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This is a special series of Blogs which describes my time and experiences during Hajj this year.
Aziziya – Haram Shareef
Today is Friday; our last Friday in Haram Shareef. We shall depart two days later. A large number of Hajis have either gone back or gone to Madinah Munawarah. The crowd is somewhat smaller, but still big enough to fill most places in Haram. Many people are doing Tawaf in Mataf despite hot, glaring sun. Some have opened Umbrellas and sitting under them. The shaded portions are overfilled.
Friday Prayer at Haram Shareef is a special occasion. You can now listen to Arabic sermon in selected languages using FM radio. Most people are reciting Qur’an; some are doing Tasbeeh; and some are reciting from memory. Simultaneously, several hundred thousand people are reciting Qur’an, Durood or something.
You can see this scene only here; and you cannot describe it fully. It is to be felt, taken into the soul, and imprinting it there indelibly.
Our daily routine has adjusted itself to the timetable here. It is different from what we did in Pakistan. We shall have to readjust and realign after reaching Pakistan. The relaxation and freedom available here shall not be there and we would miss it and miss it rather heavily. Here, we only worry about one thing; spending time in Haram. This is surely the best and the greatest time of life.
It would be unfair not to mention the Hajj Support personnel.
A contingent of ‘Mua’vineen e Hajj’ (cooperating for Hajj, facilitators) has been especially flown from Pakistan. By the number, it appears that they must be several hundred in number. They wear a special jacket and can be recognized easily. These Mua’vineen are placed in every residential building, transport hub, outside Haram Shareef, and so many places that you will see them literally everywhere. They are young and middle-aged people who have been trained to facilitate pilgrims. The Mua’vineen work round the clock. They were there in Mina also, but Mina arrangements are controlled exclusively by the local, Saudi companies. These Mua’vineen facilitated the pilgrims with courtesy, pleasantly and wholeheartedly.
They were a great help throughout. They helped innumerable lost people to reach their buildings and gave them information about a host of other things.
I would like to put it on record that the services rendered by Mua’vineen were of high standard and high value. They would receive their renumeration from the government, but they would get very high reward from Allah for taking care of His guests, InShaAllah.
On some occasions, the Hajis treated them poorly as we are accustomed to treat support staff. It was a display of false pride, ungratefulness and poor manners. On Friday, when everyone came out of Haram Shareef, there was some delay in getting in the buses. The buses were plenty and standing in queue, but the passengers were too many. Mua’vineen were trying their best to keep people from going out of queue. Some still did; some others literally shouted at Mua’vineen; one Haji blamed them with the Quranic verse ‘Summun, Bukmun…”. The Mua’vineen did not let go of patience, kept smiling and saying Haji sahib, Haji Sahib.
The other group of facilitators is Hajj Volunteers Group. This is a group of Pakistanis living in Saudi Arabia. They provide Volunteers to Hajj Mission who deploys them. These Razakaars also did an equally good job. Their members were serving food in our building for example. I am not sure if the government of Pakistan pays them. Whatever the arrangement, their services were invaluable. They worked with the passion to serve which cannot be counted and paid in money.
There were a third kind of facilitators also.
These were individuals who were living and working in Saudi Arabia. They had taken permission from Hajj Mission and had spared themselves for couple of months to come and serve Hajis. One such person in our building had come from Tabuk. These guys did not get any remuneration from government, neither did they solicit tip from Hajis. They worked solely to seek Allah’s Pleasure.
This is not just human arrangement. It is Allah’s arrangement for His guests so that they stay comfortably and concentrate on prayers. The guests must also have the courtesy to give due appreciation and easily forgive for mistakes, if any.
I would say that we must recognize and appreciate the services of all these persons who worked tirelessly, happily and sweetly to make every step easy for Hajis.
I pray that Allah Gives them ample reward here and in the hereafter. Aameen.