x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Haj diary: Final part of the Haj was tough but well worth it

Performing the Haj requires patience and endurance and there can be some unforeseen problems along the way to completion, our reporter Haneen Dajani reports.

It seemed as if we were walking forever to reach our destination. The sun was burning hot, and we did not know how much longer it would take to get there.

There were so many people and no source of water, except any that would come our way by chance; it really felt like judgement day.

My friend Samira and I had been walking since 6am, and the last part of our mission was yet to be accomplished. We walked from Mina to Mecca to finish our Haj rituals by doing Tawaf Al Efada, Sae'e between Safa and Marwa, and then back to the Jamarat in Mina.

We had planned to rest in Mecca at our hotel in between, so we took a cab from the haram to take us there. The roads were blocked, and we fell asleep. When we thought we were close, we asked to get out and continue walking because of the traffic congestion.

When we started walking we found ourselves back in Mina and not in Mecca.

"Allah wanted us to come back so He shaped the events for us. Let's just do it," we decided. But when I saw the number of people walking up the ramp I started to panic.

"It's going to be very difficult," I said. Then Samira reminded me of a dua'a by the Prophet Mohammed: "There is nothing easy except what You (Allah) make easy …" And easy it was.

After we walked up the long ramp in the sun, we were greeted by the cool breeze and shade at the Jamarat floor. There was always an empty spot at the corner for us to throw the stones without getting hurt.

Then the biggest challenge began - finding our way back to the camp in Mina. There were no grocery stores to buy water, no shaded areas other than my hat and Samira's umbrella, but Allah sent us relieving gestures.

When we thought we couldn't handle it any more, a man came our way distributing free oranges.

An hour later, we passed by military guards who offered us water.

We did lose our way heading to the camps, and it is well known that losing your way in the maze never ends well. We walked clueless for an hour until finally one of the guards gave us the answer.

"The camp that has a big gate and painting on the walls, it is from there," he said.