Diary of A Haji: 21 Days for the Holy Land
May 22, 1994 (11th Zul-Hijjah):
There I slept till 11:00. I shared the room with six other brothers. The one next to me was sick and coughing. By this time coughing and sneezing were widespread.
We went for Rummy after Asr. We walked through crowded streets and went to the upper level. There were people all around me. I could not see the end.
There was lot of push and shove as usual. Amazingly, there were beggars, men, women and children, sitting on the same ground where tens of thousands of people had crowded for the rituals.
You could not see the beggars until you were about to step on them. I don't know how they survived the stampede.
I was also wondering at the contrast. Here I was, in one of the richest countries on earth, which is also a Muslim country, and there were beggars. These people were not Saudis. They came from other lands and were victims of the economic hardships faced in a foreign land without proper protection from the Saudi government.
At that moment I also thought of the homeless in America, another rich country of the world.
Then I thought of Hadrat Omar bin Abdul Aziz's time when there were people who wanted to give Zakah but there was no poor person left to take it.
As I was walking towards the Jamraat, I saw the floor littered with razor blades left by the barbers who had shaved millions of heads yesterday. Be careful not to lose your slippers.
(The Jamraat are the three stone pillars in Mina which symbolically represent the locations where the devil [Shaytan] is stated in tradition to have tried to tempt Prophet Ibrahim in an effort to dissuade him from the path of Allah. The pilgrim symbolically stones these pillars on the 10th through the 13th of Zul -Hijjah in commemoration of the rejection of the devil by Prophet Ibrahim, and of his steadfastness to the cause of Allah. The Jamraat are located within a few hundred feet of one another in a line and are named as follows: Jamrat ul Kubra: The last stone pillar in the line. This is also called Jamrat ul Ooqbah; Jamrat ul Oola : The first stone pillar in the line; Jamrat ul Wusta: The second (middle) stone pillar in the line).
We passed through the dense crowds of Jamrat ul Ooqbah and ul Wusta and reached Jamrat ul Oola.
Seven pebbles for each Jamrat starting at ul Oola and working our way backwards. We reached home after three hours. I did my Maghrib and Isha and slept till 10:30 or so at the Makkah residence and then went to Mina.
Mina was cluttered with smelly and stinky garbage. At night the electricity went out [at] around 3:00 a.m. No more fans or coolers in this heat.
By this time, however, my body had adjusted somewhat and I could [bear] the heat for a while. We left Mina after Fajr and came back to Makkah.
A small number of people from our group headed by Maulana had stayed at Makkah and did not spend the night at Mina for the past two days or so. They felt that it is only a Sunnah, not Wajib.
Knowing the filthy conditions at Mina, I did not really want to spend the last two nights at Mina but went along with the majority.
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