Masjid Nabawi in Madina, in all its glory.
Btw, our hotel in Madina is MOVENPICK. It's a nice new 4-star hotel. We stayed 4-in a room. Hubby stayed next door with roomates who are husbands of my roomates. That's how they arrange families. So we grew close with our friends.
Ok, these pics at the bottom, I couldn't rearrange them to the relevant para. I don't know why they won't be dragged. So just read the story first, I'll explain the pics later, k.
We set foot in Mekah on 1 Dec 09. Our hotel is SEVILLA BARAKAH. Distance is 600 m from Masjidil Haram. About 15 min walk. Expansion work was rapidly under way. Long way to finish though, 5 years maybe. The interior renovation however were completed. I can't explain how it felt to be inside Masjidil Haram and be able to perform all your ibadah and watch kaabah. You just want to be there all day.
Due to heavy traffic, our ziarah in Mekah were short and brief. The bus couldn't get very near to the location, unlike during umrah. So some of the places like Jabal Thur & Jabal Nur we only got to see from afar. Hudaibiyah & the museum were skipped altogether.
Our spare time in the hotel were filled with ceramah/taklimat apart from doing umrah sunat while waiting for wukuf day.
Every week saw increase in Mekah crowd. Jemaah started streaming into Mekah every week and by the 3rd week, Madina was empty. All jemaah have settled in Mekah awaiting wukuf. I must say it also put strain on your nerve and patience. Everywhere you go, is congested. The mosque is full, the road to the mosque is packed. You need to start out 2 hours before pray time to get a place. When you finish, you face the crowd again. Seriously, my first time, I felt quite overwhelmed. Never in my life have I seen such a LOT OF PEOPLE. Lautan manusia precisely. The road is sooo packed, you could only move inch by inch. What used to be 15 min walk, now became 40 min. Then when you get to the hotel, the dining hall queue turned you off. And when you braved it, the kitchen couldn't cope, lauk habis or nasi lambat. A couple of times, we only got bread and salad becos thats what left. You could try outside restaurant but there are also packed and you still have to wait at least an hour to place order and get a table.
And then there's the lift which always took forever. Our hotel accomodate 2,800. We reached quite the max capacity by 3rd week. Our room was on 4th floor, in actual fact, although it says 2nd floor room, but in between G and 1, there are 2 service floors for housekeep & kitchen. We did quite a few hamstring exercise taking the stairs during peak time. Still, these are trivial. I mean imagine those on 17th floor, for instance (not to mention, aged and uzur jemaah). You have no choice if the lift takes all day. So no complaining. It does strain you a bit, but you know you're 100x luckier than others.
Wukuf day is on 9 Zulhijjah (27th Nov). We entered Arafah on 8 Zulhijjah, in batches starting from 12.30 pm. But 3 hours before that, rain started pouring non-stop and by 2pm petugas haji announced the 3 earlier bus departed from hotel couldn't get entrance in Arafah. (we were to be on the 4th bus). Only 1 bus made it and the other 2 were asked to return and wait further notice because Arafah was flooded and the Arabs were rectifying the situation (damaged tents, etc). Finally we were given the go-ahead at 4pm, but slow moving traffic, arriving Arafah (only 7km away) about 6.30 pm . The tents were carpeted and equipped with 4 sets of cool-blower and we each got a mattress, pillow and blanket. About 20 people in each tent. When we arrived, there's a power trip and we got no electricity for the night, relying on torch light to rummage our bag and get changed. We had a quick dinner served in another tent, in a dark. Quite adventurous actually, like scout camping minus the bonfire. :p. They were some unlucky ones, my hubby and friends included, whose tents were rather badly damaged. The carpets were completely soaked, they didn't get to sleep at all.
We got up 2 am for kiamulail and stayed up till subuh pray. I took my nap right after that and woke up 7.30 am for breakfast and ready for tazkirah, solat sunat etc. I managed to get a shower earlier around 3 am ( & then got lost finding my back to the tent :p).
