of Baqi. It is twice the width as before, but once at the raised level, sisters inconsiderately sit and stand blocking the way in and out. It is sheer chaos. And amidst this crush are boys selling the seed for the pigeons! As with so many incidents associated with the Haramain, nothing seems to change until a disaster occurs. Since the new ramp was opened, a new strategy, of only allowing sisters to visit the northern side is operating, with a barrier between the entrance the brothers use to access going inside. Alhumdulilah. But still more attention to the crowd logistics needs to be studied. Unlike Ziyarah to Rowdha Shareef, there are no ‘duty sisters’ trying to control the chaos, and sadly some groups feel they have more right over this viewing platform than others and dominate the area with their shoving and refusal in allowing others close to the fence.
After surviving the suffocation, with clothes intact! the crowd lessens, so Salam can be conveyed from here with calm and dignity. It may be further from the resting places of Ahlul Bayt RadhiAllahu anhum, but the heart certainly connects.
Despite the constant amount of seed being thrown to the pigeons, they all seemed far too content to move!
Instead of the usual flurry they create, it was as if they were statues perched on the stones marking graves. Maybe they too were exhausted with the unrelenting heat.
From this vantage point the progress on the eastern courtyard extension can be seen, as well as the designated area for the next extension.
Jabal Uhud barely visible now in the distance.
Work continues on the fence surrounding the nearly completed courtyard.
This group of new buildings will be demolished if the king’s proposal to extend the courtyard even more is adopted. And Allah the Almighty knows best.
This one excavated area leads underground where progress continues on tunnels to the new parking facilities.
The section between Jannatul Baqi and the fence is a popular place for vendors, though the police were carrying out a routine check for illegals, many of whom rapidly gathered their wares and fled.
Concern: Much speculation and discussion is ongoing regarding the threat the H1N1 flu may have on the increasing Umrah crowds, building up to and including Ramadhan, and then of course Hajj.
With millions coming from all over the globe, where outbreaks are on the increase, to the Haramain where crowds gather throughout the day and night; sharing enclosed spaces, common carpets, concentrated accommodation. Where too many are negligent with how they dispose of tissues, or those who do not use them at all, instead wiping the nose on a scarf and where the revolting habit of spitting is all to common. Is it leading to a potentially volatile mix? May Allah Ta’ala protect all, and guide all to the best decisions within the circumstances He Subhanahu wa Ta’ala has Planned.
This is the deserted building also earmarked for demolition on the edge of the western courtyard. It sits eerily abandoned already….whilst contemplating the demise of a structure at such an advanced stage the ‘charity sister’ happened by….
Charity: SubhanAllah, you can see her almost daily wheeling the trolley loaded with bread, yogurt, dates and flasks of Arabic coffee towards the sisters section inside Haram….
….while this brother, with regular teams helping him, also distributes and serves those who happen by on an almost daily basis….
…he can be found opposite Masjid Ghammama….
….where workers are still renovating…
….the narrow door on the right leads to the staircase into the minaret…
…while a short distance further, the work on Masjid Umar is making progress…
…Insha’Allah visits inside the Masaajid of the Musalla will be possible once all are complete.
Countdown: Alhumdulilah, we have been blessed with the Prophet SallAllahu alaihi wasallam’s month of Sha’ban, with the excited countdown to our dearest of guests, Ramadhan.
Insha’Allah we utilize this ‘Prophet’s month’ with exerted efforts to draw closer to him with an abundance of Salawaat. And also to emulate his ardent desire to fast often, to be steadfast with repentance began in Rajab, and to prepare for the auspicious 15th night of Sha’ban.
Insha’Allah as each day brings us closer to Ramadhan, we keep renewing our intentions to make more effort during the month of the Qur’an, sharpening our focus from the physical to the spiritual, preparing the mind as well as the body.
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. May He accept our humble efforts and grant us the capacity to be good and do good. Ameen.