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About our Pilgrimage Journey to Mecca - PART IV

About our Pilgrimage Journey to Mecca  - PART IV

 

 

Published in December 3, 2019

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy

 

 

 

 

Fourthly: within airports and in the hotel:

1- The time for setting out for our journey was 10:00PM on Thursday, 21st of Nov. We took the plane of the American United Airlines from Dallas international airport in Washington. Our transit was in an airport in Frankfurt; a Lufthansa plane took us to the airport in Jeddah. We reached Jeddah in the next day at 10:00PM. On our way back home, we left the Jeddah airport at 2:00AM on Thursday, 28th of Nov. to the Frankfurt airport and then to Washington.

2- Our fourth son, Hossam, procured to us a wheelchair used by the ill and those who cannot walk for a long time inside airports. There were two types of wheelchairs: the one which must be pushed by someone else and special cars to carry people and their luggage once they enter into the airport, as we have seen in the airport in Frankfurt. Sadly, the Dallas airport in Washington is backward in this respect; we, an ill, old man, had to walk along with our luggage for about a kilometer before reaching the area of United Airlines. We waited for a while until someone brought us the wheelchair and to push us, along with our luggage, into the gate leading to our plane. Of course, wheelchairs are very important to an old, ill man like our person; this will save us miles of moving on foot inside airports and through their gates and floors; besides, moving on a wheelchair gives persons like us priority within measures of examining passports and searching the luggage.  

3- It was decided that we, our wife, and our third son, Amir, will take the plane from Washington, and we will be joined by our fourth son, Hossam, in Frankfurt, as he will take the plane from LA, the USA, where he works. Our first son, Mohamed, drove us to the Dallas airport and accompanied our person, our wife, and our third son, Amir, within the measures related to the luggage. Amir and Mohamed, along with our wife, took the passports and luggage and moved hastily to the area of United Airlines. We walked very slowly as we lagged behind, panting as we leaned on our walking cane. Unfortunately, the cane fell on the ground and it was very painful for us to bow and take it back; pains in our back were unbearable. We caught up with our sons and wife, feeling our pounding heart. We sat down in the wheelchair, waiting for the purchase of tickets, examination of luggage, and other measures. We waited for a while until we could hire someone to push the wheelchair to the waiting lounge in order to catch our plane. We felt mortified as we sat on this wheelchair because our facial features do not show any signs of senility and old age to justify using a wheelchair. Our feeling embarrassed increased as we saw many Americans older than our person striding and pushing their luggage. Our embarrassment increased as the persons who pushed our wheelchair were an old woman and then an old man; they were almost at our age. This was not very comfortable for us, but we had to accept it. We tipped them generously; this never lessened our mortification. When we asked the old man (when we saw his face) if he was from Pakistan, he answered with haughtiness that he came from Bangladesh. As this old man pushed our wheelchair, he panted heavily and seemed to feel fatigues; he requested the help of Amir. We felt sorry for this old man; we imagined, in a moment of surrealism, that we would leave the wheelchair immediately and push it with him! Our next Via Dolorosa was inside the economy class of the United Airlines plane; we felt that this company punished our person for getting economy-class tickets by offering us very uncomfortable seats which are sure to cause a backache for a slender, young man, let alone a fat, old, ill man like our person.   

4- The details of our suffering are important here because they are linked to one of the greatest features of Quranic sharia laws; namely, the legislative purposes of ease/facilitation and removal of burdens. This feature is not linked only to pilgrimage in this journey of ours but also to prayers and purification/ablution. We are very grateful to our Lord God because all our life, we have never missed any of the daily prayers imposed by Him for pious believers on specific times. We easily perform Tayammum by wiping our face and hands with a clean handkerchief or any raised, clean surface. The Sunnite Tayammum using sand or dust reflects the backwardness and idiocy of the Sunnite laws of the Muhammadans; dust and sand are never raised, clean surfaces since we tread on them with our feet. Of course, missing any prayers is hardly excusable within such ease/facilitation, even during times of war and being chased by enemies, as we explain in our subtitled-into-English YouTube videos about prayers and also in our book titled "Between the Quranic Prayers of Muslims and the Devilish Prayers of the Muhammadans". We pray regularly and on time anywhere, even inside planes and cars, while adhering to piety, reverence, and concentration as much as we can.   

5- The plane of the United Airlines landed in the airport of Frankfurt, where we found unparalleled care for old people like ourselves; a hired man drove us in a comfortable car for several miles until we reached the gate to the plane taking off to Jeddah. Luckily, this was a Lufthansa plane and not a plane of the United Airlines; the economy class in the Lufthansa plane has its very comfortable seats and wide aisles. As expected, our fourth son, Hossam, met with us at this Frankfurt airport. 

