Remember remember the fifth of November
Prayer in Arafa, it was hot...
I see no reason why this Arafa season
Should ever be forgot…
After all, it was the season where God chose me to be one of his guests to attend and perform the Pilgrim. I still don’t know why God was so grateful with me, to choose me among the millions of Muslims who are dying to go to Hajj. I can only think of one reason "the mercifulness of God".
To explain the level of soul comfort that I was in is impossible to address with a pen and paper because only God knows the way I felt back there. Add to that the total shift in time and history of my soul and body throughout the trip. When I did my Tawaf around the Ka'aba, it was like me with the Prophet when he did his Tawaf and destroyed the idols surrounding the Ka'aba the day he entered Makkah. When I prayed in the Haram, it was like me watching Prophet Ibrahim putting the bricks and building the Ka'aba. When I drank Zamzam water, it was like me watching Abu Taleb digging Zamzam after years of it being missed. When I did the Sa'ai between Alsafa and Almarwa mountains, it was like me running with Prophet Ibrahim's wife Hajar searching for water for Baby Prophet Ismail. When I cut my hair, it was like me watching the prophet the first time he cut his hair when he was not allowed to enter Makkah to do his Omrah. Going to Mina camps, Spending the day in Arafa and heading to Muzdalifa, it all made me feel like I was part of Hujjat al Wada'a which was performed by the Prophet Mohammed (P). When I threw the stones in the Jamarat, it gave me this feeling that I was throwing a bad habit with each stone I threw. This was a small translation of the feelings that hit me during my visit to Makkah.
But I'm not here to write about this. I'm here to trigger a far more important issue, an issue that vanished from the minds of millions of people who performed Hajj this year and in the earlier years, wishing that this might wake up other people for the next years. This issue is raised with a question "Why did we go to Hajj?"
The amount of situations from people I've seen in Hajj that saddened me were much more compared to the situations which made me smile. Some are listed below.
Complaining: People complaining all the time about everything, anything, no matter how stupid or serious it's about. Traffic jam, little food, hot water, Hot weather, AC not working, the room is small, the bed is not comfortable, the bus is old, the pillow is not soft and you can name many others.
Respectful LESS: People tend to forget where they are and start acting with a negative attitude. They shout at each other, they push each other, they swear at each other. No matter where they are, even if they were near the Ka'aba.
Personal Hygiene: I don’t think this needs any further clarifications!
General Hygiene: I went to Arafa after the waqfa day and I was shocked! This holy place which is mentioned in the holy Qur'an was literally a big Garbage tank. The roads were full with garbage, litter, remaining of food, etc. The smell of the place was awful. Not only in Arafa, but the same situation was exactly in Mina camps.
After all what I saw, I go and remember my visit to Japan earlier this year and compare it to my Hajj visit and remember a quote said by a dear friend "In Japan they dont have Muslims but they have Islam… and we have Muslims but we don’t have Islam". We are supposed to be the Nation of Kindness, Respect and Hygiene. But unfortunately when comparing ourselves to most of the nations today, we are the worst. Don’t blame it on the Saudis, they are doing a great job in the organizations; also don’t blame it on the level of education of people because those are simple basic Islamic principles. Every country must educate, teach their people the basic rules and principles before sending them to the test, to Hajj, because Hajj is a test.
I go back to the question I raised, "Why did we go to Hajj?" what is it really about? Is it about going to pray and cross another pillar of Islam off the list? Maybe yes.
But if we want to know the real reason, the real meaning behind it we shall just read the first two verses of Surat Al Hajj
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُوا رَبَّكُمْ إِنَّ زَلْزَلَةَ السَّاعَةِ شَيْءٌ عَظِيمٌ َ يوْمَ تَرَوْنَهَا تَذْهَلُ كُلُّ مُرْضِعَةٍ عَمَّا أَرْضَعَتْ وَتَضَعُ كُلُّ ذَاتِ حَمْلٍ حَمْلَهَا وَتَرَى النَّاسَ سُكَارَى وَمَا هُم بِسُكَارَى وَلَكِنَّ عَذَابَ اللَّهِ شَدِيدٌ
Translation: Oh mankind! Fear your lord and be dutiful to him! Verily, the earthquake of the Hour (the judgment day) is a terrible thing. The day you shall see it, every nursing mother will forget her nursing, and every pregnant one will drop her load, and you will see mankind as drunken state, yet they will not be drunken, but severe will be the torment of God.
This is it! This is the bottom line! Hajj is just a preparation for what is coming, for the real Hajj. When you only wear a white piece of cloth, when you are standing with millions of other people, this is all a preparation for the day where you will be standing with the whole mankind in front of God, in a very long day (50,000), where the sun will only be a mile away from your head!
People who go to Hajj MUST imagine and live that they are standing in the judgment day! They should not complain, they should not be negative; they should not be controversial and they should stop all acts of depravity.
People tend to forget that they are the guests of God, that he chose them among millions of others, that he wants to forgive all their sins, and that he wants to prepare them for the bigger Hajj. If you are going to Hajj, please do not forget this and be a better Muslim.
And for me, it surely was a fifth of November that I will never ever forget.
13th November 2011