Traveljabi – Hajj 2019 Edition

unnamed-2

Note to self: So this is an in-depth travel diary of the whole Hajj process and my personal experience. We went with the group IMOF and our Hajj group leader was Brother Munir. He was absolutely amazing and provided a really great trip. I would totally recommend going with IMOF, he’s been doing this for more than 10 years and has a lot of contacts and respect in Saudi. IMOF is the only group in South Florida who is registered with the Ministry of Hajj, and if you mention IMOF or Brother Munir to any coordinator there they’ll know who you are and take care of you. His adab and character are the main things that stick out for me, and something I really admire. May Allah continue to bless him in it and allow him to maintain it throughout his life.

That’s not to say that it’s not an intense journey and it will test your patience, there will be hiccups here and there with every group but the overall experience was amazing. The price of this group was $8050 and we went from August 4th – August 23rd. And while it seems like a lot of money, after doing a lot of research it was on the cheaper end compared to other groups and what they offered. We stayed right above the haram in the Zam Zam Pullman hotel and we could see the Kaabah from our bedroom window. (Which is really convenient because you can see how packed and rushed it is for tawaaf without leaving your room and prepare accordingly) The hotel in Medina was also beautiful and right next to Masjid an-Nawabi. Breakfast and dinner were provided every day by the hotel throughout our trip, and with his connects we didn’t have to wait long for busses. I’m really glad we chose IMOF and would recommend going with them, they did a spectacular job.

This is the information that they provided to us on the day we left. They laminated it and put it on a lanyard so it made it super easy to refer back to in case you forgot a step.

Screen Shot 2020-03-17 at 5.00.05 PM

IMOF Hajj lanyard

In preparation for Hajj, we listened to a lot of online lectures, went to an in-person class by the local imam (they also had a group that went to Hajj this year so it worked out conveniently because we attended their class), and read up on books. I took notes from all the classes and summarized it into a neat little handbook. The link to it is provided below and you can print it out if you’re going to Hajj in the future. (Remember to make dua for me and my family if you guys go too!) It came in handy, especially during Umrah and Arafat. There’s a dua chapter in the back of the handbook which you can choose to print or not. It’s mostly personal but general duas that I think are really nice to make. I removed the very deep and personal duas as well as most duas that were given to me by friends or family to protect their and mine’s privacy. I hope you guys can benefit from it!

Screen Shot 2019-09-29 at 2.51.42 PM.png

Hajj 2019 notes

Purchases:

Some items that definitely came in clutch and I would recommend to take are the following:

Personal fan: I like this one because you can wear it around your neck and it’s hands-free. Also, it can be adjusted and lifted so it’s literally pointed to your face. The battery lasts a really long time and it’s rechargeable.

Screen Shot 2019-10-03 at 7.37.33 AM
OPOLAR Necklace Fan

Drawstring backpack: This one was really nice because it had a pocket in front for a water bottle which comes in handy when you want to fill it with zam zam. It also had a zip in the front for easy to reach items that you need frequently. The only issue I had with mine was that the strap unknotted on one side but it was an easy fix.

Drawstring Backpack Sports Gym Bag for Women Men Children Large Size with Zipper and Water Bottle Mesh Pockets

Slipper socks: These come in handy for the haram. You’re not allowed to wear shoes in there and when doing tawaaf so they help your feet from becoming callused or worn out.  (Remember only women can wear socks when in ihram) I loved these ones because they had extra comfy cushy soles on the bottom. I also got the most colorful ones so they won’t be stolen and can be noticed from afar.

Screen Shot 2019-11-09 at 7.12.38 PM
World’s Softest Cozy Slippers

Mist spray bottle: In the tents of Mina, these were a lifesaver paired with the portable fan. Misting some water on your face and then using the fan was such a relief from the heat. I like these because they were super small and portable and the mist was really fine.

Screen Shot 2019-11-09 at 7.14.28 PM
4 Pieces 1 Oz (30ML) Travel Spray Bottles Mist Spray Bottle Fine Mist Spray Bottles 

Toilet paper and unscented baby wipes: For those of you who can’t go without toilet paper make sure you take some with you. There’s none when you leave for Mina, Arafat, and Muzdalifah. The bathroom situations are the worst and everything is just really wet. So be prepared for the worst.

Pedialyte or any electrolyte replacements: It’s really common to get dehydrated while in Hajj so make sure to have these on hand.

Screen Shot 2019-11-09 at 7.27.08 PM
Pedialyte

Universal chargers and money belt: I like this money belt because it can go under your abaya, and lays flat against you. The only downside is that since it’s so hot outside you tend to sweat even more under the belt, and there were times where the money was wet too. I know…gross, Poné was smart and had put the money in a ziplock bag so I would recommend doing that.

Screen Shot 2019-11-09 at 7.31.11 PM
Peak Travel Money Belt with RFID Block, Theft Protection

Ginger tea, honey, and lemon packets: This was a genius idea from Salma and it truly helped us a lot all throughout Hajj. We didn’t end up getting sick until after Hajj was over but during the whole process it was great to have on hand.

Long cotton loose dresses or loose cotton palazzo pants: Something that I didn’t get but next time I would get would be long cotton loose dresses instead of abayas. With abayas, there are layers and that makes the heat even worse. And don’t do what I did and bring those one size jersey stretchy type of abayas. They are THE worst in the heat. Loose long cotton dresses with perhaps a pair of shorts underneath would also be helpful when going to the bathroom. With abayas, you literally have to undress so you don’t get everything wet and dirty. You don’t want your ihram to get dirty because you don’t have access to your hotel.

Hajj Diary

Day one, Sunday, August 4th, 2019: Since we were going to be in the air while we passed the meeqat we took a shower and prepared ourselves for when we have to enter the state of ihram in Istanbul. We arrived at MIA airport a few hours early, met with the group, went through TSA, headed to our gate, and prayed Asr in jamaat. Close to our boarding time, it was Maghrib so we combined our prayers and prayed in jamaat. In the first rakat of Maghrib someone collapsed right next to us, I legit thought she died because she wasn’t moving. But we helped her up and someone took her to get help. Her nose was bleeding and she chipped her tooth, it hit me right then and there how no matter how hard we try to control things or want things a certain way Qadr, and the will of Allah, is ultimately in his hands. Alhumdulillah she was ok and was able to come with us, but it was a jolting experience. Once we boarded (we were on Turkish Airlines) we were really surprised at how hot the airplane was. Like uncomfortably warm for a plane since they’re usually really cold. It was frankly unnerving and a really hard 12-hour flight. But we did it. We tried to be patient and reminded ourselves that maybe it’s in preparation for the Saudi heat. WE ended up having to rely on the watching for the sunrise to pray fajr since we were moving through time zones.

Day two, Monday, August 5th, 2019: We landed in Instanbul and prayed Dhur and Asr in jamaat. We were given an hour and 15 min to get food and eat before we had to start getting ready to get into ihram and pray Maghrib and Isha. *Tip: Bring a portable lightweight prayer mat with you as you’ll need it often throughout this entire trip* After we stated our intention and niyah for Hajj Tammatu that we’re going to perform umrah, and then said a due about how our intention for doing this is only for the sake of Allah, not for praise or showing off or bragging. It’s important that you say this niyah out loud! We boarded the plane and this is when you recite the talbiyah continuously and as often as you can throughout.

Once we landed in Jeddah we went through airport immigration and baggage claim. Our group had a green flag with the name IMOF printed on it so it was easy to spot amongst the crowd. When we met up with our group, we were assigned numbers (I was number 92!) The reason for this was for efficiency, so instead of having to read all 110 peoples name he could just call our numbers and we would say “here” and it would go by faster and easier). Throughout the trip, he would often call roll to make sure everyone was with the group and no one got lost. So once we got our bags, we went through customs and walked towards gate C3 outside. It was super humid and hot and it was only 4 am. *Tip:” Keep your portable fan in your personal bag so it’s easily accessible. You’ll definitely need it at this point.” We prayed Fajr and were given 15 minutes to buy any food and drinks. We waited for a while and once the bus came we had to make 3 lines of 36 people each. At the bus, we gave our passports to the drivers/workers (I’m not really sure who they were, to be honest, but they took them from us but I guess they work for the Ministry of Hajj?) and we wouldn’t see it again until hajj was over and we were back at the airport. The bus was air-conditioned and everyone was still reciting the talbiyah. We were given snacks and water on the bus and after about 1 and a half hours we reached our hotel. We were told to leave all our bags outside with the bus and they’ll bring them inside.

Our hotel was Zamzam Pullman and at the lobby, we were told to split up into groups of 8 (Men and women have separate rooms) freshen up and meet back in the lobby at 10:30 am for dhur and umrah. I feel like this caused so much drama and it was so difficult because whoever you room with is who you’re staying with in the hotel for the entirety of Mecca. So choose carefully. Also, you wouldn’t get your room key until you made a group of 8, and no one wanted to split up. It took so long for the women to get organized and split into groups because everyone wanted to stay together or stay within cliques etc. After we made our group (My sisters, and mom and I made a group of 5 and we needed 3 extra people) we went to our room and freshened up, used the bathroom, made wudu and went back down to the lobby around 10:50 am. The group wasn’t all there and we were all told to go back to the room and relax until 3:30 because they close the gates of the haram around 11 am for dhur and no one can get in.  At 3:30 we went down to the lobby and met with the group.*Tip:”Bring your portable fan, your portable lightweight prayer mat, sock slippers (since you can’t wear shoes in the haram), and a bag for your shoes (Only women can wear socks, men have to go barefoot because of the conditions of their ihram. Also bring a small backpack with an empty water bottle to fill with zamzam and some snacks like granola bars) because you’ll need it when you perform Umrah” We prayed asr, and went to go perform umrah. Brother Munir asked the group if there’s anyone who wants to do it on their own because they’re going to get the wheelchair people situated and they’re going on the 3rd floor. We decided to do it on our own on the ground floor because it wasn’t too crowded at the time and we wanted to see the Kabah upfront and close. *Tip: I would recommend to do it with the group if it’s your first time. We went with my parents and they’ve gone before so it was easier to navigate. But def go with the group because it can get chaotic and the guidance is welcome.” The moment you see the Kaabah it’s such a beautiful and spiritual experience. You are reminded of your purpose and there is such a pure sense of joy and happiness and you’re just crying at the sight of it and making dua. It’s a moment you’ll never forget. After we did our tawaafs we tried to pray the 2 rakats behind maqamul Ibrahim (It doesn’t necessarily have to be behind it because there are so many people) but it was such a mission to find space, and the peace to pray. The guards would literally turn you around while you’re praying and break your prayer to get you to move. I know it’s all to control the crowds but it was unnerving to see.

IMG_9388

After we prayed our 2 rakats, we went to perform Sai (the walking/running between Safa and Marwa), and just a tip, you can pray the 2 rakats here too because it’s much more peaceful. There’s zam dam stations here where you can drink to your heart’s content. (And it’s super refreshing and cold which was pleasantly surprising!) *Tip: If you travel through Turkish airlines before you land in Jeddah they give you a mini hajj kit and inside there’s a counter. It would come in helpful for tawaaf and sai so I would recommend bringing it. Also, don’t forget to bring little scissors so your hair can be cut after Sai and you can exit ihram.” After you complete Sai and exit have the men in your group shave their head there so they can exit ihram and then can, in turn, cut your hair. We made the mistake of cutting our own hair but remember one of the conditions of ihram is that you can’t cut your hair. So you need someone who’s out of ihram to cut it for you. We ended up having to pay a fidyah (a penalty) because of the mistake.

