Tag Archives: Haj

Yaum ul Arafah

Yaum means Day. Today is Yaum ul Arafah. It’s the ninth day of Zil Haj (according to the Lunar Calendar). The day after is Eid ul Adha, a major Islamic holiday. It’s the second day of Haj (the pilgrimage to Mecca which is binding on all Muslims who have the means to do so).

Fasting on this day is an expiation for two years.

Today is a day of Mercy from Allah. Your prayers are answered. Last night I asked Son to tuck away his phone for a day, and concentrate more on prayers, and dua. Son is addicted to his iPhone. It’s a mega tussle to get his attention once he is on his iPhone.

It’s the day on which Islam was perfected for us.

Allah Says in the Quran (Surah Al Maidah 5:3)

Eid Mubarak

A very happy Eid Mubarak to those who are celebrating Eid today.

Yesterday I had a tiny mishap— I fell down on my right side. I was sitting in the corner of one of the sofas. Nola (daughter) wanting to make me more comfortable pulled out the rest for the feet. After sitting for a while, I wanted to go upstairs. Getting up, I inadvertently sat on the rest, and fell down. It was horrible. The right side of my body throbbed with pain. Nola wanted me to take a pill, forgetting I was fasting, and couldn’t take any medication. My bones still feel jarred. It may take a while to feel normal again. Thankfully there are no broken bones.

Today is Eid al Adha in remembrance of Prophet Ibrahim’s sacrifice, plus those who had gone for pilgrimage, the period is over. They come out of ahrams , and it’s time for them to celebrate Eid.

For the last six years I have been sending money for the sacrificial animal to one relative, or other to make the sacrifice on my behalf. Since I’m not there, all the meat is distributed amongst the poor people. Normally the meat is divided into three portions. One portion is for one own self, the second one for relatives, and friends, and the third one goes to the poor.

I hope next year Insha’Allah I’m able to offer my sacrifice here.


In two weeks time I’m looking forward to an annual stay with daughter. She was happy when I e -mailed her my itinerary. Every year I mentally prepare myself for traveling. I wish there was an easy way. Air traveling is exhausting. The long wait at the airports, the frantic dash to locate the correct terminals in between stopovers, and the to, and fro journeys to the airport from another city. I feel lost in huge airports.

This year is my first after three years, in not traveling on second August which is late husband’s death anniversary. Somehow without planning it consciously I would be journeying on that date to some place else. Last year Son had gone for Haj, and I made a trek from Houston to Hartford. This year Nola lives in Dallas, and I’m again faraway in Massachusetts.

Every year I vow to myself, next time I will refuse when Nola starts pressing me for an annual visit. I will try to pacify her in accepting that I don’t want to travel, because it’s simply tiring. Then fear of her acute disappointment in not seeing me, makes me change my mind. She always make a point in saying, “Mama! You only have to buy one ticket, whereas I will have to buy more tickets so that we can be together “. At times like these I wish both children lived in the same city, and I was spared the botheration of traveling.


We had gone to Galveston on a day trip. That was the year 2015, and we lived in Houston. Shortly after reaching there, I badly needed to use a restroom. There was none in sight. Son took me in his car to search for one. We found an outhouse. It was simply archaic. I thanked my lucky stars I didn’t live in the era when there were no toilets, and running water.

Same was the case when my late husband, and I went for Haj (pilgrimage to Mecca). It was the year 1996. I was thankful that I prevailed upon my husband in going for Haj, because from 2003 to 2012 were the worst years of my life due to illness.

There weren’t any restrooms in Arafat and Muzdalifah. I have heard that problem has been resolved for the Hajees (those who are performing the pilgrimage).


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As I flew to New York to see Nola (my daughter), and her family, and spend Eid with them, my son Shelly left for Haj. I went prior to his leaving. Made him food for the few days I wasn’t there to cook for him, and put the boxes in the freezer for him to have home cooked meals. Unlike me, he loves to eat outside. The only thing is, it doesn’t agree with his digestive system.

