we where told to get ready for the jamarat as we would be leaving after asr, to be honest i didn't know what to expect, you hear all sorts of stories of people dying, getting crushed etc... so understandably every one was on edge.
i remember last year something like 500 people died because they brought there luggage with them to the jamarat, so people where tripping over bags and what not and got themselves crushed, every year people seem to die at the jamarat and every year they have a new system, one time people died because of one of the so called ameers, his body guards where pushing people left right and centre so that Mr. Prince can get his ritual done but at the expense of hundreds of deaths, sad or what?
you know we heard a rumour just before hajj started that gaddafi intended on performing hajj this year, so when we got to jeddah airport we asked one of the men working at passport control whether that rumour was true or not? to which he replied that we where dangerous in bringing up such a topic and we should keep clear away from politics, but eventually he told us that he honestly did not know and besides that all world leaders come to a separate airport, later we came to find out that he actually was intending on performing hajj but he wanted to bring 200 female body guards with him and Saudi refused, well well well how interesting would that have been? i have to say that i would have maybe aimed my pebbles elsewhere.
right after asr we all gatherd right outside our tent with sheikh salem leading us and started to make our way to the jamarat, now the European camp is the furthest camp away from the jamarat, the Libyan camp is pretty close to the jamarat, but we westerners have to trek 40 minutes to get there maybe its because where used to walking!!!
we walked to the star of the eurpoean camp and came across this sign:
i took that picture when it was empty a couple of days before, but when we got to that particular signe, it was completely packed full of people, we still had alot to walk because that was the start, people where pouring into this section to get to the jamarat, at one point we where not moving at all but more people where coming so we where literally stuck to each other and one of the sisters started to panic as she felt she was being crushed, and we had to calm her down as much as we could, eventually the people at the front began to move so we had slightly more space to manoeuvre.
at one point i was so close to my brother that when i took his picture this is how it came out, my brother was actually calm through out mashallah which was good i was expecting him maybe to panic with the amount of people around but he seemed to be enjoying himself although holding very tight onto my dad.
we where walking at a snail pace, walahi it was so packed full of people, from all over the world, at times there would be no space to move an inch and at other times it was fine, but one of the best things this year was the one way system, everyone was going the same way, there was a wall that separated us with those who where coming back from the jamarat, so that did help alot, also there where so many 3askarees (soldiers) standing guard all the way up to the jamarat and what i noticed which i thought was pretty cool was that there where quite a few scouts helping out with there scout uniforms, i myself am a scout leader so it was pretty cool to see them volunteering and helping out the hajjis, may Allah reward them for their efforts.
the walk to the jamarat allowed for us to contemplate on the story of the jamarat, where Prophet Ibrahim before being relieved of his sacrifice, was tempted three times to recant on his commitment by the shaytan, and each time he rejected the temptation. It is from this story that the hajj ritual of casting pebbles at the three pillars, or jamarat, derives. Pilgrims would approach three pillars, representing the devil, and throw seven pebbles at each of them in a symbolic act of rejection.
walking towards the jamarat you cant but be in awe at the rest of creation, people from all corners of the world and some people have left there countries flags flapping in the air towards the jamarat, mina really is a global village all the flags and faces of the world are on display subhannallah.
it felt like we had been walking for quite some time, there are toilets on the way as well as take aways the famous Al-Baik, who sell delicious chicken, also there building hotels near the jamarat which will probably be ready for next year for those who would rather sleep in a hotel than in tents in mina.
you get to a certain point and any one who is carrying luggage or big bags are not allowed through, they have to leave them behind, again its all part of the new system, also the jamart are on 2 levels now to make more space for people and we where told that they are building more floors, The pillars have since been replaced with large walls to increase the throwing area, i remember seeing pictures of a rather small pillar but when i got to the jamarah al kubrah (the biggest pillar) it was big, we only had to stone the biggest jamrah and even though it was packed i managed to get right to the front to throw my pebbles, you have to throw them one at a time, some people make the mistake of throwing all 7 pebbles in one go, that's in-correct, i got really excited and decided to give it my all so with all the strength that i could muster i leaned back and threw my pebble as hard as i could at the same time my bracelet fell out of my hand and into the hole surrounding the jamara lol.
it took literally seconds and we where done and it was time to head back to the tent, the next three days would be the real test of the jamarat, the men could now shave there heads and remove themselves from the state of ihram and us woman can cut small part of our hair.
walking back to the tent i saw something that made me laugh out loud and point out to all the British lot, i couldn't belive seeing an asda sign walking ahead of me, how funny is that?
when we got back to our section we where greeted with frantic washing and shaving....