A Journey to Paradise
My wife and I went on Gadj in September 2013 and by speaking with other people and our personal experience, we accumulated this information to try and assist potential gujaaj undertaking this spiritual journey and to make things a bit more meaningful and easy for them. We concede that there are things relevant to the year 2013 only, as things changes constantly and there may be things we may have overlooked and we welcome anyone who wants to use this information and add on things they have experienced.
Please note that this information is just a guideline and not cast in stone.
Attendance of Gadj Classes should still be undertaken in conjunction with this information.
We seek your forgiveness if we may have stated anything incorrectly and request the mercy of Allah on all of us.
WHAT TO TAKE WITH
When you get to Azizzia, buy a cheap pair of white plastic sandals(5 Rieyaals). This you use only for your shower area in your beit and you take this with to use in the shower and toilet areas in Muna, Arafat and Muzdalifah. This will assist in keeping the fungus away from your feet as a lot of people use the same facilities.
Take along some feet and heel cream and rub this regularly on your feet as you will experience dryness and cracking of the feet due to weather conditions and the amount of walking you do.
THE SPIRITUAL JOURNEY OF GADJ
When Allah SWA commanded Nabie Ebrahim A.S. to build the Holy Kabaa, he asked Allah SWA who would come to such a desert, mountainous and barren area and Allah SWA replied that Allah SWA will take care of it. Allah SWA has already invited humanity to his Holy Kaaba since that time already. All that happens now is that we must accept the invitation.
So now, we accept the invitation. We make niyyah to undertake the holy journey of Gadj and we make two rakaats and thank Allah SWA that he have given us the opportunity. You may be going away only in one, two, three, four years time depending on how fast the quota system works.
From the moment you have made your niyyah, your life changes. You want to go on Gadj to be on Arafaat and have the opportunity to ask Allah SWA for your forgiveness. From that moment after the niyaah is made, you start developing your soul spiritually.
Suggestions for Spiritual Development to undertake this journey
These are over and above the normal Fard duties that are incumbent you.
If you salaah at home, don’t rush your fardh or sunnah salaah’s but take your time. You are standing in front of your Creator, the Most High.
Remember to start slowly but be consistent.
Once you are in full swing with reciting everyday, this will definitely assist you on your journey when you are in Medina, Makka, Muna and on Arafaat as it will be the ebaadat that you can use for the longest period of time. When you arrive at the Holy Sanctuary, start with your ghataam.
Remember to still attend Gadj Classes to guide you on your journey ahead.
The above is not incumbent upon you to do but it is merely a suggestion of how you can prepare yourself. If there are any other forms of sunnah ebaadat we did not mention, please feel free to add if you wish to do so.
We have now accepted Allah SWA’s invitation to go on the journey of Gadj. You will physically see, that from the moment you have made your niyyah, Allah SWA starts assisting you, and sometimes, you don’t know where the money comes from but it comes, through the mercy of our Creator.
As Muslims, we accept the concept that Allah SWA provides us with everything. Our food we eat, our money, our homes and cars, our health etc. Therefore, not only has Allah accepted your niyyah, Allah SWA will pay for your plane tickets, your accommodation, whether you chose 3 star, 4 star or 5 star, your daily meals and when those people come to visit you before your departure and place a slavaat in your hand, this too, is a mercy from the Creator who is providing you with extra spending money.
Allah SWA will take you on his giant bird and fly you from Cape Town to JHB. He then sends another larger bird to fetch you from JHB and take you to Egypt. (Some flights are different). From Egypt he makes this bird fly you another time till you touch down in Madina.
We must say Alghamdoelilah all the time that we are the guests of Allah SWA and that he has singled us out to undertake this journey. It could have been anyone else, but Allah SWA said No! “ It was you I have chosen to undertake this journey and you i have made provisions for” . We are not special, but Allah SWA is treating us as if we are special. He has chosen you to appear before Him on the Day of Arafaat. It is you He wants to grant an opportunity of Forgiveness. It is you he chose so that He can erase all your sins so that are you like a new born baby. It is you he wants to resurrect while you are still alive and forgive you. That forgiveness comes with a condition that I start changing my life and don’t go back to the person I was before.
