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Published on 14th September, 2002
Re-published on 23rd July, 2008

My Hajj Story
(previously; All Muslims are Brothers, All Muslims are Equal)

By a group of Hajis

Masjid al-Haram, Makka, 2007. Photo by S.Abidin

From Haj Benny 2002

There is no place on earth that we can meet with Muslims from diverse origins at once except in Makkah (and it's surroundings) during Hajj time. The Pilgrims come together with the same intention, same activities and even the same dress - the ihram dress.

However, did we follow what our Messenger ('s) told us hundreds of years ago? Something that he ('s) felt was very important was said before he died. Did we follow his ('s) message that all Muslims are brothers and all Muslims are equal? Some of us did, but some didn't.

Hajj is a Test 

Hajj is a test indeed. During Hajj, you don't experience normal life.  You will be tired physically, and for some of us, also mentally. We have to perform "thawaf" (walk in a circle seven times around the Ka'abah) at least three times, when you arrive for the first time in Makkah.  In Hajj itself, and before you leave Makkah for your home journey, you have to perform Jumrah, which is throwing stones to three poles representing satans in Mina, which recreates what Prophet Ibrahim ('a) (Abraham) did in his time.  You have to perform sa'i at least once (during Hajj), run and walk between Safa and Marwah hills back and forth seven times. Both hills are separated by about 1 mile in distance which again recreates what Prophet Ibrahim's ('a) wife, Hajar, did when she tried to find water.
.
Mina and Arafah

Mina.Photo by S.AbidinOutside those rituals, you have to live a life together with Muslims from all over the world for at least two weeks or even months (depending on your Hajj program). For several days, you have to camp with those people in Mina and Arafah.  For some people, it can be a time of never ending complaints because there may be something which does not match your taste or standards upon meeting total strangers.  Also, there are a lot of activities and movement during Hajj time; millions of people perform certain activities almost at the same time. So, you are tired, quite dusty, possibly meet people who don't really match your taste, traffic jams which can go for hours, shared facilities (toilets, beds, rooms, water, etc, especially in Mina and Arafat), all under the burning hot sun and arid climate, whilst wearing only Ihram clothing.  A perfect time to test your temper.

A wise man said, if you want a snapshot of the Muslim world, look at them during Hajj.  You can get everything, it's quite accurate sampling I think. The largest number of pilgrims represents the largest Muslim populations in the world. How the Muslims behave from a country usually represents Muslim behaviour and quality of religion from that country.


From Hajjahs Fatima and Zaynab 2007

Bismillah ir Rahman ir Raheem

Salamaun'alaikum

Insh'allah our Haj was accepted. Haj this year was the Haj Akbar which we were unaware of before we left Australia so the large crowd expected was even larger than we could have ever envisaged or been able to imagine in our minds eye let alone actually see so it was the most awesome sight I have ever seen.

Traffic between Makka and Mina.Photo by S.AbidinThe change from Umra to Haj was massive in that time frame as all the Pilgrims flocked to Makka. The traffic was impossible and it hardly moved in some instances. It would be better if the Saudis invested in electric trains for the purpose of the journeys to Mina and Arafat.

This year the ladies were not permitted by the group leader to get off the bus in Muzdallifah as the crowd was too large and the distance to walk was too long. The brothers did the long walk and were very exhausted.

The first stoning of the Jamrat was safe and easy to perform as the crowd was still coming down from Muzdallifah so we did ours before they all arrived there.

The sight of the Pilgrims in these numbers all in white really was an eerie impression of the Day of Judgement and how it could be then. Both Fatima and I feel a greater sense of understanding of the Day of Judgment from this Haj and we thank the Almighty for allowing us to have this wonderful experience even though it was very tiring.

Mina was a problem with transportation. So many Pilgrims also had to walk large distances from Mina back to Makka. We have heard the many Indonesians died in Mina from starvation and exhaustion. Alhamdulillah we were given ice-cream by another group so we had a broader experience by getting to know other Pilgrims in Mina.

We found the desert to be very cold at night and the tent wall kept blowing in as it was only held together by velcro. Unfortunately the cold was too much for me and I succumbed to a severe chest infection so I am still unwell and insh'Allah later can tell you all of the other lovely stories when I am not so tired. Mina is a mysterious place but it is a shame the Saudis leave it so dirty.

May Allah bless and reward all of the Pilgrims from Haj this year.

Wasallam
Hj Zaynab and Hj Fatima


From Hajjah Halima 2008

(Adapted from text messages).

Alhamdulillah, my Haj group did tawaf between Maqam Ibrahim and the Kaaba. Ma'sh'Allah, I did not get that close (to the Kaaba) this morning.

The Sayyed pointed it out (that part of the wall) when we were going around (circumambulating) ma'sh Allah. The men (Hajis) made a chain around the women, so we were able to walk freely. They were being pushed a lot. There are a lot more Pilgrims tonight. Sayyed said he would bring us back to touch the wall of the Kaaba.

The group recited Dua Kumail last night. There were hundreds of Shia on the roof of the Haram. We tried to get to Kaaba last night and drove by different routes and couldn't get there- the traffic was impossible.

We are making preparation to leave for Arafat tomorrow night. The plan is we are going to leave after (salat) Isha tomorrow night. 

By the grace and mercy of Allah (swt) I am well. Everyone else has been sick except a couple. I bought honey, dates, fruit and vegetables (in Makka) and am feeling well.

We are now dressed in our Ihram clothing waiting for the bus to Arafat insh'Allah.

Its Arafat morning (before Wuquf) and not all of the Hajis are here yet, so it is peaceful and toilets aren't too bad so far. There are lots of mozzies (mosquitoes), so I'm glad I'm taking malaria pills. I prayed most of the night and wrote names in the sand.

I don't have a good signal (on my phone). I'm at Muzdalifa. Its a very amazing place and feels like a sacred site. We collected stones and slept with a sleeping bag.

Korban, Haj 07. By S. Abidin.Id Mubarak. We are going to Mina after sunrise for the Jamrat, Korban, and Taqsir insh'Allah.

Our group goes everywhere together but is split into 2 language groups. I float between them depending on what I want to get out of it. We left Arafat 7 hours ago. I just got signal (on my phone). We waited for 2 and half hours for the bus to get here. Apparently we are waiting for a phone call to say that the korban is completed then we can cut our hair (taqsir). The Sayed just said we are staying in Mina tonight.

Third jamaraat finished. Alhamdulillah no problems but very busy.

I have just completed my Haj alhamdulillah (Tawaf Haj, Salat, Sai, Tawaf Nisa) I am totally exhausted and I am on the bus going back to Aziziya.

Wasallam
Hajjah Halima

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