Once again, the blessed, peaceful, joyous Hajj season is upon us as we have just entered into the month of Dhul Qaadhah, soon be followed by Dhul Hijjah. It is a Mercy from Allah Azza wa Jal that every single year at this particular time we are given the opportunity to be forgiven all of our life’s sins and to start anew, to turn over a new leaf and get another chance to do things right.
For the millions of Muslims making the sacred journey to Makkah for the annual Hajj pilgrimage, it is a test of their endurance, patience, perseverance and the commitment to pleasing Allah every step of the way. While this journey is no easy feat, and while it may take energy, time, and loads of patience, InshaAllah I will share with you some practical tips that can help those who intend on performing the pilgrimage maximize the benefits from this journey of a lifetime.
Prepare your mind and your body to do a lot of walking during the days of Hajj (8th-12th) of Dhul Hijjah. Many, if not all of the rituals of hajj revolve around physical activity from the tawaf and sa’ee to the stoning of the jamarat and even the standing at Arafat. Hajj is a beautiful lifetime opportunity, but it is also one that requires you to be physically able to perform the rituals. Getting yourself accustomed to walking every day will help you to get your body in gear to face the physical ups and downs of Hajj, InshaAllah. We have a chance to enhance ourselves spiritually in Hajj but lets not forget the physical aspect which aids us in doing all these acts of worship.
2. Comfortable Pair of Walking Shoes
This particular pointer may be often times over looked by those who are about to perform the Hajj. Because of all the walking that is needed to be done, a comfortable pair of sneakers, and slippers are important to help prevent your feet from aching and becoming uncomfortable to walk. During the state of Ihram men are required to wear slippers or sandals that are not stitched or cover particular parts of the feet, so ensure the footwear chosen is comfortable. These can be bought well in advance and be worn to get accustomed to them, and ‘break them in’. Speaking of comfort sunglasses and a proper hat/cap become a necessity with the Arabian sun.
Sometimes, a part of Hajj and its tests is getting sick with the flu, because quite frankly, being around millions of other hujjaj, it is sometimes difficult to prevent. In this case what you should do is make a list of the medications you would usually take if you are you ill and be sure to carry them with you. If you or a family member suffers from any ailments, be it diabetes, high blood pressure, low blood pressure, or any other medical condition that needs medications to regulate, be sure to pack enough of it to last the entire trip. When packing be sure to always have medication with you in your hand luggage for the flights and don’t pack them all in your suitcase where you won’t have access to it during travel. While Alhamdulillah, Saudi Arabia has almost anything you can think about at your fingertips, carrying your own medication is critical, because sometimes you may not get exactly what your doctor prescribes or u may not know what you could be allergic to or not.
4. Water Bottles and Re-hydration Salts
A nifty little tip I believe can help prospective Hujjaj in dealing with the extreme temperatures during the travel for hajj, is to invest in a vaccum sealed stainless steel water bottle. This particular type of bottle will keep the water cold for hours at a time which will help to keep you cool during the day in particular. Also to try to minimize the incidence of dehydration, you can purchase re-hydration salts and simply add this to your water and drink throughout the day as the need be, InshaAllah.
5. Personal Dua book et al
This is one thing I advise you strongly to keep with you when traveling for Hajj. From the moment we tell our family and friends that we are about to make this journey of a lifetime, we get so many dua requests, because everyone knows of the virtues of duas made during hajj, especially on the day of Arafat. So, in order to remember what you have been requested to make for and by whom, write it all down in a little book and keep it with you for the hajj days InshaAllah. Other important books you should keep handy are books with authentic duas from Qur’an and Sunnah and a pocket Qur’an. These will surely come in handy when on the long journeys InshaAllah.
6. Emergency Money
This particular item should be a must on your list. Understand that while the majority of hujjaj are traveling with hajj groups, and all the facilities of Hajj would already be taken care of by your Hajj leaders, sometimes incidents may arise where emergency money is needed (this is different from spending money). For instance, you may need extra medical attention which you may have to pay for or you may need to pay a penalty for a mistake made while in Ihram. So to be safe, walking with extra money is the safest thing to do InshaAllah.
7. Keep it light
When going on a journey, especially to a place we have never been before with millions of people, it is safe to say we would feel the need to over-pack our luggage. However, for this particular journey, my advice is to pack light. In Saudi, and particularly for Hajj season, because there is expected to be a vast number of pilgrims, you would find stores to cater to your every need, from clothing to shoes to anything you can think about to eat. Be sure to pack only the necessities to carry with you and anything else you may need can be found once you arrive in Saudi Arabia InshaAllah.
8. Take Hajj Classes
This is a journey of a lifetime and its our duty that we make the most out of this. We never know if we will get another chance or not. Take preparatory classes, courses and read up on the Manasik (rituals) of Hajj: This point is the most important one. We should not just go to Hajj and “follow the crowd” because alot of times many hujjaj themselves don’t fully understand the proper way of performing the Hajj rituals according to the Sunnah. You will find people doing things you have never seen before, so be sure to read authentic books and take classes at your local masjid, and find out the proper way to perform your Hajj. Once you know what to do, when to do it and the importance of each phase of hajj, InshaAllah your Hajj will be full of rewards!
I hope that these eight tips above can InshaAllah make your preparations for Hajj run a little smoother and give you a better idea of what to do in readying yourself. I focused on aspects that sometimes aren’t mentioned too often. May Allah accept the Hajj of all the Hujjaj this year and for all the years to come, and May He give us all the opportunity to perform Hajj many times for His Pleasure. Ameen.
Listed below are some items that can be packed to carry with you on your Hajj trip InshaAllah. I hope that these items will come in handy and help make getting ready a bit easier. You can use this as a checklist before closing your bags to head off.
Important Things: Passport, documents (Visa Papers, Permits), mobile charger, cash, Makkah map(guide).
Toiletries: Unscented soap, toothpaste/toothbrush, shampoo & conditioner (Small), unscented wipes, unscented deodorant, unscented Vaseline, hand cream/sunscreen.
Dust Masks, hair brush/comb, shaver, nail clipper.
Medications: Vitamin C-D (Supplements), Panadol, Cold tablets (Non Drowsy), cough drops, Gravol (for vomiting), Imodium (for Diarrhea), cough syrup, allergy meds, Vicks, muscle ointment.
Ankle wrap and such for extra support.
Even if you are not going for Hajj this year, you could share these tips with someone who you know heading for Hajj and gain rewards through it.
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