Marizan's FotoPage
Canon Buff ~ Papparazi Wanabe
By: Marizan Nor

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Saturday, 24-Sep-2005 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Makkah ~ Saudi Arabia #10

... my police companions ...
.... South East Asians, I guess ...
.... Turkish perhaps ...
View all 4 photos...
The world has become small. Cross border movements are now easy. Many big cities in the world are cosmopolitan cities.

In 600AD however the scenario was different. Rome was essentially Romans and Ctesiphon, the capital of the Sassanid Empire, was strictly Persians. These were the 2 Super Powers then. War captives (from other countries) were second class citizens. Cross border trade was not prevalent.

When Muhammad (pbuh) began his call to Islam, the call was not directed to the Arabs only. So was the response. He soon established a multiracial society. Among his established companions were Bilal ibn Rabbah and Salman Al Farsi. Bilal was a black Ethopian and was accorded the high rank of a Muezzin, the caller to prayer. Salman was a Persian and a decorated Commander of the Muslim army.

In Makkah now, one can see the plurality of races on the streets. The difference from many other cities in the world is that people are here for one sole purpose, the submission to God.

The Pilgrims of Makkah are guests of God in His house. Everyone is equal in His eyes, but their level of peity.

Friday, 23-Sep-2005 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Makkah ~ Saudi Arabia #9

... rock blasting in progress ...
.... soon to disappear ....
Masjid Aqaba

This mosque (masjid) is located about half km from the Jamrah of Aqaba. Usually Omrah goers will not visit this mosque. Omrah guide books too do not mention its presence. Most visitors are not aware and to many, it is just another small insignificant mosque.

However, 14 centuries ago, a major historical event and a milestone that changed the course of Islam and human history occurred at this spot. Mohammad (pbuh) secretly met the representatives from Medina here and after their acceptance of Islam, they gave their pledge to protect Islam. The pledge is called ' Bai’at ul Aqabah ' (Pledge of Aqabah). Mohammad (pbuh) and his small band of Makkan followers later migrated (hijrah) permanently to Medina. For 13 years, the muslims were severely oppressed in Makkah. After the pledge and over the next 10 years in Medina, Islam was rapidly transformed from the religion of Abraham to a complete way of life (ad-Deen) for mankind. Islam became a government with spheres of influence encompassing the Arab peninsula and northern Mesopotamia.

Given the massive rock blasting and earthworks surrounding the masjid, I reckon very soon this Masjid will be demolished to make way for the extension of Mina. If this happens, it will be very regretful.

We read about history in books but it is nothing compared to the feeling one gets visiting the very place the event happened. In my humble opinion, historical remains should be preserved at all costs. Without the remains, history will become tales and over time, forgotten. Please...not the place of the historical 'Baiat ul Aqabah'.

Thursday, 22-Sep-2005 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Makkah ~ Saudi Arabia #8

... mina ~ chan wuz ere ...
... typical hujjaj tents ...
..jamratul saghira wall ~ top deck ...
View all 6 photos...

Mina is about 7 km away from Mudzaliffa. This is another uninhabited place that comes alive for 3 days ( 11th, 12th and 13th ) during the Pilgrimage month of Dzulhijjah. The 3 ' Jamrahs ' are located in Mina. Mina is therefore significant in the Hajj itinerary. It is mandatory for the hujjaj (pilgrims) to perform the throwing of 7 pebbles (collected at Mudzaliffa) to the Jamrahs. Historically, when the Prophet Abraham was commanded by God to 'slaughter' his son Ismael, Satan tried to dissuade him from obeying God's command. Abraham responded by throwing 7 pebbles towards Satan. Stoning the Jamrahs thus symbolises the act of driving Satan away.

The 'Jamrahs' used to be concrete pillars. Last year, the pillars were replaced with concrete walls. This change has made the throwing easier for the hujjaj. The stronger ones can now throw pebbles from a distance, giving opportunity for the elderly and weaker hujjaj to throw from near. The Jamrahs consist of upper and lower levels/decks, to provide ample room for the 2 million hujjaj to perform the throwing ritual within the 3 stipulated days.

I did not have sufficient time in Mina. Therefore the shots were not of the quality and perspectives I wanted.

Wednesday, 21-Sep-2005 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Makkah ~ Saudi Arabia #7

... still wanna ride? ...
... my foot ...
Down on Bended Knees

This is not the ‘ Boys to Men ‘ version. You don’t climb onto a camel like gauchos to horses. The camel will have to rest its massive body on its belly before you can get onto its back. You can be thrown off the saddle when the camel lunges forward and backward to get back to its 4 feet (albeit clumsily). The camel is obviously not as graceful as the horse.

Until about the 1950's, the camel was the main means of transportation for the pilgrims. My late grandmother used to relate her not-so-nice experiences ( she laughed it off ) on camels' backs when she performed the Hajj then. The 450km journey from Makkah to Medina (the city of the Prophet Mohammad) took more than a week. Today, it is 45 minutes by air or 4 hours by airconditioned coaches (or even Cadillacs) on excellent highways. Modern day pilgrims are a blessed lot, aren't they?

Tuesday, 20-Sep-2005 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Makkah ~ Saudi Arabia #6

... Unta ( camel ) ride anyone? ... do you like my cloak??..
... gagged: cant say a word ....
View all 5 photos...

If you fancy riding camels, you could try it here at the base of the Mount Rahmah at Arafah.

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