I had the profound privilege of performing one of the 5 pillars of belief in Islam: Hajj, in 2016.
I recorded the Hajj while performing it. The idea was to try and provide a glimpse of what a Hajji goes through, at least one who is a resident of Saudi. You may find it a bit abrupt and I wasn’t able to record the whole journey, as I was busy actually performing the rituals and supplicating as much as my vagrant self could. So, a few days in the middle will only be shown in pictorial format, and I will try to fill in as many details as I can possibly remember after 2 years.
Therefore, please forgive me for any mistakes here.
I knew moving to Saudi in 2014, that my job assignment would last for 2-3 years. During my 2+ years in Saudi, I was lucky enough to perform 5 Umrahs, but for one reason or another, Hajj had been pending. Umrah can be performed any time of the year, but Hajj comes once an year (lunar year i.e.).
Once it became clear that my job was nearing end, I started thinking of getting Hajj done. Wasn’t sure when I would get another chance like that. In 2016, Hajj was in September. Anyway, by August, due to some unavoidable circumstances, I realised that I will not be able to get this done. After lamenting a bit, I gave up.
But as they say, Hajj happens on invitation from Allah. I got a call from my cousin Bilal. He was booking for his own Hajj, along with his spouse. Plans changed and he asked me to join him for Hajj. Of course I said yes, as I saw it as a sign from God. I was awash with immense gratitude. It was indescribable. So, I owe my Hajj, first to Allah’s benevolence, and then to Bilal’s kindness. I started making arrangements, which included getting vaccinated for meningitis and submitting a vaccination “certification” to the group organizer.
The Hajj reservation system in 2016 was quite modernized. I am putting up some photos to give you an idea of that. I whited out some personal details.