Comprehensive Packing List and Excellent Tips for Hajj

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Courtesy: www.productivemuslim.com

When you travel for the land of Makkah & Madinah, it is a great journey that is not only far off but is also a journey that reminds us of afterlife and our duties to the people behind us.

According to Islam you should clear all your liabilities and pay off all your dues before the spiritual journey. You are also bound by Islam to write a Will before you leave.

Following is a check list of items to be carried for the pilgrimage. You may need more things; it is always better to prepare the list so you do not forget any items which you might need.

  • Ahram
  • Towel
  • An Umbrella
  • Pair of Sleepers
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, if necessary
  • Shampoo & soap
  • Few packs of biscuits and other dry food items
  • Packet of tissues and toilet tissue roll
  • Alarm Clock
  • Basic medicines Disprin, Brufen, Strepsils, cough syrup, Immodium
  • Face and hands washing soap, detergent or cloth washing soap
  • One or two cups and glasses
  • Few pairs of socks
  • Nail Cutter
  • Scissors
  • A small knife for cutting fruits (keep this in your big luggage not in hand luggage)
  • Camera and sufficient batteries. Take extra batteries (keep this in your big luggage not in hand luggage)
  • A prayer mat if needed.
  • One or two extra travel bags. This is for when you go to some place for a longer period or for bringing gifts on way back.
  • Some extra packed juices or soft drinks. They are available but it’s better to have one or two in your bag as well.
  • Face cream or cold cream or Patroleum Jelly Its very hot but due to Air-conditioning it’s also very dry.
  • A travel iron
  • Tea bags and water heater for making te

Some of the other things you need to make sure you know.

  • Attend the Hajj seminars and workshops conducted by your Hajj tour company (tour-operator)
  • Make sure you have all the necessary travel documents before you leave for Hajj. These Items are:
  • Your Passport
  • Your Identity Card
  • Your Airline Ticket
  • Hotel Vouchers
  • Transport Vouchers or tickets
  • Although most airlines flying out from Jeddah allow hajj passengers to carry zam zam water on board, in addition to the maximum weight allowance, it is better to find out when you arrive at the airport about carrying zam zam
  • Allow some flexibility in your departure schedule as it may not be possible for you to depart on scheduled dates due to some unforeseen circumstances  particularly for women if they have to delay tawaf of hajj (tawaf-ziyarah) due to menstrual cycle
  • For women: they may want to consult with their doctor and take proper medications to delay or differ the menstruation cycle during the Hajj or Umrah
  • All the flights to Jeddah airport cross the miqat before they land in Jeddah, therefore you must be in the state of Ihram when landing in Jeddah airport
  • If you are traveling direct to Jeddah, you will assume Ihram before you board the plane otherwise you enter Ihram at any transit stop enroute to Jeddah.  Your group leader will advise you about it.  You will have lots of help from your fellow hajjis, or your group leader who accompanies your group.

Some of the other things you need to make sure you know.

  • Develop an understanding, the respect and love for the Prophet Muhammad (s) and his mission for mankind
  • Develop humility and the highest degree of patience.
  • Don’t shout
  • Do not liter at airports or spill water in toilets or try to impose on others that you are a VIP in the house of Allah. Everyone is VIP.  Some of these old humble poor people around you may be a lot closer to Allah than your royal highness.
  • So become a kinder, gentler person during hajj and umrah and try to keep the same spirit forever.
  • Once you are there, do not yell, do not be overly demanding or rude with your Hajj group leader or staff performing
  • Always Ssay Please and wait for your turn
  • Reduce your expectations regardless of what you may have paid for your hajj package and of what you were promised for this journey.  Even if you felt cheated and if you did not complain and remained patient Allah surely will compensate you insha Allah
  • This journey is different from any other journey you may have ever taken.  Tour operators and their associates may try to fulfill their promises, but may not able to do so because situations will arise in which they have no control over
  • Once inside Saudi Arabia, expect delays from the airport to your hotel and do not look or feel frustrated, angry and take it out on your group leader.  He has no control over the local entrants no matter what you paid.
  • Perform 2 rakats of Salaat-al-Tawbah (repentance of the past bad deeds).  Be conscious of doing good deeds always. Understand tawheed and behaviour in it.
  • Follow the sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H)
  • Be regular in five daily prayers while you are on this journey and also when you return
  • Read Quran with meaning to understand and practice sincerely
  • People from all over the world and different backgrounds will be there. Do not engage in meaningless arguments and quarrels.  Give others preference over yourselves.  Seek forgiveness immediately should you hurt or offend anyone.
  • If you wish to express your dissatisfaction write a detailed letter to your tour operator and make suggestions on how to improve services.

