We arrive at the camp in Mina at 6.10 a.m. By 10.00a.m. our leader said that we would go to stone the jamaraat. We were on our way by 10.30 a.m.. The jamaraat is only about five minutes away from our camp in Mina.  But the crowd is very, very thick  Spouses hold on tightly to each other. One couple, Enite and Zaniffa Ali ,did not hold on, soon Zaniffa was separated and out of sight -lost? There was nothing we could do at that time. We continued and reached the much hated pillar. This was another significant moment for me. As each stone was cast, I recalled the whispered temptation of Shaitan to Abraham and Ishmael.

Muslims stone the devil

My own sinful self-those negative qualities also came to mind and I begged God to cast them out of me. Yes, by the completion of the “stoning of Shaitan” ritual was completed  my emotions were welled up praying that Allah would answer my plea.

Shaving our heads ritual is next but the barber shops were very crowded. Most barbers were using the electric shaving machines only, so we had to settle for the low, machine cut, promising to shave it all out when we return to the hotel in Azizia.

It was about 11.50 a.m. when we returned to camp. Most of us just sat in the camps and relaxed while others read the English Language newspaper, The Saudi Gazette, most of the articles were on the Hajj.

It was surprised to read an editorial critical of US President George Bush and the fact that he was admitting that bad intelligence had led him to believe that Iraq had accumulated Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). In fact, the next day, Tuesday 9th December,  they carried a cartoon with Bush holding a cutlass, having severed the head of Iraq, (portrayed as a turkey) and he saying, “ Oops ,sorry, wrong intelligence ! Anyway, you are just a turkey.”

The Zuhr azan sounded, however the brothers who were still in Ihram and were not ready to pray. But one hour later, most of us had showered- the shower involved the  use of  the urinal hose to wash the body; changed into new normal clothes brought for the occasion.  I put on a Jubbah that Rasheeda had bought for me.

 We prayed and had lunch. For once, the lunch was very palatable to me, having avoided the oily, greasy stuff.  This was a lightly flavoured, almost dried rice meal, with whole chickens cooked in the rice. The chef was cutting the chicken from the serving tray. My serving of rice had a chicken thigh. There is also a tray with what looked like birds- whole, roasted birds, we guessed they were either pigeons or quails.  Whatever they were, the one I ate was delicious. For dinner that night, I had two.

After lunch, groups went in search of  Zanifa. The sisters were already out looking but just as another group was about to go, Sheriff arrived  and announced that Zaniffa had been found. She came shortly after into our camp and explained that she had got a “bad feeling” and was dropping to the ground . Some people held her and put her to sit. There she had remained all the while. When she saw one of the searching groups with the Trinidad flag, she hailed out to them. She was fine.

On this day of Eid, the caterers brought a tray full of snacks, including  nuts of every kind, prepared in a variety of ways. These were tasty and enjoyable. That night Sheriff held a Moulood. The group sang –a la Trini style.  However I was again feeling unwell. Since prior to the Day of Arafah I had the cold and sore throat and had visited the Doctor and have been on medication.  But this morning I hadn’t bothered to take any medication and nodded through the qaseedas. Rasheeda, who had participated in the moulood function, advised that  I start another course of antibiotics having already completed one course!  By Tuesday morning, I was still functional but the medication had me feeling drowsy.  Many of the brothers had gone back to see the Doctor. They received the same medications - paracetemol, amoxil,250g and a cough syrup.

Second day for stoning shaitan -  Maghrib-Tuesday 10th

Just before Maghrib, we had gone to pelt the jamaraat.  Originally, we had planned to go after Zuhr. As we were about to go, we were informed that something had occurred at the site and the pelting had been halted. We waited.  After Asr-3.20 p.m. we still could not go. Someone called to say that there was a fire and that some eighty odd pilgrims had been killed. At the time of writing this - 6.55 p.m. - I still can’t confirm the story. Much later I would learn that the story was just that - a rumour.

Our pelting on this second day, when we had to stone all three jamaraat, went of very smoothly. No one was lost this time.  This repeat of the stoning ritual again proved to be one of those moments of significance  (of emotions) as I performed this act of ibadah . Recalling the supreme sacrifice Abraham and his son Ishmael and the supreme sacrifice were asked to perform and the a conscious decision to pelt Shaitan out of tempting them to disobey Allah, moved me to reflect on my own daily struggle to resist shaitan’s whispering and silently pleading to Allah to give me the spiritual strength to always do what is right.  But as I traversed the ramp, I found myself talking to Allah, asking Him to cast Shaitaan and all satanic forces out of my life and it was done with deep feeling and sincerity.

Today’s pelting at the jamaraat  was done on the third floor. We used elevators to get to this top floor and it was really relatively simple. The Hajj authorities must be commended for their efforts to make the Hajj as easy and safe as possible.  A fourth level is in the process of construction.

It’s dinner time now after which we are leaving for Azizia and the Ka’bah later.