Alhamdulillah, had the opportunity to perform hajj this year.
Decided to choose a more adventurous route for the experience.. Nope, didn't walk the whole way(though there were quite a number of pilgrims who did this)..
Instead, 4 of us travelled to Mina then Arafat then Muzdalifah and back to Mina by scooter. Those 50-60 km/hr ones. It was quite tricky too riding wearing the two pieces of white cloth but alhamdulillah, nothing seriously embarassing happened.
Was it legal? Hm, not really but thats the way it is here, especially during hajj period. By right, we can't go around scooting on highways and main roads, however only for hajj period, the police won't do anything if they see scooters going around for hajj. Hmm, i imagined that if we'd rode like that back home and got caught for the traffic offences made, we'd probably be banned from riding for life!
Thankfully, the journey was smooth sailing mostly. It was good considering the very low cost and time saved from traffic jams. Wouldn't recommend it though.
We faced challenges like searching for water source and toilets, spots to pitch our tents and food. Even when there's toilets, the queue would be a line of 6 or more at peak hours which is most of the period. But of course there are certain periods where its ok. So food management and water intake control is important. But alhamdulillah, we managed without much difficulty and managed to do all the rituals, sunnah or obligatory. I cant imagine how others who backpacked like us managed, some without transport, with thier wives and children.
Currently at Mina sitting by the side of a road with thousand others while typing this using my n70.. SubhanAllah, the wonders of technology. Hm, insya Allah if I have a chance to perform hajj again next year, maybe i'd try a different way by following a travel agency.. No worries but at a hefty price.. the 'finer side' of hajj. Alhamdulillah for this opportunity..
Eid mubarak to all muslims! Allah is Almighty!