Pilgrims ready for most difficult phase of haj

Sofea Chok Suat Ling

MAKKAH: Malaysian pilgrims are all prepared for Masyair, the most difficult but also the most rewarding phase of the haj.

Masyair refers to the massive movement of pilgrims - close to three million from around the world - from Makkah to Arafah for wukuf, onwards to Muzdalifah overnight to pick up pebbles, and then to Mina for the stoning ritual.

Of the number, 30,200 pilgrims are from Malaysia.

Abdul Razak Mohd Sahad, 50, who is here with his wife Zawiyah Zainal, 49, said they took extra care of their health to ensure they would not be ill during the most crucial phase of the haj.

"We did not go out much these last few days before Masyair and instead performed most of our prayers within the surau at our accommodation building.

"Before this, we will go to the Grand Mosque very often but Tabung Haji (TH) advised us to limit our time outdoors now that the crowds are huge and the chances of catching something infectious is high."

Zawiyah said she prepared a checklist of things to do during wukuf, and the prayers to be recited for themselves, their family and friends.

"We are looking forward to wukuf especially as it is the most important part of the haj."

The couple, from Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, said they would only pack lightly and bring what was necessary for their time in the tents.

Wan Atikah Wan Sulaiman.

Zainuddin Mat Shariff, 51, and his wife Wan Atikah Wan Sulaiman, 50, said they would follow TH's checklist as a guide on what they should do and were required to bring for Masyair.

Zainuddin, a teacher from Sungkai, Perak, said he would bring a water spray bottle to keep cool and medication, among others.

"Will also be bringing garbage bags to ensure our tent area is kept clean."

His wife, who is also a teacher, said TH's guidelines imparted during briefing sessions was comprehensive and gave them a clear idea what to expect.

Zainuddin Mat Shariff.

"We were told to follow the times for the stoning ritual for Malaysian pilgrims strictly to prevent overcrowding and ensure everything proceeded smoothly." © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd