Diary of a Hajji 2: Managing time

So few days to Ramadan, I read a book titled “Getting the barakah of time” by Abu Muawiyah Ismail of IOU. It did help me with amazing tips to manage the said resource better. I clearly understood the difference between being on time and in time. Not to blow my own horn but the review…Scratch that!…my review of the book was worthy of being published in SISTERS magazine…but I digress.

So basically, as far as Hajj goes, you are either early, late, on time or in time. I concluded that being in time is the worst and it’s best to be on time when you cannot be early. I would tell you why.

For instance, your hotel is not very close to the masjid and I mean very close because the travel agents have a very poor arithmetic of estimating distance when it comes to calculating the distance from haram to the hotel they need you to say. They all claim it is not far, but you see yourself climbing hills and crossing rivers. Okay! Not necessarily crossing rivers but you catch my drift. You would need to be in the masjid about 2 hours before Salah time. Not near the masjid, not on your way to the masjid, but in the masjid. For Jumu’ah prayers, you would need at least 3 hours before prayer times. Bear in mind, these times are for you to be on time.

For you to be early, you must say bye-bye to your hotel room and move into the masjid. I know how absurd that sounds but people that move into the masjid have their accommodations very far away from the masjid. They leave the masjid after fajr and move to the toilets attached to the food courts in the malls surrounding haram or in the public toilets surrounding the masjid and have a bath. So you just want to pee and perform Wudhu to be in time for salat and you realise the stalls in the toilets have towels hanging over them meaning it was a planned bath and then you go from being on time to being late as you wait to use the bathroom. Such people do not have quick showers; they have proper baths with brushing and even shaving. Thank God there are no hair dryers in these toilets. “How do I know this?” you might ask because the evidence is always left behind…another germophobe moment.

The downside of being in time is you get to the masjid just in time then you utilise your energy looking for a good spot to pray which you would not find and then you finally pray in the sun. at this point, you are completely exhausted.

I was in time for one Jumu’ah prayer and unfortunately used up my energy to find a good spot all to no avail. Then I ended up praying in the sun. Alhamdulillah I had some amazing sisters beside me, they gave me some of their water and shared their umbrella with me. I even got a small Surat Ar-Rahman book. I thought they were sisters till we finished praying and I saw them all go a different way saying, ‘thank you so much’. I was left in awe. That was also the first time I saw people praying with their shades. I wasn’t comfortable praying with shades on though I rationalised people pray with glasses…could not appease my conscience so I prayed without it…I just let my eyes be blinded by the sun.

When you are late, you just take your position in the sun and concentrate your energy on finishing the round of salat. Then use what is left to drink chilled Zam Zam.

Disclaimer: I had an amazing, uplifting and awe-inspiring hajj journey. I would do it again in a heartbeat if giving the chance again In Sha Allah. I pray every one of you gets a chance and for those that have performed hajj may Allah accept it. Ameen.

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