“It’s organised chaos. But people are moving”. That’s according to Qari Ziyaad Patel who is one of millions of white robed hujjaj making the journey to Arafat this morning. 1.9 million hujjaj are on the famous hill following in the footsteps of noble Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) to perform one of the key pillars of the Hajj. The Day of Wuquf is the pinnacle of hajj, where pilgrims will spend the day in reflection and supplication to their Creator. Emotions are high for the first time hujjaj as they build up to a day that has been years in the making.
“Being here is a feeling one cannot describe. It overwhelms you,” says Qari Ziyaad Patel.
“Everyone has a highlight in their lives, from the time they graduated, got married or had their first child. But speaking to everyone making haj for the first time, it’s like this is the highlight of all highlights. Every single hajji feels this feeling.”
Helicopters are hovering over the site as multitudes of hujjaj stream into Arafat. Many South Africans hujjaj have already arrived at their camps.
More than 17,000 personnel, supported by 3,000 advanced vehicles, are in position to guarantee pilgrims the highest level of safety. Over 2,000 Saudi Red Crescent Authority personnel deployed in Makkah, Madinah and other holy sites to provide ambulance services to pilgrims during Hajj.
Despite the throngs of hujjaj in busses or on foot, new transport arrangements have alleviated the congestion usually experienced on the way to Arafat.
“We got to the South African camp in a short time…it’s a record. Alhamduluillah, most of us have arrived,” said Patel.
Sahuc’s head of mission Hafez Ismail Kholvadia said despite a few challenges overnight, things went off smoothly as hujjaj made the move to Arafat.
“There is a bigger crowd but we are confident that we can overcome the challenges. The weather has been fairly favourable. And the heat hasn’t been a major challenge as yet,” he said.
After much needed rest upon arrival at Arafat, pilgrims will channel all their energy into intensifying their supplication and prayers.
“The primary aim of Wuquf is dua so there will be spiritual programmes at the camp. The purpose of Arafat is to make dua,” said Kholvadia.
While hujjaj revel in the beauty of their surroundings, there is a deep longing amongst former pilgrims to return to the holy lands and for others, who are not by the means, to make the journey for the first time. Patel urged those who have not performed the hajj to make their niyyah soon.
“Allah listens to your duas. Never be depressed. Your time is designed to be here at Arafat and that time will be the right time. Never despair,” he said, adding that South African Muslims needed to use the Day of Arafah to seek repentance and forgiveness.
“Nothing stops us from raising our hands and making dua. It’s a significant day, seize the moment and take the opportunity.” VOC