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Leaving for Hajj? Practical Tips on Managing Stress, Time and Packing

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By RE

Ever wonder what to pack, how to keep safe, how to manage stress, and how to manage your time?  This is a shorter version of a much more comprehensive “Practical Guide to Hajj & Umrah” I prepared years ago, meant for those about to leave for hajj.

I. Packing Tips:

A) BUY A  DIGITAL LUGGAGE SCALE

balanzzaThis device really comes in handy when traveling. No more worrying about overweight luggage.  Also, during hajj you might end up buying a lot of items and are not sure how that will affect your luggage weight; this will surely help.

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The one in the picture sells on Amazon.com for $17.

 

B) PACK MULTIPLE IHRAM CLOTHES

Bring at least two extra ihram clothes.  Better yet, buy them even cheaper once you land in Saudi.

You will probably want to change your clothes as they get dirty, sweaty, etc. — and laundromats are not easy to find while doing your manasik (at Mina, Muzdalifa, or Arafat).  Also, on the cold nights you can bundle up with layers to keep yourself warm.

C) MISC. THINGS TO BRING

  • Power Bars — So you don’t have to worry about food.
  • Canteen — So you don’t have to leave your spot to get water (or make wudu).
  • Electrical Adapter — from 110 to 220.

D) HOW TO PACK YOUR ZAMZAM

People steal your zamzam if they see it on the luggage conveyor belt (this happened to me several times). Even once I told the guy next to me “I think someone stole my zamzam”, to which he replied:  “Oh, just take someone else’s, that’s what I do.”

So put your Zamzam in a book bag or duffel bag, something inconspicuous. Just make sure it does not look like a container of Zamzam.

II. Safety Advice:

A) BRING AN UNLOCKED GSM PHONE WITH YOU

You can buy a phone line in Mecca or Medina for about 100 riyals and use it on your cell phone.  This will come very handy in case of emergencies, or if family back home wants to contact you. Outgoing calls to America are four riyals per minute, and Incoming calls are free (so if you’re family wants to call you anytime they can).

B) MAKE SURE YOU HAVE ALL YOUR PRESCRIPTION MEDS.

You can easily find pharmacies throughout Makkah and Madinah, but sometimes it’s a hassle to get the exact kind you want and not a generic.

C) MAKE YOUR OWN I.D., AND KEEP IT ON YOU AT ALL TIMES

Remember, your group guide has your passport with him.  So you need some sort of identification on you in case:

a. You pass out or fall ‘unconscious’ (I’ve seen this happen).

b. You get lost and cannot find your hotel (I’ve seen and heard of this happening too).

Commonly, why people get lost is that after getting off the bus in Mecca, you go to the haram right away and make Umrah.  When you finish, you forget where your hotel was, or you get confused because some hotels have the same name, so you get lost. How to prevent this from happening:

  • As soon as you get to the hotel, take their business card.
  • Get an index card and write your name, passport number, contact info in Mecca, Medina, and US, and your group leader’s contact info.  Keep this on you at all times, whether around your neck or somewhere is it can’t fall off.

D) WATCH OUT FOR PICK-POCKETS & THIEVES

Pickpockets: You will find a lot of pickpockets in Makkah, especially in the tawaf area.   Make sure your money is somewhere they cannot get to.

Thieves: Whether the hotel cleaning people, or just at your tent in Mina, make sure you keep your personal belongings safe.  A portable safe like the one on the right goes for around $35.

E) TAWAF ON THE 2ND FLOOR IS SAFER

Although it will take you longer to make tawaf on the 2nd floor,  if you fear for your safety or for your family member this is the better alternative as it is less crowded.  The 2nd floor tawaf is also wheelchair accessible.

F) IF YOU’RE OVERHEATED, HEAD FOR THE KING FAHD GATE.

The entire King Fahd gate area of the Haram is air conditioned, while other areas just have fans.  I would recommend this area for Jumu’a especially, or in the middle of the day when the sun is burning hot.

III. Stress Management

A) CHANGING YOUR PERSPECTIVE

The two biggest complaints everyone has is:

1) How crowded it is:

A simple change of thought helped me to to turn the crowds into pleasure. How?

Instead of saying : “Oh my gosh, it’s so crowded,  I can barely breath, these people are coughing in my face and stepping on my feet, etc”.

Say:  “Alhamdullilah, all of these people came to this place just to worship Allah.  You know what, it should be more crowded, and there should be more people. This coughing and spitting on my face is the cough of my brother, the stepping on my feet is the stepping of my brother, Alhamdullilah.”

2) How disorganized, uncomfortable, and tough it is:

Hajj is not a vacation,  but it is and should be a way of you seeing what is going on in the world.Growing up in the west has left a lot of people spoiled, if you don’t mind me being blunt.   I would recommend when you see your own minor hardships, just look at the millions of other people outside of your bubble who walked to Hajj or came by bus, who live in their own cloth tents instead of the big hotels we are in, who are dirt poor and trying to eat some scraps while we are complaining the biryani is not spicy enough.

B) STAY AWAY FROM FRIENDS OR FAMILY WHO GET UNDER YOUR SKIN

Even if you are patient enough to handle the annoyances of crowds and strangers, you may not be able to control yourself with someone you know who can really get under your skin. Remember, you can’t argue or yell at anyone during Hajj, so your best bet is to avoid anyone who will get under your skin.  You don’t want to regret later on how you managed to stay patient through all the hardships but ended up arguing with someone you know over petty issues.

IV  Time Management

A) LEAVE YOUR WATCH AT HOME

Time is irrelevant during hajj; what would normally take minutes takes hours, what normally takes hours takes days.  Staying 36 hours and sleeping at the airport to get home  is common (happened to me).   Waiting on a bus or walking for hours on end is normal too. Just throw away the watch, it will only frustrate you.

B) LEAVE YOU LAPTOP, iPHONE, ETC AT HOME

On the first day at Mina, I saw a pickup truck pulling up and four guys hauling in a 52″ big-screen TV into someone’s tent.

I see so many people so unable to detach themselves from the world, and they will come back without any spiritual or mental relief.  Take a mental & spiritual vacation and relax; you can check your email when you get back.

