The days of Hajj (part 1 of 2)

The end of 6 intense days. Exhausted, my right arm sore from pelting, my legs sore from walking, my shoulders in pain from carrying the backpack, my lower back sore too, my skin spotty and bumpy as a coping mechanism of fighting the heat. These are signs that I’ve given everything I had, and therefore it made me happy and content. It was a good pain, a very good pain! 

The days that contained within it the most important day of my life since the day I was born, as it is the day I was ‘reborn’. Some might not realise it, as it doesn’t have the glam that comes with a wedding day, or the party that comes with a big birthday celebration, or audiences cheering you on at a big event. In fact, it is the complete opposite. It is a day of complete and utter solitude. A day that you might be surrounded by people, but in your solitude you appeal to Allah, your Creator, for his mercy and forgiveness for all the wrongs you have done unto yourself in this lifetime. A day when Shaytaan is utterly disgraced and throws dirt on his face. A day where the Almighty Allah looks down upon the hujaaj on the plains of Arafat and boasts to his angels:

Look at my servants. They have come to me dirty and dishevelled. Be my witness that I have forgiven them all.

What is this day I speak of? It is the day of Wukoof, the day of Arafat, for HAJJ is ARAFAT

Whoever performs hajj without transgression, he will leave the plains of Arafat like the day his mother had given birth to him. 

This is my story.

Day 1:

We left for Mina from Azizia very early on the night/morning of 8 Thil Hijjah. Preparing and donning my ihraam for the 2nd time ever, this was it…the real McCoy. In a way I was less nervous because the stress of the 1st time was gone, but also more nervous because this time it was much more serious, and for much longer. Once again, putting on your own kaffan and knowing that this is a real death and an actual rebirth would follow soon. 

I made ghusl, got dresssed, made my salaah of ihraam, and waited. Because the buses were always late, I waited until the last minute, until the bus was actually outside before I made my actual niyyah that would lock me into the state of ihraam.

In the lift, heart pounding and hardly able to breathe, I made the niyyah for ihraam. This was it. This was really IT. The moment. Now there was no turning back. It was a huge moment for me. 

I was told at home that I wouldn’t sleep that night, mainly because of the excitement. Well, I didn’t sleep, but it was because I didn’t get a chance to even go to bed. We arrived at our tent in Mina at around 3am. I was too tired to go to the fridge to have refreshments, I wanted sleep. We all chose our mattresses and I had a nap/sleep until Fajr. From our group in Camp C (the non-special services) we were 29, 14 ladies and 15 men. Because we were a small group we were placed in a tent with another agent, Khidmatul Awaam, which I must say was an experience better than I expected. 

The inside of our tents in Mina

The first of the 5 compulsory days of Hajj, the 1st day is Youmul Tarwiyyah. The literal translation is the day of gathering water or the day of refreshment. It is a day of preparation, reflection and contemplation. It is also a day to get the rest needed to prepare for the very strenuous days that lie ahead. 

It was a long day, and a VERY hot day. The tents have aircon, but by late morning the aircon had little effect any more. Even though its a ladies only tent, we couldn’t really uncover much because there were always men coming to look for their wives, sisters, mothers, etc. The drinks were warm as the fridges were being emptied as quickly as they were being filled. The camps at Mina are fantastically run. Meals were on time, and lunch and dinner was wholesome, nutritious food with rice. I enjoyed the food, some people complained about getting curries every time and they were already tired of it. Me and my sister were over the moon that we were eating food that was good for us. There was always enough bottled water available, and water was consumed aplenty! I knew that to survive in this heat, we had to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. 

Our tent was right next to the toilets. The toilets was also something we were told horror stories about, and I was curious to see the state it was in. I always used the eastern toilets, and not just because they were cleaner. I liked them. Really I did, I’m not just saying that. Firstly, there’s more of them, and its much healthier for your body and excretory system. It’s actually very easy to keep them clean if everyone plays their part. There is a water pipe to clean yourself with and that can also be used to just run the water over the whole area when you’re done. Btw, the toilet also doubles up as a shower with the shower head overhead. And if you timed your toilet visits well, the queues weren’t that bad. The only time I had a long a long queue was during peak times (before waqts and just before the bus left for Arafat)

Because we had decided to do the walking Hajj, and myself, Fadeelah and Dad would be all on our own (the agent wouldn’t have a walking group), we wanted to find our position in order to find the camp again. The afternoon we (Fad and I) went to take a walk outside the camp to get our bearings, and also to try and find fruit or something. We found the street we were in, the block we were in and also the route to the jamarat. We could see the jamarat from where we were…in the very, far distant horizon *gulp*. We judged the camp to be about 2.5km from the jamarat building. 

