Nobody enjoys the company of an over crowded place except the Hajjis in Makkah. Nobody can experience hospitality enjoyed by the Pilgrims, not even a rich wedding can offer you those luxury and that too in a large number as we see in Hajj. I went for Hajj few years back. The amazing hospitality of the Hajjis has no parrallel in any civilisation. No nation can hold a crowd of three and half million people in a hygeine state with neatness and cleanliness not required to be demanded.
I remember in Madina as I stood outside the Masjid e Nabwi a young man brought a huge sack full of dry fruits.. yes dry fruits and not pea nuts… he distributed it among the Hajjis till it got empty. At Arfa I saw many rich Arabs with their trucks and huge family cars filled with colas, cold drinks, fruits volunteered by their own family memebrs including little kids holding fruits and colas offering to hajjis along with their innocent smiles. They distributed it all.
While I performed my Tawaf I saw many young Indians from middle class gently pushing their old mothers in wheel chairs helping them perform tawaf on the first and second floor of the Haram. Each round was of around 800 meters. So that means for each tawaf they laboured for around 4 miles ! That too in a large crowd.
In the late seventies a relative of mine was departing for Haj. We went to the port of Mumbai. In those days Haijs left by ship. Yellow gate was the Port. last week I passed by there, the port no longer transports Hajis. But I remember how dearly we departed from the Hajjis, as if it was a permanent farewell. For every Haji there were around 30 people to bid farewell. It was an emotional event watching Hajis weeping on the shoulders of their relatives because many of them went for Hajj at a ripe old age, not knowing if they will be back alive. Today Makkah is only four hours away from Mumbai yet the excitment of Hajj continues to be as fresh as ever.
Like other Hajis I also wanted to kiss the Hajr e Aswad, the Black Stone. Every time a man squeezed himself out of the crowd after kissing the stone either he was bleeding or suffocated. It was a hard thing to do and I wanted to know what to do A wise man suggested to me : Look! It is mustahab to kiss the stone.. but it is haram to push and jostle your Muslim brothers and sisters in a violent manner to reach the Stone !.. I agreed.
If you want to expereince the universal brotherhood of Islam go for Hajj, If you want to see the neatest place in the world inspite of a presence of three and half milion people be in Makkah during Hajj. If you want to see what hospitabilty is, be in Makkah in Ramadhan and Hajj. If you want to see yourself energetic inspite of walking miles, travel along with the million Hajis from Arfa to Mina via Muzdalifah.. Labbayk Allahumma Labbayk. .. Inshallah I will perform a Hajj e Badal next year…See you there..
Author : Nisaar Nadiadwala speaks and writes on Islam and Muslims. he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org