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Life and its bittersweet moments

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Life and its bittersweet moments

by Nurene Jassiem
07 Nov 2006
Peoples Post
Peoples Post

Have you ever had moments when you weren't sure whether to laugh or cry because something happy yet sad happened all at once?

This week I apologise in advance if my column is nonsensical but, as I sit here at my desk writing, my head is swarming with mixed emotions and a confusion of thoughts.

As I announced earlier, my family and I intend to perform Hajj this year and embark on a spiritual and emotional journey that will inevitably change our lives forever.

On Sunday afternoon a list of 3 700 accredited hujaaj (pilgrims) for 2006 was released and greeted with mixed emotions across the country.

As fate would have it, my name and that of my father were on the list but neither my mother's nor those of my two sisters' were there - not by margin of error but because they had not met the "criteria" set out by the Hajj regulatory bodies.

From the outset I would like to emphasise that I am not out to blame any person or organisation for what has happened.

No matter how sad the situation is, I believe that dua (prayer) will answer all the questions families in our situation may have.

According to the latest media reports, published on Monday afternoon, all is not necessarily lost for my mother and sisters as a "filler" list of accredited hujaaj is set to be published on Wednesday.

What I want to share with you this week is the emotional turmoil a situation such as this throws a family into. My family, like so many others, has spent years saving up to undertake Hajj, which is the last pillar of Islam.

Hajj does not begin at the time you step onto the 'plane that takes you to Saudi Arabia and Mecca, but on the day you make your intention to perform this holy pilgrimage.

For months, sometimes years, you and your family spend hours talking about and planning everything - from logistics of the week before you leave to how your lifestyle should be adapted in preparation for Hajj.

This ranges from small things like not buying an extra dress and saving it for "Makka ice-cream money", to bigger things like not planning a festive season holiday because you're planning to be in the Holy Land at that time.

Your whole life becomes centred around preparing for Hajj, and when news like the news on Sunday comes your way you're caught completely off-guard and all plans are thrown into disarray.

My father and I were not sure of how to feel when we got the news.

On the one hand I was happy to be called as a guest of Allah, on the other hand I was sad at the thought that my parents' dream of standing on the Plains of Arafat with their three daughters may not be realised this year.

Now, a day later as the news slowly starts to sink in, I'd like to tell all the other families who planned to go on Hajj this year but are not yet accredited: Don't give up hope. Man makes plans but the plans of the Almighty are greater than ours and in the end all things happen for a reason.

With that said my duas go out to all the hujaaj out there. May the weeks ahead be filled with niceties and spiritual upliftment.

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