C) GET TO KNOW PEOPLE

One very good advice I got from someone who makes Hajj every year, is that one of the only things you will remember and take back with you is the brotherhood you developed during hajj.  Spending days upon days with the same people, getting to know their personal lives, eating and sleeping together, really helps develop good bonds. To this day, when I see the people I went to Hajj with at conferences or other events, we just hug each other, laugh and chat just like old friends.

D) DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME IN ARAFAT SLEEPING, ETC

I have personally seen people spend a lot of their time at Arafat sleeping. Even worse, I saw many others wasting time on camel rides, shopping in the market, etc.

You will be very tired on the whole trip, so just drink lots of instant coffee, eat less, and remind yourself you have just one day to seek forgiveness from Allah for the entirety of your sins since you were born (which is probably more than you can even remember).

E) WALKING MIGHT BE FASTER THAN TAKING A BUS

I spent nearly 9 hours on a bus once going to Muzdhalifa, when I could have just walked for an hour or so.   If you feel you have the ability to walk, know the way or will go with someone who does, and suspect the bus might take forever, ask your group leader if you can just walk.

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44 Comments

44 Comments

  1. Amatullah

    November 11, 2009 at 9:17 AM

    Jazaak Allahu khayran, great tips! may Allah ta’ala grant all of the hujjaj a hajj mabroor.

    I’d like to add that you should take advantage of saying the talbiyah as much as you can before the time to say it is up. You will miss repeating those words! If you do not know Arabic, memorize the meaning so you remember what you are saying.

    Pray as many sunnah prayers as you can in Makkah and Madinah. You may never get this chance again so take full advantage of the rewards.

    Start making duaa now and after you come home inshaAllah that Allah azza wa jal accepts your hajj, your duaa and your worship.

    Don’t forget to pack some taqwa, it is the best provision.

    Lastly, drink as much zam zam as you can :) SubhanAllah, it will never taste better than in those cities and during that time.

  2. ayesha

    November 11, 2009 at 10:24 AM

    BarakAllahufeek for the tips….
    http://www.darussalam.com/product_info.php?products_id=565
    the above is a link to an excellent book with practical tips for Hajj…I recommend this book to everyone who intends to go for hajj…whether this year or the next…inshAllah.

  3. Umm Ibraheem

    November 11, 2009 at 12:25 PM

    For the brothers – you might want to pack some razors (for shaving your head). I remember when we went for hajj, the brothers who had their head shaved in the streets had cuts and I remember seeing one guy’s head who was all red and infected :( They’re not very sanitary. So bring your own razor (and trimmer) and have your friend/wife do it for you :)

  4. A

    November 11, 2009 at 2:30 PM

    Saudi uses 110V, so all you may need is the simple adapter to go from 2 holes to 2 slots. Should cost $.50 at small electrical shops.

    http://users.telenet.be/worldstandards/electricity.htm (Search for Saudi)

    • AM

      November 11, 2009 at 9:54 PM

      Assalaamu ‘alaykum.

      Some areas in Saudi Arabia may use 110V, but Makkah uses 220V.

      Whether you need to carry a 110/220 converter depends on what devices you plan to carry with you and what input voltages they are rated for. For example, if your cell phone charger is rated for an input of 110 – 240V, then you don’t need a converter, as it can handle both 110V and 220V. Many laptop computers can also handle both voltages. You have to check the power cord for this information.

      If your device can handle both 110V and 220V inputs, then all you need is the plug attachment to go from the American style plug to the Saudi style 2-pin plug. I have successfully used my laptop and cell phone charger in Makkah with such an attachment.

      • Amad

        November 11, 2009 at 11:52 PM

        Yes, if your laptop or phone adapter isn’t 110-240V, try to find one that is… usually it is available. Doesn’t have to be same manufacturer… just match the amps and type of pin.

        Another thing, if you have some device that needs a transformer (i.e. its 110V and you will be using a 220V outlet), then make sure the wattage rating of the transformer is at least 30% more than the rating of the device. Sometimes the wattage is mentioned on the device, sometimes only Amps and Volts. So, the easiest way is to multiply amps x volts = watts.

        For instance, if the device says 0.5A and 110V, then the wattage is about 0.5 x 110 =~ 55W. Use a transformer that is 80W or higher. By the way if it says 500mA, that is equal to 0.5A. Don’t confuse mA with A.

        You learn this stuff when you move from a 110V country to a 220V one (like I did)!

      • Habeeb

        November 13, 2009 at 11:07 AM

        Some areas in Saudi Arabia may use 110V, but Makkah uses 220V.

        when I used to live in Jeddah, in my family’s apartment, in each room, on each wall was an outlet. Each room had a hole in the wall for window style AC. The outlet on this wall in particular was always 220V, for the AC I presume. The outlets on all the other walls were all 110V.

        I presume this is the same system throughout Saudi, but if you are staying in a a hotel, then it would be diffferent.

        I remember performing Hajj in 2003, and in Mina brothers were constantly searching for outlets to charge their phones, in some cases in the toilets there fans on the walls that needed to be plugged into an outlet to work, so some brothers unplugged them to charge their phones, in some cases they even brought an extension cord for others and to plug the fan back in to keep things cool.

  5. if.but.maybe

    November 11, 2009 at 2:39 PM

    1) Guys – take safety pins for your ihram
    2) learn the funeral prayer – there’s usually one after each jamat
    3) take shoes that you know are confortable, or if you’re buying new shoes, make sure to break into them first
    4) take socks – fajr time in mecca & medina is cold!
    5) if someone’s asked you to make dua for them, write it down and make a list.
    6) Enjoy the awe of the journey, and feel humbled that Allah invited you

  6. Saqib Khan

    November 11, 2009 at 2:52 PM

    Very good advice, though on the ihram point, I’d disagree:

    Don’t pack more than one ihram, buy extras sets out there as it’s much cheaper in Saudi than in the US or the UK. As for ‘Laundromats’, they ARE everywhere, they are no more than 5 minutes from every Haram facing 5 star hotel that many UK/UK pilgrims stay at and even closer to the lesser rated hotels.

    Hajj mabroor to all hajjis, I’m off next Wednesday and looking forward to experiencing it again.

    S.>

    • Amad

      November 11, 2009 at 11:56 PM

      agree… one ihraam.

