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Hajj – 8th Dhul Hajj: to Mina

November 26, 2009

Continuing from yesterday’s post…

We decided to squeeze in an additional Umrah before our departure to Mina in the morning. We got ready, and left the hotel at 12:30 a.m, to an underground tunnel where a makeshift taxi area was. We stopped a taxi and asked how much it would be to go to the Meeqat – 200 Riyal! I had heard that sometimes the Makkah locals provide “taxi” service to supplement their income during Hajj season, so we tried to flag a random car, which actually stopped for us! He said he would charge 40 Riyal (which we initially thought was the total price but actually was for one way), which was much better than 200, so we hopped in, and prayed he wouldn’t kidnap us or something. Once en route, there were some crazy drivers, and our own driver likewise was driving like a manic. He was very wound up for some reason, maybe too much coffee? And at one point started frantically searching for something with his right hand while driving; turned out to be a tasbih (prayer beads), which once he got his hands on, started using to pray at lightning speed.

We eventually arrived at the Meeqat, prayed, and promptly went back to the cab, then rushed back to the Haram. They had blocked off a road near the end, so he dropped us off as near as possible. We walked for about 15 minutes, and got to the Haram, starting our Umrah around 2:00 a.m. It was more crowded than during our earlier Tawaf, despite the time. Still, we tried to go more towards the Kaaba, and were able to do so to an extent. We did see the Maqam-e-Ibrahim, where the footprints of the Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) are. After the Tawaf, we drank zamzam, then completed the sa’ee. I then got my haircut. By the time we were finished, it was around 4:15 a.m.! We went back to the hotel room to freshen up, then promptly back to the Haram for Tahajjud and then Fajr. I am ACHING!

Just before Fajr I was able to take a photo from the third floor of the Haram:

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Turning around, you can see how close our hotel is to the Haram complex; it’s the building to the left. The people facing left in the photo are doing the Tawaf:

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After Fajr, we stayed through sunrise until Ashraaq. This was a good opportunity to take more photos 🙂

The sunrise was absolutely amazing, I felt as though I was in a movie. The sky turned from deep purple, to brilliant orange, then a crystal sky blue.

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The above I think are my favorite photos from the Hajj!

I also took a couple pictures inside:

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There seem to be different styles within the Haram depending on when the structure was built.

We then went back to the hotel, around 7 or 7:30 a.m, and I had to take a short nap.

At around 11:00, I got up, quickly got ready, and put on the Ihram for our departure to Mina. My stomach was getting upset… bad timing, as I heard the bathrooms in Mina and Arafat are best to be avoided. I took some Pepto-Bismol, and hoped for the best. After Zuhr prayer in the room, we went to the lobby to meet the rest of the crew. Here are the guys:

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After 2 nafls, we boarded the bus; it was now around 2:00 p.m. Raining outside…

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We left shortly afterwards, with a special treat of the Imam reciting a dua:

I ❤ Imam Nasr! Here he is (forgot to get rid of the red eye, sorry Imam):

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We reached Mina around 2:30 p.m. The Jamarat complex for stoning of the devils was on the right side, and our tent was to our left, immediately after a long tunnel where people were also walking.

We got to the tent, and proceeded to our section. Basically, one large tent contains many different sections with groupings of about 20 or 30 people. Here is the entrance to our section:

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Once in the tent, we each took a spot and organized our bed/chair/cushion thing. We also got one blanket, one sheet and one pillow. Thank goodness for the cushions, because the floor was wet from the rain, not to mention really bumpy regardless.

Here is my bed, the one in the tan with the black blanket:

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A short movie clip of the tent:

After some prayers, I took some more precautionary Pepto-Bismol after Maryam came to inform me that the bathrooms here were not as clean as one hoped.

The Imam then started a Quran recitation circle, then lead us in making some duas. This was followed by Maghrib prayers, then time for dinner!

There was only one table set up for the main dishes, and another table for the sides/salads, which didn’t seem to be enough for so many people. After a little while though, everybody was able to get some food. Here is a pic of the sides/salads:

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I decided to not eat too much, as had been recommended in many references I read before the trip. I got a plate with some rice, olives, and one skewer each of Chicken and Beef kabobs:

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They had some nice lights set up in the tent at night:

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Oh I didn’t even notice the hand in the bottom right corner until now…

After dinner the Imam lectured and led a discussion about the Quran:

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Afterwards, we prayed Isha and then after listening to the Imam discussing tomorrow’s plans, went to bed around 8:40 p.m.

Tomorrow, we leave for Arafat!

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