SAUDI ARABIA

Women who humanize Grand Mosque on Khullaif Day

June 28, 2023

Saudi Gazette report

JEDDAH
— The Grand Mosque in Makkah has witnessed a surge of women visitors on the first and second days of Hajj, known as the Khullaif days.

It is widely noticed that mostly female worshippers fill the huge Grand Mosque complex on the day of Tarwiyah and the day of Arafat annually, but many do not know why and why many people call them the days of Khullaif.

The exceptional scene on these days is when the mosque turns black because the men in white ihram usually set out to Mina and Arafat to perform the Hajj rituals leaving the mosque to women in black abayas.

Among the habits of the women of Makkah over the years is that they are keen to ensure the Holy Mosque is not empty of pilgrims, which may happen as a result of most people leaving the city along with the pilgrims to Mina and Arafat on the first two days of Hajj.

As part of the Haj rites, pilgrims spend the first day and night in Mina for Tarwiyah and then leave in the morning for Arafat to spend the entire afternoon there in prayers. They will move to Muzdalifah to spend the night. The pilgrims will return to Makkah only on the third day to perform the tawaf after stoning the Jamrat in the morning and offering the sacrifice.

The men of Makkah mostly will be busy serving the pilgrims in the holy sites during these days.

Women use this opportunity to perform Umrah and take care of the Grand Mosque. Their work even includes cleaning of the mosque. And on the day of Arafat, which is the most important day of Hajj, the women bring food to serve the visitors of the mosque to break their fast. For those who do not perform the Hajj, observing fast on the Day of Arafat is a great Sunnah or the tradition of the Prophet (pbuh).

In addition to these, in the past women used to provide assistance to elderly people who were unable to help themselves. Women provided them with water and food, in addition to guarding their homes. Nowadays, Makkah women are keen to revive this annual habit that has been around for a long time.

The majority of visitors to the Grand Mosque on this day are women, children, the elderly, and men who were unable to go to Hajj. They stay in the mosque from early morning and do not go out until after the Isha (evening) prayer.

As for the name of this exceptional day, it varied. One of the names is Mo'nesat Al-Haram, which means women who humanize the Grand Mosque so that it does not remain empty of people. But most people call it the day of Khullaif.

According to available information, it is called the day of Khullaif because the women, while performing their duties in the Grand Mosque, also monitored men who failed to perform the Hajj or go to serve the pilgrims. Khullaif in Arabic comes from the word "Takhallaf", which means a person who missed out or failed to do something.

In an interview made by Al-Arabiya channel on Hajj 2023, Khadija Nazim said she had been coming to the Grand Mosque in Makkah on Khullaif Day for the past 35 years. This makes her feel comfortable and very proud on this holy day, the Day of Arafat.

This annual practice stopped in the past years due to the Covid-19 pandemic but returned this year to fill the Grand Mosque with women in black abayas. This day is a very rare and unique opportunity for them to come close to the Kaaba and kiss the Black Stone, as the place is free from crowds of pilgrims.


June 28, 2023
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