(Continued from the previous post)
When I used to listen to lectures about Hajj, before actually going there, I would always wonder about the significance of spending the first 24 hrs in Mina. It is my strong belief that nothing in our religion is without purpose… but there are some things which one does not understand until one actually has the opportunity to experience it. And so when we spent that one day in Mina I realized that it was a sort of orientation for us…
With nothing to do except the five prayers, we could absorb the enormity of the blessing which Allah had bestowed on us in the form of Hajj… Although we were a group of twelve or fourteen women in that tent, there was complete peace and harmony as everyone was busy doing zikr or reading Quran. So I felt like Allah had brought us there to think and contemplate and to prepare ourselves for the great day which was the climax of Hajj… the ninth of Zilhajj… known as the Yaum-e-Arafah (the day of Arafat).
I was happy that I had come so near it and yet afraid too… will I be able to perform all the rituals in the right way? Will my hajj be accepted? So it was a good opportunity to pray to Allah for his help because it became so clear to me for the first time in my life that nothing can be achieved without Allah’s assistance. He alone has all the power and might. And he has given us these limited intellectual and physical abilities as a test through which we prove our sincerity and obedience towards Allah…
Soon the day turned into night and we went off to sleep knowing that in a few hours time we will get up and leave for the plains of Arafaat… our final destination. The most amazing thing about Mina was that it used to be so easy to fall asleep and equally easy to wake up… while here in my own comfortable bed these are the hardest things to do. Maybe it was the happiness of being in Allah’s home or maybe the excitement of camping and travelling!! But anyway it was a sight to see everyone getting ready in the middle of the night for that most awaited journey… the drive to Arafaat.
I had envisioned that place as an open ground but instead there were tents all over that place. Ours was just a little distance away. Walking towards it with all the ladies, I felt like a child… out on her first such adventure! And then I thought to myself that this is what makes all the difference… some people say Hajj is so difficult… they elaborate the hardships so much that it feels like a heavy burden; although the real thing is the feeling which it inspires in our heart. If you feel happy and excited by the realization that it is a meeting with Allah… if you feel honoured that Allah has chosen you to be his guest on this most special occasion… if you feel thrilled to look forward to what will come next… then all the “hardships” are pushed back into the background. But if the heart is focused on other things then you will only hear complaints, both inside and out.
As I thought about these things I felt that this lesson is not just relevant to Hajj, rather it can be stretched to our whole life. Allah has not made this world a paradise. It has both good and bad things. If we enjoy the good things and be grateful for them then Allah will bless our hearts with the energy and wisdom to deal with the things which are not so good. But if we keep focusing on the bad things then we will not be able to do any good at all.
(More to follow soon inshaAllah)