Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Haj 2015 - Part II The Lull before the Storm

20 Sept 2015

So I survived the trials and tribulations of the impending Haj. We still have three days left before wukuf, and we need to conserve our energy and get ourselves ready for the big day.

Fortunately we got a room at the clock tower, so our daily routine to attend the five time daily prayer was a real pleasure. Don't get me wrong,; I know that every step that we took count in the final countdown. But we are here for the last and final pillar of Islam, so we need to conserve our energy. I was told that many of us performed the daily solah at the respective hotel surau, due to conservation of energy theory.

And haj can only be performed in Makkah and nowhere else, and only at this time of the year.

Whatever we do, we have that at the back of our mind. Conserve energy. Our goal is haj.

It is 45 C!
We got contradicting verdicts about praying in our room; yes, you can and no, you can't. Depending on who you talked to. But we decided to follow the most conservative verdict, and went to the Haraam for every prayer. It was not much of a walk, to be honest.

Just that the midday sun can be challenging.The sun is so bright and the heat is harsh.

Sept 21, 2015

But after taking a rest after the arrival debacle, I quickly contacted doc Judane to arrange for a mini reunion in Makkah. I knew beforehand that the three of them had arrived before me.

I found out that they were staying at Hotel Janadriyah, apparently owned by Tabung Haji. I am also told that TH HQ is also located at the same building. So this newly-arrived would have to visit the hosts, and not the other way round. I like to have the fun visiting people rather than waiting for them to come. Especially Judane has tempted me with teh tarik and roti canai!

Morning was typically an easy time for the pilgrims.

The Crane as captured by yours truly, on the way to Janadriyah HOtel
It was a long walk from the clock tower. We passed by the side of Haraam, near the palace and the Safa and Marwah Saei route, and passed by the crane tragedy. No, it happened much early than my arrival, but the crane was still leaning by the Haaraam building. It was cordoned off for obvious reason, and according to ustaz JUfri, the construction team were in the midst of securing the crane when the sandstorm hit Makkah.

I guess had the sandstorm not hit Makkah, it would not have fell, or had the team completed their work, it would not have happened either. Tragedy or accident did not happen due to a single event, so I was told by Air Crash Investigation and Seconds before Disaster.

Soon we can see the Janadriyah hotel from afar. It has been a long walk, especially on a hot day. The picture was taken from Harrizam.blogspot.com without permission, with thanks. Apparently according to Judane, the hotel is 750 meter from The Marwah. It is quite possible, but it felt like a very long kilometre walk for me.

I was just looking forward to let loose in Makkah, after the incident the day before. Being with your schoolmates, one is allowed to be teenager again and be young again, albeit a young pious teen!

Hope I am bragging enough hahaha!

Soon, we were having teh tarik and roti canai by the side of the hotel. It is an older part of Makkah. It is perhaps more fun to be there than the mall at the clock tower.

It was quite a long meal, perhaps nearly two hours we were there.  This is my 3rd trip to Makkah, and I never had so much fun chatting and reminiscing about the old day. I am sure we can talk about the same topic over and over again till the end of our lives.

As we said goodbye to each other, Judane had other idea. "Let's visit the 3rd Expansion," he said. Earlier Ustaz Jufri told us that they had just open that section of the new mosque (i.e. today, two days before wukuf).
New open area to the pilgrim. Saudi 3rd expansion of the holy mosque
I can assure you that it is like a Maharajah palace; a palace fit for an emperor, and it is fully aircondtioned. To be honest, one does not need hotel anymore. I can stay in the mosque all day long, and I guess many did.

The ablution and toilet area are within the mosque, I guess at the basement, so one need not have to go outside to do the needful.

The entrance
The corridor


Beautiful, isn't it? Though it goes against my belief of the need to be luxurious. But there is a need to be comfortable.

After exploring the new section, we decided to for tawaf sunat using the circular mataf. It is a long walk to find the ramp to enter the mataf and one can't do it within the mosque itself. One would have to walk to near the At-Tawhid to go to the top mataf. But we only found the entrance to the top mataf, which was uncovered.

And that's what we did at 11 am which to my mind was the peak of the noon sun.
The view from the top Mataf at 11 am on Sept 21, two days before wukuf

Judane obviously was very fit. It goes without saying for this lecturer of public health at USM. YOurs truly obviously weren't; I can barely keep up with him. But the sun was just above our head and the vinyl flooring  of the mataf made it worse, since there is no roofing. We have nowhere to hide, but continue our seven circumbulation. 

I can tell you the flooring is very hot; I keep on walking on the shade of the metal siding. Since the sun was nearly overhead, the shadow is very narrow, but it helped. You can feel that the floor covered by the shade is much cooler. It barely cover the tenth of a single foot, but I can assure that you would take anything to relieve you from the scorching sun.

In the end, I had blister on my foot, and I was walking with a slight limp due to that blister. I was getting nervous if this continued on - I know I need to do a lot of walking and now I am limping. May be, I told myself later, I should not have done it.

But with friend, you found that extra energy to do things one would not do alone.

By the time we completed our tawaf, it was zuhr and we quickly get out and went to the saei area and did our zuhr there and then parted company.

Now limping, I went on a zam-zam water drinking spree and with each glass of water, I was praying hard to Him; asking him for a full recovery from my blister. And He heard me.

By the time we were ready for Wukuf, I walking normally again.

We were two days away from wukuf.


I never had experienced such extreme temperature in my life. Not in Melbourne, not in Houston. At least I don't remember it. The worst I had experienced was Feb in Perth, just prior to my my leaving for uni life in Melbourne.

It was a hot day, with the fan in full swing in that Beatty Park apartment in Perth. Still, we could not stand it, so I suggested to open the window to let the air in. Upon opening the window, a gush of air hit my face. It was furnace hot. I quickly close back the window.

And we satiated ourselves with indoor air.

Later on I found that the peak temperature that day was 44 C!

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