We went back to the hotel, showered, freshened up and headed to dinner. (The showers are a bit odd but you have to pull up on the knob for it to work. It took us a while to figure it out, so just putting that out there.) With our hajj package, breakfast and dinner are free every day and there’s a huge buffet of things to choose from. By the time we finished dinner and went back to our room it was around 1 am and we decided not to go to sleep since we wanted to go to tahajjud the next day.

Day three, Tuesday, August 6th, 2019: We went down to the haram around 3 am and performed tawaaf with our roommates. *Tip: “The only place where you can perform tawaaf and this specific act of worship is in Mecca, so take advantage of it and try and do as many as you can throughout your time here!” My mom really wanted to touch the black stone and so we split into two groups because it was really really crowded and there was a lot of pushing and shoving and really hot. Masho, Ami and one of our roommates went to go deeper in the crowds and me, Sumreen, and 2 of the other roommates did tawaaf more in the middle/edges. We were supposed to reconvene at the green light but it was blocked off and we got lost and couldn’t find them There also was no wifi and we didn’t have a Saudi SIM so we couldn’t contact them. We tried to leave and go back to the hotel so we could access our phone but they closed the gates to the haram until after fair. We tried to find a place to pray but it was so crowded that it was really difficult. We finally found a place and prayed tahhajud, and made lots of dua until fair. *Tip: “Learn how to perform the janaza prayer because after every prayer you perform it in congregation.”  (Also, during this time in Mecca you don’t combine your prayers or shorten them. You try and plan your day so you make it to the Haram for every prayer. Each prayer in the Haram is equivalent to about 100,000 prayers so definitely take advantage of this and perform a lot of nafls as well.)

After Fajr, they opened the gates and we were walking back to the hotel and we caught a glimpse of the rest of our group! We reunited and met up with my dad and Moudi and we all went to breakfast. *Tip: “The fruit there is so yummy! Take a backpack and bring some oranges and fruits for later to snack on” We finally went to sleep and woke up and headed to the haram. *Tip: “Take a backpack with your slipper socks, a bag for your shoes, snacks, food, empty water bottle so you can fill it with zam zam” We tried to find a carpeted area because we planned on staying there until Isha. After Isha, we had a mandatory IMOF meeting at 9:20 pm and had to be back in the hotel room and wait for a call to tell us where to meet the next day.

Day four, Wednesday, August 7th, 2019: We went for tahajjud but got there a little late so we had to pray in the archway. After Fajr, we slept at the hotel, had breakfast and then went to pray dhur at the haram. We tried to find where the carpeted area was upstairs and the best way to find it is to find where the escalators are and it’s toward the left-hand side. The carpeted area definitely comes in handy when you’re there for a long time. We stayed there until Isha so we brought some snacks and water bottles. (that you can refill with zam zam water since there are coolers there) After Isha, we met with the group for details about the Hajj process. We were given 2 options, whether to walk to Mina or to take the bus on Friday. *Tip: “I would recommend taking the bus but if you want to get there before the crowds or before everyone else and choose your bed in the tent then I would say to go with the walking group.”

Moudi went with the walking group

We were told that we had to pack really light because the tents are really tightly packed and congested so there’s not a lot of space. So just to pack a backpack with a spare set of clothes just in case your ihram gets dirty and any necessities like medication and stuff. *Tip: “Pack colorful hijabs so you can be easily spotted in the crowd.”

