Sa’i Between two Historical Hills

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Image: http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/themes/hajj/the_rituals_of_the_hajj/sai_and_zamzam.aspx

After finishing the thawaf we headed to a place where the Hill of Shafa and Hill of Marwah is located. Walking through a room full of people who pray or drink zamzam water, the journey continues by through a ramp. Once on the second floor we can see the Ka’ba on the right while on the left are thousands of people walking up a hill. That is the Hill of Shafa which is the place where Sa’i is started. During the sa’i, every moslem have to walk form Shafa into Marwah seven times. The start must be from Shafa and the finish (sevent’h) will be in the Marwah. There is no argue about it. At the time we were closer to the transparent fence that prevented people from entering the Shafa. Afterwards we facing towards the Ka’ba and read surah Al-Baqoroh verse 158,

إِنَّ الصَّفَا وَالمرَوَةَ مِنْ شَعٰاءِرِ اللهِ فَمَنْ حَجَّ البَيْتَ أَوِ اعْتَمَرَ فَلاَ جُنَاحَ عَلَيْهِ أَنْ يَطَّوَّفَ بِهِمَا وَ مَن تَطَوَّعَ خَيْرًا فَاِنَّ اللهَ شَاكِرٌ علَيْمٌ

“Behold! Safa and Marwa are among the Symbols of Allah. So if those who visit the House in the Season (of hajj) or at other times (the umra), should compass them around, it is no sin in them. And if anyone obeys his own impulse to Good – be sure that Allah is He Who recognizes and knows.”

After reading the verse (we may do it by reading the book) we also recite the sentence اَبْدَاُ بِمَا بَدَاَ اللهُ بِهِ (Abda’u bimaa bada’a Allahu bihi) which means “I start with what God has started.”

We continued with takbir (Allah Akbar) اَللهُ أَكْبَرُ Three times then continued with the following prayer,

لَا إَلَهَ إِلَّا اللهُ وَحْدَهُ لَا شَرِيْكَ لَهُ الْمُلْكُ وَ لَهُ الْحَمْدُ يُحْيِ وَ يُمِيْتُ وَ هُوَ عَلَى كُلَّ شَىْءٍ قَدِيْرٌ

(Laa ilaha illa Allah wahdahu laa syariyka, lahu mulku, wa lahu alhamdu, yuhyi wa yumiyt, wa huwa ala’ kulli syai’in qodiyr.)

“There is no right God who deserve to be worshipped except Allah, no partner for Him. Only He has power and He alone has praise. He gives life and He gives dead. And He is in charge of all things.”

Afterwards pray for your own (the private bussiness of us) before proceeding on the last prayer before embarking on the journey to Marwah Hill,

لَا إَلَهَ إِلَّا اللهُ وَحْدَهُ لَا شَرِيْكَ لَهُ أَنْجَزَ وَعْدَهُ وَ نَصَرَ عَبْدَهُ وَ هَزَمَ الْأَحْزَابَ وَحْدَهُ

(Laa ilaha illa Allahu wahdahu laa syariyka lahu, an jaza wa’dahu, wa nashoro abdahu, wa hazama al ahzaba wahdahu)

“There is no God who deserved to be worshipped except Allah. He has fulfilled His promise. Helping His servant and He is the only one who has rout the armies of the aliance (of the polytheists).”

Ideally those dhikr (prayer) are read before going down to Mount Shafa but sometimes the situation is not possible due to unaccountable numbers of human who walk from and to both hills; so sometimes we have to read it while walking.

Approaching the row of green lights that hung in the sky I asked the of men to jog and chant dhikr, “Robbigfirliy warham innaka anta aazul akrom (Oh God forgive me and bless (myself), Thou are The Most Mighty and The Most Generous)” We didnt stop until met the next green light that became boundary of running. So what about the ladies who are not ordered (by sunnah or example from prophet Muhammad) to run? Do not worry because we do not leave them, in sha’ Allah.

While waiting for the ladies, i found some women and also ran alongside the men. Turkish entourage performed sa’i while praying or a congregation of men who kept sobbing. Some of the ladies stopped to the left side to drink zamzam water while blue-uniformed cleaning service officers was busy loading scrap plastic cups into large black bags.

In the third round I asked for permission to go to the toilet because I wanted to urinate; then Wahyudi and the pilgrims continue the journey without me. In the sa’i, there is no obligation to perform ablution so if someone wants to waste or sleep a little on the roadside he or she does not need to repeat the ablution; nevertheless it would be better if they do it.

Finished urination and ablution in the toilet which is located not far from the Marwah Hill i continued the next round, the fourth that started from Marwah. Unlike the fenced hill of Shafa, Marwah can no longer be said as a hill because it is completely flat. There are only remnants of brown rock that has been lacquered and covered with thick plastic so as not to hurt the person who climbed it.

There were many people resting, performed the sunnah prayer (though there is no law that specializes for praying there), or cutting hair. Usually the ladies take turns with their female counterpart during hair cutting. First they collecting hair like the way to make ponytail and cut it several inch in the edge. All done without opening the veil in public.

Unlike the ladies, the men usually only shorter part of their hair but  proceed to shaved it at the barbers who were outside the Grand Mosque. Sometimes we could find some boys who want to seek extra money by offering the haircut service. I advise you not to use their services because it is often very expensive, once a pair of scissors can be a hundred Saudi Real; Whereas in barbers only ten or twenty.

On the way to Shafa (fifth round) I met Mrs. Yuyun and her two children Audrey and Reyhan. All three look so tired and stumbling. “are you apart from the entourage, mam?” i asked.

“Yes sir, we were sitting down first. Suddenly the group is missing.”Replied Mrs. Yuyun whose face was looked so tired.

“It is okay mam, just do it slowly .” So we finished the rest of sa’i together. Once finished cutting hair in Marwah I just realized something, “where is Mr. Nugie, mam?”

Mrs. Yuyun was confused, “My husband was separated too. Where is he… ??? ”

Not a minute she spoke magically Mr. Nugie appeared before us, “Assalamualaikum sir, you are here?”

“Yeah, i met Mrs. Yuyum and the children on the way. Are you finished?”

“Yeah, Alhamdulillah.”

Formerly, the Ansar (all companions who are natives of Medina) often shouted the name of Manat (name of idols who worshipped by them) during the sa’i. They flatter the idol for seven times back and forth between the two hills eventhough the sun is so dazzling. When they converted to Islam, the Ansar were reminded of their habits and became embarrassed. They even hesitate to perform sa’i for fear of being perceived as doing idol worship. They then bring the matter to the prophet. In response Allah revealed Surah Al-Baqoroh verse 158 which explains that sa’i is a pillar of hajj and umra which should not be abandoned. The pagan habitts have been forgiven as their submit to Islam.

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