The Hajj is the religious pilgrimage to Makkah that all able-bodied Muslims are required to complete once during their lifetime. Last year some three million people from around the world converged on Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj during a specific five day period. The Hajj is a complicated process of rituals which are completed in various places around Makkah, such as circling around the Kaaba seven times, drinking water from the ZamZam Well, symbolically stoning the devil, walking between two small hills a number of times, and spending a couple of days or so in an area called Mina. Upon completion of the Hajj, Muslims are supposed to cut their hair or shave their heads. This photo shows a very small section of the thousands and thousands of tents where the pilgrims stay in Mina. I found this interesting description written by a pilgrim of what one might expect during their stay in Mina:
“Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” Keep this principle in mind when you leave for Mina from Arafat. Staying in a tent that is next to the toilets, sleeping in a part of the tent which is besides the area where foul smelling garbage is piled up, half of the toilets without water supply in your tent area, pilgrims from countries with low civic consciousness messing up the toilets, overcrowded tents – these are some of the conditions that you may have to put up with during your 3-day stay in Mina. Some survival tips are listed below:
a. Plan your diet so that you don’t have to go to the toilet frequently;
b. Avoid idle talk which consists mostly of a tirade against the authorities for various shortcomings;
c. Immerse yourself in various types of worship – reading The Qur’an, zikr, and duah. While these are not only the right things to do in Hajj, they will also help to keep your mind from being distracted by the shortcomings there;
d. You’ll be able to spot individuals in your tent who are knowledgeable about Islam. Get close to them and seek clarifications about matters that are not clear to you. In the long run, you’ll remember these meetings more than the difficulties your encountered in Mina.
e. Remember to bring along a little pail. In the event of water supply failure to the toilets, you can use the pail to fetch water from other sources.
About This Blog, and About Me: Susie of Arabia
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, is KSA's 2nd largest city and is located on its west coast, right on the Red Sea. I moved here in 2007 with my Saudi hubby and teenage son. This journal reflects the things that I see here, life through my eyes, my lens.
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