Day five, Thursday, August 8th, 2019: We prayed tahajjud in the carpeted area and then went to the hotel to sleep. We were super tired, and me and Poni woke up late for Dhur and didn’t make it in time to pray in jamat so we prayed at the hotel. But when everyone else came back we found out they all performed tawaaf and got to touch the Kaabah! Me and Poni were so sad and it really made me rethink and reaffirm my intentions about making the most of my time here. To not let sleep and laziness and Shaytaan get the best of me. To miss out on something so big made my heartache and long to do and be better. Me and Poni were longing to touch the Kaabah so my dad went with us down there for asr. We prayed right by the Kaabah so we can assess the crowd and see if maybe we can perform tawaaf and get another chance. It was SO hot and crowded and we knew we wouldn’t be able to :'(. We went back to the hotel to pack our backpacks for Hajj. We prayed Maghrib and Isha, had dinner and showered because we wouldn’t have time tomorrow before leaving for Mina.

Day six, Friday, August 9th, 2019: We prayed tahajjud and got back to the hotel so we can get ready to be in ihram. We were supposed to wait in our room after fair because we were going to get a call to tell us where to meet for the bus. At 8am a lot of people from the group left the room to go to the kaabah because there were not a lot of people doing tawaaf at this time and they thought they would be able to touch the black stone. We didn’t go do tawaaf with them because we were worried that the bus might come while we were downstairs. The tentative time that was given was at 10am but the busses can come early and we would have to depart quickly. The risk of missing Hajj just to touch the black stone wasn’t worth it in our eyes. The people ended up making it back at 10:30 (The busses ended up coming at 11am), so alhumdulillah everything ended up working out. We were told to pack super light and bring just a backpack, so we grabbed them and headed toward the bus.

*Tip: At the tents of Mina, pick your bed quickly and towards the wall! The walls are where the fans hits while the beds in the middle are like a hot sauna and you’re literally sweating all the time.” The tent had our entire group in there (54 women, and 68 men) and there was a divider in the middle separating the men and the women. They lifted the divider when it was time for prayer and when there were announcements to be made but other than that there was always a separation.

IMG_9380

There’s a lot of food so definitely share it so it doesn’t go to waste. It’s not all that great but we were also just trying to limit our intake so we didn’t have to go to the bathroom as much. We were told to go to the bathroom an hour before you actually have to go because the lines are super long. There are only 2 western-style toilets, and the rest were the squatting on the floor kind. Me, baji, and Poni decided to go check out where the bathrooms and wudu area were and I randomly ended up finding Moudi outside the tents. Moudi and I decided to explore a little. (He had access to data so we pinned our location. *Tip: “You can get lost REALLY easily so I wouldn’t recommend doing this unless you have access to your phone”) We went on a mission to find the local Augusta group but didn’t end up finding them so we went back to our tent. They had coolers full of water, Fanta, and ice, it was really refreshing and cooling.

We prayed Asr, and then after Maghrib, we were given instructions for the day of Arafat. Our group leader timed it so that we would be one of the last groups to leave Mina, this way our busses are in the front of the line when we would have to leave Arafat and thus be the first to arrive in Muzdalifah. The space in Muzdalifah is REALLY crowded and there’s not enough space for everyone. This way we get prime space near the bathrooms/wudu area and where the busses leave in the morning.

For Arafat, it’s a really long continuous day of just dua. So our group leader went over the etiquette of dua, starting off with Bismillah, praising Allah, sending salaams to the prophet (SAW), reciting known duas of the prophet, and using Allah’s names while making your dua. After reviewing the etiquettes of dua we were given ice cream (it was mostly melted in cups but still cold, so we drank it like a milkshake). We prayed isha and waited for dinner to be brought for a long time. The men got their dinner before the women, and Moudi had brought some of his for me to eat. It was a chicken burger and fries. (The best dinner out of the entire days of Hajj imo). The women’s side eventually got their dinner and then everyone went to sleep around 11pm. Or tried to at least, it was really humid and hot and claustrophobic. The air was thick and hard to breathe especially since we were in the middle of the tent where the dan didn’t hit. It was really hard to sleep.