Most of us undertaking this journey are above 40 years of age. We did not wait all our life for this, then when being granted this opportunity of being in the Holy Sanctuary, now we don’t want to make the best of the time we have there. Yes, we can go shopping, but limit your time in it. Don’t make it your focal point.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is hot most of the time and temperatures are above 30 degrees even at night. The body loses a lot of water through perspiration and you can easily become dehydrated. Drink lots and lots of Zam Zam or bottled water to keep you hydrated and the doctors all advise to limit your consumption of fizzy drinks there. What we experienced about Zam Zam is that although you drank it in abundance, it does not make you go so frequently to the toilet. Of the 2000 gujaaj who were on gadj, Sahuc had to set up about 900 drips which was mostly for patients who were dehydrated. This is an indication why you need to hydrate yourself regularly.
When in Madina, make a lot of Salawaat on our beloved Nabi Moghammed (SAW). Try and make salaah on Roudatul Jannah whenever possible and visit the grave of our Rasool(SAW) frequently and make dua and recite salawaat on him.
Directly opposite the golden doors, there is a salaah space of about 3 shaafs. Go and make sunnah salaah and salaawat there. You can also recite some verses of the Quran there. The Qabr of our Rasool (SAW) will be directly behind you.
Spend most of your time at Masjidun Nabawi in ebaadat and salawaat and try tomake every waqt, salaah in it while you are there. An hour before Fajr Athaan they have Tahajjut Salaah. Partake in this frequently. This is part of your preparation for the Days of Gadj. As the crowds are quite big and you want to perform Jumah-ah inside Masjidun Nabawi, try and get inside two to three hours before the waqt of Juma-ah and keep yourself busy with thikr, reciting of the Quran, gadaad etc, and all of the people who asked you to make dua for them, make dua for them and mention them by name as you now you have the time and your mind is focused.
When you get to Masjidul Gharaam, after you have completed your Umrah, do the same there. Tawaaf can only be done around the Kaaba and you don’t know if Allah SWA will give the opportunity to be there again, so make as much tawaafs as you can and tawaaf whenever the opportunity present itself. You will feel, nay, you will experience Allah SWA making contact with you and connecting with you. Tahajjut Salaah is also about an hour before Fajr Salaah. Do as much as you can here too. Try and perform all your waqts at the Gharam. The crowds at Masjidul Gharam are much more in numbers and the Gharam space is limited so it will seem much more of a hustle and bustle and the Mataaf Area is also Gharam area. The grand prize is that when you lift your head from your sujood, the Qibla, which is Holy Kaaba is right in your sight and this is what you want to achieve most of the time. You only have this limited amount of time there so try and go early for the waqts to achieve this.
The same applies here for Juma-ah. If you want to perform Jumah-ah close to the Holy Kaaba, go at least 3 hours before Jumah-ah . While you wait, make again dua for everyone by name and ask Allah SWA to grant them the opportunity too.
All of this ebaadats contributes to your preparation for the days of Gadj. Don’t waste your time in trivial conversations and vane talk. Occupy yourself with talk of goodness only. Of all the ebaadats that shaytaan wanted to keep us away from, the Gadj is the one he is really targeting. Shaytaan wants to destroy your appointment with Allah SWA on the Day of Arafaat.
Shaytaan is going to throw everything at you. He is going to try and make that you have an argument with your spouse. He is going to make you get angry with your colleagues and make you fitnah about them. Don’t talk bad about the accommodation you receive or the food that is served but stay focused on the reason for your journey. Focus on the day of Wukoof on Arafaat. Don’t eat for nice tastes but eat for sustenance and say Alghamdoelilah as it is still Allah’s gift to you.
If you have been incorrectly treated, ignore the distraction as it is part of shaytaan’s way to get you off the track. Shaytaan wants you to react as he wants to claim your Gadj.