On our way back, we walked past one of the Saudi boys scouts who had a box of maps of Mina, Muzdalifa and Arafat. SCORE!! We took a whole batch which he was happy to give us, and went back to study the map.

We had no idea how valuable that map would actually be until about 36 hours later. 

We had decided to take the bus to Arafat and walk from there afterwards. There were numerous warnings from the authorities to try and discourage people to walk due to the heat. Dad wouldn’t be able to walk that distance in the heat, and it wouldn’t be wise for us to do it either. We didn’t want to arrive at Arafat tired and be zonked during Wukoof. In fact, we were really worried because Dad had to visit the SAHUC doctors twice on this day due to his blood pressure being high. 

They also said that Arafat is much hotter than anywhere else. And Arafat doesn’t have aircon in the tents. My nerves were a tiny little bit unsettled from fear of the unknown. I don’t handle the heat well at home normally. 

I was happy with the physical, spiritual and psychological preparation I had done on this day, and we left for Arafat during the middle of the night. 

Day 2:

As we drove from Mina to Arafat in the bus, I was lucky to have a window seat. Little could be seen, as the windows were darkened with black paint, but this one had a few spaces in between the paint that I peeped through. 

What I saw outside was something to behold.

Before I mention what I saw, I just have to mention that the are many people that come for hajj on their own, without a group. They are therefore not allocated campsites, so they’re like squatters. They camp out on the pavements, in the streets and wherever they can find a space. And there are LOTS of them, mostly men though. Looking out of the window, I saw the roads lined with these people, who were now sleeping. The men’s ihraam being 2 pieces of white cloth draped on their bodies, it really is a kaffan. And so it looks like hundreds of dead bodies lining the streets. In the streets, on the pavement, against the mountain, one just sees white. Such a strong reminder once again of the day we will be lying in our graves and raised up from the dead for reckoning. 

We arrived on Arafat and had to ascend a hilly road after the bus dropped us to get to our campsite. Feeling like the walking dead because it was now about 3am again, that hill was like climbing in my sleep. The tents were already quite full, so we just found some space where we could, plonked down and I tried to get another 2 hrs sleep before Fajr. The tents there are very basic…it’s carpet on the sand and a covering draped over some stilts. Carrying my backpack for that short stretch, I was wondering what on earth I had put in there, because it felt so heavy. Oh dear, I still have to carry this for a long way. Hopefully it gets lighter as we eat some of the snacks in there. 

When it became light and we explored, I was astounded by what we found.

There was ice available, and deep freezers filled with ice and cold water and juice. Coming from Mina where everything we drank was warm, this was VERY welcome. And we were on the perfect spot. Our tent was on the edge of the group of tents, and then there was a huge open space. We really felt like it was the PLAINS of Arafat, as sometimes people might be placed somewhere where you don’t really have so much space, you basically just go outside your tent for Wukoof. Also, walking towards the fence…what was at the bottom of the hill that our campsite was on?? It was…

Wait for it… 


The mountain of mercy…the place that defines Arafat. The exact spot where Adam and Eve met after being expelled from Paradise and wandering the Earth for a long time before finding each other. The place where they begged for mercy from Allah for the last time for their transgression in the Garden of Eden.

How blessed we were to be placed there! Dad said that of the 3 times he’s been on Arafat, this is the first time he has seen Jabal Rahmah on the day of Wukoof. 

Jabal Rahmah is the small hill behind my dad in the background

Also, my fears of the heat were in vain because it was a beautiful, absolutely stunning day! Although it was hot, there was a cool breeze that came over the open plain now and then. It was amazing! I had planned my day in advance, and decided beforehand that I would use the time before Zawaal to rest, so that I could maximize the time of Wukoof between Zawaal and Maghrib for ibadah. I didn’t really have time to sleep though, but we decided to not go down to ascend the hill of Jabal Rahmah and rather save our strength for the walk later. Lunch on Arafat was also a nice meat breyani. I suspect it was baby camel meat. Apparently baby camel is delicious, and those chunks of meat were delicious. Nom nom. 

