Shalawat Bus, A Faithful Companion of Pilgrims to the Masjidil Haram

Shalawat Bus, A Faithful Companion of Pilgrims to the Masjidil Haram
Image by Kompasiana

The pilgrims in recent years are truly spoiled by the government. After the ease of boarding and immigration checks in the country, the hotel is quite classy,   the food is abundant, pilgrims are also picked up and picked up by transportation which is commonly called Shalawat Bus.

Quoted from the official website of the Ministry of Religion, the prayer bus was first launched in 2008 in conjunction with the expansion of the Masjidil Haram. The expansion made the price of nearby lodgings expensive so that Indonesian pilgrims’ lodgings were moved up to a radius of 10 Km from the Masjidil Haram. This makes it difficult for pilgrims who want to worship at all times to the Masjidil Haram.

At present there are 12 routes serving pilgrims in accordance with the area of   the hotel, including Syisiah, Raudah, Jarwal to the Syib Amir terminal to the north of the Masjidil Haram. While from the Misfalah region, Rea Bakhsy goes to the Jiad terminal to the south, and Mahbas Jin and Aziziah to the Bab Ali terminal to the east.

Shalawat Bus, A Faithful Companion of Pilgrims to the Masjidil Haram
Image by Kompasiana

The buses operate 24 hours a day so worshipers don’t have to worry about running out of buses at midnight. Each bus has its own number according to the route so that pilgrims do not stray to other places, for example bus number 9 from the Raudah area to the Masjidil Haram. The bus is free of charge or free tis tis so that it can save money while motivating worshipers to always worship at the Masjidil Haram.
Only at the time of the peak of the pilgrimage from 6 to 14 Dhu al-Hijjah the bus stopped operating due to an extraordinary traffic in the center of Mecca. The buses are used to transport pilgrims from the hotel to Arafat, then from Arafat to Muzdalifah the next day, continued from Muzdalifah to Mina. After the Jamarat period is finished the bus is used to transport pilgrims from Mina back to the hotel.

Sometimes the bus is crowded, sometimes even empty passengers. Like in Jakarta, there are certain times when buses are crowded with passengers. Usually one hour before and after the obligatory prayer time the bus is always full of worshipers.

From the direction of the hotel usually one hour before until the time of compulsory prayer, while from the direction of the Masjidil Haram after the prayer must be completed up to an hour afterwards. At night, even during Tahajjud prayers it is usually more crowded than during the day because many pilgrims avoid the hot weather.

If you want to take the bus in a quiet condition, avoid the times mentioned above. For example, one and a half hours before midday, or after midday prayer at the hotel for Asar prayer at the Masjidil Haram. If from the Masjidil Haram, especially after the Isha prayer the bus is very crowded so it’s good to go shopping first and then go home a bit late at night, the fastest hour after finishing Isha prayer.

To save time, energy and avoid hot weather, pilgrims usually leave before Asar and stay in the Masjidil Haram until the time of Isha or even Fajr. In between the prayers they usually do the dhikr, or even a walk to wash their eyes while shopping at the markets and malls around the Masjidil Haram. While diving drinking coffee, while waiting for prayer time to shop.

For pilgrims, including me, the existence of a Shalawat Bus is very helpful because it is difficult to find public transportation in Mecca. Even though there are regular paid buses, it is still difficult because there are no clear route instructions in Latin, almost all of them are written in Arabic letters.

While taxis are expensive and have to travel before bidding. Actually there are also taxis online, but the rates are like Uber, not flat, and the driver rarely speaks English making it difficult to communicate.

In addition to transporting pilgrims to the Masjidil Haram, we can also take advantage of the Shalawat Bus around the city of Mecca during its route. We can stay in touch with friends or relatives who happen to be going on pilgrimage too or settling in Mecca. It is also possible to shop in other areas such as Jarwal, but we cannot stop carelessly, must be in front of the nearest hotel and then continue on foot.

The existence of a Shalawat Bus really does help pilgrims to perform worship in the Masjidil Haram peacefully. The amount is also quite adequate although sometimes it is crowded but it doesn’t take long to wait for the next bus.

Only communication problems that need to be fixed because the driver can only speak a little Indonesian and English, while the average congregation can not speak Arabic, so often over the hotel where worshipers should go down.

Hopefully in the future the route will be expanded not only to transport pilgrims to and from the Masjidil Haram, but also city tour buses are available such as in other major cities in the world. In addition to the Masjidil Haram, Mecca is also a historic city where the growth and development of Islam spread to all corners of the world so it needs to be supported by public transportation to go to historical places such as the Hira cave, Jabal Nur, Jabal Rahmah, Hudaibiyah, Jamarat, and so on.

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