Tukar sikit tajuk daripada yang dulu...Lifetime Journey, this sounds more appropriate..Lifetime Ritual (got the idea from Al-Manar...tq Pakcik hikhik). Entah berapa lama tertangguh nak sambung cerita musim haji tahun lalu, kini Tabung Haji sudah pun hantar surat tawaran kepada bakal-bakal haji untuk musim haji tahun 1434H/2013 dan bila baca blog-blog orang lain yang bercerita pengalaman masing-masing di Tanah Suci.... terasa I am so insignificant to write about my haj there, well ....to each his or her own....
And so...the story continues (untuk sesiapa yang baca entry di Madinah dulu lah). KT 01 pilgrims boarded nine buses to Makkah on our ninth day in Madinah after Asar prayers. Hubby and I rode on Bus No. 6. The journey to Makkah took about 6 to 7 hours being the distance from Madinah to Makkah is 337.88 km. Sebenarnya saya tidak tahu berapa jauh antara Madinah dan Makkah kerana ada maklumat mengatakan 400 km lebih. There was a brief stopover at Bir Ali for miqat (vow or intention to perform the Umrah later in Makkah). Bir Ali dengan Madinah ni dekat saja cuma 15 minit perjalanan.
Semasa taklimat di Madinah sebelum berangkat ke Makkah, Ustaz TH ada sebut yang jemaah haji tidak perlu beri 'baqsis' (tips) kepada pemandu bas tapi tahu tahu sajalah perangai setengah pemandu bas di sana yang suka melambat-lambatkan perjalanan untuk sampai ke destinasi. So awal-awal lagi kutipan dibuat untuk beri baqsis kepada pemandu bas No. 6 supaya perjalanan kami lancar..In Shaa Allah. Seperti biasa jemaah disaran agar bertalbiyah sepanjang perjalanan ke Makkah, pemandu bas pun sama-sama bertalbiyah menaikkan semangat para jemaah dalam bas, almaklumlah dah dapat baqsis kan..... Setelah hari bertambah gelap dan perjalanan semakin jauh meninggalkan Madinah, suara-suara bertalbiyah semakin kendur dan akhirnya sunyi sepi, hampir kesemua jemaah lena masa ini. Kalau celik mata pun bukannya boleh tengok apa-apa di luar...gelap gelemak!
Dusk comes early there and it might have been around 7 pm or 8 pm when the bus made a stop at a roadside eatery with a neon signage 'Coffee' for us to get down for some refreshment and performed the solat jamak for maghrib and isya. Even though we were on bus no. 6, our bus was the first to arrive at this spot. The driver must have overtook the earlier buses and must be mentioned he was jovial (speaking arabic) all the way...due to the baqsis no doubt hehe. So in the quite cool night air I made my way to a so-called toilet for women for ablutions. The place is a far cry after the comforts of the toilet at Movenpick hotel Madinah... I won't go any further with the description, for to anyone who has been there will know what I'm talking about. There's a compensation though and hubby has not stopped comparing the hot delicious 'mandey' rice served at the eatery with half of a roasted chicken with the ones we had eaten in Makkah or Madinah. I'm a coffee/nescafe person and how nice to have a cup of it to perk me up but sorry only tea with milk was available there...so the coffee signage was only for show..sigh. When the other buses started arriving we were ready to leave the place.
At one point of the journey the driver slowed down in the middle of nowhere (to me ie.), there was a car accident on the other side of the road. I did not get a good view of what hit what...but there was already a small crowd with the police and an ambulance in the middle of nowhere there. Sleep took over and I was awaken by the loud talbiyah of the driver ...Labbaik-Allah hummalabaik..Labbaika la sharika laka labbaik..Innalhamda, wa'ni'mata, lakawal mulk, la sharika lak... thus joined by the voices of the pilgrims signalling we were ready to enter Makkah... "Here I am at your service O Allah, here I am at your service and no partners do you have. Verily, all praise and all bounty belongs to you, and yours alone is the sovereignty. No partners do you have".
It must have been around 11 pm when we arrived at the Abraj Al-Janadriyah, a big brown building which housed the Tabung Haji Headquarters here in Makkah. Likewise in Madinah, there was a small reception waiting for us as we stepped off the bus (we were the first to arrive ..yet again, we must have done something good to be the first to arrive among the nine buses hahaha...just kidding! Only Allah knows best!) This time we were given a small plastic ewer filled with Zam Zam water...Alhamdulillah.
Gambar kongsi daripada blog 'Kehidupan Makkah' (thank you) - arrow showing the big brown hotel at Al-Janadriyah where we reside for the rest of our stay in Makkah. Gambar ini diambil dari arah Masjidil Haram dan jauhnya ke masjid ialah kira-kira 750 meter.. ini tidak termasuk berjalan masuk kawasan masjid untuk mencari tempat-tempat solat yang sesuai.
TH cramped 5 other ladies and I in the room below (on the 7th floor)...who am I to complain maybe I did something bad to deserve this hahaha..(padan muka). So there we were, six of us in this small room with not enough space to stash our luggage and personal belongings. Two other beds were not in the picture, the toilet was just outside the room. Interestingly enough all of them were from my own State, one of them was my room mate in Madinah so it was kind of a familiarity when we quickly chose beds next to each other. Three of my room mates were teachers teaching in secondary schools, another room mate a desk officer with the Education Dept and my room mate in Madinah a homemaker (later did I know from one of our many conversations that she was in the same batch as I was taking MCE from the same school in the middle of the 70s and was the best Malay science student for MCE for that particular year, so she was a brilliant homemaker!) Her children made up for what she lacked in achieving her goals in being professionals - a doctor, an engineer, lecturers.
Later did we know that pilgrims from other KTs were given a better deal than us on the upper floors (8th - 15th floors) with larger rooms with enough space to 'solat jemaah' in the middle..huhuhu. Being tolerant was the key being cooped up in a room that is more suited to house 4 persons comfortably. But we all made by even though there were some hitches here and there and we were in a place where our patience will be tested (semua nak haji mabrur).
Selit sikit acara semasa di Madinah, Petugas Tabung Haji ada aturkan acara ziarah/lawatan ke Bukit Uhud, Masjid 2 Kubah, Masjid Tujuh dan Ladang Kurma. Kalau tidak silap di hari ketiga di Madinah lawatan diadakan. Tidak berapa menyeronokkan semasa ziarah ke tempat-tempat ini disebabkan cuaca yang panas terik, lagi pun dah pergi tempat sama semasa buat Umrah tahun 2000 dulu, tapi dalam ingat tak ingatlah.
Tertarik dengan pandangan budak Arab ini menjual sejadah di Bukit Uhud, kesian tengok dia berkelip-kelip mata duduk di tengah panas tetapi agaknya dia sudah biasa dengan keadaan cuaca panas begini.
This is long enough...other episodes following In Shaa Allah!