Travel Agents are also human beings and they do make mistakes and sometimes things are beyond their control. Overlook their mistakes and stay focused.
Then there are some Travel Agents who manipulate their ghujaaj intentionally. These agents need to be brought to task but be very careful as not to allow even this type of matter to take your Gadj away from you. You’ve waited a whole lifetime for this opportunity to appear before Allah on the Day of Wukoof on Arafaat and nothing, but nothing, must spoil this for you. Shaytaan must not use this type of agent to destroy your Gadj for you. Make dua to Allah for protection and assistance when you feel that you may be in violation of your obligations. Either sort your matter out with your agent in a humane manner so that you, are yourself not in violation of your Gadj rules and regulations or leave the matter until you return home and then attend to the matter in a manner as a Muslim should.
Remember, that when you are in Ighraam, shaytaan intensifies his attack on you. He is going to target you on Muna and Arafaat and he uses sometimes little distractions to get you off course but stay focused and recognize all the signs.
Most of us probably have only one chance at performing our Gadj so lets use the time we have, which is only a couple of weeks of our whole life and make this journey, one we will truly remember for the rest of our life in anticipation that Allah SWA accept our Gadj…Insha-Allah
As there are thousands upon thousands of pilgrims who visit the Holy Sanctuary every day of the year and quite a lot of them are old people, Janaazah’s takes place everyday and almost after every Waqt. Most of these Janaazah’s, if not all, takes place at Masjidul Kharam or Masjidun-Nabawi.
It’s therefore important that if you take with your wife, daughter, mother, sister or any female family, that you teach them how to perform the Salaatul Janaazah as they are going to perform this just as frequently as they perform their fardh salaah.
TAWAAF OF THE HOLY KAABA
At home we can make various sorts of ebaadat. We can make our Fard Salaah’s, our Sunnah Salaah’s, Tahajjut Salaah and all other various salaah’s, recital of the Quran, Gadaad and other Thikr, Tasbeegh, Fard and Sunnah Fasting and all other ebaadah’s. t Tawaaf can only be done around the Holy Kaaba so if we are granted an opportunity of a lifetime, why do we want to waste it. Make the best of each opportunity you are granted to tawaaf the Holy Kaaba.
Quran, Surah Al-Fath “Certainly, you shall enter Al-Masjid-al-Haram; if Allah wills, secure, (some) having your heads shaved, and (some) having your head hair cut short, having no fear. He knew what you knew not, and He granted besides that a near victory.”
Allah (S.W.A) is clear that we will only enter Masjidul Gharam with his permission so everytime we go to Masjidul Gharam, ask Allah for his permission to enter his Gharam and to tawaaf his Holy Kaaba.
When you enter the Holy Gharam, you are now entering the Arsh of Allah which Allah created on earth for us to Tawaaf (circumbulate). Stop all vain talk and keep yourself in ebaadat . Don’t take your cellphone with as it becomes a great disturbance. Rather have the Kaaba in your mind and heart as you want this to manifest itself.
Some people speak on their cellphones whilst in tawaaf and some take photos and videos of themselves whilst tawaafing. Refrain from these practices as you are in ebaadat with the Most High. If you do have your cellphone with you, rather switch it off.
You will treasure all of these moments of Tawaaf when you make the connection. It’s as if the negative charge of the magnet found the positive charge of the magnet and you will always have that yearning to come back. Don’t come home thinking, if only i used my time at the Kaaba in a constructive manner.
While at the Holy Kaaba, take this opportunity to make dua to Allah SAW and ask forgiveness and guidance for yourself, your spouse, your children, your family and friends . If you have deceased parents or family, niyaah that you are making your sunnah tawaaf for them so that Allah SWA can bestow his blessing on them and forgive them.
Don’t be afraid of the big crowds (zaghma) that is tawaafing. Once you approach the tawaaf area, make niyaah that you intend to tawaaf and ask Allah SWA to protect and guide you. Don’t panic when there is pressing but just keep calm,embrace the zaghma and go with the flow. If you have a shoe bag with you, keep it in front or on the back of you. Make sure if you have any money on you, place it close to your chest section where your eyes are.
