[QODLink]
Middle East
Hajj Diary: Eid reflections
With the hardest parts of the pilgrimage behind, a sense of joy is emerging.
Last Modified: 12 Dec 2008 06:14 GMT

Despite major incidents in the past, stoning the 'devil' went smoothly this year [AFP]

It's day five ... I think. Things have been moving so fast and so much is happening that I've lost sense of time!

Today is the first day of Eid, one of two Islamic celebrations and holidays in the Muslim world.

Growing up I would always look forward to this day, when I would wear my new clothes, go to the mosque and visit friends and families. In the evening the family would sit to a delicious meal prepared by my mother.

Today's Eid is a little different. Although I don't have any new clothes, I no longer have to wear the Ihram (two plain white cloths), so I almost get that same feeling.

In the morning we greet each other with the Eid greeting of "May God accept your good deeds and may each year bring you peace and good health".

Smooth operation

Aside from the sense of joy that comes with Eid, there is a noticeable sense of relief amongst us all. The hardest parts of Hajj have come and gone and we are all grateful that we have managed to perform them.

In depth

Map - Tracking Hajj

Hajj Diary
Day 1: Arriving in Mecca
Day 2: Secure supplication
Day 3: A hard day's work
Day 4: Destination Arafat
Day 5: Eid Reflections
Day 6: Time to head home

Videos
Poor pilgrims face Hajj hardships
Blockade dampens Gazans' spirits
Muslims complete pilgrimage
Today we're filming the pilgrims as they throw pebbles they collected from Muzdalifa at the Jamaraat - three columns representing the devil - in Mina.

It's here that casualties have occurred in recent years, with stampedes and crowd crushing on several occasions.

But a new extension built by the Saudis has evidently made a positive difference.

Several levels have been added to the site, with the flow of pilgrims now moving across the Jamaraat bridge in an extremely-organised fashion.

Here, at least, the Saudi authorities have definitely lived up to their expectations.

In the afternoon we sit down to a traditional Saudi meal called Kabsa. Roasted sheep is placed over rice served on a large tray and several of us eat from the same plate.

Despite not having Eid dinner with my family, I definitely feel like I am sitting and eating with brothers.

Overwhelming joy

Whenever we have filmed on this trip, pilgrims have always made a point of waving to the camera. Others have asked to be filmed, whilst some will just place themselves in front of the camera regardless.

And while it has been annoying at times - especially when there's a deadline to meet - it has made me take note of one thing: the sheer happiness that these people feel, the overwhelming joy they are experiencing because they have been able to fulfil what truly is a journey of a lifetime.

It is this heart-warming feeling that they are so selflessly adamant to share with viewers across the world.

Source:
Al Jazeera
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
The new military government has issued warnings that it will soon start to clampdown on immigration offenders.
As Snowden awaits Russian visa renewal, the world mulls role of NSA and expects more revelations from document trove.
A handful of agencies that provide tours to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea say business is growing.
A political power struggle masquerading as religious strife grips Nigeria - with mixed-faith couples paying the price.
The current surge in undocumented child migrants from Central America has galvanized US anti-immigration groups.
join our mailing list