Most of the time I don't know what day it is, which is wonderful. I've never experienced this in my life before. When I happen to check in on Twitter and see people complaining about their horrible Monday, I realise... "Oh, it's Monday". However, one day of the week when I definitely DO know what day it is, is Friday...the great day of Youmul Jumu'ah. So far, we have had the opportunity to experience one jumu'ah in each of the 2 holy mosques, only one in Madinah and so far, one in Makkah.

I haven't posted about Madinah's jumu'ah yet, although it was quite an experience, so I will combine them both in this one, hence the title "A tale of 2 jumu'ahs"

Madinah

It was about 5 days after we'd arrived in Madinah, and we could see it getting fuller and fuller as the days went by. As mentioned previously, we were practically living on the doorstep of the mosque's entrance, so we had the luxury of being able to judge the crowd situation from our room's window. Although the entire marbled section, including the area outside, forms part of the haram area, we wanted a space inside the actual building for our only jumu'ah there, so we decided to go down early. However, we couldn't go down too early because we still had to fetch our clothing at the laundry, and that would only be ready at around 11am. I went to the laundry earlier than the specified time, and luckily my stuff was already done and ready. Myself and Fadeelah went down a few minutes after 11am to try and get us a space and keep ourselves occupied until the waqt. This is our story...

We walk towards the gate.

Rog: I hope we can still get in.
Fad: Well, I don't see arms waving yet.
Rog: LOL

We move towards the main ladies' entrance. The asgaris are still allowing people in,. Awesome!
We get to about 10m from the entrance gate. 2 asgaris block off the passageway and they start waving their arms.

Rog: Oh no!! We just missed it!
Fad: Oh no!

We look left. We look right. We turn right and try to go into the right entrance. Just as we get there they close that entrance too. Eish! We quickly turn around and head towards the entrance on the left. As we arrive at the door they say it's full and we can't enter. Arms start flying again and loud Arabic scolding (which we don't understand) starts klapping. We sit down right there on the stairs where we were standing. We are chased away. (btw I have made salaah on the steps before, so we didn't see the issue) We see 2 ladies sitting between the steps and the door. We sit behind them. There is an asgari sitting on a chair at the door, which is about 3m away from us. We lay our musallahs down and sit. Seconds later, the asgari at the door signals to me, somewhat underhandedly, with her hand that I must go in. WOOHOO.

Rog: Come Fadeelah she said we can go in.

We quickly lift up our musallahs, shoes and bag and rush into the mosque. Shu, level 1 breached! We're in. Now to find a space. (One thing that I must mention about those asgaris, they like some nations and dislike others. Some of the dislike is due to political reasons, which I don't necessarily agree with. But anyway, they like South Africans. I think it's because we're not wild like some of the other women)

Inside there are more asgaris blocking off the walkways, scolding and waving their arms. Barrier tape is blocking off the restricted/'full' areas. As we pass one of the doors, one of them is busy ushering everyone in sight that is still walking, out towards the door. One lady resists. She turns her attention to that lady and scolds and pushes her. Awesome, we grab the opportunity.

Rog: Fadeelah, come!

I sneak behind her and duck under the tape and walk down the walkway. Fadeelah follows. We walk around for quite a while trying to find space and dodging dementors (which is what we nicknamed them, LOL). We eventually find a tiny little space that we squeeze into. It's basically just in front of the barrier tape between the walkway and the saff. Not really a saff, but there were people sitting there and enough space for us too. The dementors come and try to move us. (Fadeelah had mentioned to me earlier that one just needs to ignore them long enough until they find someone else to scold with, then they'll leave you alone) She ignores them, and I follow suit. They continue to scold, but we don't understand what they're saying anyway so we just play dumb and continue sitting. Other people also came to sit next to us and it ended up being a fully fledged saff. We just continued sitting with heads in our duah books when they came to make a noise.

