Eidul-Adha in Mina

You can tell that I can only relocate a time to continue making posts about Hajj only when the Hajj season is in the atmosphere. If I were to write the ‘Hajj for Dummies’ book, it may take me 10 years to finish it. Yes, long live procrastination.

My previous posts I wrote about Hajj trip in 2008 can be found in this category.

Therefore, continuing the last post when we were in Muzdalifah during the eve of Eidul-Adha. One of the requirements of the Hajj task that we need to spend half of night at Muzdalifah, hence the stop-over and and having a kind of huge “picnic” under the night sky, whilst picking up small stones for the Jamrat stoning rituals.

Around 4am, buses came to fetch people to go to Mina, our next stop of the journey. And we were tens of thousands of Malaysian pilgrims alone, and again queuing for bus was like something you really had to face, and cant complain about it. It was rather a regret that we brought like a huge bag from Makkah to Arafat with food and clothings and now it was a pain in the ass to drag it along the rough way.

Location of Mina from Makkah and Muzdalifah. Full view on Wikimapia.

The whole area of Mina is practically nothing but a desert area filled with tents for Hajj pilgrims.

Two pictures above were taken when we visited Mina about 2 weeks before the Hajj days. It was almost empty, only the camps were ready to house pilgrims when the time comes (which is, today, 10th of Dzulhijjah, when were heading to Mina and were expected to stay there while doing the Jamrat stoning).

Arriving Mina, we were placed at one of the camps reserved for Malaysian pilgrims, which is located in among the Southeast Asian pilgrim area, therefore tents of Indonesian and Thais pilgrims were our neighbors. The Eidul-Adha was spent in unusual way, wandering around the street near the tents here. Because from the Hajj guide schedule, our group will be brought to do the Jamrat stoning only after night. So all we had to do was to get a rest in the tent before the time comes. Some independent people who still had the energy, already went to do the stoning early morning upon arriving, and even some were quick enough to catch the Eid prayer upon returning to Masjidil Haram in Makkah. You can go independently at your own risk if you know where you’re heading to, but bear in mind that millions other pilgrims were about to go for stoning and heading Makkah at the same time hence for safety the pilgrims guides had their different schedule to bring people by groups.

The typical view inside the tent. I know it looks like almost a nightmare, but that’s the point of this Hajj all about, to train you to be patient. You may not stand crowds like this in other place, but in here, you dont have choice but to accept things as they are, to be patient and keep the reason of why you’re here. Everyone is equal no matter how rich or big you are back at home. Then again, it’s easily said than done. Even my mum was having her hardest time queuing for toilets (which she can tolerate the least among all things). And I wasnt feeling the best of health at this time, even since Arafat actually, was having bad cough nonstop and uneasy to be in packed crowds like this, worrying that I might be disturbing them. Therefore, we chose our own way to go back to hotel in Makkah, independently.

We left the Mina camps earlier before the group, bringing our smaller suitcases (with trolley) and leaving behind the huge bag with food stuff in the camp. To reach the Jamrat place, one should go through this long tunnel (almost 1km) and another few more kilometers walking for almost 2 hours.

The nights here people were on street, along the camps of other countries we passed by (I dont know how they arrange the camping area for different countries in Mina, but it’s obvious that ours are rather far, but there are still ones that are farther away. Though we do notice that some camps closer to the Jamrat place were ones housing VIPs, kings and ministers etc, as well as those rich people who went on a more expensive trip package. Anyways.)

The Jamrat place building during Hajj season 2008 was still under construction, they were making 3 floors of stoning places, hoping to distribute the millions of pilgrims into several different place to avoid crowds and incidents. The event can be said real dangerous: imagine you’re in the middle of huge crowds where each and everyone was throwing stones to a certain somewhere, and the stones may instead hit people’s head instead of the aimed target. Needless to say, there were reports of death of pilgrim at peak time of stoning.

We chose the first floor to avoid the crowds – people tend to go to the ground floor, though in every floor of 3 floors the jamrat structure was rebuilt to be huge like this. The area was also made more spacious. There are three jamrah altogether – Big Jamrah, Middle Jamrah and Small Jamrah, to where we had to throw the stones one after another. (The jamrat place was in open air like in this and this before they built this 3-floor terminal building.)

Luckily there were not many people at this hour and on 1st floor, so we did the stoning at the most ease. For those who dont know, this stoning act is practiced in Hajj for remembrance of the event when Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) was going to sacrifice his son Ismail, and how he met devil who appeared to stop him from continuing his task, therefore now pilgrims are throwing small stones to the very place where the devil was believed to have appeared, as if we’re stoning the devils themselves. The stoning act can also be seen as to ‘kill’ all the badness and evils in a man himself.

