Chronicles of the Haj – Part 3

Today 20th of November. Another four days to go. Missed to post anything for the last two days. Not so much due to business or the like, but I was so tired, I plonked out even by 11.00pm. At last, today I managed to exchange the ringgit for the riyal. Amazingly the rate was RM95 for 100 riyal yesterday but today it was one to one – RM100 for 100 Riyal.

Thank you people for the encouraging words including the inspirational yet subtle reminder from Prof Halimah. Insyaallah I’ll try to be more pragmatic and more disciplined next year. I am really hoping I can be more focussed and less procrastinating. I know she was disappointed with my performance so far, but I was more disappointed with myself. I should have finished writing the thesis in April.

Slowly I am beginning to get the butterflies in the tummy, even after reviewing the checklist, I still had this feeling that something is amiss. Maybe I should put it down to nerves. I am also trying to sort out the various instructions to the children. Now that they are going to be looking after themselves for the next 43 days, even to the point of preparing and registering for the next school session and next university semester.

After consulting a few experts, we have decided to do the Tamattuk instead of Ifrad. Earlier we were thinking of doing the Ifrad since we are flying direct to Jeddah and Makkah. Mind  you it will be another 14 days before the wukuf and we have to really observe the strict ihram rules for 14 days or risk paying a lot on dam(fines). The consultants at the TH were also against doing the ifrad unless we are very disciplined or willing to pay hefty dam. As a chance to test my knowledge on the Haj and its intricaies, let me try to explain those terms.  You can perform the Haj and Umrah in three ways called the Tammattuk, the Ifrad, and the Qiran. In doing the Tammattuk Haj, you perform the Umrah first, then you do the Haj, within the same season. The Ifrad, in a way is the opposite to Tammattuk. You do your Haj first, the you do the Umrah. This is the way Prophet Muhammad did it. And the Qiran is the combination of both – you do the haj and umrah simultaneously. I should have explained earlier that, when you perform the Haj, you actually do two things – Haj and Umrah.  Both of them are quite similar except for the fact that Haj can only be performed in specific time of the year – mostly from the 9th to 13th of Zulhijjah (the last month of the Islamic lunar calendar), whereas Umrah can be performed at any time of the year. Another difference is that the Haj involves some extra acts/rituals that umrah performers do not have to do. Umrah rituals revolves around Makkah and its borders while Haj involves rituals in Makkah, Arafah, Mudzaliffah, and Mina.

In performing the Haj or Umrah you have to follow strict rules pertaining to your acts and attire. If you flout these rules, you are liable to pay the fines called dam. Fines came in the form of slaughtering animals whose meat to be given to the poor or providing food to the poor or fasting a certain number of days. One of the rule is that one must wear the ihram.

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