The journey to Muzdalifah was typical - the coach broke down! Story of my hajj trip - dodgy transport! Thankfully it was sorted in about 15 minutes - and we soon arrived in Muzdalifah.
The purpose of us staying in Muzdalifah was to collect pebbles for the following three days of stoning the 'devil' at Mina. It's part of the hajj ritual to stay the night in Muzdalifah as the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) did.
When reading about Muzdalifah it's referred to as a desert, but the reality is its a wasteland packed full of people- oh so many people - picking pebbles! Like in Arafat there were areas but space was so limited - you really just find an area with space and stick with it.
Once in Muzdalifah its tradition to combine isha and Maghrib prayers - dependent on the time you arrive there. So our first thing was to get a spot and pray, all well and good until the lady next to me stood on my foot (typical congregational prayer hazard) and I screamed out in the middle of the prayer - oops. My foot was on fire and once the prayer was over I burst into tears - the pain and the long day got the better of me.
Thankfully I snapped out of it quickly - and got on with picking my stones - my technique was to pick those closest to where I was sat! Other people took it to another level! It was like each stone had to be perfect and if they saw stones next to where you were lain down trying to sleep that didn't deter them!
I have some tips for Muzdalifah:
- Bring cardboard or a sleeping mat (you can buy these dirt cheap in Mina/Makkah) as you will be sleeping on stones that WILL poke through your sleeping bag!
- A sleeping bag is not essential. You will be lucky to get a couple of hours sleep at most. My research told me Muzdalifah would get cold at night and a sleeping bag was essential. However it only ever 'cooled' down to about 24 degrees. The bag was a lot of space to take to Mina....I would have preferred an extra outfit.
- Don't be scared by the lack of facility stories. We were warned to not eat and drink too much as there would be no where to go (this is why I was running to the loo and fell haha). Funnily enough we ended up being 2 minutes from the toilets. Apparently years back there were far less facilities - or maybe the guide writers were up in the mountains - yes people slept up on the mountains in Muzdalifah.
- REST! I cannot emphasize this more. The next day is going to be tough - and you need to be ready. Try and sleep where you can.
- Don't take a tent - yes really. People had brought pop up tents to sleep in - for ONE night. This is seriously not necessary unless you have serious need to take one - don't bother. Some people take a long time to reach Muzdalifah - and in essence we are there only for some hours.
- Get your wudhu done way before fajr! This is obvious...the facilities are there but so are zillions of people!
- Leave AFTER fajr. There is a ruling that sick and elderly people can leave Muzdalifah early. My group did have elderly people in but 80% took this ruling and left. This is hajj - try to follow the sunnah as much as possible.
pictures from the web