Day seven, Saturday, August 10th, 2019: I woke up at 1:30am because it was so hot and I couldn’t sleep. I decided to get up and go do wudu to beat the bathroom lines. We all prayed fajr and then left for Arafat. We had to get there before dhur and made it there around 8:30am. The tent in Arafat was quite large and refreshingly cooling, they had water for us and it was so much comfier than the tents in Mina. There were multiple Hajj groups in the same tent, that’s how large it was. It was also separated by men and women with a divider in between. I was so sleepy…everyone was. It was so odd, every time I would try and make dua I would start falling asleep and would have to try and stay awake. I think it was because of the lack of sleep from the night before. We prayed dhur and asr in Jamat, shortened and combined. There was massive drama with the other group leaders because they didn’t want to do it that way but from everything I had read and researched and learned it was the right way to do it. After praying we went outside to make dua.

Take advantage of this day, it’s the most important day of Hajj. It was really hot and sunny outside while making dua but after 10 min we all started to feel a cool breeze. And then it started thundering really really loud and out of nowhere it just started pouring. The rain was so heavy and the wind was blowing really hard most of the garbage cans were knocked over. It was the most beautiful experience I’ve ever had. Making dua in the rain for hours was such a spiritual boost and felt like a miracle. It’s something I’ll never forget. Moudi and I just sat for hours under an umbrella making dua. The tears and emotions that flowed through both of us were so intimate, pure and life-changing I was so grateful in that moment that he was there with me. That we went through this experience together and had that moment to remember forever.

After the rain subsided we went inside to our respective tents (The men and women are separated). I was soaked and had only brought one change of clothing. But I had made a mistake and only brought a change of clothes for underneath the abaya and didn’t bring an extra abaya. *Tip: Definitely bring more clothing in your backpack* I made more dua in the tent as I was sitting next to my siblings and mom and then ended up going outside with Moudi again. We walked around, made dua, and enjoyed spending time with each other in silence…just absorbing everything that happened. We went back to our tents because our group leader said we should be back by 6:30 to go to Muzdalifah. While we were leaving, there was chaos. 2 people were missing from our group and people were trying to find them. They eventually were found, and while boarding the bus we were given a dinner box and a sleeping bag with a pillow.

We got to Muzdalifah pretty early and it was a good thing we did because it ends up getting really packed. It’s an open area and there are carpets where you lay your sleeping bag. The spot we got was really nice because we were near the bathroom and wudu area. There was no chance to get lost there. It’s literally an open field and no markers so it would be really easy to get lost otherwise. Muzdalifah is a special place where you’re under the stars and it’s really nice to make dua and dhikr We prayed Maghrib and Isha combined and we had a mtg of what we were going to do tomorrow. There were 2 options given, either wait for the bus (you would have to start packing up and getting ready to stand in line at 12 AM or if you were going to walk, you would leave at 4 AM.

Day eight, Sunday, August 11th, 2019: It was hard to sleep in Muzdalifah, and since we were near the bathrooms people were always jumping over you to get there. The group that was going by bus were going to mina while the group that was walking was going to go straight to the jamarat and then the haram. We chose to walk so we would be able to do tawaaf and get out of ihram. But instead of going straight to the Jamarat they made a pit stop in Mina anyways and so we kind of walked a few hours for nothing. The walk to the Jamarat was really hard and long too and after stoning the big pillar we started walking toward the haram. This was another couple of hours. Later we found out that there were some people that took a taxi from the jamarat to the haram. Once we got to the haram we were given 2 options, either go to the hotel to rest or go do tawaaf right away. *Tip: It’s really exhausting and I would recommend going to the hotel to rest before doing tawaaf* 

