Archive for the 'muslim' Category

05
Jan
09

Hajj Photos

Camel walking away in ArafatSlowly but surely we’re going through the photos we managed to take during the Hajj. Except for the food ones. During the actual days of Hajj we weren’t really focusing on taking pictures of ourselves or other people, or sneaking cameras into the Masjid-al-Haram. It just didn’t seem to be right to pay attention to those things when we only got to Makkah a few days before the Hajj began.

We did somehow manage to take quite a lot of photos of the things we ate (although not everything!). Somehow, I guess this seemed acceptable…I haven’t sorted through those yet. I just couldn’t face it. Soon we’ll just create an album of the daily food or something.

While I’ve only got up to the days just after the Hajj was completed, anyone who’s interested can go visit the Chennette’s Flickr album for Hajj 1429.

The photo are still of Makkah and I have some proper Kaabah shots to upload. Not to mention Madinah!! Insha Allah it’ll happen. What with relying on my cameraphone and the Olympus P&S that is supposed to be sister-the-elder’s when we thought we’d have the new Nikon Coolpix we got for the parents…the photos got better as we got used to the camera…AND I am tweaking :-D

02
Jan
09

Of Pilgrimage, Hujaaj and Luggage


First View of the Kaabah

Originally uploaded by Chennette

The family returned from the Hajj on the 29th of December 2008. Last year :-) That was on Monday and today is Friday. But we arrived with the usual Hajji cough, cold, flu, allergies, tiredness from 3 days of travel, good cheer from the completion of the Hajj and the communion with 4 million people from all over the world…everything but our luggage. Four of us, and the only luggage we got was our little 2-gallon container of Zam Zam water!

Alhamdulillah, we got our luggage yesterday. Of course, passage through and long stay in Caracas meant that 4 were opened and a couple things snagged from 2 of them, but nothing overly important or valuable (i.e. all my new hijabs are intact).

Lilandra walked with a copybook and had the great idea for us to journal (by HAND) so that we could at least have some notes for blogging later. We did pretty well on the trip TO Saudi Arabia, even having comments (in the margins) and guest commentary and musings from the parents. That never made it past the plane to Jeddah though. Once we got into Saudi we were in full Hajj mode and that just took up all our concentration and attention.

The experience of the Hajj is difficult to explain briefly. On one level, it is intensely personal, a completion of an individual religious obligation (if you can afford it) and an opportunity for forgiveness and personal prayer and supplication. During the Hajj, you try to do as much as you can to maximise the benefits of the experience. On the other hand, it’s a massive community exercise, with millions of Muslims from all over the world descending on the same location to do the same things for a few days. Oh, the languages, and the peoples, and the crowds. It’s all just amazing to be part of that, part of such a huge celebration and really feel like one of an Ummah (nation).

Lilandra and I will nonetheless try to chronicle our journey here for posterity, and maybe for the benefit of any future hujaaj*. There are some really funny stories – especially the ones that were not so funny to us at the time. Wily old ladies and the unspoken battle for sleeping ground. The shock of the stooping toilets. Flat tyres and deserts. Saudi seasoning = salt, salt, and salt on the table.

But we’re back safely, and more or less healthy depending on when you ask us. As for photos, well, they technically don’t allow photographs in the Masjid-al-Haram (mosque around the Kaabah) and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah, but I managed it in Makkah (hence the pictures of the Kaabah and more to follow). In Madinah they’re much much stricter, but I do have some courtyard photos to share :-D (Also posted at Lifespan of a Chennette)

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Hujaaj is the plural term for a pligrim, singular is Hajji or Hajja

14
Nov
08

Traveling For Hajj

Hajj PouchLilandra has just posted about the packing frenzy we’re currently experiencing. I know, I’m not actually there in Trinidad, amid the suitcases, but I did take my suitcase over last weekend. And I went shopping for toiletries, clothing and shoes for the month long journey, in unfamiliar climate, lots of walking and insha Allah, many more blessings.

I was actually supposed to post a month ago, almost exactly, as we went to a major Hajj meeting on October 12, where alhamdulillah I was actually in Trinidad. I was able to collect my Hajj travel pouch, get my itinerary, take my visa photo etc. I won’t come right out and say the Hajj pouch was the most exciting thing, but it was pretty cool :-) We’re like that.

As you can see, we leave on the 30th of November. That’s not that far away!

Apart from the packing, and strategising about washing clothes, and schedules and ensuring we do our best to get to keep in the peak of health, we also have some mental preparation. We’ve had some family Skype Hajj sessions – going through the steps of the Hajj, reviewing the arabic for the talbiyah, the du’a, the quranic ayaat that we will have to recite during the Hajj. I also managed a session en famille in person. LIlandra and Mom enlarged the pocket Hajj guide and home laminated it (with that plastic sticky covering used for books) punched holes and tied it together with yarn. So we have waterproof, easy-to-read and carry, Hajj guides, complete with all the steps and the things to recite.

If Lilandra ever posts the complete list of things we’re taking people might think we’re hypochondriacs. But, it’s 4 of us, each with our own idiosyncrasies and allergies (or intolerances). Plus the parents have done this before, have a fair idea of the things they’ll need, and taking into consideration the fact that they’re older. Also, we’ve traveled a lot in our life, and know our particular needs when undertaking long travel – for example, my sinus allergies after hours in planes, not to mention unfamiliar desert air and dust…better be safe and sorry, as we would like very much insha Allah that this is the best Hajj we can do.




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