Alhumdulillah, that time of the year is here again and we have been blessed to be able to witness it! Yes, here is the onset of those precious weeks leading up to the grand Hajj pilgrimage, a pillar of the beautiful way of life bestowed on us by Allah(swt). It is amazing, for me, to feel so enthusiastic about anything so much after having experienced Ramadan but there is such an immense degree of excitement and anticipation everywhere that the grand arrival of the Hajj cannot be missed. And indeed, before I go on further, in the same excited spirit, I'm very happy to tell you Muslim Matters' very own Brother Ismail Kamdar is going on the Hajj too, insha'Allah! Allah(swt) responds to the one who really and sincerely wishes to go and makes it easy for him. Alhumdulillah! May Allah shower us all with His Special Mercy, ameen.

Before I went for Hajj myself, back in 2006, I didn't know much about what went on during the pilgrimage except what little I discovered from watching the live TV coverage and from stories my parents shared from their trip in the 80′s. My own trip was so unexpected that I hardly planned for it and, in a way, just ended up alongside the other Muhrims still wondering how I got to be there! subhanAllah, walhumdulillah… it turned out to be an experience like no other. I saw so much, learned so much and despite the fact that I'd grown up in Saudi Arabia and been on many Umrah trips, I experienced everything as if for the first time. The Hajj is a wonderful experience in that sense – you change, you evolve on so many counts… spiritual, physical and in how you relate to and deal with others around you.

It's been some years now but I still feel nostalgic about my Hajj. I also wonder if I did it right? I think back to times I could have definitely spent better and hope to go again, just to make sure I don't make those mistakes. Part of what keeps the memories alive is reading my Hajj journal every once in a while – it's a great idea that I recommend to all. I wasn't able to complete it but it still gives me goose-flesh when I connect a particular incident to the actual memories. Last year, I watched most of the live coverage to try and be a part of the Hajj as much as I could or at least hear the talbiyah (Labbayk Allahumma labbayk…) be chanted over and over again so that the purpose of Hajj is never forgotten, even if years have passed in between.

Now, I'm sure those of you who have been to the Hajj, have many, many stories to share just like I do. Some of our Muslim brothers and sisters are going away on that blessed journey in the days ahead. How about enriching the experience for them by sharing inspirational incidents or helpful advice right here where they can benefit from it directly? Sound good? Jump to the comments section right away then!

8 Responses

  1. Ify Okoye

    Haven’t been for hajj or umrah, yet but not for a lack of trying, alhamdulillah, my visa has been rejected 2 or 3 times so far and now currently it would be difficult to get away from school during several weeks in November.

    Michael Wolfe’s Hajj documentary on Nightline was one of my first in-depth introductions to Islam and Muslims, way before I was interested in Islam, but I remember it having an immense impact on me as a young secular kid.

    Not sure if this is verified by Tony Blair’s sister-in-law seems to have converted to Islam.

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    • Ameera Khan

      Insha’Allah, you will get your chance soon! The right time for Hajj is known only to Allah(Swt). You wouldn’t believe this but I hadn’t even been thinking about Hajj when I got the chance. It was back in late 2005 when I was trying to get admission into a medical college and when I was done with that, my father (who lived away from us in Saudi Arabia) suddenly suggested to my mother we could do the Hajj together that year! It was a fascinating idea and we were soon on our way there to join our father and take the road-trip to the Hajj. Ahumdulillah! I feel so odd thinking how Allah(swt) blessed me with the chance while so many others still wait for their turn. May Allah(swt) enable us to fulfill our obligations, Ameen!

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  2. Ameera Khan

    One memory I have from Hajj, that I always narrate to people, is how the journey makes you understand your physical abilities and stamina… and how you go *beyond* what you thought were your “limits”. Every person has to undertake some or the other form of physical effort during those days, whether it is from all the walking that is required or having to travel in less-than-ideal conditions. It is awesome how, by Allah(swt)’s Help, you overcome many seemingly impossible tasks.

    I remember we had to walk a lot during our Hajj days because the tents we had been assigned in Mina were actually at the far end of the valley compared to where the stoning ritual (the “Rami”) had to take place. We had to cross the whole valley on foot, finding our way around the place and the many roads and bridges, especially in the crowded conditions. Besides that, there were other situations where we didn’t have means of transport or that we had to leave the buses because of traffic being jammed… we ended up walking 15-20 km daily. Alhumdulillah! It was awesome how we did that! May Allah(swt) accept our Hajj and that of everyone who performed it alongside us! Ameen!

    What I advise people now is to make sure you’re fit and active before you set off. If you are not regular with exercise, try to build up some good muscle and tone by brisk walks for 30-60 minutes daily. Your heart rate and lung function would them be primed so that you do not get distracted from the spiritual aspect of Hajj or lose out on Ibadah because the physical exhaustion got too much to handle.

    But really, the best thing I gained, in the context of this discussion on physical strains, is that I now compare such exercise to my Hajj. I no longer find it daunting to have to walk long distances or to undertake any physical activity that means being on your toes for long periods of time. It makes me think back to Hajj time and it brings a smile to my face, always! :)

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  3. Allegra C

    Alhumdulillah I was blessed enough to have the opportunity to go to Hajj in December of 2007 with my mother. It was the absolute best trip of my life. Excluding the obvious reasons, it gives you an entirely new perspective on everything. I will say that your Hajj definitely begins the moment you make the intention to go. Everything from visas, to plane rides, to lines, to dealing with people, etc will test you throughout your journey. Remember why you are going stay strong and it will definitely be worth it. I remember my Hajj from beginning to end like it was yesterday. The whole vibe is awesome (for lack of a better word). It is something I never want to forget. I got to experience things that I’ve heard about and seen in pictures. The entire experience is worth more than pictures, it can’t even be described. The Kabah is a million times more beautiful in person than any picture could ever take. Inshallah my intention is to go with my mother to perform Umrah in Ramadan as a part of the last ten days. Inshallah that happens. I pray that Allah calls all to experience Hajj or Umrah in your lifetime.

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