Muslims know that, Allah
can make anything easy. He tells us in His Book (Qur’an):
”Faa innama al’usri yusra – innama al’usri yusra.”
(So verily, after difficulty there is ease. Verily,
after difficulty there is ease.)
What seemed to be impossible
became not just possible, but very easy at the same
time. As I look back over the last few weeks, I am
amazed at how Allah has made things work out for me.
And I cannot say “Thank you!” to Allah enough. I am
so thankful and appreciative to the Lord of the Worlds
for giving me this wonderful Hajj and making things
so easy, even though I don’t feel worthy of such a
Let me mention here, I did
not even think it would be possible to make this Hajj,
much less be able to do it with such ease. Just coming
back from India and having no way imaginable to perform
Hajj this year, I had resigned myself to the fact
that, I was just not going to be able to go. That’s
it. I had asked Allah to let me go but so many things
came up and the time was gone and of course without
money, how could I go?
My daughter had wanted so
much to go to Hajj and to have me go along with her
and I knew it was going to be a big disappointment
for her. However, I assured myself, this was something
that she would have to learn about, “You don’t always
get what you want.” Boy, was I ever wrong about it
It was not through my efforts
or contacts that it all came about. In fact, the people
that I knew had tried and worked things out in different
ways. But it just was not going to happen. It turned
out to be my daughter’s dua and her efforts that made
it all possible. For one thing she never gave up hope
that Allah would answer her dua. For another thing,
she kept on working toward solutions to the different
problems that seemed to keep popping up. She talked
to me while I was in India and indicated that she
believed she had found a way for us to make the Hajj
through her college where she was studying the Arabic
language. I told her to just give up and forget it.
After all, she needed to learn to deal with reality,
right? At least that is what I was thinking then.
She asked me if she did get things worked out and
there was a possible way to go, would I accept to
go for the Hajj. What else can a Muslim say? Of course
if someone is offering for you to do the Hajj, regardless
of how many times you have made it, you must accept
it. But it seemed to me there would be no way she
could do it. Wrong again.
I was due to arrive after
the deadline for application for the visa from the
Saudi Embassy. The schedule had me down for arriving
at 10:30 PM at night on Thursday. Somehow, I found
I was arriving in at around 2 PM in the afternoon
instead. My daughter and her mom were in the general
area of the airport and within less than an hour I
was in the car and we were on the way to get passport
photos. Less than an hour later we are delivering
the documents to the brother’s home who would ultimately
walk it all through to make sure we did get our visas.
I had made Hajj before and
had visited the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia more than
once. But I had no idea what was in store for us in
this trip. This was to be “Hajj on the order of Royal
Protocol.” The son of the King of Saudi Arabia, Prince
Abdul Aziz son of Kind Fahad, was providing everything
for certain students to attend this years Hajj. Because
my daughter would need a chaperone to do the Hajj,
naturally her father was the likely candidate for
the job. We flew over to Saudi within a short time
and we were received in the best manner. We were taken
not to some cheap hotel or old apartment as I have
experienced in the past. We actually went straight
to the holy sanctuary called the “Harem” and we were
checked into the Sheraton Hotel. Food was great, accommodations
were first class and the best treatment possible.
Then after performing the lesser pilgrimage called
“ummrah” we prepared to leave for minah to begin the
Anyone who has ever done
Hajj will tell you the minah and Arafat are the two
hardest places to deal with in the Hajj. But again,
things were not as I had expected. Can you imagine
going to a hotel on minah? Not only that, but it was
a real four star hotel, at least as good as the Sheraton
that we had just left. Our own private rooms, full
buffet three times a day, phone in the room, a place
to gather and pray together on the first floor. It
was too unbelievable for me.
Some of us began to complain
this was too easy and it was not in accordance with
the idea of coming out and suffering to do the Hajj.
But we soon learned that if someone makes a way easy
for you and offers a chance for you to spend more
time in your worship and less time in your worries
over accommodations, then you should accept it with
grace and thank Allah for this ease.
I was asked by Dr. Turistani,
if I would mind to make a television appearance on
his show to be broadcast from the Hajj grounds. Mind?
I thought, this is what I enjoy most, getting out
the message of Islam to the people. So, we made a
television show from minah that was broadcast on the
English channel and then another one that was broadcast
along with translation on the Arabic channel.