Before You Leave Your Home

  • Plan to do hajj with the intention of obeying Allah ‘s command while avoiding riya
  • Pray two rakahs salah and seek help from Allah and pray for a safe journey.  Ask Allah for His help and protection from the harm of evil.  At the departure gate, take taqwa with you and leave behind your heartfelt duas’ for your family so that they may remain in Allah’s protection
  • Check all your travel documents (i.e. passport, airline tickets and all relevant coupons, verify with airline yourself)
  • Make extra copies of your passport, visa, tickets and the traveler’s cheques.  Take one set with you and place it in a separate location along with a couple of identification photos.  Leave an extra set of documents at home.
  • Take only one good bag/suitcase
  • Take one with wheels so that you can pull it.  Tie some good rope firmly b/c in some cases, the baggage may fall and burst open scattering the contents
  • Make a few personalized identification tags or marks that you can spot from a distance
  • Your carry-on bag should contain survival items for 2 to 3 days, just in case your main bag gets lost
  • When loading and unloading to and from bus or taxi, be sure to check your baggage.  Make sure that what you pack belongs to you
  • If you break away from the group, you are on your own, don’t put the blame on your tour operator for leaving you behind
  • Get to know your travel companies and your group leader before hand, in order to understand the schedule and one anthers expectations
  • Learn Arabic: at least a few words and phrases will be helpful.  Most of the locals understand some English and other eastern languages rather well

Money Matters

  • Traveller’s cheques are not recommended as they are hard to cash since you won’t be carrying your passport, which will be taken from you just before boarding in Jeddah or at Madinah airport.  You will receive your passport upon your return at Jeddah airport for the flight back to your home country
  •  Carry US Dollars or Pounds or Euros, larger bills of 100 or 50 dollar bills or pounds.  You can exchange Dollars everywhere in Saudi Arabia into Riyals
  • Do not carry all your money with you; place your money at different locations on yourself.  This is a precautionary measure.
  • Take approximately 1000.00 dollars per adult for miscellaneous expenses or emergency needs.  This amount is in addition to all other hajj related expenses

Refunds

  • Should be obtained at the airport before returning home or any unused travel coupons attached to your passport

 Special Note: In case your tour operator has arranged for private buses for transportation during the entire trip, you should be refunded for all your transport vouchers attached in your passport before you leave Jeddah Airport.  Ask your tour operator about it.  Nobody can cash it for any reason or pretence except you.

Before You Leave Home For the Airport

  • Call the airport beforehand to find out the status of your departure flight.
  • Be on time at the airport as instructed by your group leader. If you miss your flight, you are responsible for costs incurred
  • Leave your home early enough to arrive to the airport on time for your flight. Consider the weather, road conditions, and traffic laws
  • Check all your travel documents once again before you leave your home

During The Flight

  • Use the washroom as soon as you feel the need. Do not wait too long
  • If you are in Ihram, do not use cologne/perfume products available on the flight
  • When you come out of the washroom, make sure you leave it very clean, with no water on the floor, or used tissues in the sink or wash basins

Jeddah Airport – Hajj Terminal

  • Upon arrival, your group will be received by the staff of ministry of Hajj. They will help you process the travel documents
  • You will be waiting in the arrival halls until your turn comes.  These halls have no facilities except washrooms, wudu areas and drinking water. It is going to be approximately a 4-6 hour wait, depending on the date and time of arrival. Eat the snacks you have packed in your carry-on.

