|Clear Sky in Arafah.|
For the next four days, we spent our day reading Quran, zikir and praying. Most of the time, my day started very early, that is at 3.15am. My room mate, Mar would be the first to wake up, and would be followed by me. At 4am, my husband and I would walk to the mosque.
Well, we like to pray at the roof top, but it’s cold. As I entered the mosque, I took off my slipper and headed to the designated women section. Normally at that hour, there would not be many people yet. I can choose where I want to be. I would set my praying mat and chair. Hmmm…. I had to use chair because of my knee problem and back problem. This is one of flexibility in Islam where you can pray sitting or lying on your back, if you are not well.
Once I settled down, I performed Solat Tahayatul Masjid, a special prayer to pay respect to the mosque, Solat Tahajjud, Solat Taubat while waiting for the Subuh (morning) prayer. One hour before the Subuh prayer, the first azan would be called by the Muazzin.
By then, people would start coming in. Sometimes I would have Arab ladies, or Turks ladies or Indonesian ladies next to me. Once I had an old Chinese lady next to me, and we shared foods.
The subuh prayer, would start at 5.25am and the second azan would be called. When the second azan was called, people started to get ready for the prayer. After the prayer, there would be Solat Jenazah, a prayer for the dead.
We would return to hotel after the prayer and then straight to the dining room for breakfast. Since we were still having our jet lagged, most of the time, we would be dozing off. We would only wake up around 9am.
While waiting for zuhur prayer, we performed solat Dhuha, zikir, read Surah Yaasin and Ma'thurat. By 11am, we would be heading to mosque again for afternoon prayer, and the routine continue for asar prayer. Sometimes I stayed until solat Isyak and sometime I went back to the hotel, but the mosque would be packed with pilgrimage. There were times when I had to pray outside the mosque.
On Wednesday, 2nd Decemeber after dinner, there's briefing on our trip to Arafah, Mudzalifah and Mina. We were told that we would be leaving for Arafah on Friday after 4pm, and were asked to get ready for the trip. We were told to pack our clothes in our hand luggage only. We were also given our tent locations..
On Friday 8th Zulhijjah, after the Asar prayer, we get ready for our trip to Arafah. All of us have to wear our ihram again, and the 13 restrictions that we have to avoid started. We were very careful about the restrictions, or else we would have to pay the penalty.
At 10pm, we received the call to come down to the lobby. We quickly grabbed our bag and headed down to the lobby. Before that, we ensured that our bags and our things were locked.
The trip to Arafah is not far. It is about 7km from Mecca, but due to everyone is heading to Arafah, the traffic was very congested. It took us almost one hour to reach Arafah.
It is a must for all pilgrimage to be at Arafah, even for a second. If you are not there, you Hajj will be void, and all other rituals that you do would be for nothing. Even those who were sick would be ferried down by ambulance to Arafah. This is known as Wukuf at Arafah, and it is between noon (Zuhur) until before the morning prayer on the 10th Zulhijjah..
Once we reach Arafah, we headed to our tent. There were 16 of us in the tent and each of us was allocated with mattress, pillow and blanket. There were two portable air condition to keep us cool.
At 3am, I got up and headed to the toilet. There were 10 toilets to be shared with hundreds other pilgrimage, and we have to queue. After I clean myself, I took my wudhu (ablution) and headed back to my tent. I prayed, zikir and read Quran while waiting for the Subuh prayer.
After breakfast, we took a slight rest before we continued with more prayers. We also have a special guest who joined us in the afternoon prayer and read the khutbah. He also lead the zuhur prayer.
The temperature at Arafah is known to go as high as 50C. As the day progress, the temperature rose. Most of us by now sat outside our tent and continue to pray and doa in silent.
After the zuhur prayer, the special guest led the doa seeking forgiveness from Allah. As we said our doa, without realizing it, we cried especially when we seek forgiveness for our parent. After the doa, most of my tent’s mate, had red eyes. Luckily we have our sunglasses with us, so the red eyes can be hidden. Well, the doa was not only for us, but also for our parents, spouse, children, our sibling, relatives and friends.
We continued to say our doa until before the Maghrib. At 7pm, we get ready for our next stop, that is 'Mabit di Muzalifah' or Overnight in Mudzalifah.
Okay, I would stop here first and would continue with 'Mabit di Mazalifah' in my next update.