We ended up doing tawaaf right away because we really wanted to get out of ihram. I felt like I was gonna pass out and was really dizzy and I think now looking back on it, it was the early symptoms of dehydration and a stomach bug. Moudi saw I was getting really weak and he went to get me zam zam but he got separated from the group and we couldn’t find him. It was a little scary because we didn’t have any phones to contact him. He ended up finding us though alhumdulillah. I ended up having to get a wheelchair and it was really embarrassing, The wheelchair guy was really fast and I got lost from the group, Moudi was right by me the whole time, running to keep up with us and then toward the end I got separated from him too. I was alone with the wheelchair guy, had no money to pay him, and was waiting for an hour with this stranger at the end of Marwa. This lady from our group saw me and asked if I needed help and I was so grateful for her and said yes, she had 3 rounds left and said to wait there, but I lost sight of her. I couldn’t walk and was in and out of consciousness all throughout tawaaf and sai so not all there, but Baji and Ami ended up finding me alhumdulillah. Moudi was still lost and looking for me and after waiting for a while we decided to go to the hotel to see if anyone else was there or if Moudi went there. Moudi came back a little while after with heatstroke and was sweating and looked so exhausted. Me and Ami wanted to redo tawaaf and sai because we both felt like it didn’t count and so we didn’t get out of ihram while everyone else did. We ate food, prayed Maghrib, and started walking toward a private bus. Moudi realized he left his phones where he was praying maghrib so he went back to get them but we had to catch the bus. We got separated and Moudi missed the bus, Riyad went back to find him and they caught up to us eventually. The bus dropped us off near the Jamarat but we had to walk a long way back to the tents of Mina.

Day nine, Monday, August 12th, 2019: We stayed in the tents until dhur, we had lunch and then we divided into 2 groups. The fast group and the slow group. (We decided to stay in the slow group so we could take our time). The walk to the Jamarat from our tent was about an hour, and it was really really hot. I was feeling really sick and threw up so they got me a wheelchair. It was embarrassing tbh, but we made it and then threw 7 pebbles (with each pebble thrown you say, Allahu Akbar). Moudi accidentally threw all his 21 stones in the 1st one so we had to collect more later. Right when we finished it started thundering, and then there was a massive downpour of rain with heavy winds. It was unbelievable and a sight to see the rain coming down from the mountains. It flooded the place and it was up to our calves. Jabbar, the guy who drove the wheelchair, his flip flops broke and Moudi gave him his extra pair (which after a while also ended up breaking). He was whooping and running and loved the rain. We all got soaked again. He ran ahead of the group and Moudi stayed with him. Brother Munir said not to pay him until we got to the tent. so he took us all the way to Mina. He was gonna drop us off in the front of a random tent but Moudi didn’t have enough money. So he was forced to find our tent. It was a good thing that it happened that way because we were lost for a long time. We ended up going through so many sections and we didn’t have our bands with us. *Tip: Never take off the band they give you. If you ever get lost, they will be able to place you back to your tent if you have your band. We didn’t even speak Arabic so it was really scary to be lost.* We finally found an info center and found our way back. We were the last ones from the group to get back. Moudi went and got more money from his bag while I had to stay there as collateral. He paid the man and we went back to the tent.

Everyone who didn’t go to the stoning helped us get out of the wet clothes and shared whatever dry clothes they had. It was really nice of them. I changed into dry clothes, we prayed Asr, and I started to get really sick. I threw up again and had stomach issues. It was really gross, and I felt awful. I ended up having to go to the clinic and I sat while Masho stayed in line, suddenly Masho fainted and Abu was there in time to catch her. They shouted for a doctor and they took us both inside. I threw up again and had diarrhea. Baji brought another change of clothes and they gave Masho an IV of fluids. We were all dehydrated and when we got released we went back to the tent and slept.

Day ten, Tuesday, August 13th, 2019: I woke up early, made wudu and prayed isha. waited until fajr time and then started packing. We had to stay ready for the bus. It was really hot because they turned off the fans so people don’t get sick. But instead, it was just humid and hot. I couldn’t eat breakfast because I was still feeling sick. We split into 3 groups.

