Today was undoubtedly the day I feared would be most difficult. We left our tents in Mina at around 11:30pm last night and began walking towards the outskirts. We left the boundaries of Mina at around midnight, having fulfilled the requirement of staying there for a part of the night.
We had not been not allocated any specific bus to get on to, but there were 5 for our group parked on a part of the highway. After 40 minutes of walking, we just wanted to sit on any bus that had space. Asif and I didn’t look back and got one of the buses together.
Our bus leader was Br. Inayat Daya of Canada. Of the five buses, we were the first to reach our hotel in Makkah at 1:30am. We got lucky, as the other buses reached a lot later, the last arriving at 2:45am.
At 9:30am we were going to be walking back to Jamarat for the last of our wajibat. In the 8 hours we had, we were advised to complete our Tawaf of Hajj, the 2 Rak’ah, Sa’i, Tawaf-un-Nisa and the 2 Rak’ah for Tawaf-un-Nisa. This was a lot to do, but finishing it would mean that all restrictions that were placed at the time of wearing Ihram, would be lifted.
Alhamdulillah, Asif and I were feeling quite energetic, so we rushed up to our respective rooms, freshened up, and met back in the lobby at 1:45am. This gave us just over two hours before the Adhan for Salatul-Layl.
By the Grace of Allah, we managed to complete all 5 of the Wajibat prior to the Adhan of Salatul-Layl, but we were completely shattered. I felt that my legs would not carry me any further, but I was at His Holy House, I knew that I just needed a little rest.
Reflecting back on the rituals this morning, we noted that there was so much tension amongst people while we were doing Tawaf un-Nisa. We saw men shoving and pushing, yelling at each other, and physically hitting each other. The rush was suffocating, but the feeling of inner peace was unique to any of the other Tawaf we had done before.
I just kept my eyes on the Ka’ba and felt that despite what was happening around me, my heart felt at rest. It was a feeling that I will always remember; a reminder that God should be the focal point of my life for me to reach greater heights.
Just before Salatul Layl, Asif and I made our way up to the rooftop and decided to pray there as it was much cooler and there were fewer people. At 5:45am, we reached our hotel again and decided to get a little shut-eye because we still had quite a walk ahead of us. Despite feeling very hungry, the need for sleep outweighed the need for tea.
At 9:30am, our group met back in the lobby to prepare for the walk to Jamarat. This was the last ritual and would conclude all the Hajj Rituals that we had to perform.
The walk began at 9:50am. It was scorching hot, and it seemed like Jamarat was much further away than expected! When we finally saw Jamarat, security guards were redirecting the crowds to walk all the way around the structure to maintain the flow of traffic.
It was an endless walk and by 11:20am when we finally reached, I was feeling flustered – tired and irritated at how long the journey had been. It was a true test of patience. I took a moment to just calm down before performing this one last ritual. One thought kept coming to mind; how was it that Shaytan came so easily and regularly to us in order to distract us in our daily affairs, yet here we were, having trekked miles to stone these pillars, representing our conquering of the shaytan within? It was a hard fight, but a symbolism of the consistent struggle.
At 11:35am we completed stoning the 3 pillars, and our group gathered at an area by the last pillar. The feeling of accomplishment was absolutely amazing; we began embracing each other, congratulating each other on the completion of the rituals of Hajj and praying that everything we had done over the last few weeks would be accepted in His Mercy.
We still had to wait 40 minutes until Dhuhr, and before we could leave Jamarat. We took several photos in groups with friends and family, sat around and rehydrated, waiting for the Adhan of Dhuhr Salah.
As we heard the Adhan, we began walking back to the hotel. Along the way, water bottles were being distributed for free, and drinks could be purchased (though these were selling out fast as we were among thousands walking back towards Makkah). At 1:35pm, we reached the hotel, with not an ounce of energy to spare! We prayed Salah at the hotel in the lounge and then had lunch. The menu was chicken biryani, in honour of the Hujjaj completing all the Hajj Rituals.
I thought I’d finally get to rest after lunch, but many of us ended up socializing and sleep was forgotten. Before I knew it, it was 5:00pm, and at 5:30pm we wanted to go to the Haram for Maghribain prayers.
After Maghribain prayers, waiting for dinner was not even an option. The biryani at lunch had been quite filling. I took a few biscuits and a hot cup of tea to my room and prepared for an early night.
Tomorrow was another day, and plans for climbing Mt. Hira were already brewing. I needed all the rest I could get, as I wasn’t going to pass up such a unique opportunity!