Assalam Alai kum dear brothers and sisters,
This year, Allah swt blessed us with the privilege of being his guests in Hajj.
Ofcourse, you can view heaps and heaps of sites which will give you details about the entire process of Hajj, what it is, why it is performed, what is it relevance in Islam etc etc.
But what I wanted to share with you today, is beyond the basics and rather personal to me .. actually, its purely my own take on what I discovered about myself and how I perceive people and situations.
We booked our visa, travel docs and stay through a ‘reliable’ tour operator or source in Delhi -India (I will come back to this source much later in the next part of this post )
My husband, constantly drilled the word “sabr’ into my brains from the time, we contemplated Hajj in our minds, becoz for me, travel and sabr don’t go hand in hand, if anything, I am totally driven by excitement thru out my travels. I like to be organized and I like to be dealt with professionally. Ofcourse, having performed several umrahs over the years, one aspect of the visit to Saudi Arabia, I am very well aware of, is the total lack of organizational and communication skills at the airport. I braced myself for all the potential goof ups, expected !!!
Allah swt has blessed the Muslim with two supreme qualities, namely “SABR” (patience) and “SHUKR” (gratefulness)
And this journey, I was about to embark upon, was going to expose me to just “HOW” patient and grateful we muslims truly are !!
Fast forward to the 3 days in Muna (Mina – The tented city ) where I resided with 11 other ladies in our solid “tented” shelter. I was offered a crash course on exploring the values which are essential to us Asian muslims, namely FOOD.
Food is the single most crucial criteria around which, every situation is judged and based !
Here are a few ‘Loose conclusions’ !!
- We are a greedy lot !!
- We lack order and discipline !!
- We love to hoard !!
- Cleanliness is not Godliness for us !!
Please know, that this is a loose conclusion not a stringent opinion. Let me explain :-
The Prophet saws asked the Muslim to fill 1/3rd of his stomach with food ~ yet, I realized we have trouble with “interpreting” that instruction.
Forming queues for the elaborate buffet was not only an ordeal for some, but they actually preferred to crash into the queue shamelessly, inorder to reach that food !!
Those who finally made it to the serving station, scoured thru the heavily laden biryani’s, promptly pulling out as many pieces of meat, they could.
I found people, piling 6 – 7 mini samosas and kebabs onto their plates ~ when asked why ? They replied it was for their friends back in the tent !! (oh yes, I did “ASK”)
What was most annoying was, people hanging around and eating their meal at the buffet area, adding chaos to the confusion !!!
We were all muslims, from various regions of the Indian subcontinent and yet, we behaved as though, food is the source of all our comfort !!
There were several fridges stacked with soft drinks, and fizzy drinks and water ~ and yet people couldn’t stop complaining about it not being cold enough !!!!!
I wonder if any of them ever pondered over the fact that WATER is a luxury in the desert ~ and yet when there was free flowing water available, they did nothing but complained.
Another aspect, which I noticed is, that WE ARE HOARDERS !!! Typically true !!
Inspite of hundreds of bottles of water and soft drinks, lined in the fridges ~ people had a tendency to hoard bottles to their tents ~ conveniently forgetting that there were plenty of others who would need it. Have we forgotten that a muslim is considerate and wants for his brother what he wants for himself ??
Why are we living with a weird philosophy of “the brother will take care of himself ??”
There were 4 to 5 ~ Ice cream refrigerators stacked with Ice creams and for the first two days, I watched in amazement, just how much Ice cream could be eaten by people ???? what really ticked me is the unfortunate habit where people couldn’t even close the fridge tightly, which eventually lead to all the cups melting !!! What a wasteful lot we are !!!
I watched as people ate snacks on their beds and without so much as a quick dusting off, sleeping away on the mess alittle later !!!
I watched as people dumped their garbage on “closed litter bins” instead of simply popping them open, and shoving it down !! Litter bins were abundantly scattered at every corner.
Did the Prophet SAWS say, Cleanliness is half of Deen ?
hmmm …. Had trouble finding that cleanliness here. ( I suppose its a cultural thing )
Naturally, I consoled myself, that people from all walks of life, all shades of the sphere were here and it was impossible to expect people to remain “civilized” ~ perhaps that’s when it dawned to me, that long before the western society started bullying the dark skinned man for being uncivilized ~ WE, the muslims were, literally handed the code to an entire civilized form of living, actually on a platter, 1400 years back !!
What did we do with this moral code of conduct ?
Oh yes, we got our children to memorize it, without understanding it.
We read it, without following it.
We conveniently adapted alien culture and mixed it with bits of Islam.
We wrapped it in a beautifully draped silk and left it to attract dust, right on top of the bookshelf !
We did not ponder over the meanings, we did not inculcate ‘His’ teachings, we did not even ‘try’.
Instead, we raise slogans of Takbeer if anyone dared to utter a word of disregard against our beautiful and precious religion. But have we once thought, what our Prophet himself would have thought of us, when we dumped half of our plate with food in the trash bin, pushed people to stand right infront of the buffet and thrown our garbage around on the ground ???
Allah swt blessed you with the honor of being his guest ~ so were your actions, words, nature in accordance to being a guest ??
Would you behave in such a unacceptable manner in HIS presence too ??
Somewhere in all this, my sabr was being challenged a lot and I had to continuously console myself with that beautiful phrase, innallahma sabreen.
Sabr is in short supply in Hajj. But it is the only quality that shines on a muslims face. Without sabr, it all boils down to being on a journey and not a pilgrimage.
May Allah swt forgive me, my brothers and sisters, who were with me during my hajj for any of our misconduct, mistakes and misdeeds . ameen
We have a long way to go, for from becoming a better muslim, we will surely become better humans and surely, it is not vice versa.
My next post on Hajj ~ the discovery will be next week, inshallah.
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