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 Hajj-The Experience of a Life-time

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PostSubject: Hajj-The Experience of a Life-time   Hajj-The Experience of a Life-time EmptyMon Oct 19, 2009 1:35 pm

As Salamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu


Hajj-The Experience of a Life-time

By Zaza

Alhamdulillah by the Grace and Mercy of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala I performed Umrah and Hajj a few times.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to express my feelings and the thoughts I had during these times. Each and every one, either Umrah or Hajj was a completely different and unique experience. Some were extremely difficult and everything that could go wrong went wrong, and some very easy and others in between. Alhamdulillah these were tests from Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala and Insha Allah I pray we passed them. Ameen

My first Umrah was just after the Iran trouble in 1979 and the carpets in Masjid Al-Haram were soaked in blood and the pillars full of bullet holes. Entering Makkah during the early hours of the morning the serenity of the Haram at that time is hard to describe. My first Hajj was a few years later. I did not experience any change in my life after performing the first Umrah or Hajj. The changes in my life took place gradually.

Lots of people told me that since I was going to see the Ka’bah for the 1st time I must make a good Dua. When I saw the Ka'bah I was dumbfounded and speechless and all I remember saying is “O Allah! Accept our Duas, forgive us and grant us Jannatul-Firdaus,” through my sobbing.

Even after many visits, I still shake and get a cold feelings running down my spine every time I go to the Masjid Al-Haram. I also get this feeling when I visit the Masjid-Al-Nabawi or the graves of Martyrs of Uhud. It’s like I can’t believe that I am really there.

Masha Allah there are many books which describe the rituals of Hajj. I will relate to you some of my experiences comparing the early Hajj with those done recently. The most difficult part for any female is relieving oneself. Alhamdulillah every camp had their own make-shift toilets, a few for men and a few for women. The only problem is we all have to go at the same time. Water was scarce in those days too, so was food. But it’s okay when you are with a group and everything is provided. But my husband and I will leave the group as we preferred to walk from Arafat to Muzdalifah and onto Mina. So we had to carry our own water for Istinja and wudhu and water for drinking as well. For me it was even worse during those times when I had my menses. Today I laugh when I think about how my husband used to hold the sleeping mat around me so that I would do my thing, or we were fortunate to find an Arab family who will allow me to use their private ‘hamam.” Masha Allah today the government has provided many toilets and adds to them every year, water is plentiful and so is food. Now there is too much wastage of water and food. People just trample and walk over the food. Audho Billahe minash Shaitanir-Rajim.

During the 1st few Hajj, we were able to pray the Dhuhr and Asr Salah with the Jamaa’ah and listen to the Khutbah, but during the last two we could not get near the Masjid because of the crowds.

Rami (Stoning the Jamraat) was also very difficult. Alhamdulillah today it is easier and more organized. I heard that there are bridges leading to and from different areas to the three levels. Insha Allah I pray we go for Hajj again soon.

Praying in the Masjid Al-Haram has also become difficult. There was a time when women were not allowed to make Tawaf about ½ hour to 45 minutes before the Adhan for the next Salah. Women prayed behind the men in their own sections but today this is not the case. Things have become too disorganized and men and women pray side by side although there are sections especially for women. We know that we have to pray behind the men and not in front of them so it is upon on us to make sure we find the women’s sections and pray there to protect our Salah. We are rewarded 100,000 times for Salah and other acts performed in the Masjid Al-Haram so try your best to do things properly to earn the reward Insha Allah .

During the 5 days of Hajj, stay with your group even if you feel you know your way around. With the rapid changes taking place every year you can end up walking for hours and hours. During our last Hajj, we missed the night at Muzdalifah completely, as the normal route we used to take changed and we missed a turn. By the time we got to Muzdalifah it was already past Fajr.

To continue Insha Alalh

Last edited by Khadi on Sat Jul 09, 2011 12:28 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : to put this post as a sticky!)
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PostSubject: Re: Hajj-The Experience of a Life-time   Hajj-The Experience of a Life-time EmptyMon Oct 19, 2009 4:24 pm

As Salamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu

I cannot describe my joy and happiness whenever we visit Al-Madinah, the City that welcomed our dear Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam). The warmest of Al-Madinah makes up for the coldest of Makkah. The peace and serenity of Al-Madinah is not found anywhere.

