it was really funny because you can see it on every ones face, the fear of the unknown, and when one courageous soul decides to venture to the toilets we would wait anxiously for them and as soon as they come back to the tent we would be like vultures surrounding them 'so how was it? is it really bad?, did it smell? oh my god aaaaaah'
well i gotta say my turn came to visit the hole in the ground, i had put if off long enough, i was turning yellow slightly jaundice in colour and it wasn't because of the sun (i don't tan unfortunately) quite simply my bladder was hanging for dear life and was about to commit suicide. so white African thought it was time to be one with nature, to be honest i didn't know what to expect, you hear horror stories galore that you expect the worse.
there are loads of toilets cubicle style, i forgot to take a pic people so i do apologise, it looked fine from the outside, the men's should have been split to the woman's but men where ignoring the female signes and vice versa so as i was waiting for a free toilet, the door opened and a man came out then looked at me like i was some kinda freak and then muttered under his breath 'why don't you use the woman's toilets' uh cheek, he was in the woman's toilets and he had the nerve to throw me a few words, well i wasn't standing for it, so in my nice ihram voice told him ' akhi afwan lawsama7t, mula7ahad baseeta, 7amamata al reejal fil khalaf, il 3alama al kabira ilee warak surat mara wa laysa rajul' translation- brother, excuse me if you may, something i noticed, the men's toilets are at the back, the big sign behind you shows a lady and not a man'.
to which he turned, i pointed out the sign, he smiled and nodded his head and scurried away, one point to white African 0 points to Mr user of woman's toilets, later too many people where using the toilets that i gave up...
98% of the toilets where the hole in the ground type, 7amam 3arbi, which i hate, i really don't like them but beggars cant be choosers, the other 2% where the normal type that we are used to, as you could imagine they where hardly ever free, the one time that i found it free i celebrated but my celebrations came to an end because when i walked in i found that it was over flowing with human waste, i know i know, it wasn't a pleasant moment, i screamed and slammed the door and warned people not to enter.
next to the hole is a hose pipe with a tap, there is no roof, you look up and the shower head is directly above you, two in one toilet and shower, there are hangers to hang your clothes but it would have been better if the hangers where at the door because where they where placed meant that when having a shower any clothes you hung would get soaking wet no point really...
to be honest the toilets really where better than i expected, it was always generally clean apart from that one time with the over flowing mess, but other than that i was impressed more than disgusted so that's a good thing. my greatest worry was that some creature (cockroach) would pop out of the hole, how horrible would that have been? the thing is also when your in a state of ihram you cant kill any insects, bugs, anything...
so that's my essay on toilet experience in Mina, slightly different in Arafat though :)
so we woke up on the 9th of dhul hijja, that was a Friday, we prayed fajer and had breakfast, i drew all over my breakfast box:
inside of the box, this was our breakfast on a day to day basis while at Mina, cheese, orange juice, either jam or halwa taheeneyah, milk and the oh so famous croissant, what was really funny was that each box they gave us be it breakfast, lunch or dinner would have those freshener tissue, the scented variety, we where in a state of ihram so we are not allowed to use anything perfumed, but you forget so just as we where about to open ours some one shouts, 'don't open the wet wipes, there perfumed', whoever prepared the boxes should have realised...
after breakfast it was a case of waiting for the coach to take us to Arafat, again we where told it wasn't far but it was a case of finding your camp withing Arafat, some people still chose to walk it as did millions of others and apparently it was a killer trying to get there, you can easily get lost and end up missing most of your time in Arafat.
the coach came and it was announced that it was for the Swiss sisters so we where like see you guys later inshallah, but then 2 seconds later we where told that us Brits would be joing them on the coach hee hee hee they cant get rid of us that easily looool.
the scene outside of the camp in Mina, we would be back tomorrow, hopefully up lifted and in high spirits with our sins removed.
the drive to Arafat was surreal, on the way i was thinking of how blessed i was that Allah swt invited me for hajj and i still couldn't believe it seriously guys it felt like i was a in a dream land, i would look around me, at the other hijaj and thank Allah for this amazing opportunity, again the ride there was a chance for me to reflect on my intentions and aims. it was kinda difficult taking pictures because of a couple of things, the seat i was sat on was designed for the Pygmies in south America, extremely small people, my knees where in a position that i am certain no human should ever try, i had my sleeping bag with me as well as other peoples sleeping bag who thought it would be funny to dump them on my head, some people really exploit the whole 'don't argue or fight when in a state of ihram' loool, the person next to me was leaning towards me for some reason and also the coach driver was driving kinda fast so the picture quality is not up to scratch. after a few minutes we arrived at Arafat,one of the mountains at Arafat and already people where climbing it as you can see:
i was at Arafat so as to my sins, my imperfections, to beg Allah swt for forgiveness and to cleanse my self of any sins, to come back to Manchester as though i was born again, free of any sins, to start all over and become a better person.