Both my children have created a dilemma for me. Nola wanted me stay with her in Hartford, Connecticut. She has moved back from Saudi Arabia. Her youngest is not yet three, and Nola is scared of baby sitters, and daycare centers alike.

Shelly looks haggard, and is on the verge of a collapse. Back from Haj, he coughs like an old man. He is understandingly going through a lot of stress because of his divorce. He misses his children, specially the youngest one IB.

I want both my children to stay in one place. Whoever needs me, I will be able to spend time with him, or her. Nola is a snowbird. She is like her late father. The colder the climate, it’s the better. Shelly likes warmer places. They are poles apart.

A day befor my flight back to Houston on the 24rth of September, I was wavering between what to do? I felt monsterous on leaving. I told Shelly, I was thinking of changing my ticket. My son’s voice shook as he answered, “what about me?” 

Is there anyone who can create a doppelgänger of me?




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My (late) husband R, and I were on Haj (Pilgrimage to Mecca, and Madina, Saudi Arabia). In our group, which was an Army Delegation there were nineteen men, and seven women. One of the officers had brought his mother along with him too. She was the only elderly lady among us, but had more stamina than the rest of us. Twelve officers had come without their spouses.

In both the cities Mecca and Madina, our hotel accommodation was just across the mosques. In later years there has been great expansions. Now you can’t walk to them. Now hotel buses take you, or you move in a  taxi to reach there, specially in Mecca.

The room in Madina where we first stayed, before the beginning of Haj days, was shared by women. The men had two bigger rooms to themselves.

There were matteresses on the floor. We used our own sheets and pillows. My matteress was exactly in front of the door. When we weren’t praying in the mosque, we would be lying or sitting in our room. 

One woman’s husband would poke his head inside the room at odd hours (when you were least expecting it), and catch us in various poses of lying, or sitting. The correct thing was to knock at the door, and call his wife. None of the other men did this except for this man.

I would be lying in front of the door, and the first person he looked at was me. For me the situation was highly intolerable. After suffering silently for a few days, I decided to mention it in front of his wife. I spoke hesitatingly, “Can you ask Brother (all men are considered brothers) that he should knock, and call you to the door?”

The woman flew into a rage, “What do you think he comes to look at you?” I wasn’t expecting her dramatic response. I was mortified. With red cheeks I couldn’t utter a word. I took to covering  myself with top sheet from head to toe, while we were in Madina. Luckily in Mecca I stayed with another group of women, and had no such problem.

 I kept the above episode from my husband till we came back home. I didn’t want my husband to feel angry during Haj, over what I suffered.




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I Thought

Use It or Lose It
by Michelle W.
Write about anything you’d like, but make sure the post includes this sentence:

“I thought we’d never come back from that one.”

Photo of Masjid al-Haram, Mecca taken by son-in-law FJ.

My (late) husband R, and I were at the end of Haj (pilgrimage to Mecca). We were staying in a hotel, a few steps away from Masjid Al-Haram. It surrounds the Kaaba to which Muslims turn their faces while praying.

I had fallen sick at the end of Haj. I was suffering from fever, and a bad cough. R had arranged for new tickets, and brought our dates forward for leaving. If he hadn’t done that, we would had to stay for more than a month.

We had the same routine as was in Madina. We met for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We spent more time at the Kaaba, or resting in between prayers.

There were many places for getting food, and choices of cuisines from different countries. We had fun trying new places. R had placed the order, and we were standing, and waiting for our food.

There was a six by four open space with no guarding rail to the kitchen below. It was a drop of fourteen feet. Someone passed close to where I stood. Inadvertently I stepped back, so that he wouldn’t collide with me. I never realized that I would be falling. I would have a broken neck, or broken limbs by falling backwards.

Thank God! R had sharp reflexes. He pulled me back. He was badly shaken. We never went there for the rest of our stay. I thought we’d never come back from that one again.



Do or Die
You have three hundred words to justify the existence of your favorite person, place, or thing. Failure to convince will result in it vanishing without a trace. Go!


