“The hardships must always accompany the ease, such is the nature of our existence.”
11/5/11 - Hajj, Day 2
The Day of Arafah. Finally, we are here. It is a beautiful morning, maybe 65 deg, light breeze, clear skies. It’s 6:30am. After Fajr, I was planning on sleeping, but I stayed up to watch the sun rise over the mountains. It’s not as delicious as the sunsets, but it has its own majesty about it.
Minute by minute, the world around me is coming to life as the sky fades from dark to light, blue & black to orange & white. I’m sitting with my mother now. Hugs, kisses, asking about our night’s sleep. Waiting for the sun to break from behind the mountain – just a few more minutes now, iA. There’s sakinah (tranquility) and peace here. It’s so thick in the air, you can feel it in your bones. The Day of Mercy has begun.
Last night was more of a mess, none seemingly worth mentioning anymore – though I will briefly, for the sake of this journal. The hardships must always accompany the ease, such is the nature of our existence. My shoes were stolen, from inside the tent. Someone probably took them by accident and left theirs, which looked similar, but I can’t take those when they’re not mine. I’ve resorted to my backup flip-flops, no harm done. They’re terribly uncomfortable though, I don’t think they’ll be very useful if I walk alot.
We slept, packed in our tent, practically pressed against one another – 15 men in one small tent. We got dinner at least, Alhamdulillah. I took the HajjCoach’s advice and used earplugs and an eye shade to sleep and it worked beautifully, Alhamdulillah. I knocked out around 10pm and didn’t wake up until someone shook me at 3am to wake me. I took off my mask and it felt like I just entered the land of the living for the first time – sensory overload. Right back in the thick of it all over again. At least I got some rest, some time away Alhamdulillah, before everything came rushing back.
This morning, we had to leave before Fajr, which is against the sunnah of Mina, but we had to in order to catch our bus to Arafah. With millions of pilgrims traveling in such a short distance with limited resources, we don’t have much control over our situations. They said there were fatwas saying it’s ok to go to Arafah before Fajr, because of the sheer volume of people traveling at the same time. We were already going anyways, but that made the pill easier to swallow.
I got upset with my dad too, sort of lost my cool for a sec. He kept telling me to “stay together”, said it like 6 times. I would be standing no more than 5 or 6 paces away the entire time. I sort of snapped, and was like, “what are you talking about? I’m right here, where am I gonna go??” This was while we were gathering to board onto the bus to leave Mina this morning. I felt bad afterwards, he was trying to make sure everything would go smoothly, in his own way. So much virtue in keeping your mouth shut. I think I’ve saved myself alot of headaches on this trip by staying aloof and staying quiet. Yesterday was the first time I got involved in the drama – out of sheer curiosity and I regret it. It brought no benefit and just gave me a crucial migraine.
Alhamdulillah, it’s behind us now. We have finally been blessed with Arafah. After all of the tests, hardships and setbacks, Allah has allowed us this magnificent day. May He accept our prayers and make us amongst those whose prayers are answered. Ameen.
Here comes the sun…