A beauty that can be described, but only felt whilst you are there in person. When I thought of Mina, I recalled all the different anecdotes that were shared with me in relation to it – in particular the toilets! (many scary stories) but I think this perspective is quite narrow and restricts one from truly enjoying and embodying the spirit of Mina. Mina is subsequently more than this; it is a temporary dwelling which transforms an individual’s character and outlook on life permanently (Allah willing).
A few hours prior to our departure to Mina – I packed the absolute essential things I imagined needing in Mina due to being informed of the lack of space and also I did not fancy lugging around so much during the days of Jamaraat! Once our coaches arrives, it truly felt that we were on our way to answer His call; in hushed tones which steadily grew louder – everyone repeating
“Labbayka Allaahumma Labbayk…”
(Here I am, O Allah, here I am).
The manner of this proclamation is such that it can shake you to the core of your existence and make tears flow in such a way unlike before. A sacred action, repeated year after year and here we were, handpicked by the Most Loving, guests of His… ready to undertake the journey of a lifetime.
As we entered the tents, a sense of familiarity overtook me, it felt like home although I had never stepped foot here previously. We all quickly became acquainted with what was to be our bed (and home!) for the next few days; picture sardines in a can – except this can was alive with Eemaan, kind souls, stories from different walks of life and the collective feeling of Muhabbah (love) for the sake of Allah. The upcoming days in Mina were to teach me patience, patience and more patience. The key to sharing with so many different individuals was to constantly recall although we may have come from different backgrounds and statuses – we were at that moment one in the eyes of Allah and only our deeds would separate us.
The concept of Mina is to engage yourself in Ibadah (worship) and to do a lot of Muhasabah (self-reflection). A once in a lifetime opportunity where you can disengage from the world and really focus on yourself and your hereafter. I quickly learned that Ibādah also consisted of saying a kind word, refraining from getting angry, and engaging in goodness with those around me.
After the day of ‘Arafah, Muzdalifah and upon returning from Jamaraat – it really dawned on me that the day we leave Mina – our rites of Hajj would almost be almost over and this caused me to feel downhearted. Had I really spent my time in Mina to the best of my ability? I jumped at the chance to remain in Mina for the Sunnah day (13th of Dhu’l Hijjah). The atmosphere changed drastically, Mina was eerily quiet and calm. There is no harm on the one who leaves on the 12th – but likewise there is no harm in staying, and in following the footsteps of the Prophet (may Allah be pleased with Him) it felt right to embody his sunnah.
That night, after Fajr, myself, my husband, Shaykh Asif and a few others walked to Masjid al-Khaif – where we were to rest until Zuhr. As we walked away from the Mina camps, I felt overwhelmed. A part of the journey had ended. We slept and rested up until just before zawaal. The best nap I had taken in ages!
We then walked to Jamaraat and waited for the adhaan. This moment was incredible for me – hundreds gathered to complete the 13th day of stoning, however nobody would make a move until the adhaan had been called. I thought to myself, how blessed am I to be part of a religion – so perfect, everything has been prescribed for us and this is something I took away with me. The verse;
“This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favour upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion.” [Qur’an | Surah al-Ma’idah |Verse 3]
echoed in my heart as I looked at those around me, we were all different but the same – our Creator is Allah, our religion: Islam and our Prophet – Muhammed (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him). The unity during Hajj is one we should all strive towards in our everyday lives – being one part of one nation should not just be restricted to one particular moments but rather in all that we do, wherever we go.