“If it ain’t hard, it ain’t Hajj.”
11/4/11 - Hajj, Day 1
I’m feeling so confident that my du’as may be heard tomorrow – very optimistic and hopeful at least. Especially the du’as that are of major concern to me, those relating to matters closest to my heart. Those are the ones I’m feeling good about. I so sincerely hope my Lord answers them and hears me. Allahu ‘Alam (Allah knows best), I may have to face even more tests and have to be patient with not receiving what I ask for. Such is the nature of my life in this world, I am at the whim of my Master. It is up to Him whether to preserve me or discard me – I have no right to demand either. I can only hope and pray for His Infinite & All-Encompassing Mercy. There is no deity save for The Most High, The Lord of the Worlds. May we see His Infinitely Bounteous Face and receive His Glad Tidings. Ameen.
Somehow, we got wrapped up in a full-blown resistance movement. Ok, maybe not that serious, but definitely just as dramaticized. So, this lady from our Hajj company has been claiming that we didn’t pay for food & beds in our tents. She’s demanding that we show receipts if we say we’ve paid. Right. Let me just pull that right out of my sheet-suit. She’s basically just beefing with our tour guide. Apparently, he disrespected her when he first spoke to her this morning. We later find out that she said he beckoned her with his finger to come to him when he wanted to speak to her. Our group leader denied even having done this, but didn’t put up much of a fight to get us what we paid for either. All this mess because one man wagged his finger at the wrong woman. A group of men actually went to the Ministry of Hajj office and complained about the lady. Of course, this is a bureaucracy, where nothing is done by the people you approach. They suggested we call the cops, put in our claim for having been cheated. The guys were very hesitant though, they wanted to try reasoning with the lady one last time.
They caught up with her at the entrance to the camp and got in her face. 15 men, 1 woman. She wouldn’t budge, they all stayed soft. She basically said what we have is all we’re gonna get. Our current arrangement, with 15 men sleeping in one tiny tent, is the best she was going to do for us. I wanted to just blurt out, “Yo! We boutta call the cops, cuz you’s stealin from us right now!” Of course I didn’t, they were all talking in Arabic, so I had no clue what was actually going on at the time. So, here we are, in this small space, maybe 12’x12’, 15 men, sleeping on the floor, practically pressed up against one another.
I have a killer headache from all the excitement. It’s like 8pm & we’ve been caught up in this affair since we got off the bus this morning. Earlier, I was afraid Mina would be boring. I should know better, nothing is ever uneventful during Hajj ;). My dad was apologizing to me, for this day being so difficult. I reminded him that nothing has been easy so far, and that this is Hajj. It’s supposed to be difficult, that’s all part of the test. This is also the first official day, of course it’s going to be even harder than what we’ve been going through so far. Now, we’re being tested with our money, food, rest – things we have full rights to. No one ever has an easy Hajj – at least, they’re not supposed to. If it ain’t hard, it ain’t Hajj. Alhamdulillah, it’s been very manageable thus far.
Earlier today, I went around tent city a bit. Completely fascinating. I mostly stuck around the area with Western Hajji’s, and even that was enormous. I definitely didn’t even scratch the surface of Mina, there are so many people here, it’s just incredible. It’s very well organized and structured as well. Reminds me of disaster management and refugee sheltering, done so right. The shelters are sturdy, comfortable, efficient, and not to mention dignified. It’s a very impressive arrangement.
I know some people in our group are really frustrated & upset. I’m just tired and hungry. I just want to get to Arafah tomorrow. After that, let whatever happens come iA.