  7. muhajir

    November 11, 2009 at 3:39 PM

    Here is a good resource http://HajjBuddy.com

    • Saqib Khan

      November 12, 2009 at 4:47 AM

      Don’t take all the advice of http://www.hajjbuddy.com as authoratative, they advise that travelling to Madinah is more comfortable for hajjis as it avoid putting on an ihram either from home/the airport/the plane and avoids the hajj terminal.

      These hassles are minor compared to the previous hassle of a 12-20 hr bus ride from Madinah to Makkah on 7th Dhul Hijjah, being unloaded onto an adjacent sidewalk near the Haram and being told to quickly perform an Umrah and meet back at the same place in X hours time, by which time it will have been 16-24 hrs since you last laid down to rest, then you have to jump back on the bus and head to Mina and set up there before finally grabbing a few hours of sleep before dhuhr salah. All because your group leader wanted to save money by staying in Madinah before hajj and Makkah afterwards which for him is significantly cheaper than the other way around, yet those agents still charge the same rates as those doing it the other way.

      The Saudi authorities have tried to curtail this by insisting all hujjaj leave Madinah by 5th DH, this just means that these same cheapskate agents have rented cheap accomodation in Aziziyyah which is a mission to get to from the Haram, and sell it by saying its somewhere for hujjaj to rest during the days in Mina and glossing over how inconvenient it is in the few days before hajj when people are de facto forced to stay in the Haram area but away from their accomodation for long periods because coming and going back is not feasable in that time.

      When I pointed this out to http://www.hajjbuddy.com (I am a UK hajj and umrah tour operator), they gave me a wishy-washy answer that betrayed their ignorance and lack of concern about how hajj tour operators actually operate and the hajjbuddy review feature is just something to drive traffic to their site as their primary goal is to sell overpriced GSM phones. It’s far cheaper to purchase them in Saudi and the call rates are typically cheaper from those SIM cards too.

      Be warned.
      Saqib

      • Saqib Khan

        November 12, 2009 at 6:02 AM

        Dear Rami,

        I went on Hajj in 06, bought a deluxe 5* package and got a 2* one instead. While my hajj spritually was wonderful, it was distracting as a mahram being kicked out of two hotels in Madinah because our guy had not got things sorted and again in Mina.

        I came back and thought that those UK born and bred muslims like me needed something better than what the first generation immigrant ‘uncles’ were providing and have been working on my own travel company, Bedouin Travel, (www.bedouin.travel) which inshallah will launch in the new year when the website will also go live.

        I’ve taken 3 full years to research the market, worked hajj for free for a reputable UK operator in 07 and am working one last time for them again this year before taking my first hajj group next year inshallah. Have also managed to arrange getting those hujjaj that want to, a trip to the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem on the way back from either Hajj or Umrah.

        I’ll be video-logging from hajj this year and can be followed on http://www.twitter.com/bedouintravel and http://www.facebook.com/bedouintravel (though my facebook page is having technicalissues at this minute!)

        I’d be happy to contribute/provide input or even write an article ahead of next year on what to look out for and how to choose a hajj tour operator and what questions to ask before booking.

        My details are:
        Saqib Khan
        Bedouin Travel
        Holywell House
        Wellington Passage
        London
        E11 2AL
        UK

        tel. +44 844 786 1000
        cell. +44 797 786 1000
        saudi. +966 50 786 1000 (feel free to SMS any du’as and I’ll try include them with mine)

      • ummaasiyah

        November 12, 2009 at 10:32 AM

        I’d like to just point out that although it may be cheaper for some Hajj operators to do that, it’s not their only intention. Alhumdulillah, the group that I am going with is run by Abu ‘Abdissalam and mashallah, they are all a fantastic and dedicated set of brothers. It’s amazing how much they have organised and how well they are doing it all. I will be going to Madinah first and yes, I will be staying in Aziziyah, but to be perfectly honest, I don’t really care. The whole point of Hajj is patience, because of all the waiting. If I start questioning why things are a certain way with regards to Hajj companies, questioning their intentions, then I’m judging them and that’s not my right.

        Remember…70 excuses for your brother?

        Also, it’s not the fault of Hajj companies if their pilgrims are being forced to stay in Aziziyah due to new Saudi legislations. Alhumdulillah, my Hajj company have even managed to upgrade our hotel in Madinah and have given us full access to Aziziyah and our hotel in Makkah during the days of Hajj. Granted, I won’t be able to go everyday and visit my hotel or Aziziyah due to the traffic, but hey, at least they’re trying to do something within a REASONABLE price. I do believe that some Hajj companies are aimed at a certain socio-economic group, but again, I have no right to be questioning their intentions. Some Hajj companies provide luxury for the sake of the elderly or able-but-not-too-able people.

        I understand the ‘uncle’ Hajj group phenomena and those have been quite common at providing a very poor service. At the end of the day, I want to know who the religious scholar is before I look at other things…so Brother Saqib, what are the credentials of the scholar you’re taking with your group?

        Also, I’ve been through the whole Hajj group selection process for the past year, and I decided to write my thoughts up on it. It’s all hastily written between the packing and the toiletry shopping, but it’s on my blog…just click on my name :)

        • Saqib Khan

          November 12, 2009 at 11:49 AM

          Dear Ummaasiyah,

          My points towards the Madinah first hajj operators are:

          1. that it’s not cool to charge the same price for your hajj that those going to Makkah first are charging.

          2. do not create a smokescreen around the greater inconvenience of staying in Azziziyyah with the lesser convenience of not having to put your ihram on either from home/theairport or the plane, it’s disingenuous.

          I felt I made no assumptions on the level of customer service of everyone who went to Madinah first, if I made my case clumsily or inelegantly, I apologise.

          The Saudi authorities are trying to avoid the greater hardship of hajjis going for nearly 30hrs non-stop with a Madinah-Makkah for Umrah-Mina transfer without any rest, staying in Aziziyyah is preferable to that trial for hujjaj.

          I have yet to finalise the scholar (inshallah will do that early next year) and while a minimum requirement will be that he be learned in the sunni hanafi fiqh, of absolutely crucial importance to me is getting someone softly spoken who might pass on more reasons to love Allah than to fear him.

