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Hujaaj gears up for the day of Arafat

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By Kouthar Sambo

As the Hajj 1445 season dawns upon us, Hujaaj prepares for the day of Arafat and is undergoing emotional, physical, mental, and psychological shifts during these sacred preparations.

Speaking to VOC news, an elderly woman, Wardia Sambo, rehashed her first time on Hajj in 1984 at the age of 32 when she left for four and a half months, leaving behind her husband, three young children (ages nine, six, and two and a half at the time) as well as her father.

“Regardless of the challenges, Allah (SWT) made it very easy for me even though it was very hard for me in the beginning as my desire to be with my family grew. I would see a mother walking through the Haram with three little boys and the tears would stream down my face,” expressed Sambo.

“I then conditioned myself and adopted certain coping mechanisms to suppress my desire to be with my family. I did not make a habit of phoning home a lot as there were no cellphones at the time and we had to call at the post office, which had a stipulated time where the call must end,” she explained.

You bury yourself into ibadah (worship) and divert your focus from home, said Sambo, and I had the opportunity to explore the various holy sites as some are non-existent today.

Additionally, she said the more she went for Umrah, the harder it became as the Haram (Sacred Mosque) would be packed to capacity. According to Sambo, this presented a whole new set of challenges for women.

“You want to avoid strange men pushing up against you and you need to keep your distance and perform Tawaaf on the outskirt to protect your dignity as a woman,” remarked Sambo.

She continued to share her sentiments on physicality, especially for elderly women, as strength and fitness are required when performing Hajj. However, regardless of this, she feels blessed to say that she has stood in front of the baytulah at least five times.

“Subghanallah (Glory be to Allah), I thought when the day I got married was the best day of my life, then I thought when I had my first child, it was the best day of my life but when I went for Hajj and stood on Arafat, I realised there is, and will never be nothing better than this day,” declared Sambo.

She further urged all women to put aside their fears and concerns even when it comes to finances, and to make the firm intention to fulfill the fifth pillar of Islam.

Meanwhile, a woman who is on Hajj with her husband for the first time, Koedisiyah Kadri, said one of her major challenges was navigating the overwhelming Haram by herself as her husband’s leg was affected by a bite of an insect, which required him to rest up.

“This process of healing took about two weeks for his leg to heal and it meant I had to get to places by myself. I got lost a few times but this is also how I learned,” said Kadri.

“I would tell women out there who have to navigate the Haram by themselves, not to be scared or overwhelmed, and do not let this put you off from being where you need to be to perform your ibadah,” advised Kadri.

For Kadri, being away from home was not a major challenge as she invested all her time and energy into her ibadah, which helped her divert her focus from home.

“Whatever loose ends of matters had to be addressed at home, I will approach once I am home. But I came here to perform my ibadah and meditate with Allah (SWT) as this is my time with my creator.”

“To go for Hajj, one also has to be in a very secure position mentally and emotionally. Do not succumb to breakdowns and allow external factors to get under your skin. Keep your eye on the ball and appeal to Allah for strength and assistance,” added Kadri.

Stay tuned to VOC’s PM Drive show today as we bring you the latest on more personal stories shared by individuals of their Hajj journeys!

Photo: Pixabay

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