I don’t have much to say about the time of Wukoof. Like I mentioned before, it’s deeply personal. My eyes are starting to well up just thinking about it, so it’s best that I don’t write about it. I must just once again thank everyone for their duahs for our health and strength, because it really did help. I can assure you of that. We were all 3 able to make the very best of the holy waqt because we were at our full senses and healthy. The mosquitoes didn’t bite us. My day’s BP problems of the day before were a thing of the past. We couldn’t have asked for better weather and a better spot. We had refreshments available to cool down if needed and we were well fed. I don’t know if I was running on adrenaline but I wasn’t tired. 

The toilets on Arafat was very similar to Mina, except that there were no queues at all. So all in all, no toilet issues. 

About half an hour before sunset we were going to walk down towards the border. And cross it after sunset. I could see the yellow border signs in the distance, so figured that we need to walk in that direction. Looking at the map, it seemed as if Muzdalifa was in the other direction.

If you had been on hajj before you’d know at this point that our thinking was completely wrong. Maybe taking a few minutes longer to think about it, we would have realised that Arafat, Muzdalifa, Mina and Makkah is in a ‘line’ (not a straight line!), so we just had to walk towards Makkah.

Anyway, we ended up exiting at exactly sunset through the back end of Arafat, and spent about half an hour just trying to find out from people where we now had to walk to. Nobody else around seemed to be doing the same thing as us. Eventually we did find a few people walking, and I mean REALLY few, like maybe 7 people, and just followed them down the highway. When we eventually found the crowds at the border, we realised what we’ve done.

In fact, when we passed Jabal Rahmah again, we realised that we’d just walked halfway around Arafat in a circle for no reason at all. #epicfail

All part of the adventure I guess. This is when it really got exciting, because the crowds and groups started joining in the roads. We started to feel like we are actually part of the ‘people’ and not just some random few people walking aimlessly along a highway. 

The buses and a few walkers leaving Arafat

About a kilometre or so later we crossed onto the main pedestrian walkway. I think that’s where all the different paths from Arafat to Muzdalifa meet. Oh my goodness, what an experience!

From here onwards, it was people everywhere you look. In front of you, behind you, to the left and to the right. All walking to the same place, for the same purpose, with the same cry… the powerful, powerful cry of thousands reciting the talbiyyah.

Labayk allahumma labayk. Labayk Alaa shareekalaka labayk. Innalhamda wa ni’mata, laka wal mulk. Laa Shareekala.

Flags could be seen everywhere, not just flags of nations. Some of the flags we saw were: a packet, a bottle, a shoe, an airplane, a piece of cloth, an umbrella, and the list goes on. Going under bridges were the most awesome. The echo of the talbiyyah of hundreds, thousands, moving through under the concrete structure is so powerful. Because of the crowds the pace was 15-20min per km, a walk that you don’t even feel because the united spirit fuels you and carries you forward. The things one sees, the people you see, cannot but inspire you…old people, disabled people, people with blisters, people without shoes, people carrying their luggage on their heads, women with babies on their back, wheelchair-bound people. Rich and poor, nobody is distinguishable from one another, because we have all been stripped of all symbols of wealth, so that only that which is pure and genuine remains. Forward, forward, onwards to Muzdalifa. 

We arrived at Muzdalifa at around 21h30, the place where we were to make Maghrib and Esha, pick up our pebbles for pelting, and spend part of the night to rest. Entering, our pace slowed down to a small step every few seconds. There is lots of congestion, and we were once again happy to be walking because there was absolutely no place for busses to enter anywhere close to there, the place was just TOO full of pedestrians and people already sleeping in the road. We decided to move much further in, and rest closer to the exit border, as it was a couple of kilometres in and would save us some time in getting out quicker later. Further on, the crowd thinned out and it became easier to walk. 

Muzdalifa was alive! There was action everywhere, whether it was at the food stalls, fruit stalls, tuck shops, toilets, charity trucks, or just in the streets. The smells of delicious food that was on sale filled the air. By now we were thirsty and wanted some cold water to drink. Cold water was available for free, but it disappeared as soon as it appeared. At one point we walked past a man that took out a box of water, but he could barely lift the box before he was attacked by thirsty hujaaj. They tore the box open like hungry tigers tearing apart and devouring its prey. I put my arm in and scrambled for one too. If you haven’t realised it by now by reading my blog posts, I can tell you that I am not afraid to get in on some action, as long as it doesn’t amount to plain rudeness and vulgarity. Fadeelah also joined in and she was lucky enough to get the last one. Aahh, what a relief…thirst quenched.

