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The discomfort, joy and reward of Hajj

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Alhamdulilah. The wuquf Arafah is about to commence in the holy land.  More than 4million Muslims will gather on Mount Arafah tomorrow in observance of the core hajj rites.  As at now, about 85 per cent of the hujjaj is now in Muna, about thirteen kilometres from Arafah.  Enduring the inconveniences associated with the assemblage.  It is a recommended sunnah to stay in Muna a day before in preparation for the Arafah in order not to miss the all-important activities of the rites. It is a tented city, that should not take more than 500 people, yet for the rites, over 4million will have to gather there for the three days. The prophet himself delineated the area and even if the number of hujjaj becomes double of what we have today, the same Mina area as defined by the Prophet will still be used. As many as the places of conveniences are, the hujjaj would still have to stand in a long queue for their turn to ease up themselves. Ditto with Arafah and Muzdalifa.

 Hajj

Arafah

The wuquuf on the plains of Arafah starts at dawn. It is the hill where Adam and Hawa were reunited after failing the test and were barred from Heaven, and where they were forgiven, hence it is known as the “Mount of Mercy”. A pillar is erected to show the place where the aforementioned took place. It is also the place where Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) stood and delivered the farewell sermon to the Muslims who had gathered during the last hajj of his life. The pilgrims will have to spend the whole day in prayers on the plains till sunset and move to Muzdalifa before dusk.

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Muzdalifa

Arafat to Muzdalifa is about 8kilometers, about one hour of walk and 15 to 20 minutes of riding on a bus. Muzdalifa is a compact place, grime and far beyond the rarity of any comfort zone.  It is like the olden days Oshodi.  Each of the over four million pilgrims will have to find a space for himself, lay his mat, clog with others in the filthy space and sleep after salat Magrib and Ishai.  It is nothing but denoting that all humans, rich or poor, no matter the social and economic status will be buried in the filthy earth someday.

Jamarat

At dawn and after Salatul Subhi, the pilgrims begin the throwing of pebbles, another task as far as the distance is concerned and the volume of hujjaj who want to carry out the task at the same day.

From Muzdalifa to Mina and then to Jamarat takes no less than 2hours of the walk under the scorching and intense weather raging from 46 to 48-degree centigrade.

The real experience of hajj in Mina-Arafah-Muzdalifa-Jamarat and back to Mina is a compendium of experience. Hajj is real true servitude to Allah showing that you are nothing before Allah. A test of submission, fortitude and forbearance. You will have to endure the pains in worship and prayers to Allah.

Besides, walking is good for the body as it is an effective way of improving stamina, respiration and heart function. It is also less strenuous on the body than other exercises such as sporting activities.

If one gets the grace to finish all these and proceed to Makkah for tawaf and sai, after he has also slaughtered a ram, shave his head, then it is absolute forgiveness of sins. The humble, penitent Muslim, wearing only two simple, white pieces of cloth, seeking an approach to God’s grace has become a newborn. The Prophet Muhammed (s.a.w) said that a person who performs Hajj properly “will return as a newly born baby (free of all sins).”

Another grace Allah has given those who could not perform Hajj is to fast on the day of Arafah (tomorrow).  This will also mean expiation of sins one year before and a year after.  Abu Hafsah, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said:

“Fasting on the Day of ‘Arafah absolves the sins for two years: the previous year and the coming year, and fasting on ‘Ashura, (the tenth day of Muharram) atones for the sins of previous years.”  Reported by all except Al-Bukhari and At-Tirmidh.

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