We met with some of the
top scholars of Islam in the world, such as the Grand
Mufti of Saudi Arabia, the imam of Masjid al Aqsa in Al Quds, a shaykh from Jordan and a
Saudi judge who is responsible for determining the
official sighting of the new moon for starting and
ending the holy months of Ramadhan and Hajj. We also
met with some old friends from the institute like,
Dr. Ahmad, Professor Umar and Naif and others.
Then we were off to the
plain of Arafat. Again, a beautiful surprise. We arrived
there in the early morning by special convoy as our
busses were being escorted by government police. It
was cool and breezy, not hot and burning as in the
past. We had nice tents with air-conditioning, although
we did not need it. A lovely lunch was served in a
dinning hall with all the service of a high class
hotel. After making dua, listening to the imam of
the Masjid (next door to us) we made salat of dhuhr
and asr combined and then continued supplicating and
remembering the many favors of our Lord until sunset.
Only once did some of us venture out of our special
compound to see if we could get into the Masjid to
pray. Big disappointment. The crowd was far to overwhelming
and we were just not up to this. Not only that, but
we found the way blocked and we had to return back
through all of the confusion and crowding that we
had just traversed.
We moved from Arafat sometime
after dark, again by special escort and arrived in
Muzdelifah sometime around 9 PM. But this was not
the Musdelifah that my wife and I had visited 12 years
before. She and I had come on our own without a travel
agent or guide and had to do everything on our own.
It was not just a little bit difficult. We had no
place to go to the bathroom, or even to make salat
much less find a place to lay down and sleep. Keep
in mind these are all things required for doing the
rituals associated with Muzdelifah. Instead, we followed
our escort into a special compound that is surrounded
by a high wall and filled with places to pray, sit,
rest, drink tea or Arabic coffee and of course, a
full course meal (not to mention very nice bathrooms).
All of this is very appreciated.
Then a surprise! Instead
of waiting until after the morning pray (Fajr) to
be able to leave for Minah where we could throw seven
pebbles at the jammerat (pillar of stone) to commemorate
this action of Abraham, peace be upon him, centuries
past. He did this action to drive away the devil who
was trying to tempt him into not sacrificing his son
(refer to Quran or Bible for this story).
We arrived at the place
of stoning and I was amazed again at how easy it was.
Everyone knows how dangerous it is to go to do the
stoning of Aqabah (the firs pillar) due to the overcrowding
and backward movement of the crowd after they have
thrown their pebbles. The Saudi government had redesigned
the access area in such a way as to provide for the
visitors to walk up to the stoning area, toss their
pebbles and then continue on toward the next area
without doubling back. A great solution and very easy
for everyone. I could not believe it. It was just
Next, we were off to Makkah
to do the tawwaf and sai (more about this later) we
were allowed to leave after midnight as this was a
custom at the time of the prophet, peace be upon him,
for those who were elderly, infirm or for the women.
Considering the age, gender and conditions of the
people in our group it was permissible for us to go
Makkah to perform the circling of the ka’bah (tawwaf)
7 times and the walking from mount safa to mount marwa
(sai) again, 7 times.
I entered the sanctuary
(Harem) and moved to the area of the black stone and
proceeded to go around the ka’bah as close as I could
get without hurting anyone and completed the whole
thing in less than thirty minutes. Then I moved to
the top of the building and began the trips back and
forth from safa to marwa (this needed some resting
in between as I was now growing weary). By 4 AM I
had completed everything and went back down to the
ground area where I had agreed to meet with some of
our group and we enjoyed some fried chicken (yes they
have the colonel and a lot more in Saudi) and then
our bus arrived.
We were escorted back to
our luxurious room on minah where we prayed our fajr
(morning prayer) and then rested until afternoon.
That evening we did the television program for the
English channel with the live image of minah in the
background. It was truly something to see.
day as Friday, Yamul Jummu’ah. This meant showering
again and preparing for Friday sermon. We visited
the Grand Mufti of the Kingdom and advised him about
the way some of the imams had been making public prayers
against Christians and Jews and Americans indiscriminately.
He assured us, they did not have permission from Islam
nor from the Kingdom to do these things and they were
not allowed to do so. This was not acceptable and
he was personally concerned about it and they are
making sure it no longer occurs. We were all pleased
to here a much nicer prayer he offered, asking Allah
to guide them to all that is best and only prayed
against those who were the terrorists and oppressors.
I say, “Ameen” to all of the above.
We stoned the jammerats
again and continued worshipping Allah and remembering
Him and asking for His Blessings and guidance for
We have more coming up about
the heavy rains yesterday and what happened as a result.
Be sure to come back within the next 48 hours for an update, inshallah (God
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