If you are pushed and bumped by the movement of the crowds, just thank Allah for giving you the opportunity to be there. Don’t get cross with people but smile when you feel that anger may get in your way and make thikr.
Complete your seven shoats (7 tawaafs) before you proceed to touch on the Holy Kaaba,Ghajieral Aswad, Maqaam Ebrahiem, Gijr Ishmail or anything else. Your Tawaaf is your communication with the Most High who is the owner and boss of the Kaaba. Don’t break that communication for anything. When completing your 7 shoats, now make nieyah and ask Allah SWA permission to place your hands on the Kaaba and other places of your desire. The only difficulty we found was getting to the Ghajieral Aswad as there were always big crowds and heavy pushing around that area.
I want to make my fard salaah right in front of the Kaaba (ground level)
Unfortunately, the Saudi Asgaries gives this privilege to men only and whenever the waqt was in and people were lining up around the Kaaba for salaah, they always take the women out of the lines and move them to an area for women only. So if you tawaaf with your spouse or daughters and the athaan takes place, they will move them and you will be separated from them. Make arrangements where and when you will meet up with them.
7 Shoats, if the tawaaf area is not full, can take about 15 minutes, but if full, it can take 45 minutes to an hour or even slightly more.
If the Gharam is open, try and be inside the tawaaf area at least an hour to one and half hours before the next Wakt starts. This applies only to when the tawaaf area is packed.
Start your 7 shoats. Sometimes you will find that you have completed your 7 shoats by the time the athaan is announced and sometimes you must still do 1 or 2 shoats. Complete what you did not complete after the Fard salaah. When the athaan is announced, start filling the shaffs around the Holy Kaaba with the crowd and stabilize yourself in your shaff very firmly as they will push you out of the way. If they do push you out of your shaff, say Alghamdoelilah and ask Allah to assist you find another space. You will end up right in front of the Holy Kaaba, the very building in which direction you salaah each and everyday. Make dua and thank Allah profusely that he have granted you that opportunity.
Don’t take shortcuts. The Waqt of Wukoof is on the 9th Day of Thil Gijjah after Zawaal and lasts until the next day. If you are given the opportunity, try and spend the longest time during the Waqt of Wukoof there, as the pinnacle of your whole life, the very reason for your Gadj to be on Arafaat ,have now come to this moment. Your whole lifetime you have waited for this Waqt, to be on Arafaat and you may never ever have the opportunity to return there. It is now you and Allah SWA only. Nothing now comes between you and your Creator. Not your husband or wife, nor your spiritual leader, nor your parents or children but it is only you who have to travel the path of forgiveness alone.
Keep yourself busy with your various ebaadats that you have implemented in preparation for the Day of Wukoof. The Day of Wukoof is when Arafaat becomes Holy and Allah SWA opens his doors of Mercy for his slaves whom he have given the opportunity to appear before him on Arafaat so that he can forgive them.
Make lots of salawaat on our beloved Nabi (SAW) and make dua for him. Ask that Allah SWA grant that he intercede for us on the day of judgement.
Speak to Allah. He is closer to you now more than ever. Pour your heart out and beg of His forgiveness and the tears will flow naturally with sincerity. Make dua for each and everyone who requested you to and even those friends who did not get the opportunity to greet you.
Make also dua especially for your spouse, your parents, your children and your family and ask that Allah forgive them and grant them all an opportunity to appear before him on Arafaat.
What becomes also a very emotional moment is when the Waqt of Zawaal comes in and the Muathin athaans to announce that Wukoof has finally started. You start questioning as to why Allah SWA has chosen you to be part of the 2000 South African gujaaj and given the opportunity to be on Arafaat to appear before Him. You begin to think that you are a nothing and that what did you do to deserve this opportunity and yet Allah SWA said to you that you are special and that he chosen you. A feeling of gratefulness and thankfulness overwhelms your whole body which engulfs you in complete tears while the Muathin is athaaning.
