Friday 5th December – 7th Zil Hajj

Fajr Time

Upon returning from Fajr in the masjid, I found the hotel was packed. People of every nationality seem to be in this hotel:- Egyptian, Chinese, Indonesians, English and next door there are Turks. The roadway continues to see groups of people trekking up and down the street. It is all a preview to what will undoubtedly be the biggest, most meaningful event of their lives.

CEPEP Workers in Trinidad
The clean up crew,(incidentally, they wear a uniform just like CEPEP), are not doing a  very good job as these working near and around the Haram. The roadway is dirty with litter. The other road down the steps, i.e. around the masjid are closed but are even filthier.

There is no longer any room for the women in the masjid, the men have taken over the entire place. The male section could hold approximately 1100 people. I am not sure how many could be accommodated in the women section. Yet, the accommodation is not enough, the congregation spills out onto the wings of the masjid.

Jumma is huge. The crowd is spilled onto the roadway, where Sheriff next to me, try to find a spot to pray. We did not hear any Azan . A group of women are in front of us, we are behind them, behind us the lines stretches for about 20-30 lines of 12-15 people. The roadways at the side of the mosque are similarly packed. A truck with water wants to pass. The worshipers said that salah comes first. The driver and the worshipers are arguing in Arabic. Finally a compromise is reached, the worshipers make room. The cars in front the truck reversed and the truck was able to pass. The worshipers spread their mats, pieces of  cardboard and wrapping paper.

It is 12:20 p.m., the Azan has sounded Sheriff and I stand up to pray the sunnah rakaahs. The majority of people choose to remain sitting. When the khutbah is delivered it’s in arabic I recognize the words Arafah, Muzdalifah, Jamarat etc.; so the khutbah is about Hajj.  We make dua at the end of the first khutbah. After the second khutbah, the Imam leads us in performing two rakaahs fard salah and by 12:40pm the service comes to an end.

We rolled up our mats from the roadway as the congregation begins to disperse in every direction. A van loaded with bottles of water is making its way slowly along the road, then the driver begins distributing the water.  Feeling the pangs of thirst from the very hot midday sun, I attempted to get a bottle of water but Sheriff stops me from reaching for it.  “That’s for the poor, we have our water in plentiful supply in the hotel”, he said. I concurred.

Today Rasheeda and I ate lunch together. The hotel is at full capacity so the lunch room is packed. In fact,. We are both missing our children, Nabsie and Ihsie so we called them but they are not available but we took the opportunity to speak with Sherry and as well gave her the phone number where we can be reached. Shortly afterwards, Nabsie calls, she is missing us terribly. We try to comfort her and continued chatting with her for awhile. I sounded very brave but when the conversation ended, I began to weep as saw that Rasheeda too is crying.