Wukuf starts at Zuhur , so by 11 am we were all ready outside our tents with our matts. First ceramah by the ustaz and then solat jemaah, lunch break and then individual ibadah (doa & zikir) from then on till Maghrib. Wukuf in Arafah is rukun haji. It's even described as hajj itself (arafah=haji). You cannot NOT do it. You can't compensate with bayaran dam or such. You can't wakilkan to others. No matter how expensive your package is, you do wukuf. In your pakaian ihram (for women, just stay tutup aurat). Its like everyone gathered on earth in what they started with, no pakaian berjahit, just a tonga-style piece of cloth and all the same, rich or poor, royal or khadam. What matters is each one's amalan and bekalan to face the Creator.
So after wukuf, we were ready to leave. Again, more patience cos we got to be the last group transported out of Arafah at 11pm (the first group got out 6.30pm). The next destination was Muzdalifah. The 'waktu sah' for mabit is only separuh malam that is past midnight. So we were supposed to be there just a couple of hours, the most maybe we stay till 4 am.
But no, no, no, no. Bus problem again, little surprise. We didn't see our bus till daylight. well past daylight. 8.30 am. Its already 10 Zulhijjah. Hari raya aidil adha. In Muzdalifah. There're no tents in Mudzdalifah. It's just a big field. You stop there to collect pebbles for melontar Jamrah. We tried to catch some sleep on the hard ground. Highly uncomfortable but you just imagine adventure and have a sense of humor.
So from Muzdalifah, on to Mina, where the Jamrahs are. Lontarans are made on 4 days : 10, 11, 12 & 13 Zulhijjah. This event is symbolic of when Nabi Ibrahim threw a rock at the devil disguising as a man, who tried to dissuade him from carrying out God's order.
In hukum, you don't need to stay overnight in Mina but you need to be there separuh malam and do your melontar. That's the 2 syarat wajib. We stayed there all 3 nights & 4 days. In tents, just like in Arafah. The tents were more comfortable comparatively, fully airconned , thicker mattress but the big problem was toilet. The number available greatly disproportioned to the number of users. Probably 1 toilet per 100 users. So there were people who travel back to Mekah on their own, where their hotel room still available, after satisfying the syarat wajib . Some on foot, some by cab. Only 7km away.After completing Mina, we returned to Mekah. We did the last part of hajj work, i.e tawaf and saie haji (haji tamattu' way, there're 2 other types of hajj work). You complete that, you're done, you're officially Haji and Hajjah. Doing the tawaf was tough this time, as Masjidil Haram flooded with jemaah all completing their hajj.
We didn't have much time by then. We returned from Mina 1 Dec and scheduled to leave Mekah for Jedah on 5 Dec. So 4 days to complete tawaf&saie , last-minute shopping (if any) and pack our bags.
On the day we check out, we're required to perform tawaf wada' (wajib) , last respect to kaabah before leaving Mekah.
From Mekah to Jedah, took 2 hours bus-drive. We were put up in Grand Saha Hotel. Nice hotel, excellent food and a heavenly big room for 2 (hehehe).. Now everyone get a room with their spouses. We stayed a night and checked out the next morning straight to airport. At the airport , we were each given a complimentary Quran. Our flight was at 3pm. We arrived KL 7 Dec 4.30 am and took a connecting flight to KK in the afternoon
So, that's that. We arrived safely in KK without delay at 4.30pm. Waiting to receive us at the airport were children, hubby's mom & sisters and my brothers.
The same evening, after maghrib, MIL organised kenduri doa selamat for us and also majlis khatam quran for my eldest son. I really missed my children and my home. It felt ages.
Ok. Enjoy the rest of the pics. Sorry I don't load too many. malasss.
Until next post. BYE!
Madina - our hotel. the reception area, the dining hall, hotel cafe.
my son's khatam quran
the day we arrived home. there was a ritual before we stepped into the treshold. di taburi bunga rampai kunun.
ready for kenduri
ok, these pics are of Mina. the top left - view of thousands of tents at Mina, next-Muzdalifah. it's a big hilly area. 3rd pic-I'm at Jamrah place, behind me is one of the Jamrah (there're 3). the last photo shows the way up to the Jamrah building, 3 floors.