And as soon as we’re done with it, we exited the building and gathered in the street. Pilgrims were given a place in Mina camp (even though it’s pathetically crowded) because were are supposed to STAY there for next 2 days to complete the 2nd and optional 3rd round of Jamrat stoning, but my parents, me and a few other colleagues decided to go back to hotel in Makkah to seek a more comfortable overnight there (you go back at your own risk, and your own expenses on the transport, AND you have to come back to Mina again tomorrow for 2nd round of stoning). But we had to wait until midnight (12am) stay in Mina area as it was part of the requirements.

And while sitting and waiting I managed to buy some food at a fast food outlet. Good thing about buying food there, where there was like very long queues of men, but they have express-way for ladies with no queue at all!! :D (coz perhaps, more men were expected to have the task of buying food than women are) but it gave me a real good feeling! (too bad I forgot to take picture of the food outlet and the queues). And at another counter to buy coffees where huge men were hardly queuing, and instead pushing one another (!) it was almost impossible for a small girl like me to get through, but out of the blue I was offered by a neat gentleman to buy coffee on my behalf :)

ilyani was here, the Jamrat place in Mina, right after the first stoning ritual on the night of 10th Dzulhijjah. It was hardly seen as celebrating Eidul-Adha afterall, but 10th Dzulhijjah in here was even something. While people at home in Malaysia was celebrating the Eid and eating food, we were experiencing extraordinary challenges in order to complete the Hajj task in here.

As soon as it hit midnight, people started leaving Mina to go back to their places, and we were walking towards Makkah, getting a van, and eagerly waiting to reach our hotel to end this really tiresome day quickly.

This is a pretty long post for Hajj season this year. Selamat Hari Raya – Eidul-Adha mubarak from ilyani.net, and you may have to wait until next year’s Eidul-Adha when I can make next post about my Hajj trip :P

Hajj Revisited: Eidul Adha eve in Muzdalifah

9 Zulhijjah 1429, after sunset. After a long wait for the bus, we left Arafat for Muzdalifah, an area between Arafat and Mina. In here pilgrims made a stop to pick up small stones to use in rituals of ‘stoning the devils’ at Jamrat place in Mina the next day. Though the area was actually covered by desert sand rather than rocks or small stones, and even if there were supposed to be some small stones laying somewhere, they were almost gone. I mean, thousands of people have been hunting for them today! Hmm but my father managed to get some for us, and we kept these stones inside a small cloth bag.

The pilgrims stopped in Muzdalifah to spend a few hours sleeping on the ground during the night of 9 Zulhijjah.

Picking small stones. It looks easy, but not. You may need torchlight, and you may mistake a stone with other junk.

While everyone back home in Malaysia were busy preparing for the big Eid next day, the pilgrims in Muzdalifah were having picnic on a desert surrounded by cold wind and crowds.

It’s part of the Hajj stages actually – to spend the night of 9 Zulhijjah in Muzdalifah. But since it’s only a few hours, and there were millions of us the pilgrims, providing camps isn’t that necessary.  So we just spent the night laying on the ground itself, covered with plastic carpet provided by Tabung Haji.. and it’s not that bad actually. You don’t get to have a picnic with thousands people at a time, at night, in other places but Muzdalifah :) Lucky that on the bus they loved to constantly provide food and drinks so we didn’t left starving.

All about Eve

Jabal Rahmah or “Mount of mercy” in Arafat, about 20km from Makkah, is believed to be the place where the first man created by God, Prophet Adam, met again his spouse, Hawa (or the Westerners refer as Eve) after hundreds years being separated after they were expelled from Heaven and sent to earth as a punishment of eating the forbidden fruit. Adam is believed to have landed in some place which is now India, and Hawa in the Arabian peninsula. Well, at least that’s what I’ve been told, though this wikipedia says (under Islamic tradition) they were sent to Safa and Marwah mountain peaks, respectively. Nevermind that, but for their reunion, everyone seems to agree that it was in Arafat. In Jabal Rahmah to be precise, and maybe that’s why there’s been that white monument on top of the peak as long as I can remember, and millions of people are visiting this peak every year. Plus, they traditionally believe that this is a sacred place where someone’s prayers – specifically with intention to meet a soulmate – will be granted. Or for their marriage to be forever blessed and strong, well, things like that.

Imagine that this rocky hill was the place where Adam and Hawa met after having missed each other so much, most probably continued with kissing and making love on the very mountain afterwards. Heh. I didn’t have time or interest to climb up the hill as others did, though. It’s rather high and rocky and my legs weren’t very strong for this purpose I might finally fell down before I can meet my soulmate LOL.

And the story about Hawa in Saudi Arabia didn’t end in Arafat only. In another trip session, we went to Jeddah, the port city located near the Red Sea. This is where Hawa is believed to have been resting in peace, somewhere in the middle of the city. Jeddah itself is said to be named after her (Jeddah is Arabic word for grandmother). Hawa’s grave is a quite a huge fenced area and it’s one of the proofs that earliest human being used to be really, really huge. It’s just incredible anyway, to have a look at the resting place of the second human being ever existed on earth. No, make it the FIRST woman ever existed :)

Hawa’s grave square entrance.

Hi grandmother, you rock! Yeah.