Hajj Guide 2016
by: Muslim Travelers
You may have learned about Hajj as a child and dreamed of visiting someday. You’ve likely been saving up for years just for this moment. And now, it’s finally happening. Allah has invited you, out of all the other Muslims in the world, to visit His home. Alhamdulillah.
We’ve put together this all-inclusive guide to help you make the most of this beautiful journey of the body and soul. Feel free to print it out and take it with you to read on your flight and throughout your Hajj. May Allah (swt) make your journey a smooth one and may He accept your Hajj!
Which Hajj Group Do I Choose?
This is often our first thought when we start planning the logistics of Hajj. For starters, we recommend www.hajjratings.com for a nice overview of different groups. More importantly, though, the heart plays a role here. Don’t let your heart heedlessly rely completely on the group you chose or the amount you spent. We know of people who get the VIP package and are completely disappointed and others who get the economy package and are completely satisfied. Place your trust in Allah first. No matter how much you spent or what your Hajj group promised, they are creation and at any given time, the situation may get completely out of their control. As for the Creator, place your tawakkul on Him alone and you won’t be disappointed. Attach your heart to Him, expect the best from Him, seek your needs from Him and He will surely make it a successful Hajj. “Whosoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him” (al-Talaq 65:3). Make sure you work on your spiritual provision in preparation for Hajj, more than the material sustenance. What you really need during Hajj is righteousness and piety. Hajj will test your patience to limits you have never known before. This is the purpose of it.
Definitely do your research for a Hajj group, but don’t stress the decision too much. What are you carrying in your heart? Why are you going for Hajj? What are you trying to achieve when you go to Hajj? That is what matters the most.
Before You Go
- Learn how to pray Salatul Janaza.
- Understand the meaning of what you recite in salah – good source here.
- Make a will before you leave.
- Sincerely repent – pray 2 nafl and make tawbah.
- Ask your family and friends to overlook and forgive your shortcomings.
- Print a dua list. Ask your family and friends for dua requests since you will be in the holiest of all places on the best day of the year – Arafat. You can make a quick form on google forms and then email it out to all your acquaintances.
- While stepping out of the home, offer the following supplication: Bismillaahi tawakkalthu ‘ala Allaahi laa hawla walaa quwwatha illaa billaahi — (I start by the name of Allah; in Allah, I place my trust. There is no strength (to do good) nor power (to resist evil) except with Allah).
- Learn and appreciate the history of Makkah and Madinah. The most important advice we can give you is to really learn the seerah of the Prophet (S) to appreciate the beauty of the place you are about to set foot in. This will make your Hajj more special and memorable. The difference between an average Hajj vs. an OUTSTANDING Hajj is this point. The 3 best sources that come to mind are:
- Watch the Omar Series on YouTube here. You will visually see Islamic history from the point of view of Omar ibn al Khataab (3rd Caliph). The series is action-packed, captivating, and reportedly the biggest Arab production ever. It’s 23 hours long but totally worth every minute.
- Listen to Yasir Qadhi’s seerah on YouTube here. It’s over 100 hours of in depth detailed knowledge, with great connections to modern day society.
- Read Martin Ling’s Muhammad here
Suggested Packing List
- Pocket Quran and pocket dua book
- Dua list for yourself and others; here is a great place to start!
- Men: Ihram (2 pieces of plain white cloth) and belt to hold Ihram (thicker one for colder weather,’; bring an extra pair if you like in case the first gets dirty)
- Lots of underwear if you don’t want to do laundry. Note: Laundry is 3-5 times more expensive during Hajj season.
- If you are planning to wash your clothes yourself, bring some detergent and good sturdy plastic bags (such as trash bags) to line the sink with when you wash your clothes, because sinks may be dirty
- Umbrellas for the heat. This is absolutely necessary!
- Small flash light for Arafat/Muzdalifah
- Men: shaving razor and/or scissors for cutting your hair (if you plan on doing it yourself)
- Vaseline (very necessary, men should apply on thighs to avoid chafing in their Ihram)
- This Hajj guide and/or a Hajj app on your phone
- Small journal to document experiences, reflect, write prayers, and write goals to change in sha Allah
- Sunglasses – highly recommended since the sunlight is harsh
- A smartphone or tablet that can connect to wifi to call and message family back home
- Phone charger
- Universal adapter
- Toilet slippers
- Hand sanitizer
- Light jacket for nighttime (if needed)
- Extra copy of passport (Saudi government will take all passports and give them back after Hajj)
- Small light foldable prayer mat
- Power bars and granola bars — bring extra to share with others
- Cheap watch you don’t mind getting very dirty
- Eyeglasses if necessary. Don’t wear contact lenses since there is dust everywhere.