I was tempted to buy some food because I was a little bit hungry, but I was in fact too tired at that point to eat, I would rather spend that time getting a bit more sleep. We made salaah and collected our pebbles, and walked a little bit further to find a place to sleep. An open space in the road was found and we laid down our musallahs on the tar for a short rest, with thousands still walking past us in the street not too far from my head. I set my alarm for 12 midnight, put my eye mask on, put my head down and drifted off. It was now 22h15.

Day 3:

I didn’t really expect to fall asleep, because of all the hustle and bustle still happening around us, and also because I was lying on a very hard and bumpy tarred road with absolutely no cushioning beneath me. Well, nevertheless, I did fall asleep…in fact I fell FAST ASLEEP. When my alarm went at midnight, I was in a deep state of slumber. Tempted to continue sleeping for another hour or so, it was a choice between getting rest now and moving on so that we can get to the jamarat and the haram quicker, and getting to have a proper rest later. I made sure Fadeelah and Dad was also awake and we packed up quickly and left.


Those 2 hours of stillness meant that the lactic acid in my body had a chance to build up, and that meant that my legs and shoulders were now actually sore. Still, it was great to have had some sleep, no matter how little it was, and to revitalise a bit.

This was to be the most hectic day of the compulsory 5 days of Hajj. From Muzdalifa, the procedure now was to go to Mina to pelt the Jamaratul Aqaba, then go to Makkah to perform Tawaaful Ifadah and the Sa’ee, and then if possible we could go back to Azizia to rest a bit before going to Mina again the afternoon, and being back on Mina before Maghrib.

Turns out we were still quite a distance to the border, because it was half an hour until we saw the Muzdalifa ends here sign. From there, it was the same straight pedestrian highway that one just had to stay on for a few more kilometres that would take you directly to the jamarat building. But we still had to go around to our Mina campsite to drop off most of our stuff, our backpack and just take the bare essentials to go and pelt, and onwards to Makkah. 

This was when the map I mentioned earlier in this post proved to be worth more than its weight in gold. We had to veer off the pedestrian highway and navigate the streets of Mina in order to get to our campsite. My Geography teacher would have been so proud of us the way we navigated that place. Blocks, road names, road numbers, bridges…every few minutes consulting the map to make sure where we are in reality and how far we still are from our campsite. It was like The Amazing Race: Mina.

Not a doubt crossed our mind that that map was sent to us by Allah through the hands of the boys’ scouts. It was divine intervention, Alhamdulillah. Without it, we would surely have been lost, frustrated and aimless. 

It was about an hour to an hour and a half later that we found our Mina campsite. What a relief…we did it!! Even without a guide, and without ‘knowing the area’, and it being in the dark of the night, we made it this far. 

Another lesson…if you do something sincerely for the sake of Allah, the help of Allah will come. Believe in it, trust in it, and never despair that the help will come. You never know in which form it will come, because we can plan, but surely we are not the best of planners. Our host on this amazing journey surely is the best of planners…the host that is always closer to you than your jugular vein, never mind how lost and forlorn you may feel. True trust in Allah means preparing yourself the best you can and making provision, tying your camel as they say, and leave the rest up to Him. It doesn’t mean sitting and doing nothing and expecting help. In a journey, as in life, this is true. This is trust. 

We spent very little time there, and left the campsite just before 2am for the 2.5km walk to the jamarat. Armed with the bare essentials, I only took a neck bag, water, money, tasbeeh and a shoe bag, the next part of our journey was to start. We pelted on the ground floor, and Alhamdulillah pelting the jamarat was EASY. It was so empty that we could walk right up to the wall and pelt the big shaytaan with the fervour that you can muster. The call… Bismillahi Allahu Akbar. A cleansing…a lightness that you feel, and the rollercoaster of emotions. 

This was the last act that is compulsory to perform in the state of ihraam, so after this we went to verlos, with cutting of hair. I only know Afrikaans words to describe these things, but this is the klein verlossing. Most of the conditions of ihraam are lifted, but you are still in a state of semi-ihraam. When Dad came out of the barber and we left the area for Makkah, it was 3am. 

The road to Makkah

Following the signs, we took the long, long road to Makkah. The route to Makkah for pedestrians is also a dedicated pedestrian route. There is a covered section of walkway, with drinking water fountains all the way, then a long tunnel through the mountain, with a 50m uncovered section and another long tunnel through another mountain. The crowd had now thinned out even more, but it was still a good, vibrant atmosphere. We still took it easy because we had a tawaaf and sa’ee to go, and we (especially Dad) would need his strength for that. 