          Believe me, there are generations of so called rabble-rousing imams who talk of nothing but his wrath, let us redress the balance, if only a little, and speak of his love and sow the seed of islam among those who are wary of the din and may only come to masjid twice a year on Eid. Ours will be a non-judgemental hajj and our lectures will start from the correct methods of wudhu and salah and go on from there, that is the need that I’m addressing, it may not be for everyone but there are a sizeable number of younger muslims who need a way into their din.

          Will check out your blog, in spite of this being my third hajj, I’m sure I’ll end up finding things I hadn’t thought of.

          I wish you a mabroor hajj my friend.
          Saqib

        • ummaasiyah

          November 12, 2009 at 12:50 PM

          Jazakallah for that Brother Saqib, I agree with some of your points and here is my reply to your points 1 and 2:

          1. A lot of companies that I have researched…and I know full well that they are honest and deliver everything as promised within their means and as much as whatever is under their control in a foreign country. You’re from the UK, East London specifically, so you must also know of the big three: Al Hidayah, Al Muntada (aka Amaanah Tours) and White Jewel. All three attract a particular group of people following similar methodologies and all three are very well run and have a good reputation with a bunch of very dedicated people working throughout the year to deliver a memorable Hajj.
          If you look at these Hajj companies, they’ve ALWAYS tried to deliver what they advertise and charge for. In fact, they have very rarely slipped up and if they have, it has been due to things out of their control.
          Bear in mind that this is a very lean year for many Hajj companies due to the recession and the restriction upon the number of Hajis going this year because of swine flu and so hotel prices have been hiked up to the lengths of extortion by hotel owners and yet, some Hajj companies have tried to maintain reasonable prices. At the end of the day, I would not put down the abovementioned Hajj operators, because they DO deliver what they advertise and they do it very well without ‘shafting’ anyone. Price will always be relative and you have to look at the going rate for Hajj, the exchange rate and everything else that comes with it. The shorter, two-week packages go to Madinah first and are obviously more expensive, because hotel prices are hiked up as the days of Hajj come closer.
          Lastly on this point, these people also have a household to run and family to support and if they earn their rizq by ensuring that people do Hajj correctly and comfortably, then their reward is far greater than those of us who sit here assuming and criticising them. I honestly am not pointing the finger at you, but it’s a reminder for us all who think that Hajj operators are all about money and profit.

          2. On a personal level, I think going to Makkah first is FAR more inconvenient, because I hate flying due to airsickness and then waiting and then travelling again. What I would prefer is to go to Madinah and then go straight to my hotel, freshen up and then do my salaah at the Prophet’s (saw) Mosque.
          I don’t mind going to Aziziyah and I’m pretty sure that those going to Madinah first also feel the same way as I do which is why they have chosen this package.
          Also, I have four days in Makkah after the days of Hajj and hence I will, inshallah, avoid the going-home crowd at the airport.

          On an ibaadah level, I would prefer to go to Madinah first and earn 1,000 salahs per salah performed in the Propet’s Mosque over the course of two days and THEN earn 100,000 salahs per salah performed in the Haram over four days. In the space of 4 days in Makkah after Hajj, I will, inshallah, earn the reward for 2 MILLION salahs at a minimum! And let’s not forget nafls, witr, and tahajjud performed over there too! It’s mind-boggling! :D

          I will also be able to perform tawaaf-ul-ifada whenever I want after Hajj. I won’t have to do tawaaf-ul-ifada on the same day as everyone else as I can wait until the Hajj rush has died down and I can do my tawaaf at my own pace.

          And the last point, since Abu Muneer Ismail Davids’ book has been highly recommended by everyone we speak to, including this article, even he recommends that it’s better to go to Madinah first.

          I think Aziziyah will be cool…if I don’t like showers in Mina, I can always use the ones in Aziziyah, because it’s within walking distance. I reckon there’s more advantages than disadvantages of going to Madinah first and staying in Aziziyah.

          Inshallah, I hope your Hajj company does well, but bear some of my points in mind, because I’m not the only one who thinks like this.

  8. Juli

    November 11, 2009 at 3:56 PM

    Assalamualaikum

    I apologize beforehand, but I can’t help this because it’s so glaring, and I believe strongly that especially in writing, especially also anything that represents Islam, grammar, etc should be impeccable.

    It’s advice, with a C. Advise is a verb.

    I”m sure that’s a spelling mistake, uncaught, twice. :P

    Sorry to take away from the main points of the article, but I think it’s(correction) needed if MM is to maintain its professionalism.

    Jazakum allah khair

    • ummaasiyah

      November 11, 2009 at 5:23 PM

      OMG…Juli…we should be MM’s spelling and grammar advisors (pun intended!) :D

      I loathe the switch between American and UK English. And I hate it when there’s bad spelling and poor grammar.

      Not to say that MM’s spelling/grammar is bad, but there are a few things I would like to correct!

      • Amad

        November 11, 2009 at 11:46 PM

        salam sisters,
        if either/both of you are interested in helping out with technical editing, please email us at info at muslimmatters dot org

        We have been looking for someone with that skill :)

        • ummaasiyah

          November 12, 2009 at 3:33 PM

          Duly noted. Check your mail :D :D :D

  9. Umm Hurairah

    November 11, 2009 at 4:32 PM

    Practical Hajj Guide
    Sheikh Younus Kathrada
    http://www.almadinahacademy.com/hajjguide

  10. Babar Khan

    November 11, 2009 at 6:05 PM

    good tips.
    when we went for umrah we would go to King Fahd in dhuhr time

  11. hala

    November 11, 2009 at 11:12 PM

    assalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

    great article!… #1 thing is renew your intention and keep reminding yourself you are doing this only for Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.

    – Start making duaa’, even before you leave, that your hajj be accepted and to help make it easy for you.

    – prepare your list/ book of duaa’ (several, several pages!!) with the smallest details with everything you can think of. -dealing with you, your family, your future, school, work, the ummah, akhirah… EVERYTHING!! This is THE ultimate time to make duaa’! make duaa’ like you’ve never made duaa’ before! ** trust me this is VERY VERY important, i took this advice from Sh. Muhammed AlShareef and it was one of the best preperations i did!**

    – take note of all the duaa’s said when you enter Makkah, enter the masjid, drinking zam zam, seeing the black stone, visiting the graves, etc…

    – take advantage that your so close to the haramain! some people get tired and stick to wherever they are and pray, but dont do that! rank up on the ajr!! and pray as much nawafil as you can in the masajid!