- Travel packs of tissues
- Extra plastic bags for dirty laundry or other random needs; extra plastic bags are always useful
- Empty water bottle to fill up at airports and keep you hydrated
- A suitcase that is easily identifiable. Try to avoid black; or if you have a black one, tie a ribbon around it so your luggage doesn’t get confused with someone else’s.
- Unscented deodorant
- Unscented baby wipes
- Unscented bug repellant
- Light drawstring bag or backpack to keep your shoes in while you’re inside the masjid
- Sleep eye mask and ear plugs
- Basic medicines (Immodium, Tylenol, ibuprofen, cough drops, Vitamin C tablets)
- If you’re planning on going shopping, take a collapsible bag inside your suitcase so you can fill it with all the new items you purchase
- And last but not least, a clean heart and lots of taqwa ?
Preparing Your Mind
If we ask you what you see below, what will you say?
One black dot, right? Wrong! Its actually one black dot surrounded by lots of white dots. But you can’t see the white dots, right? That’s exactly how we see all our blessings. We just take them for granted. On Hajj, create a mentality where you look for the white dot in every situation. The black dot will always be there (traffic, long lines, rude people, sickness) but look for the white dots (alhamdulillah I’m in Makkah, alhamdulillah I’m with my brothers and sisters from all over the world, alhamdulillah I have 2 legs that carry me through these beautiful rituals). With that mentality you will strengthen your resilience and pass any test that Allah brings your way. And trust us, you WILL be tested.
Saudi Arabia has a desert climate characterized by extreme heat during the day, an abrupt drop in temperature at night, and very low annual rainfall. From May to September, most of the country bakes in temperatures that average 42°C and regularly exceed 50°C in the shade. July and August are particularly brutal. The coasts are only slightly moderated by the sea, which usually keeps temperatures below 38°C — but at the price of extreme humidity (85-100%), which many find even more uncomfortable than the dry heat of the interior. Only the elevated mountainous regions stay cool(er), including the summer resort city of Taif and the mountainous Asir region.
In winter, though, it’s a surprisingly different story. Daytime highs in Riyadh in December average only 21°C, and temperatures can easily fall below zero at night, occasionally even resulting in some snow in the southern mountains. The winter can also bring rains to all or most of the country, although in many years this is limited to one or two torrential outbursts. The end of spring (April and May) is also a rainy season for much of the country.
The Saudi currency is the Saudi riyal (ريال, SAR), which has traded at a fixed 3.7450 to the US dollar since 1986. The riyal is divided into 100 halalas, which are used to mark some prices, but in practice, all payments are rounded to the nearest riyal. Odds are you probably will never see any halala coins. Bills come in values of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 riyals, with two series in circulation.
Saudi Arabia is still largely a cash society, but credit card and debit card acceptance is surprisingly good everywhere. ATMs are ubiquitous especially in gas stations and malls, and all banks accept foreign cards. The largest bank in the country in the National Commercial Bank. Money-changers can be found in souks but are rare elsewhere. Merchants do not accept foreign currencies.
Prices are generally fairly expensive: figure on USD50/100/200 for budget, mid range and splurge-level daily travel costs.
Tipping is generally not expected, although service staff are always happy to receive them and taxi fares are often rounded up (or, not uncommonly, down).
Food and Drink
Fast food is certified halal in Saudi Arabia and thus is a huge business there, with all the usual suspects (McDonalds, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Subway) and a few chains that rarely venture outside America elsewhere (e.g. Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr., Little Caesars). Meals served with fries and Coke cost SR10-20. Some local imitators worth checking out include:
- Al-Baik – Fried chicken – in Jeddah, Makkah and Madinah, but not Riyadh
- Kudu – Saudi sandwich chain
Cheaper yet are the countless curry shops run by and for Saudi Arabia’s large Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi community, which serve up large thali platters of subcontinental fare for under SAR10. Just don’t expect frills like air-conditioning. Be cautious about eating in such restaurants since they do not follow western health and safety standards.
The national Saudi Arabian dish is the kabsa (orange/red colored rice with lamb or chicken with strong essence and spices, but not chili). It’s similar to Indian biryani but not quite the same.
The Middle Eastern staple of shawarma (doner kebab) is widely available, with SAR3-4 being the standard price for a sandwich. The Egyptian mashed fava bean stew foul is another cheap staple, and these shops usually also offer falafel (fried chickpea balls) and a range of salads and dips like hummus (chickpea paste) and tabbouleh (parsley salad). Mandi (chicken or mutton cooked with rice in a pot suspended above a fire) is also common.
