Hajj 1435 - Day Ten (I think…)
The chafing is a beautiful reminder of the simple things we take for granted. Being able to walk without waddling, as an example. On my way out the other day I saw a slender built brother in visible pain waddling very slowly into the hotel. I smiled and felt pity at the same time. My vanity was also pacified by the fact that it wasn’t my thunder thighs that were the cause of the chafing, but rather just a natural occurance when wearing ihram. I’m desperately trying out various techniques and remedies to alleviate this feature of hajj so that the five days in ihram will be easier to bear insha-Allah.
I managed to get one tawaaf in this morning before Fajr. It was during this time that I realised that I had more to fear from the women making tawaaf than from the men, well most of the men anyway. The women tend to move in packs, with arms interlocked, and literally bulldozing their way through the crowd. More often than not I found myself almost totally off balance after being knocked out of the way by the many groups of women around there. Of course the men wouldn’t take kindly to being outshined in this way, so I was also fortunate enough to have had a man’s arm entangled in my strap of my shoe bag that I was wearing on my back. After violently wresting it out, he offered a sheepish grin and extended his hand as a gesture of apology. I took his hand, but was only able to muster up half a grin in return. My strap is now broken. Alhamdulillah.
There are changes being sparked in me, but I’m not quite certain what those changes are. I was within an arm’s length of Hajratul Aswad this morning, after having been able to touch Rukn Yamani without shoving anyone out of my way, but I walked away from the black stone after witnessing the vile behaviour of many around it. The experience was similar to Raudul Jannah in Madinah. I expect less now, so it made it less offensive. That’s concerning because it reflects how easily we become complacent about what’s not right around us. The same thought occurred to me while observing the men reading salaah around me this morning. The majority are composed, reserved, considerate and unoffensive, but there are a significant number, by no means a majority, that are abrasive, offensive, selfish, and arrogant in the way they push through others without any consideration for the fact that they’re in salaah.
My response to this is also significantly watered down compared to when we first arrived over a week ago. But this time not so much because of complacency, but rather the realisation that this is simply a reflection of our state in life. That state we reach when we feel we have to simply take what is needed because waiting or respecting the rights of others inevitably leaves us short-changed. I’m convinced that those men behaving so offensively are mostly oblivious to how vile their actions are. This is part of the problem with living life as a victim. We inevitably become aggressors in the process, which creates new victims that spawn new aggressors. Another vicious cycle that can only be broken through reflection and accountability.
Reading through a collection of ahadith this morning made me realise even more how merciful Allah is. It amazes me when so many try to insist on emphasising specific spots and actions that result in Allah’s forgiveness for your sins or answering of your duas, but few step back and look at the pervasiveness of such opportunity. I have seen sahih ahadith that confirm that the dua made during adhaan, while ill, while travelling, while oppressed, on behalf of someone else, while performing wudhu, while making effort in the path of Allah, while walking to the mosque in a state of wudhu, when looking at the Kaaba for the fist time, when standing between the Black Stone and the door of the Kaaba, when in Raudul Jannah, etc., are all accepted. To me, this simply confirms that whenever we’re faced with worldly attraction, or blessing, or trials, if we stop and reflect and turn our gaze towards Allah, Allah will respond. Khalaas. Being mìndful is therefore a requirement to be a good and conscientious Muslim. Being purposeful in our worship is therefore a prerequisite for acceptance, but not because we’re being punished if we lack it, but simply because we are not talking to Allah when we turn to him. Often, because we’re still continuing our last conversation in our heads about some worldly matter. Too often, this plays out physically with too many busy with their phones while in the masjid, sometimes interrupting their dua to take calls and photos so that they can share the moment.
Our attention whoring has taken us to a new level of self-destruction. Popularity is a trap more than it is a benefit. I’ve found that even on this trip, I indulge in more banter and critical analysis of what’s going on when I am in familiar company where my opinion may be respected, whereas I find myself focused inwardly when alone. Sometimes our introspection reveals truths about ourselves that are uncomfortable to process without the amicable interruption of acceptance or admiration from others. We’ve become so obsessed with affirmation and validation, that our successes are not deemed successful unless recognised by another that is considered a credible judge of such success, and similarly, our pain is considered to be a weakness unless it is celebrated as a triumph of adversity by similarly afflicted fools.
Misery loves company, true. But misery is not always presented as pain or failure. How miserable an existence isn’t it when we later realise that the best moments were lost to distractions that we thought were significant at the time?