Today was going to be quite an interesting day. The group had arranged for local walking Ziyarat in Makkah and Hujjaj had been given an option to either go yesterday or today. We chose to go today. I felt like we had been in Makkah forever and it was like a very homely feeling. I had totally forgotten about life otherwise!
Asif and I decided not to go too early to the Haram as we wanted to pace our journey and not overtire ourselves. The heat was going to be intense later in the day, and as we were going to be walking quite a bit, we wanted to be prepared. We went to the Haram at 3am this morning, giving ourselves enough time before Fajr to engage in doing whatever Ibadat we wanted to do personally. It was such a wonderful feeling to just sit and recite Qur’an, and even rest a little under the shade of His Holy House. There were others who had pillows and were quite comfortable in deep sleep, but I meant more along the lines of closing my eyes and reflecting on where I was, physically, and spiritually.
At 5:45am we returned back the hotel to rest. I managed a 40-minute power nap which was enough ‘fuel’ for the rest of the day. Our group was meeting at 7am in the lobby, so around 6:50am I made my way downstairs to the lobby. The walking Ziyarat was not mandatory but if you’re reading this and you’re going to Makkah, don’t pass up this opportunity. The walking would be between 2-3 hours. Guiding us and speaking on history on our Ziyarat were Akil Mama and Habib Uncle.
Our group getting ready for Ziyarat. (Oh and try the fries across the street. Hot hot fries and heavenly!)
The House of Umm-Hani
We first saw where the House of Umme Hani once stood, near the gate of Abdul-Aziz. This is where the Holy Prophet (S) was when he was summoned by Angel Jibra’il to journey to Bayt-al-Muqaddas and then further to the Heavens – a journey that we know as Me’raj. In that same vicinity was the residential area where most of the members of Banu Hashim resided. It was sad to see that nothing marked this significant area. Rather, the general area just accommodated further expansion of the structure build around the Holy Ka’ba. Further on was the general area where the house of Sayyidah Khadijah (A) once stood. This was the same place where Sayyidah Fatimah (A) was born. All of these landmarks had been demolished.
Birth Place of the Holy Prophet
On our right we saw a building, which now is for parking, but was built over the house which was the birth place of the Holy Prophet (S) and not too far behind was the Valley of Abu Talib (A) where the Holy Prophet (S) and his family and companions lived for 3 years during the boycott in Makkah.
Neighbouring this valley, stood Abu Qubais Mountain. This mountain was often referred to by the Holy Prophet (S) as it was known to be a grand mountain; some believe it was also the first mountain placed on Earth. We walked on around the mosque of the Holy Ka’ba and came to a bridge we had to pass under to reach Jannat al-Mu’alla. This bridge is known for the 1987 clash of Iranians with Saudis, where over 400 Iranians were killed.
We passed Masjid al-Jinn where historians have written of two possible happenings at this place. Some narrations state that Surat al-Jinn was revealed here, whilst others narrate that the community of Jinn gave Bay’ah (allegiance) to the Holy Prophet (s) here.
Jannat al-Mu’alla was the last place we went to. This is the famous cemetery in Makkah, where our lady Khadija (a) is buried. The men were allowed to enter whilst ladies had to wait outside. However, from the highway, we had a significantly good view of the cemetery and managed to stand there and recite the recommended salutations of the cemetery.
We then returned back to the hotel through a long tunnel. It was quite sad to see that many landmarks had not been preserved and were just referenced as places that ‘once stood’. In the lectures, Abbas mama mentioned that it’s possible what we saw this year, was a lot less than the Hujjaj maybe 10-15 years ago, would have seen. We arrived back at the hotel at 9:40am. Time to rest until Dhuhr!
After Dhuhrain prayers, we had a lecture covering the last 7 Wajibats of the Hajj-e-Tamattu, by Abbas Mama and Akil Mama. I had butterflies in my stomach. The trip to Arafat and onwards was getting really close! I was concerned about all the walking from Muzdalifa to Mina and Mina to Jamarat. I hope that the 6-8 months of walking religiously in Canada would pay off! The lecture was followed by lunch and then the gents had a meeting for the logistics of performing Qurbani. The HAC group was one of the only groups from Canada/UK that gave the guys a choice of doing their own Qurbani – like actually going to the slaughterhouse and holding the shoulders of the butcher as he slaughtered the animal. I was so glad that Asif managed to submit his name in time for the opportunity as it would be quite an experience; and to be able to do your own Qurbani would be so amazing! So whilst he attending the meeting, I rested a while.
At around 5:15pm, Asif and I made our way back to the Haram. After Maghribain prayers we sat on the Mountain of Marwa and recited Yasin and Du’a-e-Kumayl. Many had come to sit on the mountain as various narrations stated that praying on the mountain was recommended.
We arrived back the hotel in time to hear Shaykh Hilli deliver a lecture. He was here with another group but had been invited to our hotel to speak to us. It was nice to hear his lectures after so long! We didn’t go back out that evening as the day had been long. We had a few family members get together at our hotel and I met cousins, aunts and uncles who were also performing their Hajj this year, but were with different groups.
Around midnight, I made my way back to my hotel room. I tried packing for Arafat. It wasn’t going to be easy to take what was necessary yet keep it to a minimum so that the backpack I was going to be carrying would not become too heavy, as I was going to be walking quite a bit with it. I did what I could for today. I think it’s best if I sleep over it and look again tomorrow to see that I really am taking the absolute necessities.