Even if you have to sit for 3, 4, 5, 6 or more hours in ebaadat, persevere and stay focused as this long hours is nothing compared to receiving the forgiveness from
Ar-Raghmaan – Ar Ragheem, the Most High as you want to feel assured that you have done your very best you could on this day of Wukoof in the hope that Allah gives you Gadj Maqbool and a Gadj Mabroer….. Insha-Allah
The Quraish, during the time of Jaahilieyah, used to have their games and competitions here and they used to bring along their idols to perform in the honour of their gods. That is why Allah SWA commands us that when we reach the border entering Muzdalifah, that we must now change our Talbiyah and revere the name of Allah SWA by reciting the Takbir as we do at Eid. Eid have also now commenced so it also ties into each other.
Muzdalifah is a large stretch of land consisting mainly of dry area of field mostly without grass. The only buildings that you really find in this area is ablushion blocks and washing areas.
Some Gadj groups just visit the area for a short while and then move on to Muna. If you are able to and granted the opportunity to mabeet (sleep over) until Fajr, grab it with both hands. Gain the full experience of being on Muzdalifah.
Because we are from Africa, we will be sharing our section with our other African brothers and sisters and in Ighraam, we will all sleep on the dusty land on our mats made of straw (hadjie matjie) next to our fellow Africans. Everyone will be in Ighraam and you won’t know who is rich or poor, who is beggar or king as we all become equal in the sight of Allah SWA and the only difference is our piety towards our Creator. This is all part of our transformation where AllahSWA wants to break us down from our kibr, our loftiness and bring us down to be on equal terms with other human beings. Embrace this moment and thank Allah SWA for transforming you. When we mabeeted , the evening temperature was quite warm and we needed no covering . We had the best sleepover we ever had.
When you wake up for Fajr the next day, salaah finish and make your way to Muna which is in walking distance.
MUNA (or Mina as we know it)
The camps in Muna are all fenced off and we were all housed in tents which are airconditioned. You are provided with a foam mattress of about 500mm wide, a blanket and a cushion and all these mattresses are placed alongside one another and you can only walk at the foot ends of your mattresses. The Saudi’s (via your Tanazul) provide you with 3 meals a day and an unlimited supply of can cooldrinks, juices, bottled water, tea and coffee. There are communal wudu facilities and toilets. The toilet and shower is in one cubicle. You will shower and do your job in one area. Lunch and supper is served in large pots and you have to queue and wait your turn to be dished. As you are sharing this facility with our other brothers and sisters from Africa, the queues can be long but have patience and forbearance as this is part of your journey. You are still in a state of Ighraam so be constantly on guard for the pitfalls shaytaan puts for you.
The best time to use the shower or toilet facilities is when the food is being served. Most of the people will be standing in the queues for their meals and you will hopefully find that there are no queues at the showers.
Arriving in Muna after Fajr on the day of Eid, after mabeeting in Muzdalifah, became a real emotional moment for us. The TV in the camp is on and you can hear the Takbier being recited at Masjidul Gharaam. We also receive a cellphone video of the Takbier coming from Madina . This immediately hits your heart very hard and your tears starts flooding your cheeks as you realize it’s Eid-ul-Adgha. You are for the 1st time not with your families at home.
You begin thinking, that all over the world they are reciting the Takbier and why are they reciting the Takbier and why are they celebrating Eid-ul-Adgha. They are Takbiering in celebration of us, the Gujaaj who were on Arafaat. Allah is commanding them to celebrate Eid in honour of us. We that don’t deserve any of the accolades Allah SWA bestows on us. From that time onwards, every Takbier we did after each salaah was a real emotional moment for all of us.
It’s Eid and we are on Muna, we have breakfast consisting of rolls with jam, tea and coffee and your mind goes back to what you would be having now in Cape Town and you feel thankful and grateful with what Allah SWA blessed you at home with. The only delicacies we received is when the King sent chocolates to Muna.
