The days of Hajj (part 2 of 2)
If you haven’t read part 1 of this post, please read the previous one before continuing.
The literal meaning of the days of Tashreek is The days of drying meat.
It is the days of sacrifice, and the pelting of the jamaraat. The sacrifice refers to the animal that is slaughtered during these days on behalf of the hujaaj.
We had to be back on Mina before Maghrib…only beyond the border of Mina, and not necessarily at our campsite, which was quite far into Mina from where we would enter. The 3 of us again travelled on our own back to Mina, as we weren’t sure what the plans of the rest of the group would be. We left Azizia at about 5pm, and made our way towards the Mina tunnel. We arrived with ample time, and made it back to our campsite to arrive there just as the athaan was going for Maghrib. The map I spoke of in my earlier post once again helped us immensely in finding our way through the unknown maze of streets to where we were supposed to be.
After supper and Esha, I tucked into bed early, as there was still LOTS of residual tiredness remaining from the activities of the last 48 hours.
The next day would be the first of the 3 days of stoning the jamaraat, 2 of the days being compulsory and the 3rd day optional. All 3 jamaraat are stoned with 7 pebbles each on each day in the following order: Jamaraatul Oola, Jamaraatul Wusta, and Jamaraatul Aqaba.
The symbolism of stoning the jamaraat pillars is firstly that of emulating the Prophet Abraham when Shaytaan taunted him and tried to divert him from obeying the orders of The Almighty when he was on his way to scarifice his son, Ismaeel. Secondly, it is to symbolise that in life, we have to constantly battle with Shaytaan and not let him get the upperhand when he tries to lure us into disobedience.
I learnt that Prophet Abraham had to walk about 3-5km in the sun at the time to reach his destination, so us having to walk 2-3km to the jamaraat in the heat was in fact part of the sacrifice, and closer to the prophetic tradition, although it was difficult.
On the first day, getting ready to make the journey to pelt was like getting ready to go to WAR…literally. It was the hottest part of the day…after Zawaal as is sunnah. The flag-bearer bearing the South African flag led the cavalry. You had to make sure you had enough supplies for the journey…enough water to carry with you to drink as well as to keep your clothes moist, something for shade to prevent heatstroke and sunburn, something to replace electrolytes that you would lose during sweat, good gear for the trip (i.e. shoes), and most importantly…your weapons needed for the battle…the PEBBLES to pelt with.
We left in a big group, as a country to face the enemy. The battle cry on the way was the takbeer, another powerful call…
Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar. Laailaaha Ilallahu Allahu Akbar. Allahu Akbar wa lillahi’l Hamd.
Onwards we marched. It was hot, and it wasn’t easy. But the intention in your heart carries you forward, onwards to the goal. It helps to always think of the piece of history you are ‘enacting’ at the time, and how much harder it must have been back then without the modern conveniences that we have today. Even so, it is a journey that is incredibly fulfilling. It was a great honour to be able to walk that path, and it doesn’t take that long. It took us about 45 minutes and that is with walking very slowly.
And then you get closer, and closer…
And then you arrive, before you ascend the ramp and see the building before you. Your heart beats faster. You’re about to face-off with the enemy. You are amongst the crowds of thousands upon thousands of people from all over the world, who all speak different languages and come from different cultures, yet they are all about to do the exact same thing.
Once in the building and approaching the pillar, now was the time: Bismillahi Allahu Akbar.
Pelting was the easiest part. It has been made so easy now that the hardest part of the jamaraat really is just getting there. Once there, you have the shade of the roof and the coolness of the airconditioning. Because of the numerous floors on which pelting can take place, there is no congestion at all. Everybody has a chance to pelt right at the wall. Even if it seems full at the time, one can wait 10 seconds and a space at the wall will appear for you to take and then pelt from there. The pillars are so big that you have to try very hard to miss it.
And then starts the journey back to the camp.
Once this is done, you have essentially completed what you need to do for the day, yet it took less than 2 hours. Because of this, it is very important to keep yourself busy with goodness throughout the day. Idle hands make way for idle talk, which can very easily lead to sin. It is good to socialise with the other people in your tent, as long as it brings you closer to Allah. Other than that, one needs to occupy yourself with thikr, reading quran, duahs and rest/sleep. Remember that thikr is the rememberance of Allah, and anything that brings you closer to Allah. It doesn’t have to be formal thikr as we normally know it. What I did was use this time to continue and cover a large part of the ghatam of Quran that I had started in Madinah and Makkah. The free time to do this was very welcome.
The second day was much the same. After pelting, myself and Fadeelah took a walk back to our apartment in Azizia to freshen up, scrub down and drop a few things in order to make the final trip back the next day a bit easier. We would have liked to take a bit of a nap in the airconditioned room as well, but time would not allow us. We had to be back again by Maghrib of that night so we basically had to return immediately after Asr.
On the third day, very little people remained. Most of them pelted immediately after Zawaal and then left from there. Our plan was to pelt after Asr, when it was a little bit cooler, so that we didn’t have to make the long trip back in the heat of the day. I also thought it a good opportunity to complete my ghatam on Mina. I only had a few pages left and it would be very special to finish it there, the first ghatam that I ever did on my own. However, soon after Thuhr they started dismantling the tents and packing everything up. We were literally the only 3 people left in the South African camp, and decided to rather go and get out of their way before Asr already, which meant that my ghatam would be finished in Azizia in the days following.
We took our time getting to the jamaraat, pelted, and had a bit of a snack immediately after, still in the jamaraat area. As can be seen from the picture below, I wasn’t exagerrating when I said it is empty and one can easily pelt at the wall. Admitttedly, this was the last day and it was even emptier than it had been during the 2 days before.
The snack also served to make what we were carrying a little bit lighter…every gram counts when you still have an hour’s walk home and your body feels like it’s falling apart bit by bit. We made Asr just outside Masjidul Khaif, the mosque on Mina, and then trekked through the tunnel and through Azizia town on foot.
We arrived at our apartment safely, and very satisfied that we had completed a beautiful Hajj together.
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!