In the photograph I have shown my bracelet, and a necklace. I bought them when I went for Haj. Haj is a pilgrimage to Mecca, enjoined upon Muslims for once in a lifetime. People who can afford it, do several Hajs.

During our ten days stay in Madina, I bought the jewelry. I would get up at three in the morning. Say Tahajjud prayers in Masjid Nabvi (Mosque of the Prophet). I would remain there till the Muezzin called for FAJR (morning) prayers. Say my prayers, and then meet my husband for a cup of tea, and breakfast.

The hotel was within walking distance from the mosque. My (late) husband R, and I were in separate rooms for men, and women. We were seven ladies to one room, and shared a bathroom.

R, and I had arranged with each other a meeting place, and fixed timings. Both of us would meet for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, otherwise we were on our own, and weren’t dependent upon each other. Any shopping we did together were after Dhuhr (noon) prayers.

I love my these pieces of jewelry. I am glad I bought them when I did, because now they are antique, and not available in the market.

Masjid Nabvi. Photo by FJ (my son-in-law).


Getting Seasonal

The holiday season: can’t get enough of it, or can’t wait for it all to be over already? Has your attitude toward the end-of-year holidays changed over the years?


Our Muslim holidays are the two Eids — Eid-ul-Fitr, and Eid-ul-Adha.

The Eid holidays get shifted ten days ahead every year, cause of the Lunar calendar followed.

Eid-ul-Fitr comes after Ramadan (30 days of fasting). I keep forgetting on Eid day that I am not fasting, and can drink water, and eat food. One feels stuffed with only having a bite, or two. Our bodies get so used to fasting.
One benefit of fasting is, white sparkling teeth, because the whole month during daytime no food passes your mouth.

We (my (late) husband, and children) were coming back to Lahore from Charsadda during the first day of Ramadan. We took a small break for resting at an Army Mess on the way. I called the waiter to bring iced water for the kids. My husband, and I, we were both fasting. The children were too young to fast.

I poured water into a glass, and instead of giving it to the children I had it myself, forgetting my fast. Eeeee………it was so embarrassing, and that too in front of the waiter.😙

The second one Eid-ul-Adha is celebrated at the end of Haj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. Muslims offer sacrifice in remembrance of Prophet Ibrahim’s (Abrahim) sacrifice.

On both the Eid days many food dishes are prepared for guests. We visit relatives, and friends, and they in return visit us.

As a child, I look forward to Eids. We would have new clothes for Eid, plus getting Eidee (term for money on Eid day) from grown ups. As a grown up the fun of Eid is no longer there. There is only work, and more work.

At the end of the day one is tired, and longs for bed.


Yawm Arafat

Daily Prompt: Ready, Set, Done
Our weekly free write is back: take ten minutes — no pauses! — to write about anything, unfiltered and unedited. You can publish the post as – is, or edit a bit first — your call.

When the weekly free write comes, it is like I am cast off in a boat with no oars. The boat drifts on its own, and I don’t know where it’s going ……..

Tomorrow (Friday) is Yawm -al- Arafat, the last day of Haj (Muslim Pilgrimage).

This day falls on 9th day of Dhul Hijja of the lunar Islamic calendar. Muslim Pilgrims who have gone for Haj, make their way from Mina to Arafat. This is a day of repentance.

The day is spent in supplication to God for forgiveness.

When my husband and I went for Haj, I had to badger him into going. He wasn’t very willing. He told me to wait till he retires. Somehow I just wanted to go, and I kept saying, “I want to go”.

I thought I was the person who decided on going for Haj. How ignorant I was! I learnt, “you can only go when God calls you”.

Our flight for Jeddah was at night. The night before we attended a wedding. The food didn’t agree with me. The whole night and the coming day was a nightmare spent in rushing to the bathroom. By noon I was ready to die.

Meanwhile I was constantly ribbed by my husband, and others that I should give up the idea of going. I held fast, and by evening I was miraculously all right.

Muslims are encouraged to fast this day. The day after Yawm Arafat, Saturday is Eid al Adha, the feast of sacrifice, a day of rejoicing.

May God grant us His Forgiveness, Ameen.