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✰ My Hajj Journey in 2005: Mina + Arafat

Huge blue signs help you locate where you are, and where you're not (it was majorly confusing). 

As we began our hajj with millions of others, I couldn't help but appreciate the technology and modern amenities, contrasted against untouched mountains, dirt roads and the Zam Zam well.
    
A view of Mina, a tent camp and ritual stop as part of pilgrimage for Muslims.

During Hajj in '05, nearly 3m pilgrims attended this sacred site, dressed in white. A stampede occured in Mina in the last days, which I did not witness. These were the European tents above. To some disappointment, I realised that the tents' upkeep and location was staggered according to pilgrims' nationality and status. I later learned there was a hikmah (wisdom) in this.

The lesser tents

I spent hours making dhikr walking the paths between thousands of tents and people.

Compare these with the above: the tents for the Indian-Pakistani and African pilgrims. The western Muslim is used to a certain higher standard of living, debasing this with poor arrangements during Hajj creates an extra struggle that is uneccessary in Islamic ethics. The eastern and African Muslim is used to their standard of living. 

By creating an equal or slightly better tent camp continues that humble lifestyle. It sounds odd, but that's how Islam works. Equity.
 
Elderly gentlemen pose for a photograph while the more energetic climb the hills to make du`a. 

The idea of climbing and solitude is to shock your system, let go of 'stuff' and return to Allah.

The Day of Arafat: we stand on this rocky hill and pray our hearts out.

Family, the clothes you're wearing, even the Kabah mean nothing here. It is a reminder of Judgement Day when only you are accountable for what you've done. 

In a sense you stand before God with only your plea, 'Ya Allah, forgive me, protect me, save me from the punishment of Hell and make me a good Muslim woman.' Enter the uncontrollable weeping.

Luckily nobody pays attention to you because they are concerned with themselves. I should have brought more tissues.

There are a few things in the world I adore more than life itself. My son, my Qur'an collection, my younger brother. This photo ranks up amongst those. And I got it with some jihad(immense struggle!).

Story time:

I'm stood with my mother by a pillar and see several hajjis taking photos with their flashing camera phones so I think, it's the best spot, we've done Tawaf, I'll get one. 

My camera decided to flash not once, but three times, so it went *clickety-flash-flash-clickety-flash*, with those equally irritating sound effects. Damn you Sony!

The people at the forefront turned and looked at me disapprovingly so I shoved the camera into my pocket with that "twasn't me!" look. Thirty seconds later I snapped it out to get a better photo minus the flash, the one you see above. 

Then 2.5 seconds later an Arab female-guard dressed fully in black came air-flying towards me, Kung-fu moves at the ready and told me off, loudly, publicly, with a poking finger. I couldn't see her scolds underneath the Niqab and couldn't understand Arabic.

All I knew of Arabic then was 'la' which means 'no', so when she grabbed the camera and tried taking it apart I began singing, 'la-la, la-la la-la, la-la...someone help me' and called for a translator. A kind lady intervened and translated for me that it was a mistake. 

I said I was sorry and actually deleted the previous photos in redemption. 

Five minutes later I'm taken into an under-the-stairs office with a fan where two Thobe-wearing moustachy men are sat around a small table. It was like a scene out of a Bourne film. 

I started making Du`a like there's no tomorrow. One man took my camera and opened it, inspected the memory card and leant back. 

He was a kind man and said 'this is a place of God, many are taking their technology with them, but we discourage it. You are not being punished or banned but keep all possessions with you (he was referring to them being kidnapped).' And he let me go. 

I swear I almost kissed the ground when I saw the Kabah again. Lesson learnt.


Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 Coming Soon 

Copyrighted Images:: Zaufishan on flickr

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