    – like sister Amatullah said, say the talbiyyah as much as you can. you’ll find a lot of ppl around just sitting in the bus/ plane doing nothing. Say the talbiyyah, and brothers, encourage others by saying it out loud. Remember, going to hajj is Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala inviting you to His house and you saying the talbiyyah is you telling Allah that you accept it and here you are coming for his sakeand being thankful to Allah for allowing you to go!

    – expect that things WILL go wrong, but that’s expected because you are in one place with a million others. look at all the good things and just keep thinking it’s ok im just here to please Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.

    – lastly renew your intentions, again :) and insha’Allah everything will go well.

    Hajj mabroor wa sa’ay mashkoor wa dhamb maghfoor to all the hujjaj!

  12. AM

    November 11, 2009 at 11:14 PM

    Assalaamu ‘alaykum

    Regarding cell phones – they are a very valuable resource in Hajj if you get lost. I strongly believe that every Haji should have a cell phone with them at all times. My father got lost in Madinah and I found him in less than 5 minutes because he had a cell phone and was able to call me and describe his location. On the other hand, a haji without a cell phone got lost in Makkah last year and we spent three hours looking for him.

    You can use an unlocked GSM phone from your home country as the writer of the article said, but then you have to worry about whether your charger will work in the Saudi 2-pin style electrical outlets. An easier option is to buy a cheap cell phone when you arrive in Saudia Arabia. You can get a basic Nokia phone for about 200 – 300 riyals in many stores around the two Harams.

    You then have to buy a SIM card. The cell phone companies usually offer a “Haji Special” SIM card which is valid for about three months and comes with a credit of 50 or more riyals. You can also get a regular SIM card that will remain valid indefinitetly, so you can use it in the future if you plan to return for another Hajj or give it to a relative to use. The “Haji Special” SIM cards are widely available. You can even find them in “baqaalahs” (corner convenience stores). You should be able to get the regular SIM cards from an office of the one of the three cell phone companies – Saudi Telecom, Mobily or Zain. Look for them around the two Harams.

    You also need to buy phone cards with pre-paid credit. You can get these in virtually any grocery or convenience store. All instructions on the SIM card and the prepaid credit phone cards are printed in English and Arabic and are easy to follow.

    All of this is a lot easier than it may sound. I have seen first-time hajis who speak no Arabic equip themselves with a cell phone, SIM card and pre-paid credit within half an hour of arriving in Makkah.

    Of the three cell phone operators – Saudi Telecom (“Sawa”), Mobily and Zain – my experience has been that Saudi Telecom is better than Mobily in terms of coverage. Some of my friends who use Mobily have complained about dropped calls. I can’t comment on Zain as I have no experience with their coverage.

    If you are doing Hajj with relatives , I strongly recommend that you get cell phones for each member of the family. Don’t try to save money by buying one cell phone for the entire family – the cost of a few hundred riyals is nothing compared to the grief and worry of losing someone in the chaos and crowds.

    MAy Allaah grant all the hujjaaj an accepted and safe Hajj.

  13. Amad

    November 11, 2009 at 11:59 PM

    Also recommend a pouch that you can strap around your waste and it is right in front of you. This is where you put all your passports, etc. I have always found pouches useful in travel.. otherwise I’d be fumbling around my papers and almost invariably lose something.

    Oh! and did you mention petroleum jelly or similar (I forget the name of a creme that works almost as well…anyone??)… you will NEED this. With ihraam, you will chap your thighs due to rubbing against each other. Make sure whatever creme you have, it doesn’t have fragrance.

    • ummaasiyah

      November 12, 2009 at 3:34 PM

      Err…Vaseline?

      • Saqib Khan

        November 12, 2009 at 4:58 PM

        …for chafing between the thighs, a common problem for men in the days when they are in ihram.

        • ummaasiyah

          November 13, 2009 at 5:15 AM

          No, I realised that. It was a reply to Bro Amad.

          • amad

            November 13, 2009 at 5:38 AM

            I think it was A&D… or something

            here’s an interesting recipe I found online somewhere:

            Make your own lubricant – with this recipe I found on a couple of the running boards. Mix equal parts A & D ointment (diaper rash cream) and Vaseline (1 cup each). Then add vitamin E cream and Aloe Vera cream (1/4 cup each) to improve consistency and smell. (Mixture should be stiff, yet applicable.) It not only protects skin from chafing but can help heal the skin and also is helpful with blister prevention. Low cost and effective. Measurements do not have to be accurate…. this is not baking!

    • Shonan Love

      September 18, 2013 at 12:28 PM

      For people talking about chafing of the thighs – you do realize this is because you’re fat and overweight. Otherwise, your thighs should not and will not be rubbing against one another.

      LOSE WEIGHT. Why go to Hajj a fatty??

      • Saqib

        September 18, 2013 at 12:39 PM

        Don’t be offensive Shonan, it could just be that someone like me who runs marathons and ultra-marathons (have run the 250km Marathon des Sables in the Sahara) and cycles regularly just has muscular adductors. You don’t have to be fat to chafe between the thighs or perhaps one might be a male wearing an ihraam that might be tied a little snug.

        Way to go with providing useful input into this thread.

        *This comment was edited by the MM Comments Team in order to comply with our Comments Policy*

  14. love MM

    November 12, 2009 at 6:38 AM

    Session 4: Let’s go shopping

    Related Documents:
    1. Vaseline
    2. Baby Wipes
    3. 2 large Suitcases
    4. Sleeping Bag
    5. Ear Plugs
    6. Eye Shade
    7. Ihram Towels
    8. Gatorade Powder
    9. Pocket Qur’an
    10. Pocket Radio
    11. Comfortable Sandals
    12. Unscented Soap
    13. Power Bars

    These are the things to get you going, insh’a Allah.

    -Muhammad Alshareef

    http://www.hajjcoach.com

  15. Azhar Rauf

    November 12, 2009 at 7:34 AM

    Same book by same author published by Dar-us-Salam available for $17.99:

    Getting the Best out of Al-Hajj


    AR

  16. Kifayatullah

    November 12, 2009 at 12:06 PM

    Assalamau alaikum wa rahmtullah

    An excellent Hajj resource. Probably one of the best free guides on the net. It’s detailed, fairly accurate as well as interactive.

    http://www.iseb.org/hajj.shtml (They have arabic too).