After Customs

  • Your baggage is your responsibility. Work on a baggage supervision plan with your group. Stay together.
  • Next – you will show your passport for the removal of the Hajj fee. Cashiers cheques, and bus travel vouchers will be stapled to your passport. Before you move on, check these items and your passport for accuracy
  • Your group will then move into the waiting area platforms, opposite of the terminal halls. There will be restaurants, banks, ministry offices, prayer areas and airport malls where you can buy Hajj related items. By this time, you may be exhausted and hungry
  • Always keep your passport in your possession. Go to the bank (cubicles) and convert your money into Saudi Riyals. Eat and rest, sitting watching your luggage.  You may shop for your needs in these malls.
  • Your group leader will collect passports to make arrangements for the bus to Makkah or Madinah according to your travel itinerary
  • When the bus arrives at the platform, enter your bus and sit in your seat.  Luggage will be handled by the airport porter and loaded into the bus.
  • All your passports are with the bus driver.
  • Before the bus leaves the terminal platform, a passenger count will be taken by cross referencing with the passports by Ministry staff or driver and your group leader
  • According to your travel itinerary, the bus will travel to Madinah or Makkah. Upon arrival, before entering the city, you will pass through a reception centre, where your passports will be registered in the data centre and your Muallim’s office.  If you leave your bus to go to the washroom or any other reason, make sure you note your bus number and isle number so you may return to your respective bus
  • When you enter Madinah, the bus goes to the Muallim’s office where your passports will be deposited and receipts will be given to your group leader. Every Hajji will receive a wrist-band and the Muallim’s address card.
  • Next, your bus will go to your hotel for accommodations according to your Hajj package.

Your Activities In Makkah

  • Once you have unloaded your luggage, assigned your rooms, rested and refreshed, you are ready to do Umrah.
  • Your group leader or accompanied religious scholar will brief you on how to perform Umrah. You will then be lead to the Masjid Al-Haram.
  • When you get to the 1st sight of the Ka’aba, Stop, and make takbir and recite dua
  • Complete a tawaaf of Umra with Idtibah and Ramal and Sa’ee
  • Men will cut their hair at a barbershop near the doors of Marwah while the ladies will be waiting near the door of Marwah
  • After that, you will go to your hotel rooms and help in cutting the ladies’ hair (approx. 1 inch of hair in length)
  • After this, come out of Ihram, take shower and change into regular clothes. At this point, your Umrah is complete
  • From now until the 8th of Dhul Hijjah, you are free to do any activity
  • During your stay in Makkah:
    • Attend 5 daily prayers in Haram –Ka’aba
    • Do as many nafil tawaaf as possible
    • Do extra Umrahs if you wish
    • Consult your religious scholar at all times for any/all religious matters
  • According to your itinerary, if your are visiting Madinah before Hajj, follow the instructions of the group leader about packing luggage for traveling and departure to Madinah either by Saudi Air or by bus

Visit to Madinah

  • After arriving at your hotel room, freshen up, eat some food if hungry and leave for Masjid-e-Nabawi.
  • In the masjid, pray 2 rak’ah Tahayyah-tul-Masjid and recite durood on the Prophet (saw).
  • Walking with humility & respect, join the existing line, walking towards the grave site (rowdha) which will be on your left side.  As you come closer, facing the screen, say a sincere Salaam to the Prophet Muhammad (saw) “As Salaam Alaika ya Rasulullah”
  • Do not raise your hands in front of the grave site for a du’aa
  • Avoid all forms of shirk (4:48)
  • Next, move onwards to your right and say your salam to Hadrat Abu Bakr (R) and then to Hadrat Umar (R)
  • Next to the marked pillars the area called is Riyaz-ul-Jannah. Prays at least 2 nawafil and without hurting or disturbing anyone. Pray and make your dua’a here, sincerely for this is a high place of acceptance.  This is part of Jannah as it is narrated in a hadith
  • Spend as much time as possible in this masjid to do Salah, durood-e-Ibrahim, dhikr of Allah (swt) and study the Quran.  Additionally, you may offer salaam (if possible after every salah) and durood.
  • Your group leader will arrange a guided tour of the historical and religious sites in and around Madinah that includes a visit to Masjid Quba

Start of Hajj

  • Pack your small carry-on bag, provisions for 5 days and nights. You will be staying in crowded dusty camps. Mentally prepare yourself for such an experience for which you have traveled so far to get mercy and blessings from Allah (swt)

8th Of Dhul Hijja – Hajj Starts Today

  • If you are in Makkah, take a shower and put on Ihram and make the intention for Hajj and say Talbiya as you did for Umrah, observing the restrictions of Ihraam.
  • Those coming from Mina, enter the state of Ihraam in Madinah or Dul Hulaifa making intention for Hajj. Say Talbiya and start observing Ihram restrictions.
  • All hujjaj in ihram from Madinah, Makkah or from anywhere proceed to Mina arriving before noon on 8th of Dhul HIjjah.  You will stay overnight in Mina.
  • During your stay in Mina, do Ibaadat – avoiding all worldly conversations
  • Be helpful to the needy

