Continuing my Hajj Experience Day 2, which was the Arafat day. The most important aspect of Hajj is, without a doubt, Arafat Day. It is also the most tiring of all days, not only mentally but also emotionally.
If you want to start the series from the beginning, make sure you check out Day One of my Hajj journey experience, where I write about arrival and Mina camp. Then come back here to continue.
For a pilgrim, this is the whole accumulation of your Hajj. There is no Hajj without Arafat day; you may pay fidya and make up things, but if you are not on Arafat during the time you need to be, your Hajj won’t be valid.
Now, I didn’t know what to expect of Arafat because I really thought that we would be going to Mount Arafat.
This was, however, not the case since it is quite hard to put almost 1.8 million pilgrims on a mountain at 45 C.
Again, ignorance can be bliss in my whole Hajj journey because the worse expectations I had the more grateful I was.
I knew we would have tents but also I didn’t know how big the tents would be or how close. I am sad If I have to be honest, I didn’t see Mount Arafat up and close, but the lady next to me that went almost had a heatstroke, so I don’t regret it.
Some people went, but again, it was minimal in comparison to those who stayed in the tents.
Now, imagine 1.8 million people trying to leave Mina and head to Arafat. It is a logistical nightmare, and I have true respect for the Saudi authorities and all the people who work during Hajj.
I spent the 8th of Dhul Hijra just around camp and resting because we didn’t have much to do since we arrived the previous day and had completed the Tawaf.
Most people in our camp arrived on the 8th and settled. Remember, they are all local or Saudi residents, so we don’t have specific times with a group other than being there for the rituals. The coaches from Jeddah were running on until morning.
We were told we would leave from our Mina camp to Arafat around 12 am.
The distance between Mina and Arafat is around 14km, but trust me, this can be way longer to manage since there are hundreds of buses.
I am also pretty sure some people actually walked, especially if their Mina camp was towards the end. Our camp was C12, and it was in the middle of Mina.
I think it took us around 2+ hours to reach Arafat and our comp there.
Tents on Arafat Day
This is also one of the reasons why I am making this Hajj series and my experience because when I was googling tents and how this whole thing worked not from a religious perspective but from a practical one, I didn’t find much.
I want to show people what it might look like for them and what to expect, not like me waiting to be left outside all day.
There is actually a lot of space on Arafat for tents and to fit two million people. Since you are staying there for less than a day, the tents are different from those in Mina.
We arrived early morning and I of course wasn’t sure what to expect since photos are so different in every camp.
I had packed a small bag with just essentials.
Our tent was a huge one accommodating nearly 100 women.
There was not much space, and during the day when the AC died on us it was tough.
We had a corner for snacks and drinks and some small space outside.
There is nothing else and honestly, you can’t even see anything since it is pretty much tents everywhere.
As I mentioned you can walk to Arafat but I didn’t and I am glad because I stayed outside a little after Dhuhr to make my duas and I boiled. I started to feel sick and since we didn’t have electricity, we also didn’t have cold drinks.
We had ice cream, which had melted, and it was a mess. Small issues.
The toilet situation there was also not the best, so again, I avoided drinking or eating much. It’s not my smartest move but I almost got sick in that smelly ground toilet with 50C outside.
I can’t even explain it because, humidity, hot water and the smell – paint enough of a picture.
Just be ready because this is pretty much all of Arafat tents.
One thing that really saved me is my compression towels. I cannot recommend them enough seriously but my Amazon shop link had the ones I bought.
I would soak them in cold water and just clean myself to keep them cool inside and outside the tent.
Also, the fan I used during hajj is there and it is very good.
You can find all my links and things I used on in my Amazon shop.
Arafat is Dua
So I really spent the day not talking much and just making dua. I had a list of my duas that were already ready and then I of course read all the people’s dua who had sent them.
This took the majority of my time.
I would highly recommend you not to engage in small talk as many women liked to chat during that time to “pass time” but honestly there is so much more opportunity to do that outside Arafat day so just concentrate on your ibadah.
I never realised how emotionally tiring this day will be because you do go through a lot if you really go deep.
You are meant to leave Arafat after Magrib, I believe. Our group told us to get ready around 6 pm, which I didn’t know how I felt about.
We had to find a coach for our company and just get on it to take us to Muzdalifa.
Depending on where your tent is, you could walk it because, boy, there were so many coaches, and then we got stuck for 2hrs since someone said they opened the gates after Magrib.
This is one of the slowest journeys ever and it took us nearly 3-4 hours for the drive to Muzdalifa which is less than 5km I think.
You will keep seeing a sea of white while you are going towards Muzdhalifa. People did walk and took their time and also, if I knew, I would have walked myself probably because being stuck in a coach is not my favourite pastime.
Muzdhalifa is just an empty land with not much there.
I did see some real VVIP setups though, and I did wonder what package these guys had because it looks super comfy. Maybe they were royal.
At Muzdhalifa, the coach parked anywhere that was sent, and then we headed out to find space to set up.
The guides had carpets and some prayer mats that have a back on them – I absolutely love these and I suggest you buy some for home like me. They cost £10, and you can find them in any shop in Makkah.
Because it was so crowded there was not much space to set up so we really just squashed around.
Also, toilets in Muzdalifa are a nightmare. So don’t expect much. I went to make wudhu, and the roof was leaking water!
Women pushed each other, and it was chaos. I mean it is expected since 2 million people are crowded in a small area.
I did have to use the toilet, but I held it until the last minute before bursting. It is dirty so make sure you have wipes, and a hairclip which I use to clip my abaya, and personally I use Birkenstock to just keep it all clean.
Muzdhalifa to Mina
The distance is a few miles and much faster if you walk.
You leave Muzdhalifa after midnight – I believe we left around 2 am with the majority of buses.
Every video I watched said to walk. For some reason, I was tired, and I said let’s go with the coach.
The whole time I wished I had walked, and this is one of the do-overs I would do.
It took us 4 hours I believe to get to Mina, and we also had to walk some of the distance since they had blocked the roads.
We arrived just with the Fajr adhan in our camp.
This day for me was the longest since we slept very little and it was very emotional. But this is the main part of your Hajj so definitely keep those things in mind when you plan your previous nights and how prepared you will be with your duas and snacks and things to make you comfortable during the heat.
We came back to our Mina camp and the atmosphere was that of celebration. They had even put a rose on each bed for us, which was such a nice gesture.
Hajj 2024 day of Arafat is the 15th of June approximately which means it will be hot. Make sure you check out my tips on packing, and Amazon buys.
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