Yet again, another terrible tragedy at the jamrat.
I mentioned in another msg I was writing on another site...that part of our belief as muslims is the belief in the divine ordance of 'qadha wa qadr'. In other words, the fact of the pre-written or destiny. It does not mean that Allah has written or commanded for us that we will do this or that thing, but that the knowledge lies with Him that He knows from before the creation what we will do.
Hence, our time on this earth is written.
Perhaps it is that those ppl who died in the tragedy at the jamrat, it was written that they would die at that time or date, and they had not yet died in any other manner at the haj, and so this was the method for them to reach their death at that time.
Yet even so, even though there is the factor of pre-destination, still we as humans and as muslims must do our best to correct any human mistakes and misdeeds and try to prevent such misfortunes from happening again. Because even though there is the great factor of pre-destination, still there is a human factor involved as well.
A combination of crowd management, necessity of pre-haj training in the various countries of origin of the pilgrims, educating the pilgrims on the proper way of interaction in the crowds, necessity to attempt to discharge the squatters and illegal over-stayers carrying their bundles around, etc., etc., etc.
So many improvements have been done to the jamrat areas in the past recent years. Yet these tragic accidents are still happening. The current physique of the jamrat region was only established being re-done in the past maybe five years...attempting at irradicating these stampedes. And yet the stampedes still carry on.
As Br. Tayeb mentioned...even if someone accidently steps on a slipper or perhaps the dragging end of clothing, it is enough to trip up the person, making them fall. And with the ppl pressing in from behind (for those behind them are pressing in on them, attempting to move forward an in towards the jamrat region)...it naturally causes the person to fall, creating a fatal dominoe effect of pilgrims going down, and the stronger ones inevitably although unwantingly trampling upon those less fortunate to be at the bottom.
Once a person falls, there is virtually no way to bring them back up again. It is a very dangerous aspect of the haj indeed.
Similar tragedies are also not unheard of even in the tawaf. But when it happens in the tawaf, it is usually remedied quite quickly so as not to create such great loss as at the jamrat.
I have noticed with my own personal experience that for the most part, the far easterners (whether they be malay, indonesian, or otherwise) are usually the quietest and most well-mannered of the pilgrims. And for the most part, the worst mannered I have noticed are most generally the egyptians. There are always those individuals who may stand out of this norm, and are different from the rest. But for the most part, this is what I have observed.
I have noticed that the pilgrims coming from the far east are most generally quite humble in the overall approach, and even when I have noticed them going round in large compact group, they are still quite well mannered. Also the turks, have noticed them most generally to have an air of peace and tranquility about them when going round in their groups.
As for the egyptians, most of what I have noticed is that they like to push their way about, many times carelessly hurting those around them, stepping on them, or even sitting on them when trying to force their way into already overcrowded prayer areas in the haram. This is a common mannerism of many egyptians i have come across. Not to mention their practice of literally camping out inside the haram mosque-bundles all about, even ladies carelessly hanging up their underclothing for drying out inside the masjid al-haram. We try to talk to these ppl when we notice such ill manners, but it is quite difficult, if possible at all, to reason with these types of ppl. They like to return in fight when one tries to advise or correct them in the most polite manner. Usually the best way of dealing with these obstinate folks is to notify the haram personell of such persons and let the officials deal with them in their own manner.
It is still so sad that such tragedies must happen at the jamrat nearly every year. And I am wondering...if this new proposal of the expansion/development of the jamrat bridge will really help.
One of the greatest problems is usually the overcrowding that happens from the beginning of the duha time till after dhuhr (almost asr) on the second day.
There is a tradition for the shia's, as I have come to learn, and other muslims coming mainly from Iran and some from Pakistan, that they think it is a must to throw their stones at that time. And they tend to stand there making excess dua at those points...creating a buildup stop of the regular flow of the pilgrims...which only leads to the eventual tripping and then trampling that always happens. This is why if you are attending the haj, you should try to avoid going out for the jamrat at that time of day. Either go earlier, or later in the afternoon, to avoid that situation entirely.
It happened, a stampede, at this time of day years ago when I attended the haj. My SIL and her husband had gone out to throw their stones, but they were returned without attending to their duty at that time, for just before they reached the peak area, the stampede occured, killing some 100+ pilgrims. A very sad case indeed. Always sad and tragic.
There has been much discussion going on in local saudi papers after this tragedy, everyone offering their own advices on how to avoid future similar tragedies. But I wonder...will anything really be applied? And will anything really work??
I mean, although in general, and in most situations and areas at the haj, there is truly the feeling of unity and brotherly/sisterly love and care. But for some reason...while attending to the jamrat rites, that feeling gets totally lost. SubhanAllah. I wonder why.
When we attended the haj years ago, there was a terrible bottle neck as we approached the inner jamrat area...and as we got closer, we noticed why...there was a large over-size stretch GMC suburban on the road, parked, blocking the flow of pilgrims, with only the driver up front, and a lone woman (in full cloak cover) sitting in the far back...he was transporting her by wheel thru the jamrat region to attend to her pilgrimage duties in high style. I mean...what kind of pilgrimage is that...when u disturb hundreds...no, thousands...of pilgrims walking on foot, only to do ur duties in high style and comfort of air-conditioned car?!!!
SubhanAllah...one of the ideal points of the haj is to bring all pilgrims literally on same footing. And it surely is not same footing when one travels on wheels making more difficulty and crowding for thousands traveling on foot!!!
This year there has already come out news of the 5 star+ tents offered in MIna. When they were officially banned couple years ago. Part of the advert for these tents includes: 5-room suites, swedish furnishings, large screen televisions with 20+ channel satellite dish, private bathrooms with jacuzi bath tubs, etc., etc., etc. I mean...my goodness...why not add a golf course on the route to the jamrat region, or perhaps an olympic swimming pool to ease the heat while waiting the day out at arafat??
I mean...if ur gonna lose the meaning and effect of the haj...why not do it all the way??
May Allah help and guide us all.
And the prices for these accomodations...can u imagine it?? Such money could be better used at providing care for orphans or widows. Or feeding the hungry or treating the ill. Or educating those needy of it. SubhanAllah. So much could have been done with such funds!!!
Well...looks like I did my bit of venting off for today. Have traversed from one topic to the next...but it is on a natural flow. Please excuse me. Just some points I felt needed to be touched upon.
I really don't have any answers for any of these problems. Just felt like touching upon them.
I guess we must pray for the guidance of all the muslims...and pray also that Allah will take mercy upon us all and accept our various attempts at worshipping Him.