I was shocked when we came out of the last tunnel and saw the haram less than 100m in front of us! We really thought the road would be longer, but it had taken us less than an hour and a half to go from the Jamarat to the Haram. It was now around 04h15 and with Fajr being at 05h00, we still had hope of completing at least half the tawaaf before Fajr, and therefore before the sun came out. 

I still had the wudu that I had taken at Mina, and so did Fadeelah, so we went straight into the haraam to perform the tawaaful Ifadah. Dad went seperately to take wudu and do the same, and we planned a meeting place where we would meet after the sa’ee. We expected the tawaaf to be very full and rough, but we really wanted to make on the mataaf near the kaa’bah. So we made a decision to brave the crowds and go to the ground floor.

As we entered the haram and walked towards the kaa’bah, we were shocked at what we saw.

It wasn’t as full as expected. Seeing the kaa’bah again after being away from it for a few days, and the kaa’bah now being out of ‘ihraam’ as well, it was a sight to behold. To me, it had an air of mysticism around it. What a sight…a place of peace indeed. 

The most beautiful sight to the eyes and tired body

We entered the zahmah and started our tawaaf at just before 04h30. We went as close to the kaa’bah as we could, and we got very close. That tawaaf was the complete opposite of what I had expected, of what WE had expected. Instead of people pushing and shoving, it was SO peaceful, and SO quiet. We could hear each other even in a soft speaking volume. Nobody pushed, nobody shoved, it seemed as if everyone respected each other’s space and each other’s tawaaf. It was THE most peaceful tawaaf that I have had to date, and as I write this sitting at home, I can say that it was my most peaceful tawaaf of all the ones that I did. It went so quickly as well. I didn’t think that we would be able to complete the whole tawaaf before Fajr, but we did manage to. We completed just before the Fajr athaan went. And usually they clear the mataaf of women about 10-20 minutes before the athaan goes for a waqt, but they didn’t chase us away at all. 

As we were finishing and just before the Hajr-al Aswad ‘line’, they brought the qari in and I saw him pass (with his guards) right in front of me, barely a few centimetres away from us. Also, I got to see the Hajr-al Aswad. That might not sound like a big thing, but believe me it is. That area is usually like a war-zone. People try and pull each other’s limbs out of their sockets there, and there is always a crowd of people jostling and fighting each other to get there to kiss it. So it is always covered with people and you’re lucky to even see the silver outer casing. This time, because it was so very close to salaah time, the area was already cleared and the saffs of men were already formed. They were sitting down. As we walked past there, I got to see every detail of the black stone…the casing, the inside, and the stones. And all this from less than 5 metres away. 

We made Fajr and the sunnahs of the tawaaf on the mataaf in the area behind the Maqaam Ebrahim. 

It was the perfect tawaaf…and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience, in fact I couldn’t have even have imagined the perfection that it was. 

Next up was the Sa’ee. The sa’ee area is also in the haram, so it didn’t take us very long to get to it. Sa’ee is walking 7 times between the hillocks of Safa and Marwa, which is about 350m apart. It is one of the simplest rituals of them all to do, but it always the hardest. Both times that I have had to do sa’ee (for the umrah and for the hajj), it was the hardest thing. It is difficult simply because of the state that your body is in by the time you do it. You are in a state of extreme fatigue, and every step you take is difficult. By the time we get to halfway through the sa’ee, my legs were so, so sore that I couldn’t walk very fast at all. My feet are in pain and feels like they’re going to cramp at any minute, and my spine is taking some strain because of being on my feet walking for so many hours already. I didn’t want to drink too much zam zam because I didn’t want to break wudhu and have to take it again during the sa’ee.

Do not mistake my description of the hardship with complaining, because I am not complaining. It absolutely has to be so, it has got to be difficult.

Why is the sa’ee so difficult? It is to remind us that we have to make effort to get what we want and to reach success in this world. Our mother Haajar went through a lot worse when she made the original sa’ee. Without the modern conveniences of marble floors, a roof, airconditioning, zam zam taps, and a pathway, what was her sa’ee like? Left alone in the desert by her husband, the Prophet Abraham under the command of Allah, she was in desperate search of water for her crying infant. The child was crying, hungry and thirsty. Haajar, desperately ran between the 2 hills of Safa and Marwa as she saw what she thought was water on the other end. Every time it wasn’t water, but a mirage caused by the desert heat. On the 7th time that she ran, water gushed out from under the feet of the kicking, crying baby on the ground. This was the well of zam zam, that we and millions of pilgrims still drink from to this day, the miracle water that never runs dry. 

