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Hajj: - A Pilgrim’s Diary Part 8/9

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  • hazub
    .................. Hajj : A Pilgrim s Diary (Part 8/9) .............. We rose up shortly before dawn from our sweet slumber on the hard ground at Muzhalifah.
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 1, 2004
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      .................. Hajj : A Pilgrim's Diary (Part 8/9) ..............

      We rose up shortly before dawn from our sweet slumber on the hard
      ground at Muzhalifah. This is the place at which Allah instructs us
      in the Qur'an to remember Him and celebrate His praise. When we
      prayed Fajr, we felt relaxed, fresh, ready to resume our blessed
      journey which symbolized a break away with everything we had done in
      the past and which was not acceptable to Allah.

      After Fajr, we glorify Allah, praise Him and supplicate to Him. There
      is no set prayer to say here, one should pray as he feels and for
      whatever he wishes.

      We spend close to an hour in this attitude with the morning freshness
      adding to our pleasant feeling of happiness. When the light of day
      begins to be bright, and just before sunrise, we resume our walk
      toward Mina. The same scene of the night is continuing now, the only
      difference being that we can see people much more clearly. The same
      song, with its angelic music is repeated again and again, in every
      accent and with a very wide range of variation on its musical theme.
      No one seems to have had enough of it. How can you have enough of
      declaring to Allah that you believe in His Oneness and that you
      associate no partners with Him?

      We cross the boundaries of Muzdalifah and soon we find ourselves in
      the Muhassar Valley. Here we speed up our walk, because it was in
      this valley, sometime around 1450 years ago, in the same year when
      the Prophet was born, that Allah destroyed Abrahah, the Abyssinian
      military commander and his army when he was heading to Makkah where
      he wanted to destroy the Kaaba. The Prophet teaches us to walk fast
      here because it is the place where Allah destroyed His enemies. When
      we have left it, we enter Mina.

      Unlike Muzdalifah, Mina is built up with tents, ranging next to each
      other. Every inch of Mina Valley is utilized for these few days. No
      space is spared, because Mina can hardly accommodate the number of
      pilgrims that we see nowadays.

      As we walk with people from all parts of the world walking with us,
      repeating talbiyah, the roads not far away are still heavily
      congested with pilgrim traffic. There also, pilgrims are repeating
      the angelic tune with its fine words. We still have a long distance
      to walk, because our camp is on the other side of Mina. We stop to
      have some breakfast : Fruit and drinks. We do not want to take much
      time because the day promises to be very hot. We move forward with
      the procession which seems never ending. I believe that the beginning
      is right at the Jamrahs, at the end of Mina, while its end should be
      right back in Muzdalifah. In other words, it stretches more than
      seven or eight kilometers. At last, we arrive in our camp. We sit
      down to have a cup of tea and rest for a while. It is still early
      morning.

      I explained to my parents and my wife what duties we have to
      accomplish today. The first was the stoning at the Grand or First
      Jamrah. Knowing that the place will be heavily crowded at this time,
      I suggested to my parents that they delay stoning until late in the
      day or till the evening. I took leave of them and took the seven
      pebbles I had picked up at Muzdalifah and left. I rejoined the
      procession and repeating phrases of talbiyah I went on till I reached
      the jamrahs. There is only one jamrah to stone today, namely, the
      Grand Jamrah. When I arrived there I saw that the authorities have
      built up the area so that pilgrims can do the stoning on two levels.
      Not wishing to be in the midst of the great crowd on the lower floor,
      I took my way to the upper level. I wanted to make sure that my
      position was the correct one, with Mina to my right and Makkah to my
      left but that was not easy. I had, therefore, to be content with
      drawing near enough to make sure that all my pebbles landed at the
      right spot. I threw the stones repeating the name of Allah and
      saying, "Allahu akbar", before throwing every single one of them.
      When I threw all seven I moved to one side and said a prayer. I
      immediately went away in order to leave room for other people to do
      their duty. I went right back to the other end of Mina, heading for
      the slaughter place. On my walk this time I did not repeat the
      phrases of talbiyah. That ends when one does the stoning on the first
      day. As I walked, my thoughts were concentrated on the scenes all
      around me. This is a unique place. One cannot really imagine it on
      hearing reports of what it is like. One can say, however, that
      everywhere one sees faces beaming with happiness. My mother used to
      say: "There is no feast like that of Mina." I am now in Mina on the
      day of the feast, or the Eid: Her words are absolutely true. Eid is
      associated with happiness and pleasure. There can be no greater
      happiness.

