The road to take to our camp in Muzdallifa is closed to traffic. We have to continue along. We arrive in the general area and our leader says we have to spend the night here.

The time at Muzdalifah starts from after sunset on 9th Dhu'l-Hijjah till after the dawn prayer (Fajr) on 10th of Dhu'l-Hijjah.  In Muzdalifah the night is spent under the open sky.  Here  the evening prayer (Maghrib) is offered and stay over night.   We have to collect the pebbles we will need for the "stoning" ceremony (ramy). We need to make sure we have enough by picking up as many as we need from the foot of the hills at Muzdalifah. We will need 70 pebbles in total, so it is as well to gather a few extra in case of losses on the way.  At dawn, we will offer Fajr (the dawn prayer). Then, before the sun has risen, we need to set off for Mina.

Muzdalifah is a barren, sandy, wasteland, well lit of course and it will be our beds for the night. We spread our straw mats on the bare sand, dirty, stony area and we claim a spot. It is next to the bus, which is on the roadway.

We perform Maghrib and Isha as recommended. Pilgrims are arriving all the time. In our group the women are placed at the top, separate from the men. Where I am placed is a passage way but decided to move, guess where? next to Rasheeda, my dear wife! We place the bags between us and settle for the night.

Some men come and spread mats on the roadway, next to our women. That’s the same spot we settled in earlier, but the police moved us. There is a sense of relief that at least one of us (me) is in close proximity to our women folk, not that one should expect them to be vulnerable on an occasion like this, but out of an abundance of caution it is better to have one’s guard up.

Bright lights of Muzdalifa 2008

The bright lights are shining down on us. Pilgrims keep walking among us, raising the dust, the sand, it is going to be a long night. In fact, already it is 9:00 p.m. and a black bag containing a digital Quran and a camera is discovered missing from one of our members, Sheldon. Like I said, the night promises be very long.

There is a cacophony of a large variety of languages around me.  Of course the majority of them can’t be understood except when there is a chorus of the Talbiya or some Quranic Ayah in arabic.

Having took the medication obtained in Arafah, it is supposed to make me drowsy. But, of course, no such luck as yet. I have taken it an hour ago and as you can see, I’m still writing this stuff, oh how I wish pilgrims would stop passing between us attempting to sleep fellow pilgrims.

The night passes. The medicine apparently took effect. Between sleep and wakefulness, the sounds of can the impatient honking of horns, the revving of engines and the chatter of voices, becomes apparent.