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The Imam's Daughter

My Hajj Journal: Part 4
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Sunday February 9, 2003


1:30 am – Woke up, got ready, and went down to get on the bus to go to Mina. The trip went smoothly because we left earlier than others normally do. We arrived in Mina 5 am. We prayed Fajr in our tents. There was a tent for all the men and a tent for all the women that were right next to each other. (between our tents was just a big piece of canvas, which we lifted to listen to the Imam’s lectures and for prayers.) To our surprise there were sleeping mats provided. It was a carpeted white tent with lights and A/C. Toilet facilities and a tea kitchen were nearby. We had breakfast and then prayed Salat al-duha, then had a halaqa. Then we had lunch – chicken nuggets sandwich with fries and fruit. (Fast food in a tent in the middle of the desert … how spiritual…how healthy… YUM J.) Then we had another group activity. We had an Islamic jeopardy contest between the men and the women, the men won. My back is killing me. Then we prayed Asr. At 6pm we had dinner – chicken and rice - but we weren’t that hungry. Then we prayed Maghrib and Isha qasr. We went to sleep at 9 pm until 3:30 am.

Mena, the tent city (from the web)

Inside a Mena Tent (from the web)

Monday February 10, 2003


6:00 am – Prayed Fajr. Left for Arafat.


8:28 am – arrived in Arafat tents, breakfast. Then slept until Duhr. Then we prayed Duhr and Asr qasr in a metal tent – A/C, carpet, curtains. Went to a hill before the Mountain of Rahmeh (jabal rahmeh) and made du’a. We went out to see Jabal Rahmeh even though the Imam did not want us to. We walked through people, buses, and cars, then we saw it so we went inside that camp and found a back alley leading to the small hill before Rahmeh, we were satisfied to just stand there. We made du’a while facing the qibla and standing. If we looked to our right we could see Jabal Rahmeh.

Jabal Rahmeh (from the web)

A tent in Arafat (from the web)

Rahmeh Mountain is not so big as I thought it would be, there were so many peole on it, like small white dots on the mountain. But it was a little far and hot in the sun and crowded. So we listened to the advice and didn’t go. (We just didn’t feel the spirituality in making du’a in a tent. We wanted to go to Jabal Rahmeh and make du3a from there but our Imam strongly discouraged us to go there because of the heat, the crowds, and the far distance. So instead we went on another smaller mountain close to our tent, with umbrellas in hand, where we could atleast see Jabal Rahmeh and feel the spirituality of making du’a on a mountain in the desert, in the same area that the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) had stood.)


Standing on the hill was moving. Inside the tent was not very real or emotional.  I couldn’t feel it that well. I wanted to be standing on the mountain, within the crowd, and feeling the heat so I can have some fear of the day of judgement which will be similar. I wanted to stand outside at least but there was no place. So I stood inside in the front corner and read my du’a list. (I had written up a du’a list of everyone I needed to make du’a for.)


We then went back to our tent and had lunch. Then we privately made du’a and/or read Qur’an in the tent. Then the Imam led us in a group du’a that covered basically everything you could ever make du’a for. It was very moving. Then we had dinner.


The Arafat tents are inside the Arafat area so we stayed in our tent most of the time. The bathroom facilities were few and crowded at all times. The women’s area was not covered for women. No trash bins in the bathroom so pads and paper were on the floor.


Arafat Tips

- Make wudu inside the bathroom (there are water hoses in there) and don’t drink too much.

- The umbrellas we got ended up not working very well. Better idea: put a wet towel on your head or a prayer rug (women only, men are not allowed to cover their heads while in Ihram) or get a real sun-blocking umbrella. (our umbrella was of a thin white plastic material, so the sun went right through it.)


6:42 pm – Got on the bus again. Leaving Arafat to go to Muzdalifa. The walked us to the bus 5 at a time so we wouldn’t get lost.


9:13 pm – still in the bus. Haven’t moved yet. There is a traffic jam of huge busses. Patience is key. Writing gives me something to do. Every time I made du’a the bus moved subhanAllah. But I think at this point everyone is making du’a.


Because of the traffic jam, the Imam decided that the men will go to the Jamrat and throw pebbles for themselves and their spouses/mothers/daughters. And the women will go back to the hotel and then make Tawaf Al- Ifadah. So the guys (and 2 rebellious women) got off at Mina to collect stones and throw them at the Jamrat. Then they found a pickup truck to take them back to the hotel. This took an hour. Then they made Tawaf and Sa’ee and Halq (shaving the head).

Traffic Jam in Leaving Arafat (from the web)

Tuesday February 11, 2003


I went for Tawaf at 3:30 am with Kawthar and Um Talal. We tried first in the first floor but it was too crowded and dangerous. (Um Talal was an elderly woman so we were afraid for her, but we were also afraid for ourselves because it was extremely crowded next to the Ka’bah with people squishing us and pushing us way too much.) So we went up to the 2nd floor. That was much looser and had a good view of the Ka’bah. We didn’t even need to hold hands. The problem with it is was a longer Tawaf, a bigger circle to go around. So we finished 1 hours after the others. More walking to do. I almost fell asleep while walking the Sa’ee (between Safa and Marwa). We also did Sa’ee on the 2nd floor. Sa’ee was crowded at the Safaa side. After that we prayed Fajr in the 1st line so we had a good view of the Ka’bah while praying. After fajr we were walking back to the hotel and we noticed a lot of little girls wearing pretty dresses at the Haram. It must be Eid!! Then we heard the khutba as we were walking, it turned out we were really far off from the hotel. Then the Eid prayer started and we were confused whether we should pray or not. So we didn’t. We later learned that the Hujjaj do not need to pray the Eid prayer, so we were right in our decision.


Khaled looked funny with a shaved head. :)


5:00 pm – left Makkah for Mina.


10:00 pm - back in Mina. Some of our sleeping mats were taken. We left at Asr, but didn’t arrive until 10pm. It took us 5 hours! So they said tomorrow we are staying here, not going back to our hotel in Makkah. We prayed, ate, and slept after Isha.


Next time: The last 3 days of our trip and the last part of the journal:

Throwing stones at Jamraat- the last ritual of Hajj, our attempt to locate Khaled’s relatives in the Jordanian tents, my experience at the Mina bathrooms, our last day in Makkah, and our trip back to Boston.



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