6- We reached the Jeddah airport in the very next day: Friday the 22nd of Nov. at 10:00PM. Another wheelchair was waiting for us; we and our wife and two sons, Amir and Hossam, pretended never to feel anxious about anything. Both Amir and Hossam had the phone number of our second son, Sherif, at hand in case they need to call him if an emergency would take place; Sherif was spending a vacation in Spain as he celebrated his 40th birthday, while waiting for any calls any time in case our life would be in danger. Luckily, nothing dreadful happened to us. May the Dominant Lord God be thanked and praised. When our passport was being examined, we were sitting in our wheelchair before a Saudi young woman in niqab; this female employee checked our passport, took our fingerprints, and took a photo of us as typically expected. That was all. We guess that she smiled under her niqab as she welcomed our person to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We sighed in relief; we felt very happy that nothing dreadful happened to us. We moved from Jeddah to Mecca in a comfortable car, rented by Hossam, driven by a Saudi driver; this helped passing all checkpoints without troubles at all. We could not help but notice the wide highway and the many large trucks which indicate commercial prosperity. Hossam booked for us a large suite in a hotel overlooking the Sacred Kaaba Mosque; one of the main gates of this hotel is nearer to the Sacred Kaaba Mosque. Out the window of this suite, we could see the Sacred Kaaba Mosque and hear the prayers and the Azan (i.e., the call to prayers).

7- We were fatigued after this long, sleepless journey; yet, we left the hotel quickly in order to see the Kaaba for the first time in our life. We moved through unroofed, paved spaces and then roofed, paved spaces which surround the Sacred Kaaba Mosque. Hossam advised us to enter into the Sacred Kaaba Mosque from the King Fahd Gate No. 73 which was facing the hotel in order to save time as this has been the shortest way from the hotel to the Kaaba.

8- Luckily for us, there were no crowds of pilgrims circling the Kaaba at the time. We said to our wife and two sons that the first step was the intention to begin the state of Ihram and to circumambulate the Kaaba. Of course, they have prior knowledge about Islamic Hajj rituals and the meaning of Ihram. We had with us our walking cane to lean on it; we reassured our wife and two sons that we can circle the Kaaba with them. Each of our two sons took both our arms in theirs in order to help us walk; our wife walked on front of us; all of us began to circle the Kaaba; we read to them Quranic verses which contain supplications addressed to the Lord God and glorification of the Holy Name of the Lord God; they listened as we circled the Kaaba together. It was a magical moment of fervor, devoutness, and reverence. Circumambulation ended and we decided to perform prolonged acts of worship until the dawn prayers; we prayed and read some Quranic Chapters. Sensing extreme fatigue and the urge to urinate, our two sons accompanied us to the hotel suite where we performed the dawn prayer on our own; our wife and sons performed the dawn prayers at the Sacred Kaaba Mosque. In fact, our wife performed prolonged acts of worship until the dawn prayers at the Sacred Kaaba Mosque every night the whole week; may the Lord God bless and reward her. She typically left us in the hotel suite either after the night prayers or after midnight in order to perform prolonged acts of worship until the dawn prayers at the Sacred Kaaba Mosque. When we felt worried about her walking alone, we would remember (after thanking and praising the Lord God) the lights and the security guards everywhere in Mecca, turning nights into broad daylight, and constant movement of many pilgrims in the way between the hotel and the Sacred Kaaba Mosque.      

9- In the very next day, we decided to rest all day long; yet, Amir suggested to our person that we should not waste the day; he said that we should perform a Hajj ritual; he and Hossam suggested helping us to perform the march between the Safa and Marwa Mounts that night. A wheelchair was ordered for us in the hotel; we sat in it while being pushed by Amir and Hossam within the march between the Safa and Marwa Mounts. This activity drained the energy of both Amir and Hossam because of the long way betweenthe Safa and Marwa Mounts and its ups and downs.

10- We have to praise here the constructions made by the Saudi royal family inside the Sacred Kaaba Mosque and around it; there are also parallel route between the Safa and Marwa Mounts; one for those marching on foot and one for those on wheelchairs like us. Circling the Kaaba can be performed in many floors apart from the ground-floor. There are, outside the Sacred Kaaba Mosque, roofed and unroofed paved spaces with the capacity to include tens of thousands of people during prayers. All gates of the Sacred Kaaba Mosque are numbered with signs in Persian, English, and Arabic which are easily read by all pilgrims; there are hundreds of guards and servants who guide, organize, and help pilgrims and thousands of chairs that can be used by anyone for free. Such chairs were very useful to us; we cannot sit on the floor; we cannot prostrate during prayers. There are mobile barriers to control the number of people when necessary at certain locations, thousands of Zamzam-water taps, and thousands of copies of the Quran available for everyone. We have spent many times, as long as we can, in prolonged acts of prayers (prayers, supplications, and reading the Quran) inside the Sacred Kaaba Mosque.  

