So there i was in Saudi soaking up the good vibes (and the sunshine ) at one of the holiest cities in all of the Muslim world. And im wondering: "What the hell is that SMELL?"
For an enlightened people (supposedly), muslims certainly make one HECK of a mess. The streets walking to the mosque in Makkah literally STINK of garbage. Muslims of a certain national (not mentioning who) would buy food from takeouts (all the streets are lined with them) eat it outside on the street and throw the stuff on the street. Then they'd do their wudu there, even sleep there. And i wouldnt be surprised if they took a leak there too. Infact theres soo much garbage that the government has to hire a 24/7 cleaning crew... and its still not clean.
The really sad thing is around Namaaz time the mosque gets absolutely packed. So people have to pray outside, not only in the courtyard, but in the actually streets leading up to the mosque! lol, thats not the best part. The BEST part is for 2 Jummahs the mosque got sooo packed we had to read in a Shopping Centre (no joke, opposite the Al-Haraam). Sure beats reading in the street... although i admit that was an experience.
One of the things you'll notice when you visit Makkah or Medina is the different ways in which people pray. I saw this one guy doing sajda continiously for 10 mins. Alot of other people would swivel their shahada finger like its a helicopter whilst praying. I even saw one guy on his mobile whilst he was praying. And I was always told to look right infront where i would prostrate and NOT to look around. But it seems these guys were given a different set of instructions.
What really irritated me was the lack of respect some people had whilst there. Im the type of guy who doesnt give a crap what others think of me. Why should i? Im not here to please anyone but my Lord. But when muslims show lack of respect to Islam WHILST being in Gods House THAT REALLY GETS ON MY NERVES!! For example: people who walk into the Al-Haraam with their shoes on! WTF!! Then they'll be like "Yeah man, we on Hajj... keepin it real!"... yeah., keepn it real STUPID! But thats not the worse part. The WORSE part is people who will recite the Quran and then put it on the floor and decide to take a nap??? WTH! Or as one guy did, recite the Quran whilst resting it ontop of his shoes!! (holy mother of jesus and all her wacky nephews!!!).
Maybe right about now, i can see why 'You' would think im being judgemental. And maybe he's right. Maybe i am judging them. But i'll tell you something else, before i judge them. I also judge myself. And ill tell you something else i hold myself against a much higher standard than i do others. So if im being overly critical about others here, imagine how critical i am about myself. Im a complicated man.
The last 5 days of Hajj... omg. They were really tough. I suppose i should have known saving my soul was not going to be easy. I dunno why i dont listen to myself more often.
From Makkah we went to Mina which is basically huge flat land with rows and rows and rows of tents. You're basically sharing a tent with the rest of your group. So 30 or so people per tent. You have about as much room to lie down and thats it. And we had this one guy on the other side of the tent who snored like you WOULDNT BELIEVE!! Like an aeroplane taking off! Glad he wasnt next to me. But i guess the worse part was the fact that your sharing something like 30 toilets (2 of which are European toilets... the others being 'holes in the ground' [as i call them]) between around 300 odd people! And lets just say the state of some of them is..... ew.
So me and bro didnt eat at all (much to my parents worry). We simply drank tea and Zamzam and maybe nibbled some fruit. Speaking of food, being in the middle of the desert there are a handful of guys selling fruits and chappatti etc. Lets just say i wouldnt trust the food... unless you want to be going to the bathroom every hour. I think we were only in Mina for a day and then we went to Arafat.
You cant go on hajj and NOT go to Arafat. Its a must. Its the site where Adam (as) and Eve (as) were re-united and forgiven. Plus they say if your prayer was not granted in Medina or Makkah it will definately be granted at Arafat (thats how important it is!). Again Arafat is nothing more than flat land in the middle of the desert with loads of tents. We did visit the mountain thingy but its not necessary to be there, due the number of people. As long as you're in the boundaries of Arafat your prayers will be acceptd. Which is pretty much what we did there all day. I did pick up the habbit of doing tasbee here... it helpd clear my head and keep me in the present rather than allow it to roam. And then the standinging in the sun reciting our final prayers as the sun sets.
From Arafat that night we went to Muzalifah... which again is a barron waste land... and this time without the tents. Except around hajj time its packed with people. Here you're only doing 2 things. 1) collecting 49 stones [the size of beans]... we collected 52 just incase we missed (as if id miss?) 2) spending the night. Thats right you'll be spending the night out in the open no tent, just you the wilderness and 3/4 million other people roughing it. If you imagine how tramps live then you're on the right lines. Its worse for the guys coz we're still wearing the Ihram (which is basically 2 towels: one covering the top and the other covering everything else). And believe me, it does get cold at night. Again, prob not a good idea to eat or drink anything here coz now you'r sharing really crappy toilets between 500 or more other people. After fajhr the next morning you're back off to Mina, where you'll drop off anything you were carrying with you since Arafat and then go Stone the Devil
Was looking forward to this bit. Stoning the Devil. Finally... all those years of playing Kingy would pay off. The Devil was in for a whoopin.