Today was our second day in Mina.
Here, the idea was to spend time getting to know others, asking about affairs back home in each other’s hometowns, and also taking a little time to reflect on the journey, the purpose, and the goals we were setting for ourselves. We were not in the state of Ihram anymore but certain restrictions were still in place until we completed the remaining mandatory rituals (that would be tomorrow).
At around 3:30 am my alarm went off, and I went to freshen up. The fears that I initially had before this trip such as the large crowds and the eastern toilets were far from my mind now. We definitely were not accustomed to all of this, but it was quite miraculous to see how easy such things became when you just ‘went with the flow’ and adapted to your surroundings.
Fajr Salah was just past 4:00 am. We prayed and then got ready to walk to Jamarat. The walk was okay as it was early hours of the day, so it was not as hot as it would’ve been had we gone later in the day. The crowds were less too. By 8:45am, we were back at our tents, Alhamdulillah.
Mina was also a place to catch up on sleep. The atmosphere was stifling but keeping a cool head and a cool mind was essential. I grabbed some ice cubes from the large drink coolers, put it in a ziploc bag, and placed it on my head; this was a good start. At Dhuhr time I woke up and we took turns to pray. There wasn’t much space, but if we folded up our beds a few of us could pray at a time.
After Salah, a few ladies decided on having an interactive discussion to reflect on our journey so far, and what we had learnt. It was an interesting discussion and there was a lot to learn from others in the group. Besides lectures at the hotels, I don’t think we had ever sat like this, with most of us in one place, and even then, during lectures, we were not having our own discussions like today.
A little before Maghrib, the discussion ended and many took the opportunity to rest some more, myself included. The beds were not first class, and the heat didn’t help, but the sleep was perfect! After Maghribain prayers, we had quite a few hours until we would be leaving Mina and returning to Makkah, and so we sat and recite Dua-e-Tawassul.
Dinner (chicken and chips from Al Baik) came shortly after. And after that, some socialized, others read Qur’an, and most rested. There was no WiFi at the tents, and phone reception was extremely poor. In some ways, this was a peace in itself.
Soon we would be heading to Makkah to perform our Hajj Tawafs, and Mina would just be a vivid memory of the past…