Your daily life on Muna now consists of the stoning of the Jamaraats daily and returning to your camp in Muna where you keep yourself busy with ebaadat. Refrain from idle talk and rather make gadaad or thikr to occupy your time, and even if you have changed into your kurta or top, you are spiritually and mentally still in ikhraam so observe the sanctity of the holy place you are in and the holy state of your body. Do not violate the holy state you are in by having lovey-dovey talks with your spouse or doing things inappropriately. There is a time and place when you can get back on lovey terms with your spouse but wait when you depart from Muna. When you do your “kleine verlosing” in Muna, some people would advise that you can now dress into ordinary clothing. Whilst there is nothing wrong in this if your dress code is met, you don’t want to feel that you are now at home. You want to still have that physical and mental feeling that you are still in The Holy Sanctuary and that your body is in a Holy State, so therefore remain dressed in your top (kurta) in the manner the Prophet of Allah would have been dressed.
There are various ways you can fulfill your obligations on Muna. The Quran even explains that you can be there for two or three days. You have one opportunity and you have waited for this all your life. Why do you want to cut yourself short. Why do you want to take shortcuts. Use every opportunity you can to spend the most of your time in Muna. If it’s in your control, stay for the 3 days of Tashreek and remain on Muna for the entire period. Do your Tawaaful Efaadah only after you leave Muna and have completed your 3 days of Tashreek.
Muna transforms your thoughts and your soul and Allah SWA is trying to break down our nafs and kibr to make you in conformity with his creation. He wants you to experience Muna and develop your soul to bring you closer to him. Muna will either expose you or it will develop you where Allah SWA gives you the title of Mu’mien.
When pelting the jamaraats, you will be walking for 2.6km up and 2.6km back and this may be in the blistering sun. Wear the proper sandals or slippers and cover your head and neck at all times to prevent getting a sun stroke. You can also gather some of your stones to pelt right outside the camps in Muna.
When using the showers and toilets in Muna, always have your white plastic sandals on to prevent fungus and make sure you don’t have any valuables or cell phone with you in the cubicle because it may accidently fall out of your pockets and into the hole and disappear forever. Our guide recommended that we take an empty cooldrink can with us as it fits just nicely over the hole which will also assist when the soap falls out of your hand. Even if you find the shower is dirty, clean it without complaining and make sure that when you are finished, that you leave it in a clean state for the next brother or sister. Water cleans everything. Don’t waste unnecessary time in the shower and take as quick as possible as your other brothers and sisters are all waiting in queues to use the same facility.
After Arafaat, Muna will be one of the best places to have been and when you are home, you will always reminisce of the time you spent on Muna. When you celebrate Eid when you are home, your memory banks will awaken your experiences you had on Muna. Make the best of your time spent there.
Don’t rush your ebaadats. Don’t rush your Tawaafs and your Saai between Safa and Marwa just to be done quickly. Take your time and treasurer the moments in the Holy Sanctuary.
Usually when we go away for long periods of time, we have this longing for home and become homesick and we worry if everything is okay back home. On the Journey of Gadj you become so focused that Allah SWA takes away that longing and worry from you and your mind really only goes back home after you’ve done your Tawaaful Widaa.
On this journey, you will discover and experience your Creator and you will physically see how your dua’s are answered right in front of you (if it is an immediate requirement).
Allah SWA will lift those veils from you as you draw closer to Him.
When you finally depart Makka-al-Mukarrama and you sitting on the airport in Jeddah, your mind focuses back on your whole experience and how Allah SWA has assisted you and guided you.
When the plane finally lifts from Jeddah Airport, you sit on that plane with tears rolling down your cheeks and your thoughts travel as if Allah SWA is saying to you “ My slave. On this day you have completed all your Gadj obligations of which I have made incumbent upon you and I have casted my favour upon you. Now you can return in peace to your homeland and your family. “
Gadj is a journey where you meet and experience the presence of your Creator and the rewards and experiences of this journey will forever be fermented into your soul and heart and the memories will forever linger on until the day you leave this duniyah.
May you benefit from all these experiences so that Allah SWA reward you abundantly for your efforts and draw you closer to Him.