      The way I felt last night and this morning reflects my absolute
      happiness. I felt very light, as if a burden which had weighed very
      heavily on me had been removed altogether. That burden is created by
      my past sins and mistakes, Now that these have been forgiven, I feel
      light, I can move more easily, more freely. This not an abstract
      idea. It is very real.

      At last I arrived at the slaughterhouse. To my amazement, the scenes
      which we used to hear about in the past are not longer there. People
      use to speak of slaughtered animals thrown away like rubbish. Nobody
      cared to pick the meat or to take it away. Now, very few sheep are
      being actually slaughtered. I see a small window where vouchers are
      being sold. I learned that one could buy a voucher which entitled him
      to receive a sheep. If he, on the other hand, surrendered the voucher
      after receiving it and paying its price, he actually appointed the
      Islamic Development Bank to do the slaughter on his behalf. The bank
      would make sure of distribution the meat to the poor in the Haram
      area and transport whatever is left, which is a great amount, to
      areas in the Muslim world which have been stricken by famine or
      suffer great poverty. This is a good use of sacrificial meat. I
      bought four vouchers and surrender them immediately and went back to
      the camp. The two duties took me close to three hours. It was nearly
      midday when I arrived there. I was very tired. When my parents
      learned from me what I had done, they blessed me and prayed for me. I
      sat down in front of my father and he shaved my head for me. When he
      had finished, I released myself from ihram and wore my own clothes.
      This was the first release which meant that all restrictions of ihram
      were removed with the exception of sex. That restriction remains in
      force until I have done the tawaf of Ifaadah. We sat in our tent,
      because there was nothing else to do. It was very hot and it was
      necessary to stay in the shade. After having prayed and eaten, I fell
      asleep. When it was well after Asr, I took my parents and my wife to
      the jamrah to do the stoning. I hoped that it would not be as
      congested as it was in the morning. When my mother was selecting her
      pebbles from the ones she gathered in Muzdalifah, I could not fail to
      note that they were too big. When I pointed that out to her, she
      said: "Are we not stoning Satan? I want to make sure to hit him very
      hard." That was a very simplistic view of stoning. I explained to her
      that Satan is not there to be hurt. Otherwise, he would have died
      long ago with all the stoning pilgrims every year do. Stoning is a
      symbolic action, making us remember that we are engaged in a never -
      ending battle against Satan and all that he represents. We stone at
      the Jamrahs commemorating Abraham's action when Satan tried to
      dissuade him from sacrificing his son, in response to Allah's order.
      Abraham stoned him in order to be able to do what Allah has bid him.
      My mother said; "What shall I do now? Do I have to go back to
      Muzdalifah to pick new pebbles?" I explained that one could use any
      pebbles, which may be picked up in Mina. She picked up new smaller
      ones and we went ahead. Arriving at the jamrahs about half an hour
      before sunset, we found that both my father and the two ladies could
      do the stoning by themselves, because there were not a great deal of
      people around the jamrah. When they have done the stoning, we went
      back to our camp. My father wanted to pray Maghrib in he mosque known
      as Al-Kheef. It was overcrowded, and my wife and mother would have
      had to wait for us outside. It was preferable that we go back to pray
      in our camp, which we did. My father did not wish to shave his head.
      He thought shortening would be sufficient. I shortened his hair a bit
      and he released himself from ihram as did the two ladies.

      We had to think of the tawaf of ifaadah, a main duty of pilgrimage
      which fell due today. Now, however, we could not go to Makkah because
      there was an immediate duty to fulfill, namely, staying the night at
      Mina. We will think about that duty tomorrow, Allah willing. Thus
      ended the second great day of pilgrimage. Our happiness was beyond
      description.

      ............. ................. .................. ...................
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