The place is packed with people performing the tawaaf immediately after the Faj’r prayers.
Most people prefer to perform tawaaf before sunrise. The heat during daytime is almost unbearable. I say almost because thousands of people still circumambulate the ka’aba despite the harsh summer temperature. I see a man standing with a tray containing several plastic cups of water for the thirsty pilgrims, while another man stands with a box of tissue paper in each hand. People do whatever good they can to maximize their chances of reaping rewards and pleasing the Creator.
Shops open just when the sun begins to rise, and close down during prayers.
The city of Makkah wakes up just before dawn to offer prayers. The place is abuzz with people so that it feels like it’s 8 am and not 4:30 am. Almost every merchandise—prayer mats, beads, scarves, compass that shows direction of ka’aba, etc—is made in China, and is over-priced.
Jebel al Thawr: The mountain where the spider incident took place.
Jebel Thawr is the mountain that contains the cave in which the Prophet Mohammed (sallalahu alaihi wassalam) and Abu Bakr (razi allah taala anhu) sought refuge for three days and nights from the Quraysh, as they left Makkah and emigrated to Madina.
Train (Metro) in Makkah that will be a tremendous help to the pilgrims.
It’s called the Mashair Railway, but also known as Makkah Metro. The trains have the capacity to transport 72,000 pilgrims in an hour. Nine stations have been constructed in Arafat, Mina and Muzdalifa, each having three stations.
Built in the second century of Islam, this masjid is located in the plains of Arafat, at the same place where the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) delivered his last sermon. Shortly after the Prophet (peace be upon him) had finished addressing the people, he received a revelation from Allah:
“Today I have perfected your religion for you and completed My favor upon you, and I have chosen Islam as your religion.” [5:3]
PS: Notice the water sprinklers in the picture above. I am impressed to see these scattered all over Arafat so that the mist keep the pilgrims cool.
PPS: All photographs taken with Kodak point & shoot camera.