MUZDALIFA & SURAH HAJJ 22:1-2

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سُوۡرَةُ الحَجّ

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّاسُ ٱتَّقُواْ رَبَّڪُمۡ‌ۚ إِنَّ زَلۡزَلَةَ ٱلسَّاعَةِ شَىۡءٌ عَظِيمٌ۬ (١) يَوۡمَ تَرَوۡنَهَا تَذۡهَلُ ڪُلُّ مُرۡضِعَةٍ عَمَّآ أَرۡضَعَتۡ وَتَضَعُ ڪُلُّ ذَاتِ حَمۡلٍ حَمۡلَهَا وَتَرَى ٱلنَّاسَ سُكَـٰرَىٰ وَمَا هُم بِسُكَـٰرَىٰ وَلَـٰكِنَّ عَذَابَ ٱللَّهِ شَدِيدٌ۬ (٢)

 

Al-Hajj

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

O mankind! fear your Lord! For the convulsion of the Hour (of Judgment) will be a thing terrible! (1) The Day ye shall see it, every mother giving suck shall forget her suckling-babe, and every pregnant female shall drop her load (unformed): thou shalt see mankind as in a drunken riot, yet not drunk: but dreadful will be the Wrath of Allah. (2)

Night has fallen. In the shadows of the night the harsh lights at the latrines and the dimmed lights of the parked buses provide a backdrop for the white ghosts of the Hajjis in their white Ihrams. Flitting On the plains of Muzdalifa the nebulous forms of Hajjis meld into each other faceless in dusty white.

There is not an iota of unoccupied space, the white clad figures flit back and forth to the latrines where the harsh lights declare them as dusty Hajjis……..and then they return to the shadows of the hills and dunes melting into the night, or visible only as white specks in the distance.

My mother said once when someone complained about not being able to sleep: “When sleep comes it comes even when you are at the guillotine” I never understood the full meaning of that saying till my evening in Muzdalifa.

I am deeply grateful that the Sunnah is to pray Maghrib and Isha in Muzdalifa Qasr wal Jamaa and fall asleep. This being the only night in the life of our Prophet pbuh whence he did not do Qiyam or pray Witr.

Quickly laying down the comforters in front of the bus for myself and the women accompanying us, I take out my mini pillow from Itikaaf days and pull my shawl over me and in seconds I am oblivious to the vast valley teeming with millions of people, and the football field lights glaring over the bus in whose shadow I and the other women have sought sleep.

Surah Hajj opens with a reminder of The Day of Judgment and the tafseer from Dr. Farhat Hashmi compares the various stages of hajj to the state of the people on that Day.

One of the characteristics is that no man will look out for another, my mother called it   ”Nafsa Nafsi ka alam”…..

After Fajr salah, our group was faced with a dilemma…..one of three sisters had disappeared without informing anyone where she was going, and had left her phone, id card and travel bag in the bus.

Search parties from the bus went out including her sisters and men from the bus….but looking for a petite Indian woman in white clothes in a valley teeming with millions of look alike women was like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Two hours later not much remained in Muzdalifa except the unpicked garbage of the five million Hajjis. The faucets of the wudu stands stood silent and the doors of the latrine wide open and empty. The sun shone and the time for the next manasek was passing, but there was not a sign of the third sister.

The leader took a consensus from the bus including the remaining two sisters. To my surprise not only this group, which was gentle, concerned and cohesive from one place and one mosque voted unanimously to move and return to Mina, but also the sisters voted to do so. At Mina they could report her to the missing persons bureau.

I think each person felt they had done the utmost and it was time to look out for ones own self as all local resources had been exhausted and she remained missing. The time for the next manasak was due and if we waited any longer we would seriously get behind in our next steps for Hajj.  Thus we left Muzdalifa……without her. I looked out of the window my eyes searching for a lone Hajji woman who would wave to us but the landscape remained silent and dotted with hundreds of people walking back to Mina on the Pedestrian Highway.

On my trip back from Muzdalifa I was hit with the realization that we are all travelers in this world with one destination. We have been asked by Allah Subhanawataala to look out for each other, but each individual has a personal limit how far they will go for you and it is arbitrary.

I knew now that there were limits to how far someone will help you in dunya so how can I expect them to help me in Akhirah? In the final analysis we have to look out for ourselves and reach our destination by ourselves. There is no helping hand except from Him Subhana wataala Himself.

The description of the Day of Judgment in the opening ayahs of Surah Hajj describe the day as when the mother will forget her baby who she is in the act of suckling and every man will be out for himself in a state of disarray……. The description befits Hajj, where even close friends and family will leave you as the pressure to complete the next manasek in the allotted time mounts.

The need for a mahram is never more evident in Hajj than in Mina, Arafah, Muzdalifa and in the Rami each time for different reasons.

Someone asked me “why don’t men need a mahram?” I saw the answer during Hajj. Women are vulnerable and there are predators out there. Even though everyone is at Hajj to wash out his or her sins, but it does not mean that Shaytaan is idle. He is out to tempt someone to prove that the children of Adam will fall prey to disobedience……one more time.

Women remain vulnerable in more ways than one, and it remains the foremost duty of the mahrams to protect them, not imprison them. The Mahrams are not allowed to prohibit their women from performing Hajj because they the mahrams themselves may be too lazy to do so.

Thus it behooves each Muslim father, brother and husband to take their female relatives to Hajj as soon as possible and to care for them with the utmost compassion while undergoing the challenges of Hajj.

The time in Hajj is a boot camp to train in patient love and consideration for ones companions. You either make it or it breaks you.

Surah Hajj opens with a warning to fear Allah and to remember the Day of Judgment; Hajj illustrates it as no other event ever can…………..

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