See... I had plenty of space ;)



Level 2 and level 3 breached. We were inside the mosque, right in the middle of the section, and very close to the zam-zam containers if we needed any. And the mu'athin did not make athaan for jumu'ah yet.

Although we didn't understand the khutbah, jumu'ah was beautiful!

After jumu'ah we waited inside a bit instead of rushing out with the crowds. All of a sudden, this light came out of nowhere. We looked up and saw that the roof was busy opening! I caught some of it on video...




Makkah

Our first jumu'ah in Makkah was a day and a half after we'd arrived. We had just about recovered from the trip from Madinah, the sleep deprivation and the umrah. People in our group were saying that they were going to go down for jumu'ah at 9:30am already. Yowzers, that was early.

We took a short nap after breakfast, got ready and went down just after 10am. Dad said he'd go down later and doesn't mind having to sit in the street if there is no place, because he can't sit for hours on the marble.

Once again, we wanted to be right inside, and have a view of the ka'bah as well if possible.

We went in and found a great space in the shade on the mataaf, right against the steps that lead to the raised level. We knew the sun would get us eventually as it moves, but for now it was cool. It wasn't at the ladies' section, but there were mostly ladies with a few men scattered in between, so we thought it would be fine. We made ourselves comfortable and prepared to be occupied for the next 2 hours until jumu'ah starts. I took a picture from there.



Shortly after, Fadeelah needed to use the bathroom, so she said she'd rather go now than later when it would be harder for me to keep her place. She left and I put our stuff in her spot in order to keep it. Hardly 5 minutes later, an asgari man came and chased all the ladies away and said it's a men's area. *sigh* So now I had to get up and take BOTH our stuff and stand and wait for her at that exact spot until she returned. If I had left, it would have been impossible for her to find me, especially since I assumed her phone was in the bag that was with me. Since it was such a good spot in the shade and with an amazing view of the ka'bah, men started arriving and sitting in the spot until I was smack bang in the middle of them all. Luckily nobody came to chase me away from just standing there. When she returned, we went looking for a ladies' section with shade and a view...quite a tough ask if you ask me. Hehe.

We went to the ladies' section on the mataaf, which was emptyish. The ONLY reason it was still so empty when it was one hour until jumu'ah was because it was so hot. The temperature was about 44degrees Celcius at the time. We planned to go there for jumu'ah but wanted to find some shade to wait under until then because we already felt a bit weak. The last thing we wanted was for emergency services to carry 2 fainted Kenny's off the mataaf due to heatstroke! The section was cordoned off with some partitioning, which made a teeny tiny bit of shade which we seeked shelter from. We couldn't find anyone to take a picture of us together, but below is a picture of where we sat.



Unfortunately, about half an hour later we realised that we would not be able to sit through the heat on the mataaf section, so we decided to go looking for space upstairs and abandoned our little spot.

We really should've made this decision long ago. We came 2hrs early and now we're going to look for space when it's already full *smh* Silly Kenny's. Ah well...all part of the adventure :)

Navigating the crowds proved a challenge. The whole of the sa'ee area was full of people sitting already. There were people who were trying to make actual sa'ee, whom we really felt for because they didn't have much space to walk. This was the sights we had to navigate through. Notice that one can even see the green lights of the sa'ee on the roof.



We eventually found a tiny little space on the first floor in the wheelchair section of the sa'ee area. It was the mens' section, and there were no women around. However, there was no way we were going to get to the ladies' section in time, and we would have had to climb over rows and rows of men. We stayed put right there, in shade but unable to see the ka'bah. So much for going to the haram 2 hours early! Ah well, it was worth it.

Sheikh Sudais gave the khutbah and led the salaah. And listening to his melodious voice LIVE is a treat I had really been looking forward to, and it didn't matter any more where in the haram we sat.

Once again... Although we didn't understand the khutbah, jumu'ah was beautiful!

Looking forward to another jumu'ah treat tomorrow :D