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This is a special series of Blogs which describes my time and experiences during Hajj this year.
DAY 26 – 15 August 2019 – 14 Zilhajj 1440
Aziziya – Haram Shareef
Allah Decreed, No Rafath (sexual), No Fusooq (disobedience) and No Jidaal (disputing, fighting) during Hajj.
By His Grace, we did not see any Rafath.
Fusooq was found here and there.
Jidaal however raged throughout the time; even during Ihram. Sadly.
Now that the Hajj was over, it didn’t take long for some people to return to who they were to begin with.
Disputing over the turn to get food, disputing over food, trying to take more than due share, and disturbing others were all over the place. The organizers had put up the same notice at several places ‘Taking food to rooms is prohibited’, but more and more people insisted on taking food to rooms. If the organizers objected, the pilgrims would be annoyed and angry. One reason was that they would take food for a greater number of people than there were and tried to overeat. Later, the extra, unconsumed food was seen discarded here and there.
Our people were very hard and rough-tempered before Hajj; and had become more so after Hajj. Men and Women both, displayed similar capacity for being rude, ill-tempered and ill-mannered.
The first thing many of these would do immediately upon returning to Pakistan would be adding the prefix ‘Haji’ before their names, be it the name plate on the house, or the manner of conversation. They will tell the stories of Hajj days with great eloquence and exaggeration to show how Allah had blessed them especially, and they were now the distinguished lot because piety had descended upon them. And they will offer to make prayer for any and all because Allah would entertain their prayers. The day to day affairs shall remain the same; pathetic, shabby and shady.
No doubt that ‘Jidaal’ was the single most item of distraction and disturbance throughout.
DAY 27 – 16 August 2019 – 15 Zilhajj 1440
Aziziya – Haram Shareef
Finally, 15 Zilhajj arrived, and it was Friday. The buses were back in service and going to Haram Shareef became easy for all of us.
Some people planned for another Umrah immediately.
Doing more Umrahs is favored; even more favored is doing more Tawaf. However, many people who come from faraway countries try to do as many Umrahs as they can. Tawaf alone seems lesser to them. Of course, it is between the man and the Lord.
On the other hand, some people have become so lethargic that they do not even want to go the masjid at five minutes’ walk. They prefer to stay in the building and pray in the prayer area. At every prayer, there is some debate on who will lead the prayer. Other than this, the topic is food.
I have made several mentions about food. Let us look at it once and close the topic.
The food catering is done by a company Qaranfil. They bring cooked food and Roti etc. at every mealtime. The food is served by the team of the building. Roti and some curry are served three times a day; breakfast, lunch and dinner. In addition, there would be fruit, juice, yogurt, laban and at times sweet dish; sweet rice, vermicelli, gulab jaman etc.
Without doubt, the food quality, variety, taste and quantity are reasonably good. The people serving food are very courteous and treat everyone with respect, even when the guests would not treat them well. The food is not spicy, so everyone is keeping healthy.
In spite of this, there is a lot of noise about food. The kind of scenes we see on weddings and parties in Pakistan are repeated here often. Everyone wants to get the food first and wants as much as he can. Seeing this, the arrangement is not buffet; the food is served in containers so that distribution of food would not be messed up. Some kind of queue making has also been adopted.
It may be safe to say that for some guests, these may be the best meals of their life.
Two things are highly inappropriate.
One. Majority considers food to be the first priority; over and above everything else. There is an effort to eat/ drink/ nibble continuously, disregarding whether it would be suitable for health or disposition or not. Naturally, the next priority after this is the search for rest rooms. The amount of time, attention and effort that goes into eating pleasure is directly subtracted from the same things in Ibadat.
Two. Many Pakistani Pilgrims would be seen in the free food distributing queues, alongside Africans, Indians, Bangladeshis and few others, and they would fight to get the food. Just outside Haram Shareef, free food is distributed several times a day. This is charity. Those who want to do charity come and pay to the food stall to distribute food to so many people. The point is that a pilgrim who has paid for Hajj and has brought money with him cannot be eligible for ‘Sadaqah’. It may be suitable for those who somehow have managed to reach here, even with some support, but do not have more money to buy food. Many times, I have seen very rich looking guys in these queues, which is totally inappropriate.
True, that many local people distribute juice, fruit, dates as ‘ziafat’ for guests. This can be surely consumed by everyone.
Certainly, there is a difference in ‘Sadaqa’ and ‘Ziafat’.
A related issue is that many people would eat whatever and whenever they get it.
Fighting on food, wasting food, eating more than the body can handle, eating at wrong times and eating unnecessarily is commonly seen during Hajj. Such waywardness leads first to rest room and then the doctor.
This is my humble request. Please eat as per your need and on time.
Allah has blessed you with the greatest opportunity to perform Hajj. Who knows you will ever come here again or not?
Allah has always given you enough to eat and shall InShaAllah provide for you in the future also.
Please keep the priority of Hajj where it belongs; at the top.
May Allah guide all of us to do the right thing. Aameen.