Monday, December 26, 2011

Stoning of Devil; Hajj Trip - Part 5

After the Mahgrib prayer's over, we patiently waited for the announcement. Since the Nilam group is big, we were divided into smaller groups. When my group, known as level 5 and 6, was called, I picked up my bag of pebbles and my cane, or nickname by my roomies as transformer cane and headed to the front gate of the camp. My hubby was waiting for me at the tent near the gate.

Our group was led by a young man. Everybody was excited and eager to get the stoning ritual done. We started slowly and walked towards the Moassem tunnel. My first impression of the tunnel, whoa...very long. I started to count the big fans on top of the tunnel. Halfway through the tunnel, we, the old, sick and unfit, lost the leader and others. When I reached the end of the tunnel, I felt relieved. I was so relieved to be out of the tunnel, but it was still a distant far to reached the Jamrah

Along the way, there were many other pilgrimages from other countries heading to Jamrah. The most common groups were from Indonesia. As we headed towards the Jamrah, we saw more tents. Some were built very near to the Jamrah. In fact, there were hotels that, I was told, cost 5000 Riyal per night, and they only have to walk for 150meters, compared to me who had to walk more than 2 km to the Jamrah.

As we got nearer to the Jamrah, there were so many people outside the complex. Some were resting waiting for the next stoning ritual, which is scheduled the next day, and some were there sleeping at the roadsides.

Since it was still quite a distant to reach the Jamrah, I stopped for a while. While resting, I watched some groups passing by and they were very united and always ensure that their team members were together. Not like my group. Their leader always chanted 'Laibai Kallah' all the way to Jamrah.

I also saw the complex from far. It was four storey’s high. Directions were given to go each level. As my group was heading to level 1, we have ‘to climb’ the ramp on our way to the level 1. The ramp was quite steep, and when I got midway through the ramp, we took another break. By that time, my drink was almost finishing.

After a few minutes rest, we continue our walk to the end where the Jamrah Kubra was located. Before that, we passed by Jamrah Ula, and followed by Jamrah Wusta, but on this first day, we only need to perform the stoning ritual at Jamrah Kubra.

I was happy, as there were not many people. We could go right to the front of the Jamrah to perform the ritual. I took seven pebbles from my sachet, and said the prayer that we need to say. Well, we cannot throw all seven in one go. It has to be one at a time. For the ladies, we cannot raise our arm high when throwing the pebbles. After completed all seven, we walked to the side and said the dua for the ritual.

After that, my hubby took out the small scissors to cut off some of the hair. I did for my hubby, and then he did it for me. With this, it indicated the end of ihram and the man are allowed to wear normal clothes. The 10 restrictions were also lifted.

We then headed back to our camp, and on the way down from level 1, we saw the activities at ground floor were quite packed with people. Since my husband wanted to cut his hair shorts, we decided to stop by at the barbers stalled that were nearby. He went in for about 10mins and came out. 'I think I'll cut it in Mecca," he said as he was not really comfortable with those crowds.

On the way back, my leg sort of cramps, but I fought it. We walked very slowly towards the camp, and when I saw the tunnel, I know that we are almost reaching the camp. I looked at the fan again and started to count it. When we reached the end of the tunnel, I was really exhausted. When the THTS employee pointed the way to camp, I was relieved. I hurried my steps toward the camp, and when I reached my tent, I was glad. I was really, really glad that I made it.

Okay, I stop here and would write more on the stoning ritual for day 11 and 12 Hijrah late.

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