Finding restaurants that serve actual Saudi cuisine is surprisingly very difficult. Although many larger hotels have Arabic restaurants, they are usually of lower quality. Your local Saudi or expatriate host may be able to show you some places or if you’re really lucky, an invitation to dinner at home.
Pork is forbidden in Islam and is not served in Saudi Arabia.
Tap water throughout the country is NOT safe to drink. In the summer, tap water can be very hot.
Bottled water is readily available and cheap at SAR2 or less for a 1.5L bottle, so many visitors and residents choose to play it safe. Many residents prefer to buy drinking water from purification stations.
While Saudi Arabia actually has one of the lowest crime rates in the world due to regular police presence in public, a very small level of non-violent opportunistic theft like pick-pocketing and purse snatching does exist like any other part of the world.
Police in Saudi Arabia are divided into three authorities: Traffic Police (colored green), General Police (colored blue), and Special Safety Police (colored brown).
Things to See in Makkah
Makkah is Islam’s holiest city, as it’s the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and of our beautiful faith itself. Traveling through the city where so much history took place is a surreal and emotional experience.
- Jabal ar-Rahma (Hill of Arafat) – The site of Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) last sermon.
- Jabal Al Noor (The Mountain of Light) – In this mountain is the Cave of Hira, where Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) received the first revelations of the Holy Qur’an.
- Jabal Al Thur – The cave in which Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and Abu Bakr (RA) hid for three days and nights as they made Hijra to Madinah. They were fleeing from from the Quraysh, who intended to kill our beloved Prophet (pbuh). The cave entrance was blocked by a spider’s web and a bird’s nest, leading the Quraysh to believe no one was in the cave. SubhanAllah!
- Jannatul Mu’alla – The cemetery in which several members of the Prophet’s (pbuh) family and many Sahabah are buried.
- Abraj Al Bait (Makkah Royal Hotel Clock Tower) – a huge service complex that opened in 2012 to modernize Makkah and cater to its pilgrims. It definitely makes for an imposing sight as it towers over the pilgrims inside the masjid. The tower also includes an Islamic Museum and a Lunar Observation Center.
- Mina – A “city” that hosts millions of people during the annual Hajj pilgrimage. This artificial neighborhood is made up of 100,000 air-conditioned tents. During Hajj, this is the site of the symbolic stoning of the devil.
- Muzdalifah – An area of 12.25 square kilometers of desert where Hajj pilgrims spend the night.
Things to See in Madinah
Madinah is the second holiest city in Islam. The Prophet (pbuh) had so much love for Madinah since the small and persecuted Muslim community was able to establish themselves there and thrive. Narrated Anas: The Prophet (pbuh) said, “O Allah! Bestow on Madinah twice the blessings You bestowed on Makkah.”
- Since it is visited only by Muslims for religious purposes, the main thing to see is the Masjid an-Nabawi or the Prophet’s Mosque. Men are allowed to visit the actual burial site of the Prophet (pbuh) and pay respects throughout the opening hours of the mosque, which used to close for the night at around 10PM but has since become 24/7. Women may visit only after the Fajr and Dhuhr prayers, when they are taken there in groups according to their countries.
- Jannatul Baqi – a huge graveyard where most family members and companions of the Prophet (pbuh) are buried.
- The plains and mountain of Uhud – Where the Battle of Uhud took place.
- Martyrs of Uhud – The burial ground of the 70 martyrs of The Battle of Uhud, including the Prophet’s uncle Hamza who is considered one of the greatest martyrs of all time.
- Masjid Quba – The first mosque of Islam.
- Masjid Qiblatayn – Where the Prophet (pbuh) was ordered by Allah to turn his face from Masjid Aqsa in Jerusalem to the Kaaba in Makkah while offering prayers.
- Masjid Jumu’ah – Where the Prophet (pbuh) prayed the first Jumu’ah or Friday prayers.
- Masjid Gamama – Where the Prophet (pbuh) once prayed for rain.
- The battleground of Khandaq or the Trench.
How to Do Hajj
Be sure you are ready to perform the Hajj.
Hajj is not to be taken lightly or as an afterthought. In ancient times and even recently with several accidents and stampedes, it is not uncommon for pilgrims to die during their journey to Makkah. Hajj should be approached with seriousness and dedication. Study the rituals of the Hajj, begin to clear your mind of worldly distractions, and, most importantly, be repentant for past sins, which will be forgiven during your pilgrimage.