    Please pass on to others that have not left yet. Also worth downloading for reference in presentations, classroom activities, homeschooling, etc.

  17. ASAWB

    November 12, 2009 at 11:08 PM

    Can someone put a picture up of the “professional” razor?

    And jazakhallahkhir for this article Rami!

  18. David

    November 12, 2009 at 11:51 PM

    Here are a few more ideas to help keep you valuables safe. As mentioned previously, pickpockets are a big problem in Mecca, as well as many major cities in the world where travelers tend to frequent.

    Security Waist Packs

    To safeguard the valuables you carry with you, such as cash, passport, and other valuables.
    Consider a security waist pack that has security features such as security zippers to keep out the hands of pickpockets, as well as steel straps embedded in the rear strap, and finally a rear buckle that cannot be un-clipped from the back side. Lastly, the pack should have some type of anti-slashing material built into the bottom of the security pack to protect from bag cutters. Take a look at several of these security waist packs and videos of how they work and the protection they provide by visiting this security waist packs website.

    Security Purses

    A wide varity of security purses that feature the same anti-poickpocket features can be viewed here

    Travel Security Wallets

    A variety of security wallets that secure to your belt, shirt, around your neck, as well as wallets with anti-theft cables can be located on this page of travel wallets.

    Security Backpacks

    If you plan on taking a few larger items of value such as a larger digital camera, laptop, or other valuables, and you want additional security, you may want to consider investing in a security backpack. These backpacks have several anti theft features that keep the bags contents safe from theft. Two of the most important features of these security backpacks are 1) a built in security cage that can only be entered if wire cutters are used, and 2. steel security cable built into the bags so they can be locked down in your hotel room, car trunk, or other left behind location. These secuirity backpacks are available in different sizes. Watch the various security backpack videos here.

    Camera Security Straps and Bags

    The theft of cameras, large and small is a problem around the world. Several security camera straps as well as security camera bags are something to consider. For camera security bags click here For camera security straps visit here.

    While the majority of those who travel for the Hajj and Umrah will have few problems, but thieves are a problem world wide. Don’t leave a trip of a lifetime to be spoiled by some slick handed pickpocket.

  19. ummaasiyah

    November 13, 2009 at 5:43 AM

    Another book that I would also recommend for the spiritual side of things is Dua: Weapon of the Believer written by our very own Aqeedah master (that’s my made-up title for him :D), Yasir Qadhi! It’s a fantastic book and really sets you up for making du’a.

    Also, not sure if anyone else has mentioned it here, but another good Hajj guide is called ‘Hajj and Umrah Made Easy’ written by Dr Taqi Hashmi and Adnan Malik. It is published by Al-Hidaayah, one of the UK’s top Hajj operators.

    You can find it here: http://www.al-hidaayah.co.uk/hajj-and-umrah-made-easy-by-dr-taqi-hashmi-and-adnan-malik-ka8797.ir?cName=alhidaayah-products

    I’ve used it before when I went on Umrah and it’s really handy with a little cord to hang it around your neck or hand.

  20. ursister

    November 13, 2009 at 9:28 AM

    Asalamu Alikum warahmatullah

    Remember that many times there will be problems with the group. you might find things you did not expect, or promises that were not fulfilled. Don’t waste your time discussing these problems. There are people who spend the entire Hajj days complaining about the shortcomings of the group. Perhaps these shortcomings are a test, so overlook them and don’t try getting your ‘rights’ at that time. The sweetness of Hajj is really manifested in forgiving others and trying your utmost best to abstain from complaining.

    If people in your tent spend too much time in idle talk, an ipod can come in handy. you can listen to a motivational lecture (for example, the day before Arafah, have a lecture prepared to listen to on du’aa, this will motivate you to prepare for du’aa on that day) and at the same time no one will come and bother you.

    Also, due to the vast differences in knowledge levels of people at the Hajj, you may see or hear some doing or saying things which constitute shirk. Try to gently teach them the correct way, for sometimes they don’t know any better.

    As for I.D, they gave out bracelets to all the Hujjaj with the name of their group as well as location in Mina on it, so keep this on inshaAllah.

    I really second performing tawaaf on the roof of the Haram. It is always a lot more roomy and you can get fresh air. This is particularly if you have women with you. The tawaaf area right around the Ka’bah can be extremely difficult, particularly for women. This is because sometimes, you will not be able to walk, rather you are just waiting to be pushed.

    I ask Allah to protect all of the Hujjaj, make the Hajj easy for them and to accept from them.

  21. ursister

    November 13, 2009 at 9:34 AM

    I just wanted to add that if you understand Arabic, then here is an absolutely beautiful lecture on Hajj by Shaykh Muhammad Al-‘Areefy titled ‘Labayk: http://www.islamway.com/?iw_s=Lesson&iw_a=view&lesson_id=45786

  22. Umm Ismael

    November 15, 2009 at 8:33 AM

    Asslam u alaikum wr wb,
    How envious so i feel of all those going . May ALLAH Make this Hajj Mabrur for all of you. ameen. May He Accept your prayers for the entire muslim ummah.ameen
    I read an article here once that talked about how each of us is tested with what irks us most during Hajj. Our teacher gave us one advice during sessions of “how to prepare for Hajj” : Sabr, Sabr and Sabr.
    My test was extreme difference of views with regards to the rites of Hajj coming from all the other group members. Restraint and good behaviour are essential else all is lost. It took me “after Hajj” to realise that unfortunately.
    For those going from Pakistan, India or other South Asian countries, select group packages tend to be very expensive so one settles for what one has in order to perform the fard. Thus herein are so many things that one has to compromise with. Throughout Hajj, remember: “It is not the blood nor the meat that reaches ALLAH But the Taqwah…” To the rites being performed one before the other, the Prophet(saw) said, “la haraj” but in a hajj void of restraint and positive feelings, there is no benefit,
    And ALLAH Knows Best

  23. Abdullah Syed

    November 15, 2009 at 6:54 PM

    السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

    I know, most people have left for Hajj already, but I thought better late then never inshaAllah. InshaAllah even if you are not going to hajj this year read it, find benefit and pass it on. Al-Hajj Al-Mabroor inshaAllah.