9th Of Dhul Hijja – Day of Arafah

  • After Fajr prayer, proceed to the tents in within the boundary of Arafat with your group
  • Remember to stay with your group at all times
  • Remember that you came all the way here for today’s event – i.e.  The day of Hajj. You will stay here from noon to sunset during which you pray Zuhr, Asr shortened and combined with one adhan and two aqamahs.
  • Some pilgrims may do these prayers at their respective times. Do not get into arguments. Follow your Imam.
  • After Zuhr and Asr prayers, eat lunch, get some rest and start waqoof Arafat.
  • Today is the climax of Hajj for the Hujjaj. It is the day you came here for physicality and spirituality. You must do some taubaa and istigfar, reciting words of Tawheed. This is the largest gathering of all Hujjaj, when everyone is and should be begging from the one and same Master his Majesty, Allah (swt)
  • All will stand in the same location, with the same address, uttering the same words, asking for the same requests and following the protocol. He invited to come there and to ask questions. You must produce Khuzoo, Kushoo, Taqwa and Rija’a (hope) – expect only good from Allah (swt) regardless of how meager but must be sincere).
  • He answers all prayers. Today is the best day for acceptance of your dua’a
  • The biggest loser amongst us is one who does not ask for nor has Rija’a (hope)
  • Observe the waqoof from late afternoon to sun down. Remember to pray for your parents, family, relatives, friends and those who helped and assisted you to prepare for this important journey

Leave Arafat for Muzdalifah

  • Follow the group leaders instructions
  • Upon arrival in Muzdalifah, after sunset, first pray Maghrib and Isha Salah; combined and shortened.
  • Collect 49-70 pebbles to throw at Jamarat on 10, 11, 12 & 13th.
  • Stay in Muzdalifah. Pray Fajr early at the starting time and engage in dua until day break
  • After sun rise, leave for Mina tents with your group

10th Of Dhul Hijjah

  • This is the day of Sacrifice
  • First, go to Jamarat site with your group, throw stones at the last Jamarat only and return to the tent.
  • If you have purchased Qurbani vouchers, assume Qurbani is done. Shave your head.
  • Discard Ihram, take shower and come out of Ihram. Put on regular clothes.
  • After that, go to Makkah, with your group leader. Perform tawaf of Hajj followed by Sa’ee and return to Mina and spend one night in Mina.

On 11th, 12th throw pebbles on the three Jamarat – 7 pebbles each, any time after zuhr salaat until late evening.

If you are in a hurry, you can return to Makkah on the evening of the 12th day.

Otherwise, stay until the 13th. Leave Mina after throwing pebbles after Zuhr salat.  When you have returned to Makkah, perform a farewell tawaf before returning to your country.

If you have not yet visited Madinah, this is the time to go to Madinah after farewell tawaf.

Your Hajj trip has come to an end. May Allah accept your Hajj!

Hajj: Journey of a Lifetime

Image courtesy http://www.aalamtravels.lk

Image courtesy http://www.aalamtravels.lk

Linguistically, Hajj means ‘to set out with the intention of religious zeal or return to a sacred place’. It also means simply heading to a place for visiting. In Islam, it refers to heading to Makkah for performing the rites of pilgrimage. Allah (swt) mentions in the Quran: “And perform properly (i.e. all the ceremonies according to the ways of Prophet Muhammad (sa)), the Hajj and Umrah (i.e. the pilgrimage to Makkah) for Allah.” (Al-Baqarah 2:196)

Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam. It is obligatory on every adult Muslim, who is physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey, to perform Hajj at least once in a lifetime. Hajj is the largest annual Muslim gathering. Person going for Hajj must make necessary arrangements for his family in his absence. Financial and physical ability is referred to as Istitah and Muslim who falls in this criterion is called a Mustati.

The history of Hajj dates back to Prophet Ibrahim (as), which is around 2000 years before the birth of Prophet Isa (as).

Hajj commences from the eighth and ends on the twelfth of Dhul-Hijjah, which is also the last month of Islamic calendar. It was performed by Prophet Muhammad (sa) in the seventh century and is followed by his Ummah.

Historical significance of Hajj

The history of Hajj dates back to Prophet Ibrahim (as), which is around 2000 years before the birth of Prophet Isa (as). Ibrahim (as) was ordered by Allah (swt) to leave his wife Hajar and son Ismail (as) alone in the desert of Makkah. Hazrat Hajar ran back and forth between the mountains of Safa and Marwah in search of water and asked Allah (swt) for His help. Ismail (as) hit the ground with his feet as he cried. At that very moment, Allah (swt) answered her prayers and sent down His angel Jibrael (as) to dig a well underneath where Ismail (as) was hitting his feet, and Zam-Zam well miraculously sprang forth. Later, Ibrahim (as) was commanded by Allah (swt) to build Kabah and invite people to perform pilgrimage. These events are mentioned in Quran in verses 2:124 to 2:127 and 22:27 to 30. Angel Jibrael (as) brought the Black Stone “Hajr-e-Aswad” from heaven to be attached to Kabah.

