Yusuf's Memorable Hajj

February 27, 2008
“I can’t believe we’re going on Hajj,” said Yusuf as he packed his bag. “This is going be the best.”
“Yeah, but we have to prepare for Hajj,” replied his mom smugly.
“The only way you get to go to Hajj is that you have to be spiritually ready,
as well as financially and physically able. But in your case it also means, get
your homework done.”
“AWWW, BUT Mom.”
“Yeah, but get some shuteye,” replied his mom, “tomorrow is gonna
be a big day. Good night.”
The next morning, his mom went into his room at 5:30 and tried to
wake Yusuf up, “Yusuf, wake up,” no response. So she tried again, “Yusuf

wake up.” Still no response, so she turned on the lights,
“ AHHHHH, MOOOM! Turn off the light!!!”
“Good, you’re awake, now get dressed, we’re going.”
“Fine, just turn off the light.”
They arrive at the airport, “Man, I can’t believe how many people go on Hajj.”
“Flight 1: New York to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, now boarding,” says an
electronic voice.
Yusuf walks to the gate, sits in his seat on the plane, and falls asleep.
“Yusuf, wake up.”
“Yeah, Dad?”
“Son, welcome to the greatest journey of your life.”
Yusuf wakes up, climbs out of the plane, and sees millions of pilgrims
walking out of planes and boats all in the simple ihram, two pieces of
clean seamless cloth, or for women, modest clothing that covers all but the
hands and face.
“Son, let’s get to our hotel, okay?”
“Cool, okay Dad.”
Soon Yusuf and his family take a bus to Mecca and go to the hotel.
“Wow, this view is incredible. Mom, Dad is that the Kabah?”
“Yes, it is. Muslims believe that God ordered Prophet Abraham to
built this Mosque thousands of years ago with his son, Ishmael.”
“Wow, are we going to do Tawaf and Sahi?”
“Yeah! But do you even know why we make Tawaf and Sahi?”
“Heh, heh, no.”
“WELLLL, Tawaf is when you walk around the Kabah in a circular
path seven times, reciting ritual prayers. And Sahi is when a person goes
back and forth, seven times, between the bases of the mountains called Safa
and Marwa.
The ritual of Sahi represents the frantic back and forth trips
Hagar made, from the Safa and Marwa mountain peaks, to look for help in
the desert. At the same time baby Ishmael kicked in the valley between Safa
and Marwa and the eternal well of Zamzam water started to flow to save
mother and child. The origianl well of Zamzam still flows to this day.
“That amazing.” Yusuf said in awe.
“Okay we’re going,” his dad announced, “stay close to me.”
I couldn’t believe how many people go on Hajj. You could really get lost.
Then the moment Yusuf feared for most came during the commotion. He
was separated from his parents in the crowd. After franticly searching, he
decided to report to the authorities and stay with them. “Sir, I lost my
parents, and I don’t know where they are.” But the officer had no idea what I
was saying, because he only spoke Arabic. But just then he spotted a kind
looking man walking towards him, Yusuf decided to ask him for help.
“Sir, can you help me, please?”
The man said in a polite voice, “Why, of course. Where are your
“That’s why I asked you to help me, I lost them.”
“Well, you can stay with me.”
“Thank you.”
After making Tawaf, with the man, Yusuf and the kind man took a
bus to the tent city of Mina. When they arrived at Mina, Yusuf was amazed
when he saw 4.1 million Hajji’s gathered in one place. The man explained
the purpose of Mina. “Mina is called the ‘tent city’ for good reason.
Millions of fiberglass tents are set up for pilgrims to stay in and bond with
each other. One of the main reasons for Hajj is to help us realize the bond
human beings have with each other. That no matter where we come from, no
matter what social status we have, we are equal.”
“Wow, that’s amazing, and it’s all so modern.”
While spending six days of meeting many other Muslims, everyone
travels back and forth from Mina to Muzdalifah, Jamarat, and Arafat.
First they went to Muzdalifah, where they gathered stones to throw at
Jamarat (stone pillars).
The man tells Yusuf, “Jamarat represent the three
times Satan tried to stop Abraham from fulfilling his covenant with God.
You collect stones to throw at the pillars just as Abraham did.”
The next day, everyone went to the Plain of Arafat. The kind man
explained to Yusuf, “Arafat is where Adam and Eve were sent, from
Paradise to Earth, after they ate the forbidden fruit, they were separated on
Earth, repented, forgiven, and reunited in Arafat. Here all your sins will be
forgiven and all your prayers answered.”
“All of them, eh? Well, I pray for better grades, a PS3, an Ipod touch,
and to see my parents again.” Then Yusuf thought he must have been
hallucinating, it was as if the crowd broke apart just for him. He could see
his parents walking towards him.
“Sir, I can see my parents!”
“Then go to them, son. God bless you, you made this my best Hajj.”
He was about to thank him, but he was gone, as if he didn’t exist.
“MOM, DAD!!!!!!!!” Yusuf screamed.
“Oh My, Gosh!!!!! Yusuf!!!! Thank God, you’re safe,” said his
grateful parents.
“This was the greatest experience, ever. This has changed my life
forever,” said Yusuf, “I want our Eid to be the greatest ever.”
So Yusuf and his family sacrificed a lamb just as Muslims believe that
God replaced Abraham’s son more than thousands of years ago to fulfill his
test with God to see if Abraham loved his son more than God. Then they
took a shower and changed out of ihram, which signified the end of Hajj.
“Mom, Dad, the entire time I was lost I had no idea what to do. But
then I found a man who helped me throughout Hajj and I was so grateful.
Someone, who had no idea who I was, where I came from, or whether I was
rich or poor, helped a lost child find his parents and helped me see the true
meaning of this journey, that no matter who we are, rich or poor, young or
old, we are equal.”
“That’s great,” said his touched parents, “Now, even after the
adventure we’ve had, we’ve been wanting to go to Medina, to learn about a
man that, if it wasn’t for him we wouldn’t be Muslim, Muhammad.”
They traveled to Medina, and Yusuf learned about how Muhammad
established an Islamic State, how he united an entire civilization.
Then he visited the Mosque of the Prophet and saw his tomb and
prayed for the world and its people. “Well, Yusuf we saw Arabia and even
though it felt like millions of years, we had fun. It doesn’t stop after
everyone leaves. The Saudi Arabian government prepares for yet another
year of pilgrims, constantly making changes to house millions of pilgrims.”
Then after a long journey they went home to relax. “I can’t believe we
went on Hajj, I got lost and I saw millions of people and learned the true
meaning of unity.”

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