    One ayah to remember, constantly:
    Hajj is [during] well-known months, so whoever has made Hajj obligatory upon himself therein [by entering the state of ihram], there is [to be] no sexual relations and no disobedience and no disputing during Hajj. And whatever good you do – Allah knows it. And take provisions, but indeed, the best provision is fear/rememberence of Allah [taqwa] . And fear Me, O you of understanding. [Baqarah:197]

    Videos:
    Most people have probably already seen Sh. Muhammad AlShareef’s Hajj Coach Videos. MashaAllah, they are fun and practical. Right after that start a deeper, equally practical study . It’s a (long!) 4 part video series by Br. Ismail Davis, Author of Getting the Best out of Al-Hajj

    Some not-so-useful tips from me:

    As you leave

    Cameras/Camcorders – I’m not going to say don’t take a camera/camcorder, I will say don’t use it….. unless you are walking, out and about and pull it out during that transit. During “down-time” only, or if your really need a change of mood. Once you start it’s hard to stop. Alhamdulillah there are many YouTubes, and pictures online of Makka and Madina!

    Phone – Take your tri-band/quad-band SIM card capable phones! Some travel agents will give you a sim card, if not, inshaAllah you can get them for form any store in Makkah, Madina, Jeddah.

    No Internet – Put a cool/dawah oriented out-of-office / vacation msg on your personal, school and work emails, and then forget about emails until later. Plus there is not much free internet in Makka/Madina. Don’t waste your money and time (slow connections). Feed the poor instead! Don’t even go close to internet if you are a facebook, twitter addict. Not the right place or time (for most cases).

    Quran – Take a pocket-size Quran w/translation. Someone finished 4 juz even before ever arriving at the hotel, with translation! Lots of barakah in the time! You will never get this much “down time” when you come back. Lot of delays in Jeddah and then to Makkah/Madina, take advantage of that time. Also take a Hisnul Muslim with you. Especially memorize the duas for the janazah, traveling, leaving and entering the masjid, etc.

    Sleeping bag – It’s a must to take. It has a lot of uses. Don’t get those over-sized ones, just something cheap, small and easy to carry. I personally prefer the fleece kind.

    Back pack and Fannie Pack – Both are very invaluable! Get the light string kinda back pack and get the sturdiest Fannie pack.

    Money – Don’t be like me! Take more money with you than you expect to use up. Be optimistic, inshaAllah you will not be the .001% whose money is stolen or lost! You will buy more things than you expect to, give more charity than you thought you would…

    Leaving with Dua
    – I am not only talking about the long dua list that Sh. Muhammad recommends (which is great). I am talking about setting out for Hajj and being at peace when doing so. People make up all these fancy duas for leaving on Hajj. Athan for example. I can’t recall if there is an authentic one for leaving for Hajj, but here is the regular dua for leaving your home. It’s powerful! Bismillahi Tawakaltu ‘AlAllah La Hawla wa La Qoowata ilaBillah.

    And lots more but don’t want to make it tooooo long…..

    General Advice for Makka/Madina:

    Don’t pray in the hotel – Some people use the excuse, well all of it is the haram. You didn’t spend $9,999.99 to pray in the hotel. You will get the reward for each and every step to the masjid! Your 1 prayer = 100,000 prayers in Makkah and 1,000 prayers in Madina. Perfect them, pray them shoulder to shoulder with your brothers and sisters in the masjid.

    Judge your time – wudu, elevators, walking to the masjid all take time. Don’t be a loser and pray in those crooked lanes in shopping malls, hotel lobbies or way in the end rows. Leave early, and better yet stay in the masjid between prayers. If you leave late you may end up praying on peoples’ backs because of lack of room! If you arrive late do not push around people to try to get more towards the front. Just live with it.

    Take the stairs
    – …Depending on which floor you are on and elevator situation. Burn off all that buffet food, and save time (if you are finding the elevators are always busy)! In Makkah the hotels have too many levels, but in Madina this is do able.

    Forsake the room
    – The hotel is comfy, but don’t stay in there too much. You’ll miss out on the exciting stuff. I don’t mean shopping and sight seeing. I am talking about ibadah and spending time in the masjid. People sleep more in Hajj than they do when they are in their work/school schedule!

    Give your loved ones some space
    – Alone time is so beneficial and productive in Makkah/Madina. Walk with them, call them (requires cell phone), eat with them, even room with them, but in the masjid be by yourself. It’s safe place alhamdulillah. Give your husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, and friends some space and alone time.

    Smile and shake hands – It’s charity and lots of people are stressed out or sick or tired or having a “bad day.” This will help inshaAllah. But try to wash your hands often!

    Charity – SubhanAllah one shaykh was telling me that professional beggars travel to Makkah/Madina in Hajj/Ramadan seasons. But it’s not for you to judge. Here is the trick – carry small bills. This way you can give to more people. There are others who will come behind you to give this person some more money. Also buy from all those street vendors. You’ll get a good deal and you’ll be helping the needy inshaAllah.

    Pass out food – Money is not the only thing you can give. My mother would go to one of those cheaper restaurants and buy 10-15 boxes of food daily and pass them out to the needy.While you will be enjoying heavy buffets people will be outside sitting in the dust living on juice boxes (which they discard on the streets!). So if you have leftovers take them and distribute them outside (can be easily done in Mina – shorter distance, no elevators). Better yet buy food and distribute it.

    Money exchange – avoid exchanging your money at the hotel lobby. It’s a rip off. There are money exchangers everywhere (called sarf)

    Slippers
    – Lots of times you will not be able to find your slippers. A million shoes within close proximity can easily get mixed up. Take a plastic shopping bag with you and put it in your back pack. Put your slippers in there and put the bag close to you. If for some reason you loose your slippers, don’t spend over 10 minutes looking for them. Just go buy new ones. Optimize your time.

    Zamzam – You thought it was only in Makkah. Thanks to the Sauds you can have it in Masjid anNabawi as well. You can basically live on this water, subhanAllah. So start accumulating water bottles from your hotel. Put an empty one in your bag and fill it on your way back to the hotel. Who needs OJ, Ozarka, Coke when there is Zamzam?

