Haj Diary: Day Two


Arafat, Nov. 5, 2011

The highlight of this year’s Haj is, without a doubt, the railway that is shuttling tens of thousands of Saudis, Indians, Pakistanis, Egyptians, Indonesians, Malaysians and Europeans. The high-tech trains picked up pilgrims with valid tickets at various stations at Mina and dropped them off at Arafat. The journey took less than 10 minutes and one could see the thrill on the faces of pilgrims. The authorities are equally delighted with the smooth flow of pilgrims. For us, the Mina-Arafat stretch used to be a nightmare in the past. Driving our motorbikes through the mass of pilgrims and extremely congested roads used to be the biggest challenge. Negotiating the many bends along the route was an exercise in jugglery. This time we simply got onto the train at Mina and arrived in Arafat without any hassle. The Saudis, Indians and Pakistanis that we met on the train were very happy at the service. “This is a great relief,” one of them gushed. “Full marks to the Saudi leadership.”


The most hallowed sight for pilgrims at Arafat is Jabal Al-Rahma, the Mount of Mercy. This is the place from which the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) gave his farewell sermon…


A sea of color in Arafat. (AN photo)

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