The haj rituals will start in Arafah on the Day of Wukuf which falls on the ninth of Dzulhijjah in islamic calendar. So during the period from our arrival in Makkah up until that day, the hujjaj-to-be would make all preparations and catch up with prayers and sunat activties. We would go for Zuhr or Asr parayers and stayed there in the mosque until Fajr and went back for a little rest till noon. That would be our daily routine during these hari-hari menanti. People were everywhere; filling up the mosque, the streets around Makkah and the bazaar (suq).The crowd was unbelievably huge and nasty. It wasn’t easy anymore to do the tawaf as people were pushing and running like …we were in a battle or something. One thing we should remember is that NEVER in whatever circumstances to underestimate the crowd…it could be fatal. Avoid the crowd. But since people were everywhere how could you ever avoid them.
One day we decided to stay away from the mosque and hired a minibus for a tour around Makkah. The first stop was Jabal Nur (Nur Hill). We did not go up just walking around the foothill. Then we stopped at Jabal Rahmah in Arafah about 20 km from Makkah. Arafah where more than 2 million people will convene for a start of haj, is a desert (as most of this country is)…an almost empty space as far as the eyes can see. From atop Jabal Rahmah it was a huge sand field with spots of greens where the trees struggle to grow. And the place was really hot; like the sun was right above your head. Here , at Jabal Rahmah, was the place where people ride a camel for 10 riyals. I did not bother to get on one. Walking up Jabal Rahmah was not that difficult as the hill was quite small as compared to others. On the way back we stopped at Mina and visited the three jamrats. Then drove by Jabal Thur for a quick view of this historic place.
Next : Yaumul Arafah