11- In the very next day, we decided to visit the Arafat Mount. Our fourth son, Hossam, was accompanied by an Egyptian friend of his who helped us in everything; may the Lord God bless and reward him. This friend drove all of us in his car to the Arafat Mount; the way to it was open; once we reached it, our sons and our wife climbed it. it was impossible for us to join them; we remained inside the car, praying and supplicating to the Lord God while remembering and glorifying His Holy Name as per His Quranic commands. Contrary to the popular idea, spending a whole night at the Arafat Mount is not necessary. It is enough to spend few hours there. hours later, we left the Arafat Mount and passed and stopped by the Sacred Landmark to remember the Holy Name of the Lord God as per His Quranic commands (see 2:198); we then returned to the Sacred Kaaba Mosque.

12- Our wife and Amir remained with us inside the Sacred Kaaba Mosque while Hossam went along with his Egyptian friend to purchase the sacrificial animals. Sadly, in the Sacred Kaaba Mosque, we could not circle the Kaaba for the last time (a.k.a. the farewell circumambulation before ending the state of Ihram). The time was shortly before the sunset prayers and the ground floor around the Kaaba was filled with thousands of pilgrims. Amir brought our wheelchair and got ready to push us to circle the Kaaba for the last time within a very wide circle this time as we were very far from the Kaaba; yet, the guards prevented the use of the wheelchairs within the crowds; they told us to come back at 11:00PM when using wheelchairs would be allowed. Amir had to return the wheelchair to the suite of the hotel; he left our person on a chair (the type which can be transformed into a walking cane) in a location surrounded by mobile barriers, and our wife moved to another location made for female pilgrims. Because of the crowdedness as the number of pilgrims increased, the mobile barriers were removed; many pilgrims were told to move into the roofed paved spaces. Thus, our wife moved from one location to the other; when Amir returned, he could not spot our location; he panicked; he told our wife that he could not locate us and she panicked; both began their frantic search of us. We were sitting uncomfortably in a chair that can be transformed into a walking cane; it was a weak chair; we felt it might break and we would take a fall; the battery of our cellular phone was drained completely; we could not phone Amir to tell him where we were and he could not phone us. The weak chair began to bend; we thought if we took a fall, we will not be able to stand up even if we would not break our leg! We got busy reading the Quran and writing some notes about some Quranic verses in order to write articles later on about them on our website. Luckily for us, our wife and our son found us before we would take a fall from this very weak chair. We felt the urge to urinate and demanded from Amir to get us to the nearest bathroom; we discovered that it was nearer and better to get into the suite of the hotel to use one of its two bathrooms; fortunately, one of them were directly near the door of the suite. We implore the Lord God to relieve us (and all old people) from such suffering.  

13- Hossam brought the sacrificial animals and performed this ritual (more details about this will be mentioned in the next article). A for our person, we decided to end the state of Ihram after we finished all Hajj rituals: circumambulating the Kaaba, circling the Safa and Marwa Mounts, visiting the Arafat Mount, remembrance and glorification of the Lord God, reading the Quran, supplications, and prayers. In the Sunnite sharia laws of Satan, there is one devilish ritual we never performed; namely, the so-called throwing of pebbles at a pillar made of stone representing Satan; this has nothing to do with Islam. Significantly, the route leading to such a pillar is aptly named (The route of Satan)! The only true ritual left but we could not perform it was the farewell circumambulation of the Kaaba; we did not perform it as we decided to use the ease/facilitation which as a higher purpose mentioned in the Quran in relation to all acts of worship; we reminded ourselves that the Merciful Lord God does not burden a soul beyond its capacity. We decided to spend the rest of the week in the hotel room until the time would come for our departure in order to return to our homeland in VA, the USA.   

14- Having ended all Hajj rituals, we spent several days (i.e., for the rest of the week) in the hotel room; we got busy performing acts of worship, whereas our wife did the same but at the Sacred Kaaba Mosque; she performed Umrah three times before and this is her second Hajj. She combined it with Umrah; she asked us if she should circle between the Safa and Marwa Mounts in Umrah since she performed Hajj with our person and did the same ritual; we told her she should repeat the same ritual within Umrah. At one time, she got into the hotel room agitated because locusts filled the spaces around the Sacred Kaaba Mosque; she feared she might accidentally crush a locust under her feet; at one time, she found a dead locust inside her clothes and she threw it in the bathroom of the hotel room; she asked us if this is akin to the prohibited hunting during Ihram; we answered her in the negative; locusts are not hunted like animals.  

15- In the Holy Quran, the Lord God has imposed pilgrimage as a religious duty for those who can afford it in terms of money and health; we lack both; i.e., our pilgrimage journey was paid by our sons and their efforts helped our person to perform the Hajj rituals; may the Lord God bless and reward our sons in this world and in the Hereafter.


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