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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 at our Hajj blog 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.

I’ll link to them as we post, maybe cross-post a bit. 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

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

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9 Comments so far (Add 1 more)

  1. i kept meaning to open it all the time and it travelled everywhere with me
    i was just beat

    2. Lilandra on January 3rd, 2009 at 11:13 am
  2. stooping toilets!!! *faint*

    3. The TriniGourmet on January 3rd, 2009 at 11:29 am
  3. *snicker*

    4. Lilandra on January 3rd, 2009 at 1:48 pm
  4. we’d known about them from long time of course, but the reality of using them…
    but, when Lilandra writes up that you’ll see there are benefits to using those, especially when camping with the millions

    5. Chennette on January 3rd, 2009 at 2:13 pm
  5. Glad you and your luggage made it home safely… even if the luggage took a few detours.

    The toilets though? I shudder at the thought…

    6. ewe_are_here on January 3rd, 2009 at 7:33 pm
  6. Hi there! Happy new year. I’m glad you had a safe journey. We missed you.

    7. Mark on January 5th, 2009 at 9:41 am
  7. That picture seems like something you would see in Newsweek or Time. Excellent framing.Is this from a Sony Ericsson k850i?

    8. aka_lol on January 20th, 2009 at 7:14 am
  8. thanks aka :-) when I couldn’t get a free spot, I went with it – there’s no point in zooming.
    yup, k850i – that was my splurge purchase last year – after my iPod died and I lost my little nikon P&S (both essentials for being on planes and whatnot).I haven’t figured out how to get the exposure right in camera, but a little tweaking after makes the shots ok.

    9. Chennette on January 20th, 2009 at 10:05 am
  9. The K850i is very good from what I see. It’s probably best to tweak after the pic. I have a Nokia N95 and I never bother to figure out if the settings can be adjusted. The Flickr pics are good.

    10. aka_lol on January 21st, 2009 at 7:34 pm

2 Trackbacks

  1. [...] 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 (Also posted at Lifespan of a Chennette) [...]

  2. [...] Well, except for that 5 month posting in Barbados. And the 6 week trip for Hajj. And the 7 week absence during my bout of typhoid fever. And the traveling…You get the [...]

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