Lab Bayk … – answering the summons – IV

I think at times my account of Hajj may look disjointed. I have not remembered eveything in a logical sequence, and I have used words and expressions as if the reader is familiar with everything. He isn’t likely to be, but writing in a fashion that is logical, in sequence, and describes everything before introducing it would take me ages, and perhaps I would give up before posting. Maybe someone who has been to the holy cities and performed Umrah or Hajj, will take this account and reorganise and rewrite it.Here is a more logical Hajj Diary, from Dilshad D. Ali:

IoL article06
IoL article11
IoL article03
IoL article05

and of course, online sourcebook
IoL Hajj index
Reflections/1425

I want to withdraw a little of what I wrote on: Feb 18th, 2005, 8:12am : Quote:
I want to … touch the stones and the pillars and let my eyes feast at every nook and corner of the Haramain. I want to do the same with all places at the masjide Nabawi. Actually, this might start a bid3a, so I shouldn’t comtemplate it. But I do want to see all the historical sites at Makkah, Madinah, and elsewhere.
_________________

The 10th of dhul Hijj

We got back to our Maktab at Mina. We got wet as it rained intermittently, but I had this woollen sheet around me (You would perhaps call it a shawl, but in my mind shawls are for ladies only), so I was all right. Before reaching our Maktab, we had bought tea and biscuits by the roadside. The kitchens of the Maktab are next to the road, and the Kitchen staff earned some extra money by selling these. One of my mates, the one with a high blood pressure, offers to take me along for stoning of the third jamarah, and both of us go there. I find on reaching that he is a nervous kind, and while I want to get to the wall so that any stone I throw, actually hi the wall, he pulls me back and throws stones n a hurry, and makes moves that are stupid, and can land us in trouble. All we need do is to keep the wall for stoning on the right, thus stay on the left of the crowd, and moving on, looking for an opening to get close to the wall, and then throw the stones one by one, saying Allahu Akbar, and then move on, finding to the right or left our exit. I am not surprised that on the way back we have lost our way. The tents are organised quite well, and marked, but as I said, if we had maps, if we had been told what the various numbers on the pillars stood for, and in which sequence to expect them to increase or decrease, life would have been simpler. At Mina I got lost a couple of times, and invariably, saw much more of Mina than I had set out to see.

Now we have to wait for the Qurbani of (sacrifice of the Hady). There is another group in our room in the tent, and they are agitated about something strange that has happened to them.

What happened? I ask.

We bought goats for sacrifice through the caretaker of our building (we are staying in the same building, but we had bypassed the caretaker in buying the goats). We had arranged to have the sacrifice after we go to the the sellers at Makkah after our ramee, but when we tried to contact them, there is no one but the caretaker, and he says our sgoas have been sacrificed.

“No”, I say, “you have been sacrificed”.

I ask our group leader to listen to this story. He listens, and then the whole group is concerned. They try to contact the sellers, but there is no reply, instead the caretaker answers the phone after many attempts. Our group leader refuses to talk to him, as we have had no business with him. Some members of our group are sent to Makkah, to sort this out. When we contact them on the mobile, they have no success in fnding the sellers. The sellers place is deserted, and there are no animals. My group had done a smart thing. They had asked a hairdreeser to be a surety. And obtained his signature on the receipt. This hairdresser was also one of the intemediaries, but that role had been denied to him. Now our emissaries go to that hairsaloon, and try to contact him. Eventually he comes out after 8:00 pm, and condemns the sellers, saying he has stood surety, and he will stand by his word. How about waiting until tommorrow? Our reps do not agree, and take him to the marekt, from where he buys the goats for our group. These are sacrificed in front of the reps, which reports to us that we can now get the Halaq done (shaving of the head for males, cutting of a small length – about 1.5 centimeter – for women).

Now the Halaq can be done. As usual, amateurs have taken this profession up to make money. They are charging exorbitantly – 10 riyals for a head shave. We look around. I have a member of our group with me. There is an old man shaving someone’s head. My friend approaches him and asks how much? The guy replies whatever anyone wants to give. He hasn’t come over here for making money. His son was selected as Khadime Hujjaj, (helper of the pilgrims), and he has sponsored his father’s Hajj. The old man says he saw what fleecing was being done, and since this is his profession, he decide he would do it for the pilgrims. If anyone pays, well and good. If no one pays, then too its is good.

jo dey uska bhala, and jo na dey uska bhi bhala

translation: if someone pays, May good come to him, and if he doesn’t pay, then too may good come to him. There is sincerity in what he says. The old man is crying, when he says he isn’t worthy of being called to the holy places, and after such a blessing, he doesn’t want to soil it with asking for money. The guy who head got shaved, stood up, and left. After a while, my friend recalls that the previous guy hadn’t paid anything to the hairdesser. He mentions this:

“jo dey uska bhala, and jo na dey uska bhi bhala”, says the old man, unperturbed, and continuing with shaving the next head.

We decide to stay.

