One of the great lessons of Hajj is that of patience — sabr. Allah says in the Qur’an “inAllaha ma al-sabireen”, “surely Allah is with those who are patient” or “surely Allah is with the patient”. This ayat seems to me to be an emphatic and it stresses the point that Allah is with the patient. With this squarely in my mind I went about my Umra and Hajj and made a promise to myself that I will not push or shove or gain an advantage by infringing the rights of others. With this in mind, the tawaf becomes easy, you go with the flow and you yield to the push and shove and Allah opens things for you. In this mode, I came within touching distance of the Black Stone, I could have touched it had I nudged the person in front of me but I didn’t, but alhamdulillah, I did not want to commit a haram act in trying to fulfil a Sunnah.
I was discussing the importance of this ayah with a Nigerian man who was a Tijani sufi, he asked me why Muslims are in trouble all over the world and I said to him look at the impatience of people right here in the Haram and you will have no choice but to come to the conclusion that Allah is not with the Muslims because of their lack of patience. I couldn’t believe the amount of people who are happy to push and struggle their way past others, even those who try and “protect” their own women will push and shove other women in the process, some people quite aggressively cut in, others go against the flow of the tawaf to get out rather than exiting at the nearest point and then walking around. Culprits seemed to be from from certain countries and continents more than others. Indonesians and Malays are model Hujaj in my opinion, they are very patient and very much concerned with not pushing others and are so generous in their demeanour, may Allah increase them.
One African man was rushing through the crowd forcing his way through during a tawaf, I tapped him on the shoulder and said “ya sayyidi, this is ibada (worship) not a race, you want to race, olympics in China next year insha’Allah!”, with that he turned around and said “OK, OK brother” and laughed and realised the point I was trying to make. Some people are so concerned with themselves, it becomes nafsi, nafsi, whilst others will gladly give up their place for others. It is such a distraction during the tawaf to see poor behaviour between people who should know better and especially considering the sanctity of the place and then again, to receive even a smile or a friendly nod of the head from someone during the tawaf is spiritually uplifting and raises one’s opinion of people.
After the first day in Mina, we walked to the Jamarat to stone the third pillar. Once completed we walked to Makkah. We were in Ihram, hungry, thirsty and exhausted and decided to go and get something to eat as the food at Mina was not all that appetising. In that situation it had to be something substantial and so it was a toss up between and I am not ashamed to admit it – KFC, Burger King or Hardees (another American burger chain). My companion, Ferhat Amin, and I decided to give Hardees a try, I had tried it a few days earlier and thought it better than Burger King. We had to wait for it to open as it was prayer time and we had just arrived and the jama’ah was standing and not being in a state of wudu we waited downstairs outside KFC. We looked over our shoulder and noticed a kitten sat there motionless, eyes closed and flies buzzing all around it. The poor cat was totally still and you could just make out that it was alive through the expansions and contraction of its ribcage as it breathed. Ferhat, my travelling companion from Jamrat, said “what do you think is wrong with it?”, “don’t know, looks thirsty” I said. Ferhat had a bottle of water with him and we couldn’t find a vessel to pour some water into so he decided to poor a little water in the cap of his water bottle. He filled up the cap and placed it near the kitten, suddenly the cat burst into life and started to drink, Ferhat kept topping it up and the kitten kept drinking. Poor cat, it looked diseased, had a broken leg and wounds and was filthy with nothing but flies for company, it probably didn’t have much longer to live and yet, it sat there patiently until Allah provided for it, it put up with all the adversity, perhaps it was in its own state of ihram, who knows? Once again, Allah provided us with a direct lesson on patience.