A Muslim brother from Morocco made the beautiful Adhan of the Sunnah at Fajr that awakened us. The believers were enthusiastic after he roused them from their sleep. The rest at Muzdalifah had been without incident.
I heard a few people complaining before I dozed off into the dead zone, but they were either the usual suspects or not worth worrying about as they had forgot what the Hajj was about in the first place.
Wonderful, I thought. The brother had made the first Adhan and not the second. I stood up among a sea of people that were still by an large sleeping.
Now was the time to snatch a place in line before the second Adhan and the lines started. I used the bathroom straight away and then headed to the wudu’ stalls.
Another point worth sharing is the following: wake up early at Muzdalifah. Wake up as early as you can and use the toilet and then use the water for wudu’ sparingly. Remember others as while there the water became scarce. Some brothers didn’t care and abused it anyway.
The toilet facilities are the same Victorian style toilets and some Muslims are not very hygienic so those Muslims that are must be on guard. Lift you entire Ihram when you use the toilet and do not sit but rather squat over the hole in the floor.
Wudu’ complete and Ihram a little bit dusty, I was still fine. Now I was ready for the prayer. There had been a little bit of permafrost but it was burnt off by first light. The second Adhan came and people were dashing around and not knowing what to do or how to do it.
A small cadre of believers gathered and prayed behind an Algerian imam who read the Warsh recital of the Qur’an beautifully. The prayer completed and after dhikr he came over and shook hands and offered light pleasantries.
Once the people had completed Fajr, now the next hurdle began. People were to stand in their perspective groups and await the bus to their camps back at Mina. Ours was a 45 bus. The only problem is as mentioned before, that number is for the Turkish, US, UK, Canada and some Mexican nationals.
Therefore all the groups wanted to be first on the bus, first in the front seat, first to put on the air conditioning, first to have their prayer beads out, first back to the camp, first at everything. Few people wanted to wait. Our Imam was a bit vexed but kept his cool.
One or two fist fights broke out between brothers that were in the 45 group and brothers that were rallying the people to the buses.
Rich kids dealing with poverty, I could only think while speaking with a brother about the situation and the estimated time of arrival.
“So anyway, I started to do my wird at `Arafah and I went on and on without a hitch. The guards didn’t do anything, akhi,” Uwais grinned while recounting the whole story.
“You got away with that? But they came for us after 20 minutes! I thought you got lost on the way back,” I chuckled while discussing the matter with him.
We kept talking away until more people became restless in the camp. Uwais had smartly wriggled his way into one of the other bus lines and waved at us through the window. The only problem was it was going to get 54 instead of 45.
Mina is a big place and I hope he knows the way back, I prayed for him. After more than 10 buses with 45 emblazoned across the front passed, we were able to flag down one and get aboard.
Brothers Tanweer and Muhammad Ameen ambled up alongside me. “Subhanallah, I didn’t think I’d share the bus with you brothers again!” Muhammad Ameen grinned and answered, “Didn’t think or you didn’t want to?!” We both laughed.
Although still a bit drowsy, we prepared ourselves to get to the jamarat by after Zuhr and do the stoning. I prayed by combining and shortening and moved out with the whole group doing the talbiyyah. Everyone was there and I do mean everyone.
Turks, Arabs (Bedu and Hadari), Russian, Chechen, Bosnian and even the occasional whatchamacallit were all in attendance. It was something. So was the heat. The journey there was good and we required about seven escalators to get on top of the buildings to the pillars to do the stoning.
People were doing the stoning but sometimes heating others in the process. Al-Hajj Muhammad Ameen came and showed us how to do it and what was the safest way. We followed his advice and came out unscathed.
Our only casualty was brother Mumtaz who was hit by a pebble that had ricocheted. “It’s ‘cause your head is so big, Mufti Sahib. It’s all the wisdom!” Mumtaz and all of us laughed while his head was medicated.
We were lost on the way back as the original way there had been sealed off due to overcrowding and security concerns. The group was squeezed, smooshed, jammed and pulled every which way. Tanweer at one point decided to take his chances on finding the way back and so did Matloob.
Now we were back at Mina, tent no 45 and the wait was on. Each group of slaves of Allah at Mina was waiting for news back from their perspective Imam regarding whether their sacrifices had been done.
A note to the believers: Do not worry about the logistics of the sacrifice unless you are asked. The charge of the housing, buses, food and sacrifice and such is inclusive of the charges unless you are told otherwise or you want to take cabs. This would be your expense and headache.
I saw brother Khubaib across the room and we exchanged greetings and hugged. “How are you brother?” He nodded and offered me some cashews. A fitting treat in this weather. He also had some bread. I remembered that he was still my bread brother.
I had kept the same diet along with brothers Matloob, Tanweer and it looked like Khubaib was doing the same thing. I read some ayat from the Qur’an and then looked at some minor masa’il by Imam Ibn Qa’id and felt at home.
Khubaib came back to the tent at 2:45 pm and announced, “I’ve seen some brothers have received news back about their sacrifices. They have started shaving their heads.” I remarked to him that this was great and I could not wait into we had our news.
“Brother, their heads are bleeding. No, no. Let me say that again. Their gushing, akhi!” Just as Khubaib had mentioned, three heads were bleeding, freshly shaved in the corridor area. I wondered what I could do.
“Should we catch the bus back to Makkah?” Tanweer’s eyebrows were raised in his typical Dr. Spock reflective pose. Uwais and Matloob felt the same way and wanted to go. Then another brought felt the same way.
“It’s a good idea but…” I was about to ask when but was interrupted by the Imam coming in and announcing that our sacrifices had been done and now it was fine to shave our heads. It was 3pm.
“…Now is the time then, gentlemen,” I poised myself. We gathered up a few things to take back. If you have a back at Mina, you can leave it there without the valuables and just leave a fresh change of clothes. The rest can go back with you.
We headed out of the camp. We looked all over for buses and found one with a driver and quickly filling up. It was at Kubri `Abdul `Aziz bridge. He said it would be 40 riyal each so we agreed and jumped aboard.
I paid mine but one brother was short. “Forget it,” I said, patting him on the back and I put some towards him as well.
He counted up all the wealth and checked that there was nothing wrong and at first there was some confusion. I explained and then another brother did that this was for the whole group and then we set out.
We had caught the bus at 5pm and we were 50 yards from Al-Masjid ul-Haram when we stepped off. Traffic was crazy and we did not want any part of the wait to get there on time for Maghrib prayer. Brother Matloob again had problems with his grown and waved us to carry on and he would be fine.
Tanweer and I continued the march over to the Masjid and could see her noble and blessed minarets greeting us.
“We’re not far now,” we picked up speed as his words gave us hope. We made wudu’ and waded in with the sea of people and prayed with our Ihrams.
The respect that we received while in Ihram was greater than we thought it would be and people moved out of deference. “Do you think the same thing would happen if we wore these in the UK,” Tanweer offered, half grinning.