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When we were waiting for the bus to Makkah, my thoughts went backwards. We were actually planning to go to Hajj in the year 2007 itself. But since millions of people gather at Makkah at that time, the Saudi government has to provide them all the basic needs like water, shelter, etc. and so they have follow quota system for each country based on the population of Muslims of that particular country.
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So from India only 1.5 lakh people were allowed. And that too for Tamil Nadu it was only 3500 seats. When more people apply, then the lot system was followed.
In the lot of 2007, we were not selected. Also another reason might be, people who are suffering from some sort diseases like heart problems are not allowed. But I did not know that and I got letter from the doctor for my father in law stating
that ‘He has heart problem and so please accommodate them nearer to Haram Shariff’ and attached that along with the application. This also might be one of the problems for not getting
ticket during the Hajj of 2007.
But, whatever Allah does will be for our benefits. We do not know what is behind the scene. Also the year before we were staying in a small house that would have been very difficult for holding the luggage and the
crowd. We actually built a small house and resided in that and were building a bigger bungalow nearby. But in 2008 we shifted to our new bungalow and it was very comfortable for us to start our journey from there.
In the year 2007, we had applied for the first class category. We had enough money at that time but we were not selected in the lot. But in 2008, as most of our money was sent in building our new house, we had budget issues and so we applied
for Ajijiya category. All these categories are based on the distance
of our hotel from Kaaba. But for this, there is no other difference in comfort or convenience.
The amount that we had to pay for first class was 97,000 INR in 2008 and the distance between hotel and Kaaba would be a maximum of 3 km and for second class it was 95,000 INR and the distance mentioned was 5 km while for Ajijiya the amount to be paid was 86,500 INR and the distance was 7 km. But those who opt for Ajijiya category would be provided free transportation facility from their hotel to Masjid Al Haram and other categories could not enjoy this privilege.
This amount we paid included the room rent for 30 days stay at Makkah and 10 days stay at Madina, flight charges and foreign exchange that was given to us for spending there. Each one of us would be given 2100 Saudi Riyals for our expenses. This would be more than enough and we can buy souvenirs back home with this money. Taking extra money other than this depends upon one’s personal wishes.
We opted for Ajijiya category because we could save 30,000 INR for all three of us and also because we could avail free transportation there from Ajijiya to Masjid Al Haram. In the year 2007, totally 6000 people applied from our district and from that 3500 people were selected by lot system. But in the year 2008, 10,000 people applied for Hajj and the same 3500 seats were available. We were not sure if we will be selected. Also we were on tight budget and did not know if we would be able to pay if we got selected. But Allah is there above all for all of us.
One day my brother called me and said that the Hajj lot results were announced. I asked him to search online. He asked me what I would give him if we were selected. I
answered that I would make special prayers for his future. Then he said that we got
the seat. I almost burst into tears not able to believe my own ears. Hearing the sound of my sobbing, my mamu came inside and after knowing, he too shed emotional tears. Immediately I rang up to my husband and parents to convey this news. Taken away by strong emotions, we started to chant the Talbiya, ‘Labbaik’.
“Labbaik Allahumma Labbaik, Labbaik Laa Shareekalaka Labbaik, Innal Hamdha… Vannihmatha Lakaval Mulk… Laa Shareekalak”
The meaning of this is, “Allah I have come to thy home”.
When Kaaba was built by Prophet Ibrahim thousands of years before, he called all the humans on earth and those to be born to come and perform Hajj. Allah conveyed his call to all those living and those are to live. Whoever answered this call with Labbaik will get a chance to perform Hajj.
I started chanting Labbaik full of emotions with a loud voice. Then I called everyone living in our city whoever applied for Hajj to inquire whether they were selected. Not many were selected and especially in our area among more than 50 applicants only were lucky enough to get the ticket. So, I thanked Allah for his grace and was plunged into the worries
not knowing how we would procure money for Hajj.
When someone shouted 27, 27, I got back my senses. O! It was our Muallim’s number. I woke up my sleeping machan and loaded our luggage in the vehicle of our Muallim and starting moving towards the bus to Makkah. It was early morning 5 ‘O clock at that time.
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