Saturday, November 21, 2015

Haj 2015 - Part VI Mina - Beraduku tikarnya jalan, bumbungnya langit, lampunya bulan

We have decided while in Makkah that we were not going to go stay in the tents in Mina. It is not because of the experience of Arafah. It is just we felt that we would be more comfortable in our hotel in Makah and commute on a daily basis for Jamrah and due to some health issues of our members.

There are two elements of the the final ritual of Haj - the stoning ritual. I consider it the final since we have completed the Nafar Awal i.e. done our tawaf and Saei. The first element is that we need to stop for awhile at Mina - a stopover, if you must, before we do the stoning. In other words, the definition of s stop-over is that it has to exceed half a night.

In other words, we need to sleep over at Mina the night before, before we can do the stoning on the Tasyrik Days of 11, 12 and 13th of Zulhijjah. 

So after resting that Raya day of the 10th of Zulhijjah, while monitoring the tragedy of the stampede on-line, after Asr prayer, we made a move to go to Mina. As it is basically the peak of Haj, many roads leading to the Al-Haraam have been closed and hence Zaki would not be able to pick us up at the hotel and take us to Mina.

We would have to take the bus from the Haraam and go to main terminal of Makkah. All buses going in and out of Makkah daily and hence vehicles are allowed. IT is only a 5 minute bus ride and you can imagine the crowd.

Nothing much you can do about it.

It is not bad actually. It adds up to the Haj experience.

The terminal in Makkah. Ustaz in the foreground and the clock tower where we started in the background. At most it was a 10-min bus ride

It is the 11th night of Zulhijjah, so you can see the moon in the background high up, while we waited for Zaki to arrive. Traffic is an issue during Haj

Another view of the bus terminal. Dont ask about the name of the terminal, I would not remember
Once Zaki picks us up, normally he would go and buy foods for dinner that night before heading to Mina. Obviously he would ask us what we want to eat and we would tell ustaz Jaffri to bring his his (Indonesian) sambal as side dish.

We would probably enter Mina by 7.30 or so. It is still early. Most pilgrims were in the tents, so the road leading to Mina, or the side road were reasonably empty. Zaki knew exactly where to find the right spot for our Mabit in Mina.

By the side of a four-lane road that nobody use. It was only a 3-min walk to the tents of Mina, and yet we were in our own world.
MIna on the 11th of Zulhijjah night. We are ready for our Mabit
Getting ourselves comfortable for our mabit. Not quite berlantaikan asphalt, but you know what I mean ;) You see the ice box? Meaning we will have free flowing iced drink through out the night.
Zaki knew every each of Makkah and its surrounding and I don't recall how many times he has taken pilgrims performing haj. He knew exactly where to park the car and we should do our Mabit.

 We are just above the tunnel leading to the slaughter house for the Haj.
The tunnel near our site. It leads to the slaughter house for the Haj

I can assure you that this is very comfortable. I guess it was quiet, away from the hustle and bustle of the tent area, so we have some privacy to sleep in the open. But more important, the weather cooperate - night time in Mina is really comfortable.
Getting ourselves comfortable. We will be here for the next 5 hours or so

At the back of our spot is the two-storey restrooms

Our space in relation to the pilgrims' tents in Mina. As I have said, we are only 3 mins away from their tents.
Before anything else, we have to have our dinner. Oops, not true, we did our prayer first, before we filled out our carpet with food - mandey on first night, and chinese foods on the second night.
Yes, yes, it was a feast each night with hot dinner and very cold drinks. Wonderful. You want iced-water, we have iced water even until the end of the mabit each night.

I walked to the pilgrims' tents. The second night, I was supposed to have teh tarik and ice-cream with Haji Judane at his tent, but he was down with  fever. I went looking for him and even paged for him at the clinic. The tents were comfortable during the night, but I dreaded thinking about during the mid-day sun as they have no airconditioning.

Maktab 86 is where many Malaysian pilgrims would stay. I was supposed for have tehtarik session but in the end I walked away empty handed due to Judane illness.

I could not think how I can survive here. NOt only due to the number of people, but also due to the non-airconditioning of the tents. I believe that is due for an upgrade very soon. Many of the elderly collapse due to dehydration and the heat.

Maktab 86
My only other take about the tent conditions would be the mountain-high garbage pile and the rats manning those garbages. Yes, al-Haraam is very clean with the number of cleaners on duty each hour, and they should adopt same cleanliness standard here.

I have no doubt that many fell sick here due to the cleanliness issues.

I really would recommend any future haj goers to take this route and commute on a daily basis from Makkah. It is much more comfortable, if you are looking for comfort. But if you want to experience what the others experienced, yes, you can stay at Mina.

I am very happy and satisfied with this method. Staying for 5 to 6 hours each night on Tasyrik nights is a good alternative. Sleeping in the open is quite an experience not many would go through except those hardcore pilgrims who came without hotel arrangement. I did not take any picture of us sleeping, but I can assure you we slept like a log. We needed the forty wink each night. It was quite a strain on some of us physically. Haj is quite physical, so sleeping anywhere in the comfortable weather of Mina is indeed a wonderful experience.

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