Feature: Hajj Diary Series, Part 10
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
When I first came here in 2004.
When I first came here in 2004 our hotel was near a string of food places and there was a man who we used to call ‘Pakora wala’ as he seemed to always try to entice us with free pakorai. Lovely guy.
We even took photos with him and I still have them.
I saw him today working at a restaurant. He no longer had his shop. He truly looked broken. It was really sad to see. I told him who I was and how I remembered him but it seemed that these were painful memories for him.
Really upsetting to see who he was and how unhappy he was now.
The other day we were in our air conditioned bus and we pulled along side an old American yellow school bus full of Africans looking hot and many standing up. Puts things in perspective.
It’s an amazing thing walking to salah not knowing what nationality is going to be praying next to you. That for a moment you are going to be standing shoulder to shoulder. You smile at each other, maybe exchange a few words, have a laugh and then stand before the one Lord who has decreed for you to be here. That where you stand all men and women are equal. Allah alone knows the hearts. Each have their own story.
Why, oh why did I pack four pairs of socks? It’s boiling here!
You really have got to see their version of boy scouts.
For the first time ever in my life I see a bloke praying salah and then midway through look at his watch!
I prayed on the roof of the masjid today. Beautiful SubhanAllah.
We went to honour an invitation for lunch today. Took me a few minutes to get over how many books the brother we went to see has collected.
We travel to Mecca tomorrow.
We are going to the Miqat to get into Ihram. Not sure what worries Mecca will hold for mum. The crowds here are worrying enough so who knows what going to happen there but Allah is our Protector and to Him alone we entrust our affairs.
Watched a little group of kids with no arms begging. After a while they ran over to a woman and she took all their bags of money. She didn’t even have the decency to cover up. Miraculously their arms grew back moments later.
I take comfort in the punishment for the one who begs without reason. (I don’t mean the kids)
Me and Swansea lad go for a late night hunt for an internet café. Our lack of arabic works against us and he wants to give up but I have got to know how this going to end so we keep going. We ask and ask for directions till we finally find it. News! World! So much to check so little time and the computer keeps crashing. I leave happy. Mission accomplished.