Tuesday, October 6, 2015

How I survived from Makkah Stampede – Survivor tells the story

Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam that is an act of worship and obligatory for all those Muslims who can afford the journey. Hajj is perhaps the longest journey Muslims have to travel for the sake of performing the obligatory and please the Lord. Within this, they make several visits to the holy cities of Jeddah, Makkah and Medinah to carry out certain rituals. Just as every other year, this year the rituals of Hajj were carried out exactly the same way. It was a very sunny and hot day in the city of Jeddah as the pilgrims chanted the Hajj pilgrimage sermons loud enough for the streets to repeat them. In particular, everything was going around just as planned in Mina’s street 204 with Muslims from all around the globe, marched on shoulder to shoulder with others putting aside all their financial differences, cast and creed just to please the One and Only, Allah.

Everything was working and was carrying on just as it was meant to. The first day of the stoning of the devil progressed as the pilgrims marched on until a group of 10 pilgrims caused utter chaos by pushing and running in the opposite direction. One of those pilgrims pushed aside an elderly woman who was in a wheelchair that made things a lot worse and minutes later, there occurred a massive stampede that not many could have imagined escaping and surviving.  What made the entire situation so difficult to manage and cope with was that there was no one to put a stop to their stupidity and massive chaos. Within minutes, everyone was engulfed in the chaotic mess and there was one pilgrim in particular who tried to ask one of those intruders until he got very mad and failed to understand what they were doing was barbarism.

According to one of the man present within Mina, there were abandoned wheelchairs that increased the number of difficulties but after struggling, he managed to find his way out after nearly half an hour.  As the man and his 30-year-old nephew escaped the area, they did not even care to look back and realize that they had just escaped the location that engulfed nearly 769 innocent lives and left 934 injured. They were saved by miracle and they carried out the stoning at the Jamarat in a very systematic and peaceful manner.

Since they had already been out of breath and were exhausted because of the weather, the water spraying fans and coolers provided them with evident hydration for them to regain their senses fully. It still can’t be understood why the group of pilgrims had lost control, but all that can be said is that because of this act so many families mourned the loss of their loved ones instead of celebrating the gift of Eid which should have been a reward for these pilgrims. Surely, it must be remembered that they now are martyrs and will be remembered forever.

Source: Arab News

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