normally a jemaah haji will go through 3 courses before embarking on the pilgrimmage to Makkah Al Mukarramah. i've gone through the 15 series of course, the intensive course, and the grand finale which is the Kursus Haji Perdana, where they gather the jemaah haji from all over the state, in this case for me it's Wilayah Persekutuan. my other family members registered at Selangor so they attended the course at the Shah Alam mosque while i had to go to Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin mosque, the mosque some fondly dubbed as the Steel Mosque.
i don't know my way in Putrajaya, and although Kak Dah and Abang Najib showed me the way on the first day of raya, i knew back then i'd get lost somewhere in god knows what precint. so Kak Dah offered to drive me there. good!
when we arrived there at 2pm, there were many cars around, and there were policemen controlling the traffic. the mosque is huge, it's a complex! i made my way with my pink bag and after asking people for some directions, i finally reached the lobby of the mosque - and met my Rayhar course lecturer, Ust. Hj Ahmad Rosli. he recognised my face and we chatted for awhile. then i registered, got my tag, and again, made my way to the lift, all the while seeing a lot of pilgrims around - wheelchairbound grandmothers, young ladies, the educated ladies who spoke in English to their husbands (reminded me of my family). we were already separated from the men, and we were placed in maktab, simulating the scenario in makkah. my maktab happened to be at the end of the mosque on the 3rd floor. i immediately saw that there were mats around, we were instructed to bring the mat. some were sprawling on them. i immediately made friends with Kak Nor and K.Nora (wah! a person who looks like me, with the same name, and we have a lot in common)
after the asar prayer, my maktab started the first practical, which was tawaf and sa'ie. we had to tawaf and sa'ie in the rain as they told us that in 2008 it rained in Makkah, so we had to expect the unexpected. that night at 10pm, we started the melontar practical, or stone throwing.
i couldn't really sleep well that night, as the structure of the mosque is so that it is light and airy, and there's no solid wall. it may be light and airy and cool during daytime, but at night i was freezing. decided to take a morning shower at 2.30am as to avoid the congestion in the showers and restrooms.
in the morning we had the last practical for tawaf and sa'ie. finally we had the closing ceremony and it's time to return home.
this is just a gist of what everyone might expect while doing hajj. there were only 3000 pilgrims at the mosque, but once we're in Makkah there'll be 3 million pilgrims.
May Allah make this haj a good haj for me.