  1. The people who didn’t do tawaaf and sai and have someone appointed to go the jamarat stoning for them. (Me and Ami were in this category)
  2. People going to the Jamarat and then stay in Mina for an extra day.
  3. People who take the womenfolk to Mecca and then go to Jamarat and then come back to Makkah.

One of the old women had gotten up and left out of the tent and was missing. There was a search party for her because she had left her band too. Everyone was so scared for her because it’s so easy to get lost. We all made lots of duaa for her to return safely. She eventually was found alhumdulillah. The bus came and we took everyone’s stuff so the rest of the family wouldn’t have to carry it to the Jamarat. We went on the bus and reached Mecca. We split into 3 groups again.

  1. The ones who have finished tawaaf and sai and have an appointed person to stone for them. (Baji and Masho)
  2. The ones who haven’t finished tawaaf and sai and have someone appointed to stone for them. (Me and Ami)
  3. The ones who haven’t finished tawaaf and sai and don’t have an appointer.

Our group was supposed to meet back at level P2 at 10:30, but some people didn’t show up until 11:30. We were too late because they close up shop for dhur. We had to go back to the room and wait until after dhur. We went after and finally completed it and could change out of ihram. After we got some chicken nuggets from Burger King and prayed Maghrib and Isha and then went to sleep.

Day eleven, Wednesday, August 14th, 2019: Woke up for tahajjud and then prayed fajr and went back to sleep. We ate breakfast and everyone went shopping but I stayed back with Moudi to help him pack. He was leaving early, on the 16th, because of his work. We went to go pray dhur, had some ice cream and then lunch.

Day twelve-Day fifteen, Thurs-Sun, August 15th-August 18th, 2019: We spent most of the time here in Mecca, praying, shopping and enjoying eating out. On Sunday we made our final tawaaf Al-Widaa and waited until our bus came for Medina. There were 3 busses and we were on bus #2. We left at 10:30am and made a pit stop during dhur time to pray. It was a super hot and dry heat. *Tip: Bring lots and lots of snacks and accept all the water they give you, because you’ll need it.* We reached Medina around 6:30pm and had to wait in the lobby. We got our room at 7pm and prayed isha at Masjid an-nawwabi. It was so beautiful there! We ate dinner at the hotel (It’s included in the hotel fees, and it was better than the food at mecca). We went to sleep.

IMG_9381

Day sixteen-Day twenty, Mon-Fri, August 19th-23rd, 2019: We spent most of our time here praying, shopping and eating out. We did go to the rawdah and it was so intense. they opened the doors and people were crazy and ran. The rawdah is where the prophet SAW is buried but for the women, they blocked it off so you can’t really see anything. We prayed 2 rakats and sent our salaams.

“With regards visiting Madinah and performing the Ziyarah (visiting the grave of the Holy Prophet (ﷺ)), the Prophet (ﷺ) said: “Whoever visits me after my death is like he who had visited me during my life.” [Tabraani] “Whoever performs his Hajj in Makkah, then comes to Madinah with the sole aim of visiting me in my Masjid, for him shall be written (the rewards of) two accepted Hajj.” [Daylami] “When a person stands at my grave reciting blessings on me, I hear it; and whoever calls for blessings on me in any other place, his every need in this world and in the hereafter is fulfilled and on the day of Qiyamah I shall be his witness and intercessor.” [Bayhaqi]” – Islamiclandmarks.com

After our time in Medina, We took a bus back to the airport and that’s where we were given our passports. We could also use our passports to get one jug of zam zam water. They put a limit on how much you can get and you can’t bring in your own zam zam with you. only the packaged one they authorize for you to take.

The End 🙂

Overall it was an amazing experience and such a spiritual high. May Allah grant us the chance to visit again and allow our eyes to witness the beauty and majesty of it all. If this helped any of you in any way please remember us in your duas!

IMG_9391

Leave a Reply