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This is a special series of Blogs which describes my time and experiences during Hajj this year.
Friday at Haram Shareef
Friday prayer at Haram Shareef always attracts large number of visitors. This being Hajj time, the number of people present in Makkah is much bigger than usual days. There would be hardly anyone who could but would not offer Juma prayer in Haram Shareef.
I had some idea due to previous experience. I did the same thing which I did on last Friday. I came late night, prayed Qiyam ul Layl, and Fajr and did not go back to building. Instead, I got out of Haram, had a cup of tea anda piece of cake from the shop outside, and went inside again.
It was still early morning and the crowd was at its lowest.
I did Tawaf and prayed to Allah to get to Multazim and Hateem. Hateem is the semi-circle adjacent to Ka’aba tul Musharrafah, of which it is considered to be a part of. At some point in history, it was actually part of Ka’aba tul Musharrafah for a while. When Ka’aba tul Musharrafah was rebuilt in the time of our Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him), it was kept half built like it is today. Later, when Hajjaj bin Yusuf attacked and damaged Ka’aba tul Musharrafah, the same design was kept in rebuilding. It is therefore considered that praying nawafil is Hateem is like praying inside Ka’aba tul Musharrafah.
I reached Multazim a few minutes later. There was a big crowd there, but everyone would get the opportunity. I got mine. I stood under the door of Ka’aba tul Musharrafah for some time and prayed to the contentment of my heart. Then I left. I was more comfortable standing at Multazim because getting out from there was quite an effort.
A few steps ahead is the small door to Hateem. It was closed. Others were also standing there, waiting. Someone asked the security when they would open. He pointed to the opposite door and asked to go there. We went there. As soon I reached there, the door opened. At the same time, the insiders tried to come out and outsiders tried to go inside. Of course, it created a huge human entangle which took superhuman force to unentangle. Finally, I was inside Hateem. I started to pray two nawafil. When I bowed in Sajda, some people started falling on me. It might have led to anything, but someone took my hand and raised me to stand up. I was saved. After a little while, I came out of Hateem.
I settled into a covered space adjacent to Mataf from where I could see Ka’aba tul Musharrafah but would be protected from direct sunlight as the sun came up. It was still quite hot in Makkah Mukarramah; temperature being 46-47 Co. I would sit there till Friday prayer.
I sat there. Recited Qur’an. Recited Surah Al Kahf; it is masnoon to recite Surah Al Kahf on Fridays. And waited for Juma prayer. Many people were doing Tawaf in bright, hot sun. They would return often to drink Zam Zam. It is very tough to do Tawaf in these conditions, but people do out of devotion. Devotees do not always go by logic.
Looking at the contingent of pilgrims coming from Pakistan, three groups could be distinguished.
One. These are simple people who have worked hard and saved pennies all their lives to be able to perform Hajj. Or at old age, their children have arranged money for them for Hajj. It is quite likely that they might have been unsuccessful in Hajj Draw couple of times previously. These people are ever grateful, head to toe, morning to night, end to end. Their faces glow with the gratification and satisfaction that comes from achieving a lifetime goal, and their talk is only gratitude. They do not demand anything, accept what they get and remain busy with Ibadaat. This is a relative minority.
Two. These are well-off, affluent people. They opted for government scheme because they had checked that government arrangements were better and cheaper than private operators. They have come with families and their resourcefulness is obvious. The government fee this year was 456000 per person (amount between 25000 to 55000 was refunded just before going for Hajj). If a family of six applied, they would deposit 27,00,000 (2.7 million) rupees. They brought ample money and long shopping lists also. For such a family, it would be a project costing 4.5 – 5 million rupees; which by any standard is a large sum. Many of these belonged to business community. These people used all facilities to maximum and then demanded more. They had too many objections and did not let any trouble-creating occasion go; them being resourceful and powerful. This is the majority; the largest group by far.
A respectable looking gentleman forgot a small bag in the dining area. Upon preliminary search, he could not find it. He started raising hell right there and shouting that all Pakistanis were petty thieves. After some more search, his bag was found from the same area; the Pakistanis were not acquitted, however. Irony was, that he himself also came from Pakistan. This is a glimpse of this group’s attitude. They take what is due to them, and some more, and are always ready to take on others’ share also. Most of the complaints heard during Hajj come from this group, and not all are well-founded. Remember, this group formed the majority.
Three. These are highly placed people; privileged; good education, good money and good status. Allah knows why they got stuck with the government scheme. They moved with caution and did not mix up, probably to avoid getting infected. This a really small minority and they do not create fuss otherwise.