Arafat is really the day of repentance and forgiveness and that's why eid begins for hajis on Arafat day. Arafat is the day that Satan hates the most because Allah frees the most people from hell fire on this blessed day.
all over the world, Muslims fast on the day of Arafat, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was asked about fasting on the Day of Arafat. He said, 'It expiates for the sins of the previous year and of the coming year.' Narrated by Muslim. This (fasting) is mustahabb for those who are not on Hajj. In the case of the one who is on Hajj, it is not Sunnah for him to fast on the Day of Arafat, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did not fast on this day in Arafat.
I am so thankful to be among the ones to stand in Arafat in supplication. when we arrived at ararfat we where pointed towards our tent, it was different to mina, the tents where what you imagine tents to be, none of the air conditioning buisness, we got there for around 09:30am which is very good timing, we literally dumped our sleeping bags and sat in the tent. now we where all wide awake but subhannallah allah swt send down sleep on his servent on Arafta day before duhur that most of us slept, i was out of it completly zonked out.
I woke up the sound of Turks saying dhiker and having a lecture which i didn’t understand cause it was in Turkish, they where in the tent opposite us and man where they loud, later they broke into a song, tala al badru 3alyna, bless...
We prayed Dhuhr and Asr shortened and combined dur ing the time of Dhuhr to save the rest of the day for glorifying Allah and for supplication asking forgiveness. you have to ensure that you stay within the boundaries of Arafat, some people want to do the sunnah of listening to the khutbah at masjid nimrah but what many don’t realise is that half of the masjid is built outside the boundaries of Arafat so you have to ensure you sit in the side that is within the boundaries, there are so many millions of others who have the same idea so you can imagine how packed it gets in the mosque, its sunnah and not fard so its not necessary at all.
Some of us then ventured out, some of the sisters wanted to climb a mountain not because it’s a must, the Prophet salla Allah-u alaihe wa salam, said: "I stood here on this rocky hill and all Arafat is a standing place" Muslim. Which means that you don’t have to tire yourself out by climbing rocky mountains to get a spot to pray on, you can do it from wherever in Arafat. we wanted to see the sights more than anything else, so we found a mountain close by and it was already full of people who where deep in prayer, contemplation, observed in there on thoughts and selves. we stood together as sisters and did a joint dua on this random mountain in Arafat, it was lovely and whilst saying ameen I looked around me and the sights of people together yet each person as an individual, standing before Allah humbly, it stirs emotions in you that you never thought where there. Eventually we went back to the tent to find that lunch was being handed out, we ate and then every one was doing their own thing, reading quran, making dua, doing dhikir.
I chose a lonely spot somewhere, I took out my list of people's names (including the bloggers) and just went through the list making dua, i hope i didn’t forget anyone :) to be honest its a very emotional time, you cant help but think of yourself and the life you led for however many years it is you have lived, you cant help but ask yourself questions about who you are as a person?, what life your leading? What good are you doing for yourself, family, friends, community the world etc.. What rules are you breaking? Are you happy with the life you are living? sooooo many questions pop into your head, you bring things to the surface that you had dug deep deep into the back of your mind, you remember people you might have wronged or who might have wronged you.
looking around me i'm reminded of the day of judgment where we will all be standing infront of allah swt in rows upon rows with nothing but ourselves and where no one is aware of any one else, in the pictures you can see that people are standing, some sitting, praying to Allah individually, all absorbed in there own problems no one is noticing any one else, each wants to be cleansed of all sins. whilst standing there your aware that the sky is getting darker, sun set is close at hand but you look up to the sky with your eyes full of tears and you wish from the bottom of your heart that the day would extend for another few hours, you wish that sun set woul dbe post-poned so as to get more dua in, but the adhan for maghreb is heard and our experince in arafat was over.
its funny really because before all that you are at a lost as to what to do, what type of dua to say etc.. but then Allah paves the way for you and you find yourself not able to stop, the tears will come down, you might think they wont but they will and as soon as they do its difficult to stop, you forget the people around you, the moment is for you, its a moment like no other.
After asr (which we didn’t need to pray as we had already combined with duhur) we again left our tents and stood on the square courtyard outside the tents in our section, we faced the kiblah and prayed to Allah swt:
People where hugging each other and generally bonding in there happiness because happy is the person who receives the Mercy and Pleasure of Allah on this particular day. The Prophet said on his day of pilgrimage, when he himself attended at Arafat: “Gabriel had just visited me to convey to me the greetings of my Lord and said: ‘God has forgiven all those who are in attendance at Arafat and those who will be at Al-Mash’ar Al-Haram, i.e. Muzdalifah, all their sins, and He has taken it upon Himself to settle on their behalf all that may be claimed against them.’ Umar asked him whether this was for those who were offering the pilgrimage in the Prophet’s company, but the Prophet said: ‘This applies to you and to all who come after you until the Day of Judgment.’”
I couldn't believe that it was over, they say Arafat is hajj because you hajj is not accepted if you miss Arafat and nothing can compensate for missing it. from the moment you decide to perform hajj, your dearest wish is to stand on the plains of Arafat, again i couldn’t believe that i had just completed the Arafat experience wow subhannallah.