As I hear the old man talk and weep with love of Allah (SubHana Wa Ta`ala) and this blessing he has received, I wonder why I haven’t an iota of that love.

Our heads are shaved. Then I go to the showerroom. It is cold, but the water is hot. After the shower, and change into comfortable clothing. Most of the restrictions of ihraam are now over. next, the 11th of dhul Hijj, and the first rami of the three Jamaar.

After the Halaq, we showered and put on normal clothes – actually Eid clothes. My wife had specifically told me: “these are for the Eid day”. Well, soon it is bedtime, so I fold these away. will use them tomorrow for Tawaafe Ifada.

The 11th of dhul Hijja

This is also one of those days when one has to be very active. First we have to do Tawaafe Ifada with Sa`ee. So we have to go to Makkah from Mina. And Makkah will be full of people who want to do this Tawaaf. After the Tawaaf and Sa`ee, we have to come back to Mina, and do the ramee at the three Jamaar after Zawal. That is also where most stampedes have occurred in the past.

We set out for Makkah. We get on to the road where transport is available. The charges are huge, but I think it would be worth it to save some energy for the Tawaaf. However, we are with a wheel-chair ridden old lady, and her companions want to walk the way.

So we walk. It feels good to see the sights. Although it would seem mundane to a non-believer, or to someone keen only on the Ziarah, I am interested in seeing the land from Mina to Makkah. The road is paved, we pass through two tunnels, and along the way we see the hills. I feel satisfied. When we reach Makkah, we find we are at the Babe Fahd end, near the Daarut Tawheed hotel. We have to walk to the other end, to get to our hotel in Shamia. And here I find that the person I am with has climbed up a narrow street, full of people, and which also houses some restaurants. Eventualy we do manage to come out of that bottleneck, but what a diffficult negotiation it was!

Look before you leap.

We get to the hotel. Rest a while, then we have to do Tawaafe Ifada. My friend says we will do it on the top floor. Boy, is the Haram crowded! It is very difficult, as the wheelchair wallahs seem to like wherever we go, and they invariably hit you with the metal footrests on the wheelchairs. When doing the Tawaaf, we have to make sure we do not cross the line into the Sa`ee area. The round in which you do part of the Tawaaf in the Sa`ee area is not valid. We do the Sa`ee on the top floor as well.

At the end, I am still not limping, but tired, and thirsty. Drink ZamaZam as usual, and then to the hotel.

We get to the hotel, rest awhile, and now we must get back to Mina for the ramee. We decide to take a wagon, or bus. We get in front of the Haram, and tracing where the buses are coming from we come to a fork one route of which leads towards something that looks familiar. I tell my friends that this is the way we came from Mina, and it is one way. Trying the wagons, we find the wagons are charging from 30 to 50 riyals for the ride back into Mina. We check the other fork, and it leads behind the Daarut Tawheed Hotel. Here are buses, and after much bouncing about we and chasing people with tickets to sell, we are told there is a kiosk you have to buy tickets from. However, the people sitting there aren’t interested in selling tickets. Eventually another official enters the kiosk and gets a load of tickets, and comes out. Now he is chased for the tickets. Success at last. Normally the tickets are for 2 riyals, but today these are for 10 riyals. We buy them, and then it the struggle to get inside a bus begins. A few buses stop where we are, and the rush to enter begins. In front of me a man manges to get inside, but his wife is outside. He looks very agitated, but the ife is calm and composed. She is handing over her bags to him for carrying into Mina. He says something furiously, probabaly wnating to know how his wife will get to Mina. His wife waves him on, and tells him she will be all right. She will get in the next bus.

I get scolded for staying behind when my two campanions have managed to get to the front of the queue, but had to give up because I had turned back. I had done that, because I had lost sight of my friends. To calm them down I buy them icecream. Two riyals each for a large cup. They aren’t exactly mollified, but the criticism and anger is toned down a bit. A bus arrives, and people flock towards it; then another arrives on its heels, and we get a chance to get in. What a relief. The bus moves slowly; obviously there are problems on the road. Eventually we all get down. It seems we are near the bus stand at Mina. We still have to walk some way to the bus stand, and then on to our camp. We rest here, as we are near the Jamaar.

After we have recovered, we take 21 (actually two or three more, in case we miss) pebbles, and go for the ramee. Our camp is quite close to the Jamaar, and the first Jamarat is nearer to Makkah, and farthest from our camp. My companion is taller than me, and also very afraid, so he insists on pulling me back away from the crowd which is the thickest near the wall. I need to get there, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to hit the wall with the stones. Throughout this exercise, and later too, I face the anger of my companion. These are people much younger than me. They also get very agitated and angry on facing some obstacle, or on my slowness.

I keep my cool, smiling or laughing away the hardships. After the Hajj is over, I will give them a piece of my mind, but not now.

We come back after the ramee, tired but grateful two major tasks in Hajj have been completed today. We still have to do the ramee again next day and we have to get out of Mina before sundown if we do not want to do ramee again on the 13th, but at least no Tawaaf and Sa`ee on the 12th.

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