On 3rd June 2014, the entourage was scheduled to visit Jabal al- Nour (The Hill of Light), Jabal Rahmah, The Arafah Field and a few places important for Hajj ritual such as Mina & Muzdalifah. Jabal al-Nour is famous for being the location of Hira’ Cave, the sanctuary for Prophet Muhammad SAW & Abu Bakr when the Quraisy wanted to kill them. What I like most about mountains in Saudi Arabia (I guess mostly for all mountains or hills in Middle East) is the contour and composure of the facade. They are certainly different from our Malaysian rainforest lushes green hills as they are merely made of stones and rocks. But really mysterious looking.
Jabal al-Nour, the place where Hira’ cave is located; the cave where Prophet Muhammad SAW received the first revelation entitled “Iqra'” (Read!).
Next, we went to Jabal Rahmah which is also known as Mount Arafat as it is nearby the Arafah Field which is a significant place during Hajj pilgrimage. It is said that Jabal Rahmah was the place where Prophet Adam A.S. (Adam) and his wife Siti Hawa or Eve met after they were separated by ALLAH SWT and cast out from Heaven due to ignorance and disobey ALLAH SWT’s command prohibiting them to eat a fruit called “Khuldi” in Heaven. That is why you can see there are a lot of people praying and wailing at a tall stone erected at the top of the hill. Nevertheless, this kind of act IS PROHIBITED as the act of praying to an object other than praying to God is dubbed as Shirk in Islam and this is forbidden!!!! That is the Saudi Arabian government painted the lower part of the stone in black on the originally white stone in mission to clear all the written names-of-lovers-and-spouses etched by ignoramus!!! But still, you could see people keep writing on it and this time, they even use white-ink to etch names on the black part of the stone!!!!!
At Jabal Rahmah at Arafah, reportedly to be the place where Prophet Adam A.S. & Eve met after they were cast out from Heaven.
Anyway, I was so excited about this historical place (not interested in “Jodoh prayer” as jokingly suggested by people around me. My mutawwif said the best place to pray has always been in front of Kaabah in Masjidil Haram and no other place) that I asked Mak to join me climbing the Jabal Rahmah. Mak was a bit reluctant as it was very hot and since she already been there for 3 times, the place didn’t really excited her. But I was adamant and coaxed her. Eventually she succumbed. BUT, as we were about to climb Jabal Rahmah, suddenly THE RUBBER BEND OF MY SLIPPERS SPLIT!!! Oh, my!!!! I was stupefied at that moment! Could it be that God wanted to show me that I shouldn’t force Mak to climb with me as she was reluctant?? Subhanallah!! In the end, I had to borrow Mak’s slippers (I’ve got to climb Jabal Rahmah!) and went up there alone.
Can you see the writing??? That is why Saudi government painted black to erase the names but proved to no avail. Some even wail at the stone which is PROHIBITED!!! We can respect and recite Doa here but NOT to be really obsess with it. It would be Shirk.
The weather was so hot and it was amazing to see people mostly from African origin sitting at the hill terrains selling merchandises, souvenirs, spices and even fruit under the scorching weather! Wow, talked about what people would do just to keep bread on the tables, aite? The apex wasn’t that high but it was enough for you to have a yonder-vision. For someone who like the Middle East panorama, it was such a beautiful desert ambiance despite the scorching hot weather. Finally, I set to descend the hill BUT I wasn’t sure where did I ascended!!! So happened that I saw an Indonesian lady trying to descend the hill via this steep and rocky path so I followed her suit. Nevertheless, it turned out to be quite slippery and challenging one!!! Naturally, I helped the Indonesian lady to descent and we took care of each other until we arrived at the base. She was so thankful to me and it was great to be acquainted with a neighboring country Moslem family.
The view from the apex of Jabal Rahmah.
On the way to the miqat Ja’aranah, we were shown the important locations during Hajj such as Arafah, Mina & Muzdalifah from the bus point of view. It was really an eye-opener to see the locations and imagining how our Hajj entourages have to weather the difficulties there. Masya ALLAH! I could only imagine how the Hajj entourages from different cultures of different parts of the globe with different schools of thoughts came together for that! You know some of Arabs could be very rude and harsh; so imagine when they have to weather that and to execute the stoning ritual at Jamrah! Amazing! Salute!
