November 30th 2008 4:00 a.m. 2nd Zil Hijjah

The time was around 4.00am. The azan for Tahajjud was sounded. We continued walking away from the Haram. I should mention that while we were waiting in the general area of the Barber Shop inside the Haram, we witnessed sights that will be etched indelibly in my mind. The scenes called to mind the Quranic verse, “……And call the people to the Hajj, you will see them coming in every direction, on camels thin and weak on account of the long journey…”

Outside the Haram as captured by another pilgrim at a different than described

Only now, they were not camels…at least I didn’t see any. The people were streaming in by the hundreds, perhaps thousands, from every roadway, every entrance. They were coming into the Ka’bah area, chanting the Talbiyah Labbaik, Allahuma Labbaik La Sharika laka Labbaik Innalhamda Wa niamata laka wal mulk la sharikalak.” Tears were streaming down some of their faces…they were crying unashamedly and chanting vociferously and I, too, shed tears with them as  I, too, understood and felt their passion.

Outside the Ka’bah, the group reached the appointed place at the triangle where the bus was due to meet us, only now, we had to wait as nothing could get into or out of Makkah. Members of the group purchased stuff to eat and drink and they passed the snacks around.

When the  azan for Fajr was sounded, we prayed in the lobby and courtyard of a hotel. The congregation must have been-oh- I don’t know- a million? more?...less? I honestly don’t know. But others were praying on the streets, just like us and we could hear clearly the voice of the Imam as he led the prayer.

After the prayer, we continued to see the scenes that we had witnessed in the barbering area. Pilgrims were coming into the Ka’bah area in their hundreds. All kinds and colours and nationalities were streaming into Makkah, and I marvel at the greatness of Allah and the extraordinary leadership of Rasulullah (uwbp) who has left for all times, this single, most magnificent gathering of humanity, performing rites and rituals, handed down 1400 years ago and which are still enacted 1400 years later, in their original manner and which can move a people to all kinds of spiritual and esoteric emotions.