    Follow your group – It happen to us that we wanted to do Tamatu’ (where you break your ihram between Umrah & Hajj) and we ended up doing Qiran (doing Umrah and Hajj in one ihram) because our group got there soooo late. Yet, those that broke away from the group got lost and didn’t have the support system that the group provides, which was worse than what happened to us.

    Janazah – SubhanAllah you will see so many Janazahs. Learn how to pray it. If you are able to, then follow a couple janazahs at least. It’s gonna take time and energy but inshaAllah it will be worth it. Worth 2 mountains of gold reward.

    Prophet Muhammad (saw) said: “Whoever attends the Janazah until it is finished, will earn a Qirat, and who ever stays until the burial, will earn two Qirats. Someone asked: What does Qirat mean ? The Prophet answered ‘It means rewards as big as great mountain'” (Bukhari & Muslim)

    And lots more but don’t want to make it tooooo long…..

    Madina specific

    Raudah
    – In Masjid AnNabawi, Raudah is the area aaaaalll the way in front left of the masjid (men’s side), facing the qiblah. The color of the carpet changes when you get there. Prophet (saw) said that it’s a part of Jannah! Live in Jannah while you are in Madina. It can be hard, you get pushed around (black stone treatment), but once you start our 2 rakah, you are good inshaAllah. Go there in odd hrs, like a couple of hrs before Fajr.

    Makkah specific

    Hotel ZamZam – If you are staying in ZamZam (nicest, tallest, hugest and closest building to the masjid) then avoid the mall (which is probably 3 levels, including the lobby) at all cost, especially the sisters. They sell all kinds of stuff in haram area, especially in the ZamZam hotel. Play Stations to Jewelry, they have Claires, Nine West, Aldo selling high heels, NEXT selling tight jeans and tshirts to women. All of this a few dozen yards from the door of the greatest masjid! If they were to open an Apple store (may Allah protect us), that would be real fitnah for the brothers. The worst part is that it’s right in front of you while you are going to haram and coming back from the haram. It’s crazy and it’s so close to the haram that lines keep forming until they hit the outside of the hotel and then inside the hotel. I think it’s owned by the _______ family because no one else would think of doing something like this!

    The Hijr Ismail – The semi-circular thing on the opposite side of the black stone is part of the kabah! Your tawaf will not be proper if you cross-through the hijr. You have to go all the way around.

    Ihram for guys – You are suppose to uncover your right shoulder during tawaf. Unless you are trying to impress sisters with your muscles (wrong place & time!), don’t forget to cover it afterwords, especially during salah!

    Duas During Tawaf and Safa/Marwa – Sometimes in crowded placed you are just struggling to protect yourself, your loved ones and figuring out how to keep moving forward. You are not in a quite place all by yourself where duas can be powerful. You cant even close your eyes, but that is the test of Hajj. If you are having trouble concentrating making your personal duas, then have a dua book and while you are reading the duas try to internalize them as much as possible. Also say the names of Allah (swt) and make a dua based on that particular name, i.e. Ar-Razaq, Al-Ghaffar, etc.

    Mina

    Stay put: There is no reason to go out and tour the place too much or see other peoples’ tents. Just stay in your area, unless you are going to the masjid (far away) or need a change of mood. All tents look alike so it’s easy to get lost, plus one will loose important ibadah time if they wander around.

    Ibadah instead of sleeping: No matter what time of the day, there will be people in your camp that are sleeping believe it or not. So take advantage of that quite time by praying, reading, making dua, helping those that need help, etc.

    Bathroom/Shower: Most likely your bathroom will be your shower and vice-versa. Before prayers, especially in the morning, the lines are looooong. Avoid the “down time”. Use the restroom/shower and do wudu during non-busy times like non-prayer times or when everybody has hit the sac.

    Jamarat: MashaAllah there are multiple levels now and there are sturdy, speedy escalators to take you from floor to floor. Go as high as you can. The crowd will be smaller, therefore stoning will be easier inshaAllah.

    Arafah

    Forsake your tent because ‘Hajj is Arafah’ – Hajj groups from US will tell you it’s not safe to go to or close to Jabal arRahma, but trust me, you will not have the same power in your dua in your classy tents as you will standing in crowds with your brothers and sisters in the plains of Arafah, close to Jabal arRahma. You will feel the “ummah”more there, and will be more productive there. If you stay in your camp areas, you will find that you are eating/drinking/sleeping too much. Matter of fact 1/3 of my tent was knocked out during these most blessed moments. As far as khutbah, it will be hard to get to the masjid or to it’s parameters for the khutbah. Plus the khutbah will be 100% Arabic. From that prospective the Khutbah in your camp area might be OK, wa Allahu alam.

    Muzdalifa

    There are two things that people do in Muzdalifa. One group sleeps (I was part of that camp until I read the ayah below) and the other prays and does duroos, etc. It was stressed so much to me that it is the sunnah to sleep in Muzdalifa. We must sleep in Muzdalifa! I did just that, slept for the 2-3 hrs that we has in Muzdalifa. Yet read the ayah below – Muzdalifa is also a place of dhikr. So strike the balance.

    “There is no blame upon you for seeking bounty from your Lord [during Hajj by trading]. But when you depart from ‘Arafat, remember Allah at al- Mash’ar al-Haram [Muzdalifa]. And remember Him, as He has guided you, for indeed, you were before that among those astray.” [Baqarah:198]

    And lots more but don’t want to make it tooooo long…..

    Post Hajj

    A litmus test for an accepted Hajj is actually the actions you do after Hajj. Are you the same you or are you now, you version 2.0. Let your Hajj change you inshaAllah. It changed Malcom X.

    These are just some thoughts that came to my mind, feel free to correct me. If I said anything good then it was from Allah. If I said anything that was wrong/evil then it was from the whispers of shaytan and my own shortcomings.

    • Aych

      September 15, 2013 at 8:22 AM

      This was great, thanks

  24. Rahim

    April 25, 2014 at 7:52 AM

    Check this Infographics which present best info regarding Mecca https://www.mzahidtravel.com/blog/introduction-makkah-infographics/

  25. haj package

    June 29, 2016 at 2:09 AM

    Your blogs and accumulation attracts me to arrive rearward again n again. Keep sharing. If you are looking for hajj and umrah packages, you get online many travel agency providing best services.

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