17th January 2020
This is our first and last Juma in Mecca.
Shakeeb and I had devised a plan to minimize our efforts maximize the time we spend inside Haram. During that planning, Shakeeb said twice – “Juma, we will keep free.”
I wondered why he said so, but didn’t question him. I mean, I know juma ka ihtimam kiya jata hai.
So, a day before, we learn that the roads to Haram Shareef are blocked around 10-10:30 AM. EVERYONE wants to offer Juma in Al Masjid Al Haram. Fair enough. We would do that as well, insha’allah.
So, we readied right after breakfast and began our walk towards Haram. The roads were crowded. We headed inside via Baab Al Ajyad, but the security asked us to go to second floor. Wheelchairs weren’t allowed in. with a sigh, we retracted. It is rather long to go out in the courtyard and then back to second floor. Imagine doing that in a crowded space pushing a wheelchair that weighs 70 kgs.
Anywho, it was still quite early so we decided to do one tawaaf. Dad and Shakeeb headed to ground floor Mataaf and I began one on second floor – my first tawaaf on second floor. It doesn’t take that long. I mean, I had to walk more steps, the circumference was more but the crowd was sparse, saving me time for manuevering throw them.
It took 48 minutes and even though there was another hour until Zohr’s azaan, I went to sit with my sister. The first challenge was to find her. I had left her in a place where very few women were around and only two wheelchairs were present – my landmark to find her. Upon return, that area was crowded with women and baricaded. No more women can enter. I stood there for several minutes, trying to find her. Is she here? Do I remember correctly?
After a long and anxious wait, I spotted her. She waved at me.
Then came the next challenge. The area is baricaded and there is a policeman standing there, sendin women away “andar jao”, he would say with a genric movement towards sa’ee area.
“Brother, my sister is inside. I have to get to her.”
“Andar jao,” he repeated with just as much arrogance and rudeness. But, he moved a few steps away, pestering other women to clear away.
Cool, he probably won’t stop me. I took a deep breath and stepped inside. After saying “Excuse me”, “pardon me” and stepping on several toes, I reached where I had saved a spot. The spot is gone. A giant arab lady is sitting there, reciting Quran. I asked her to move out a bit. In response, she gave a long speech in arabic – something to the effect that Haram is huge and there will be room for everyone.
I heard the Khutba for Juma, for the first time. I didn’t understand a word because it was in arabic.
After Juma, we headed back to hotel for lunch.
Shakeeb and I went back for Asr. Now that I am in my bed, I hope to get a good night’s sleep. We will do another Umrah tomorrow, inshaallah.
Prayers and love for all ummah.