Muzdalifa Metro Station if I am not mistaken. I heard that it is only exclusive for Arabs who are performing Hajj. As for non-Arabs, we all have to take bus, etc. Hmmmm……why the segregation? Arabs are no different or more special than other races. I guess that is why Prophet Muhammad SAW was chosen from the Arabs in order to culture & civilize them?! Hmm…
Anyway, Ja’aranah is a village which happened to be located at a valley of Saraf (Wadi Saraf) which is 24 kilometer from Masjidil Haram. It was one of a known miqat of which the residence or anyone who are in the Haramain or Haram areas must go to proclaim the “intention” (Niat”) as well as donning the Ihram if they wish to perform Hajj or Umrah. In a nutshell, they have to go out from the Haram area, don the “Ihram” at the miqat (in this case Ja’aranah and sometimes Tanaim!) in the Halal area, and the re-enter the Haram area heading towards Baitullah. I could see that the place wasn’t really a productive one and the main attraction was of course, the Ja’ranah mosque with several traders selling their merchandises and clothes around the mosque.
The ensemble of white tents at Mina.
After performing the Sunat Ihram prayer, we then boarded the bus headed back to Baitullah; with “Talbiah” chanting all the way, of course. Now, I never thought of this BUT apparently, under the Baitullah area of where Kaabah is located, there were roads for buses to go back and fro!! So happened that our bus went into the tunnel and then stopped at a terminal. From there, we boarded the escalator up and……….. voila!! We were already in the Baitul Haram area! Masya ALLAH! We then performed the Umrah rituals for the 2nd time and I felt satisfied to be able to perform it for 2nd time.
Miqat at Ja’aranah.
Now, the second lesson I learnt in Makkah after the “Jabal Rahmah-slipper-incident” was my coughing moment. Since I was so eager about the Jabal Nour & Rahmah visit, I ignored to wear the skullcap or any veil to protect my head. Hence, the heat took a toll on me!!!! And to make matter worse, Mak & I went to supermarket in Zam Zam Tower and we bought grapes! NOW these make me cough REAL BAD and I couldn’t wake up from the bed for almost a day and we had to coop in the room because Mak took care of me and Baitul Haram is 650 meter away!!! It was really a touching moment to see how Mak took care of me and we went to nearby pharmacy to buy coughing syrup. For whole night I couldn’t sleep with phlegm disturbing my respiratory system!
The traders and pavement-walk sellers.
As there are so many people, by hook or crook, we had to change to “Ihram” in this Ja’aranah Mosque together.
In front of Ja’aranah Mosque. I felt so demure with this “Ihram”. (,”)
As I was battling my bad cough, my mind pondered to the incident on the way to Saudi Arabia in the flight. One of our Jemaah was coughing badly and naturally as a human, my heart whispered –
“Thank God, I didn’t experience that. Goodness knows how to execute the Ibadah with that condition!”
It just came spontaneously! I felt like it was God’s payback way of showing me this was a lesson for me not to judge a person, not until you yourself in their shoes?!! I told Mak about it and she said as a human it was natural for us to have that “whispers of thoughts”. The only way to overcome that was to perform “Taubah Prayer” or Repent Prayer. Alhamdulillah, I became better! Subhanallah!
Habatus Sauda. Amazing elixir of health! I bought 2 bottles back to Malaysia.
When I grew a bit stronger the day after, we joined the entourage for meals and had chat with our other Jemaah. Some of them realized that we were no-scene for a day and when I told them about my health, one of them who was Ustaz Ghazali Omar (who happened to be quite a celebrity in Islamic preaching arena, I guess) advised me to take Habatus Sauda’. Before this, I’ve always heard the name being advertised by Islamic products marketeers and entrepreneurs in IKIM.fm but I never paid heed to it. Yeah, I knew it is tagged as one of Prophet Muhammad SAW’s recommended substance to be consumed as it is claimed to be very beneficial to the health. In English, Habatus Sauda is famously known as Black Seed or its scientific name “Nigella sativa”. You guys can read more at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nigella_sativa. So, Mak & I bought one bottle from the pharmacy and Alhamdulillah, it worked! Although the taste was a bit yucky (what can you say, it was oil!) which somehow reminded me of ‘betel nut’ a.k.a. “Sireh”, but it did alleviate my throat from the phlegm!! Alhamdulillah!
With the scorching hot weather, head is important to be veiled. I learned my lesson. But of course while you are still in “Ihram” to execute Umrah, this is PROHIBITED.
The journey has indeed taught me a lot of things and to ponder, searching my soul. More to come in the next entries, y’all.
After 7th times of Tawaf. If you noticed, I was wearing a nose Nosk, a portable device to filter the debris and dust of polluted construction air & and the same time, satisfying the rules of “Ihram” state which prohibits any veiling of the face.