Could Allah not give Haajar the water without her running 7 times between the 2 hills in the barren desert in the scorching heat? Allah, the creator of all that is in the heavens and the earth… The One that says BE, and it IS. The one who says Koen Fayakoon? Of course He could! But in His infinite mercy, He didn’t. She had to make effort. She didn’t just sit down and make duah and not put in effort. She searched, and struggled, and worked for it. And she was rewarded with a great reward. In Hajj, you have to make effort and struggle, and the reward is with your Lord. In life, you have to make effort and struggle, and the reward will be either in this world or in the Hereafter. And the Hereafter is better than the present life. 

During our 4th repeat, we got a really wonderful surprise. I just heard a familiar female voice shouting: “Rogeema, Fadeelah!”. We looked up and saw that it was Aunty Zoghrah, a very good friend of the family that is from Cape Town but now lives in Jeddah. She and her daughter, Shiehaam, had come through to Makkah to come and see if they can see any Cape Town hujaaj that they know, and offer them some refreshments. We were so happy to see her, it was a very welcome face to 2 very tired girls halfway through the sa’ee. We hugged and she took the photo below of us.

Needless to say, as the sa’ee continued, it became harder and harder. My lower back was now really causing me pain, and I was hoping very hard that my feet don’t cramp up completely before I was done. Alhamdulillah, we finished successfully and without incident. 

To the young people reading this, I ask you to please make effort to work towards going for Hajj while you are young. Even if you’re a fit person at home, you need your strength over there. It is such a life-changing experience, and if you take too long you will surely ask yourself what took you so long to get there

After the sa’ee we had another short chat with Aunty Zoghrah and left the area, planning to leave the haram, go to the bathroom and meet up with Dad. However, as we left the haram and were busy putting on our shoes, the iqaamat went for the Eid salaah. We quickly ran back in to join in on the salaah. Even the soldiers left their post at the haram’s door and joined in. 

During the salaah, I realised that when I went into sujood, there was NO pain in my back and it felt so amazingly soothing. It was because of the position of one’s body in the sujood, where all pressure is taken off your lower back. How amazing isn’t our salaah? Designed not only to bring spiritual soothing, but a physical one too. I felt like I could stay in that position forever! 

As we left the haram (for real this time), Dad called to say that he was also done, and said he’d go to the meeting place. However, it took us a while to actually find each other. It was more than an hour’s wait until we actually found Dad, and discovered that he had been on the ground floor instead of where we agreed, which was the 3rd floor. During that time, I also spoke to my Gran, aunt and uncle who called to wish us a Hajj Maqbool and Eid Mubarak. They also couldn’t get hold of Dad, because his phone was off. 

By the time we were all together again, I was at the point of my brain forcing my body to start shutting down already. I was falling asleep sitting on the chair, without even realising it and without wanting to. I was exhausted, my legs were excruciatingly sore by now and I was walking very, very slowly to the food shop in the mall to get breakfast. I wanted food and a bed. My tiredness no longer exceeded my hunger, they were both now at a point of being demanding and overtaking my body. All 3 of us felt pretty much the same way. When we were done eating, we made our way (slowly) out of the mall to get a taxi. We had expected to pay between SR300 and SR400 for the taxi back to Azizia, because that is the going rate on Eid day for hujaaj. On other days it’s between SR30 and SR50. We were lucky enough to only pay SR200 for the trip. We were so happy for this, and when we got back to Azizia, we discovered that some people had been quoted up to SR500 for that taxi trip back. We arrived back at our place at around 09h30.

The experience was amazing, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything else. I wouldn’t even trade the hardships, the pain, the tiredness…for ease, relaxation and comfort.

After getting the VERY DIRTY ihraam clothing off, and taking a shower (I felt like I needed to be scrubbed down), we had a short chat about how amazing the whole experience was, set our alarms for later and all retired to bed for a well deserved sleep. We would leave Azizia after Asr again to take a walk back to Mina, in order to make it back before Maghrib. 

I will continue the story in my next post, as we head into the days of Tashreek.


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