"و أذن في الناس بالحج يأتوك رجالا..."
I have never in my life felt as safe as I did as when I was at 3arafa. There are no words that I can put together that would truly be reflective of my feelings then. 3arafa, the day you feel all your sins are washed off; you are reborn.
You literally feel the presence of Angels around you. No one will be able to truly appreciate what I mean other than those who have actually been there. Had I not already put on the 7ejab prior to leaving home, there was no way I was going to walk out of 3arafa not met7ajba.
"God is so merciful that He is willing to forgive me for ALL my sins, and I can’t put a piece of cloth on my head? I can’t cover my hair? 3aib 3lay ibsara7a."
"اللهم اعوذ بك من الفقر و من شتات الامر و من شر ما يحدث بالليل و النهار أمسي ظلمي مستجيرا بعفوك و أمسي خوفي مستجيرا بأمانك .."
This is where a huge dose of reality was handed to me. Looking around, you see many different people from all parts of the world and all parts of life. You see poverty in its rawest form, yet poverty moved by faith! Simply unreal.
This is where I felt how weak I was as a mortal. This is where it became clear that at the end, it doesn’t matter what educational degree I hold, what job title I carry, how much money I make.. it doesn’t matter what country I was born in and if I can speak languages or not. What matters is how my actions will have earned me a place in Heaven or not. Looking around, I realize those who have lived much more humble lives were on the same level as me standing there, possibly even higher when it came to what really matters!
Road to Mina:
Heading to Mina, anything that can go wrong went wrong. Our bus got lost in the midst of the human oceans of people walking around. It was barely moving as a result and what should’ve taken us 1 hour, at most, took us 9 hours! During that ride some people started to whine and complain that we were late, that we were on the bus too long, etc.
Somehow, I felt completely calm and serene. My mother looked at me and asked if I was ok. I replied, “Never been better. We’re going to narjim el shay6an. He’s trying to mess things up for us. La etkhaloneh yaghlebkom. Don’t sit here and whine. Read Quran, read du3a2, do anything constructive. Complaining will just give el shay6an what he wants.”
So we, as a group, started reading Du3a2 and the more we read, the faster the bus was able to move. The minute we all said out loud “Allahuma Salleee wa Sallim 3ala Mohammed, wa 2al Mohammed”, the bus moved and kept on moving. Sub7anak ya Rab!
So many people gathered around, throwing pebbles (rajm el shay6an.) We decided to split up. Three of my aunts and I decided to battle this together. We held on to each other like a train. I lead the pack and walked into the crowd. Again, sub7an Allah, somehow the path opens up and we find ourselves against the railing, right in front of the wall. I grabbed my seven pebbles. As I looked up and aimed to throw, I saw many other pebbles flying in the same direction.
Somehow, as the pebble leaves your hand, your eyes follow it and you know EXACTLY which one your’s is and you see where it hits. You know right there and then whether you’ve hit it right or not. As each pebble leaves your hand you get more and more upset with el shay6an and you throw the next one even harder. You realize all those times el shay6an managed to convince you to sleep a little longer till salat el fajr passed you. You remember all those times el shay6an waswas lek and you realize how silly it was to not see it and stop el shay6an from having an effect on you!
Right before we began our final 6awaf, it started to drizzle lightly. Smiling, we all looked up to the sky. El mo6ar khair, abwab el sama maftoo7ah! Then, it poured down!! Rain completely washed us. But that didn’t bother us, on the contrary, we were smiling like we’d never smiled before! Does this mean that Allah teqabal minna and is washing our sins?
Although we were worn out by all the events over the past few days, the harder it rained the more energy we had. We finished el 6awaf with greater ease than our first 6awaf when we arrived. Then, it happened. During our 7th and final sho6 around el Ka3ba, the rain stopped. I looked up and there it was. The most beautiful, huge, colorful rainbow right above el Ka3ba and the sky was orange.
Aneh 7ajjiya. How great it feels to actually BE one. It’s not just a word people use anymore. It’s a title I have earned proudly.