Allah (swt) mentions in the Quran: “Verily! As-Safa and Al-Marwah (two mountains in Makkah) are of the symbols of Allah. So it is not a sin on him who perform Hajj or Umrah (pilgrimage) of the House (the Kabah at Makkah) to perform the going (Tawaf) between them (As-Safa and Al-Marwah). And whoever does good voluntarily, then verily, Allah is All-Recogniser, All-Knower.” (Al-Baqarah 2:158)

Abu Bakr (ra) was sent by Prophet Muhammad (sa) to lead the first Hajj in the ninth year after Hijrah. After Prophet Muhammad (sa) returned from the battle of Tabuk, he appointed Abu Bakr (ra) to lead three hundred Muslims to Makkah and instruct them about the rituals of Hajj.

The divine revelation descended upon the Messenger of Allah (swt) with some important verses from Surah At-Taubah. Prophet (sa) sent Ali Ibn Abu Talib (ra) to Abu Bakr (ra), so he could pass on Allah’s (swt) message (i.e., the Quranic verses) to the pilgrims in the season of Hajj.

Our Prophet’s (sa) last justful sermon

Abu Bakr (ra) led the pilgrimage in the ninth year with three hundred Muslims. In the following year, the Prophet (sa) performed Hajj with more than one hundred thousand Muslims. Prophet Muhammad (sa) delivered his last sermon, also known as “Khutba-e-Hajjatul-Wida, on the ninth of Dhul-Hijjah in the tenth year after Hijrah. The sermon was delivered in the valley of Mount Arafat. It was a delivered more than fourteen centuries ago, yet it reflected the best example of eloquence and wisdom. It was as humane, rational and favourable to justice and equality as any message could be.

Abu Hurairah (ra) has narrated that the Prophet was asked: “Which is the best deed?” He said: “To believe in Allah (swt) and His Apostle.” He was then asked: “Which is the next (in goodness)?” He said: “To participate in Jihad in Allah’s (swt) cause.” He was then asked, “Which is the next?” He said: “To perform Hajj-e-Mabrur.” (Bukhari)

Hajj is considered the best Jihad for women.

There are three forms of Hajj:

  1. Hajj At-Tamattu (Interrupted): This is where a pilgrim assumes Ihram for Umrah only, during the months of Hajj, which means that when he reaches Makkah, he makes Tawaf and Sai for Umrah. Then he shaves or clips his hair. On the eighth day of Dhul-Hijjah, the pilgrim assumes Ihram again for Hajj only and carries out all of its requirements. Pilgrims performing this form of Hajj are called Mutamatti.
  2. Hajj Al-Ifrad (Single): This is where a pilgrim assumes Ihram for Hajj only. When he reaches Makkah, he performs Tawaf for his arrival and Sai for Hajj. He does not shave or clip his hair as he does not disengage from Ihram. Instead, he remains in Ihram until after he stones the Jamratul-Aqabah on the Eid day. It is permissible for him to postpone his Sai for Hajj until after his Tawaf for Hajj (i.e., Tawaf Al-Ifadhah). Pilgrims performing this form of Hajj are called Mufrid.
  3. Hajj Al-Qiran (Combined):This is where a pilgrim assumes Ihram for both Umrah and Hajj, or he assumes Ihram first for Umrah, then makes his intention for Hajj before his Tawaf for Hajj. The obligations on one performing Ifrad are the same as those on one performing Qiran, except that the latter must slaughter; whereas the former is not obligated to do so. Pilgrims performing this form of Hajj are called Qarin.

The best of the three forms is Tamattu. It is the form that the Prophet (sa) encouraged his followers to perform.

Hajj is considered the best Jihad for women. Aisha (ra) has narrated: “I said: ‘O Allah’s Apostle (sa)! We consider Jihad as the best deed.’ The Prophet (sa) said: ‘The best Jihad (for women) is Hajj Mabrur.’ (Bukhari)

Hajj is performed, as it was performed and prescribed by Prophet (sa).