Arafah; A Truly Melting Pot Theory

wuquf
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Crowded. Only that word can describe the atmosphere of Mecca before the implementation of wuquf (international gathering of hajj’s pilgrim from around the world). The airports were closed a week before wuquf and all pilgrims who were still in Medina were on their way to Mecca. A large caravan of bus t transports people from all over the world.

The fullness of Mecca before wuquf may only be rivaled by the last ten days of Ramadan. Human are uncountable, makes a difficulty to find just a word silence. During Friday prayers, the congregation can be longer than usual. No wonder when the length can reach the field where the pigeons pecked the grain of wheat. About 300 meters from the Grand Mosque and that is minimal.

Our bus turned left, leaving the concrete poles supporting the monorail line.

“Ladies and gentlemen, alhamdulillah we have entered the region of Arafah.” We all looked at the atmosphere outside the window. A vast and lonely desert have no companion except for the tiny trees called the Soekarno (the first president of Republic of Indonesia) Tree. So named because it is the Indonesian government that advises the Kingdom of Arabia to plant some trees as shelters of pilgrims who are performing wuquf. And the people of Indonesia are also contributing trees that to this day we can see on both sides of the highway to Arafah.

The place we visited was nothing more than a vast field lined with blue public toilets. There is nothing special in Arafah and there is no special worship except in the 9th of Dhu al-Hijjah. Unlike the case when wuquf during the hajj season, where millions of people gathered here since the night of 8 Dzulhijjah; At other times the density here is not too great. In the umra season that packed Arafat is at most only the congressman’s bus and food trucks. As at wuquf, this area is filled with people who sit praying since before the dhuhur (day prayer) until maghrib (dawn) time. They all pray with khusyu’ (seriously, full of hope and fear to Allah) even though some are up to Jabal Rahmah (The Blessing Hill) and do deeds that have no basic in Islamic law like repeating the marriage contract there with a belief that their marriage will be blessed more.

Wuquf itself is a foundation as well as an obligatory within the hajj; which leaving it means to cancel the Hajj. In contrast to the offense during thawaf or sa’i which can be paid with dam (fine), failed to join the wuquf can only be paid by repeating the hajj in the coming year. This is why some Hajj pilgrims dispatched the pilgrims to Arafat from the 8th even though wuquf itself was performed after the dhuhur on the 9th of Dhu al-Hijjah.

Not without reason if they have moved since the afternoon because the line of buses to Arafah is so long; All seemed to go to the same place at the same time. Both the healthy and the sick were all moving to Arafah to follow wuquf. Ambulances light a siren carrying the sickly pilgrims who can not afford to Arafah unless using those vessels. Likewise, those who are dying, are taken to Arafah just to do the wuquf. They are all willing to struggle, fight the heat and fatigue, solely in order to obey the words of the Prophet,

اَلْحَجُّ عَرَفَةُ

The (most important point during) hajj is (performing wuquf at)Arafah.”[1]

So what is the benefit awaiting those who wuquf in Arafah ?Besides the acceptance of his hajj, the prophet also told a good tidings for them,

مَا مِنْ يَوْمٍ  أَكثَرَ مِنْ أَنْ يَعْتِقَ اللهُ فِيْهِ عَبِيْدًا مَنَ النَّارِ مَنْ يَوْمِ عَرَفَةِ وَ إِنَّهُ لَيَدْنُوْ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ ثَمَّ يُبَاهِيْ بِهِمُ الْمَلَاءِكَةَ فَيَقُوْلُ: مَا ذَا أَرَادَ هَؤُلَاءِ

“There is no other day for Allah to free his servants from the torment of hell but on the Day of Arafah; and indeed Allah is nearer to the earth and to boast them (those who perform wukuf) before His angels and say:” And they are according to what they wish.”[2]

While the pilgrims were busy exploring the Arafah, I sat behind huge rocks that gave shelter from the scorching sun. Together with me was Eyang (granny in Java dialect) Uti and Nek (granny in Malay dialect) Sri who both have no intention to go to Jabal Rahmah. “I climbbed it during my hajj, and i won’t repeat. Above is very crowded.” Said Nek Sri who had performed her hajj several years ago.

I admit it because on the small hill that is considered the place where Prophet Adam and Mother Eve meet after long separation; there is nothing special except a monument which falsely-believed to be a sacred site. The belief affects number of pilgrims who then attached a photo of their beloved one in the hope God blessed their love.

Me and friends of mine are constantly warn the pilgrims that those deeds are never exampled by the prophet; nor it even commanded by God. Doing it only results in futility.

Another reason that makes me reluctant to up to Jabal Rahmah is the number of merchants who peddle their wares on the stairs; to make it difficult for people who want to walk or just sit for a moment. Not to mention the existence of people who scramble to approach the monument to pray and stick photos to it, even some people accidentally climbed to the hill to perform the sunnah pray on rocks without fear of slipping. So it’s better for me to stay under and watch the pilgrims because usually there is one who up from path A and then down through path B; resulting in separation from the group.

In two days we will meet with Ied al-Adha, in sya’ Allah. For those who are not performing hajj then the most important worship are ied prayer and slaughter the animal (sheep, lamb, ox, or camel). As for those whom Allah has destined to hajj; Do not imagine how much pleasure they find in Arafah, spending hours just to beg the mercy of God. There is no tiredness or saturation, only the hope that Allah will accept the Hajj their performed. Similarly with other worship of theirs.

[1] Shaheeh. Narrated by Abu Daud (no. 1949) and At-Tirmidzi (no. 889).

[2] Narated by Muslim no. (1348), Ibnu Majah no. (3014), and An-Nasa’i (no. 3003).

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