Before the recent expansion, women prayed in what is today the men’s section. We went to offer our Salams to the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) facing his grave behind the men today we don’t even see that section except in pictures. Offering our Salah in the Rawdah was not restricted like it is today except during the prohibited times of Salah and we prayed behind the men, there being a small barrier between the men and women.

After the expansion, the Saudi authorities put up partitions twice and now I believe thrice daily- (365 days without exception) so that the women can get a chance to pray in the Rawdah and what was the original Masjid during the time of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam). Remember, we visit the Prophet’s Masjid not to visit the grave but to pray in his Masjid. It’s a challenging task, and only those who have visited the Masjid will appreciate the efforts of the Saudi Government.

They are sisters who work in the Masjid to help and guide the pilgrims. I’m not talking about the guards at the doors, who check your bags when you enter but those sisters who walk around to help and guide the pilgrims. I nicknamed them the custodians of the female pilgrims. Except for the few weeks before and after the days of Hajj, whenever you enter the ladies section you will find small groups of sisters learning the Qur'an together or studying some aspect of Islam. Anyone can go and sit and listen to or join in. If you wish to learn to recite the Qur'an with tajweed, Alhamdulillah, Masha Allah there is someone there to help you. All you need to do is ask. There is a library in the ladies section where you can find Islamic books in many languages.

During Ramadan and Hajj there are sisters who give lectures in different languages. During these busy periods, especially during the Hajj these sisters are in charge of pilgrims from different countries. They all have their own allocations and speak to the pilgrims under their care in their language. Masha Allah! They take the pilgrims in an orderly way to the Rawdah and in this way they make sure everyone gets a chance to pray even two Rakat in the Rawdah. But the impatience of some causes stampedes sometimes.

One sister I need to mention is Umm Ayesha. She is a very dynamic speaker. She gives her lectures in Urdu and English and has a marvelous way of explaining things. I always look out for her and even if she speaks in Urdu I stay to listen to her. If I don’t understand anything she will explain it in English.

If you go to Al-Madinah before going to Makkah, and speak Urdu or English, ask around about her and listen to her lectures. Masha Allah you can ask any of the sisters to explain to you any aspect of your visit to Al-Madinah or Hajj and they will most definitely have an answer for you or will find out for you. You can also form your own groups and ask these sisters, the custodians, to explain to you any aspect of Islam. Although their main aim is to prevent sisters from doing Bid’ah in the Masjid Al-Nabawi they have knowledge of the rituals of Hajj as well.

Unfortunately with modernization Hajj has become too commercialized and lost its’ spirituality. Even with the high costs of airfares, accommodation etc, compared to 10-15 years ago the people going for Hajj has increased 7-10 fold, I think. Hajj is still difficult despite the modernization as the crowds make it more difficult and longer to get from one place to another.

The disheartening part is today at least ½ of the pilgrims miss many the Sunnan of Hajj, for example like staying the 1st day –
(the 8th of Dhul Hijjah) – the day of Tarwiyah in Mina they go directly to Arafat on the 9th . For many or most it is their first Hajj and only Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala knows if they will get a chance to come again.

If you are taking your children with you, make sure that they are dressed nicely; not as if they are going to a party or on picnic. Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala has invited you to visit His House, respect its sanctity. This also applies at the Masjid Al-Nabawi, especially when you go to pray in the Rawdah.

Wear proper Hijab; don’t cover your face and show your neckline. I am always saddened by the way my dear sisters dress.

And the real menace of our times the mobile/cell phone. People just cannot do without it anymore. Audho Billahe minash Shaitanir-Rajim. When you enter either Haram, switch off your phone or at least put it in silent mode, if you feel you cannot miss a call. Every make of mobile phone has a silent mode, so there is no excuse. If you still feel that you cannot miss a call then at least put it in silent mode during the Salah. Anyway, you cannot answer the phone while in Salah, so why disturb people with the ringing. You are in the holiest places and instead of cashing in on the rewards you are earning sins. During Tawaf and while praying in the Rawdah in the Prophet’s Masjid are other times when the mobile phone should be switched off or put into silent mode. Audho Billahe minash Shaitanir-Rajim.

Hajj is definitely an journey one has to experience. Pack Sabr, more Sabr and lots more Sabr as you will need Sabr more than anything else on this journey of a life-time.

May Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala accept our Hajj and may we return to our loved ones as new born babies. Ameen

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