Wed 3rd December-5th Zil Hajj

I woke up at 4:45 am just in time to prepare for Fajr.  The roads outside our hotel, the Al-Riyad Group, were closed to vehicular traffic. Only official vehicles, the police, service vehicles and catering vehicles could have entered. This was part of the traffic management plan as that road led to Mina and I was told that tents were already up in preparation for receiving pilgrims in the next few days.

The neighbourhood masjid  which we using for pray could not now accommodate the huge numbers of worshipers. By salat-ul Zuhr there was now the need for two Jamaahs, (congregations), praying one after the other, and the men, like the ladies before, were now praying outside the mosque hall.

I witnessed a scene that moved me to tears once again.

After, Zuhr, upon emerging from the mosque the sun was hot, the temperature could have easily been 35 degrees C -36 degrees C. Women were still praying on the roadway, thereupon I observed that a woman was dropping tissues on the laps of the other Muslims.  And I felt proud to be a Muslim pilgrim sharing this journey with such souls that are inclined to demonstrate such a simple act kindness.  Who else could have so much compassion, show such kindness but a pilgrim who experienced the transformative dislocation of travel and the necessity to extend oneself to lighten the burden? These women were of different races, different nationalities, absolute and total strangers, yet by that simple act of kindness, they were demonstrating their love and caring for each other.  It reminded me of the experience that jahajis (the term meaning "ship-traveler") had in crossing the kala pani (the "dark" ocean between India and the West Indies) and the mutual dependencies they developed in there new land under indentureship.  It also reminds me of the encouragement that Allah gives in the Qur’an to “travel in the land and see how He originated creation...”, as well as the command from Allah “to be good to your relatives, to the poor and the travellers.”  The Prophet [uwbp] said, "traveling is a kind of torture as it prevents one from eating, drinking and sleeping properly. So, when one's needs are fulfilled, one should return quickly to one's family."  Hence when one is in the state of travel, those you bring relief to the traveler is blessed by Allah.

I ask the question -how did we reach the stage where we are accused of being barbarous, and unkind and uncivil and …….you know the rest. I am  also reminded of an incident that Rasheeda, my wife had related to me. On the second day that we visited the Ka’bah. and the gentleman kept a protective eye on her. 

Of course, the significance of the episode is clear—that Muslims, real Muslims are kind and generous and protective of all Allah’s creation.