Friday, August 12, 2005

Camels and quad bikes on Arafat

© Fareena Alam. Please do not re-use without permission and proper credit.

As the coaches made their way through the plains of Arafat, my companion who had performed Hajj, explained that during the season, the whole area would be filled with the white shrouds of pigrims. The mind boggled as how 2 million people performed their rites together and to imagine the whole expanse being filled with worshippers.... subhanallah.

As we approached the mount where our Beloved Messenger (صلي الله عليه و سلم) gave his last sermon, we were surrounded by a herd of brightly decorated camels and their keepers - "rides and polaroid photos for a fee!" were on offer. Amongst these were a few quad bikes zooming around the sand with young boys cheering.

All I could think of was the irony and madness of it all.... that on the plains on which we would be resurrected for judgement, there were camel rides and quad-biking! It just seemed so odd.

In a panic I searched for Shaykh Hamza and Shaykh Abdullah who I thought were on a camel ride somewhere in the distance.... but of course, they had walked past all the pomp, ascended the mount and delivered a beautiful briefing about the Prophet's (صلي الله عليه و سلم) last sermon.

By the time most of us discovered this, the shayukh were done and it was too late to partake in the briefing. Talk about being distracted by dunia!

- Atif Ghaffar


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