- As with all forms of Muslim worship, Hajj must be undertaken with sincerity and out of a devotion to Allah. Hajj cannot be performed for the purpose of gaining worldly recognition or material gains in this life.
- Hajj must be performed in accordance with Prophet Muhammad’s words and deeds (pbuh) as described in the Sunnah.
Decide which type of Hajj you will undertake. Muslims have three different options when it comes to performing the Hajj. Each offers a slightly different experience in terms of the rituals performed and the timeline of events on the pilgrimage. The three types of Hajj are:
- Tamattu’. This is the most common form of pilgrimage and the one recommended by the prophet Muhammad himself. Tamattu’ involves the pilgrim performing the rites of the minor pilgrimage ritual known as Umrah, then performing the rites of the Hajj. Pilgrims performing Tamattu’ are called Mutamatti. As this is the most common type of pilgrimage, especially for foreigners to Saudi Arabia, the rest of this guide assumes you will be performing this type of pilgrimage.
- Qiran – In this option, the pilgrim performs the rites of both the Umrah and Hajj in one continuous act with no “break” in the middle. Pilgrims performing Qiran are called Qaarin.
- Ifraad – this form of pilgrimage involves performing only the rites of the Hajj – not of the Umrah as well. This form of pilgrimage is also notable for being the only one that does not require animal sacrifice. Pilgrims performing Ifraad are called Mufrid.
Plan your trip to Saudi Arabia. Hajj takes place in and around the holy city of Makkah, which is located in the country of Saudi Arabia. As when traveling to any foreign country, you will want to have your passports, travel documents, tickets, and so forth renewed and sorted out well in advance. Keep in mind that national governments can sometimes be slow to issue new passports when old ones expire.
- Hajj occurs from the 8th to the 12th of Dhu al-Hijjah, the 12th month of the Islamic calendar. Because the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, the date of the Hajj changes every year on the Western Gregorian calendar. Note that, according to the Saudi government, the last day that pilgrims are allowed to arrive at King Abdulaziz Airport in Jeddah for Hajj is the 4th of Dhu al-Hijjah.
- The Saudi government offers special “Hajj visas” to American Muslims who have not made the pilgrimage in the last five years. Obtaining one of these visas requires an up-to-date passport, a completed application form, copies of marriage or birth certificates, and an up-to-date immunization record.
- Pilgrims often travel to perform the Hajj in groups as a sign of solidarity. Contact members of your local Muslim community to see if any are performing Hajj this year. If so, you may want to consider coordinating your trips.
Prepare to be immersed in religion. As a traditionalist Islamic monarchy, the nation of Saudi Arabia has rules for personal conduct, especially that of women, that may be unfamiliar to foreigners. All women performing Hajj should plan to travel in the company of a Mahram – a close relative, husband, in-law, etc. Women over 45 can perform Hajj without a Mahram if they are part of a large group and have a notarized letter of consent from their husband.
- Everyone – both men and women – who are attending Hajj should prepare to be exceedingly modest for the duration of their stay in Saudi Arabia. Clothing must be modest and unadorned – for much of the pilgrimage, special religious garb is required for men. Cologne, perfume, makeup, and scented soap should be avoided. When a pilgrim enters the sacred Ihram state of ritual purity, smoking, swearing, shaving, cutting one’s nails, and sexual intercourse are forbidden.
Assume Ihram. Ihram is a holy state of purity that all Muslims must assume before performing the rites of Hajj and which must be maintained for the duration of the rituals. Ihram requires certain physical actions and behavioral changes, but the real spiritual state of purity is attained by proclaiming one’s intention to sincerely pursue the Hajj and by reciting the Talbiyah prayer. Thus, someone who assumes Ihram externally but doesn’t have sincere belief in his or her heart isn’t truly fulfilling Ihram.
Men and women enter into Ihram differently:
- Men: Bathe (or perform wudu, partial ablution) with the intention of Ihram, but don’t apply cologne or other scents. Sincerely repent for your sins.
- Clothe yourself in clean, plain Ihram sheets – wrap one around your waist and wear the other over your upper body. Wear simple sandals or flip flops that don’t cover the top portion of your foot. Avoid covering your head. These simple garments signify the equality of all before Allah. The wealthiest king and the lowliest beggar wear the same clothes on Hajj.
- Women: As with men, bathe or perform wudu and avoid applying scents, etc. You should also avoid applying makeup or other cosmetics. However, women don’t have special clothes for Ihram – their ordinary clothes should be used, provided that they are clean and modest.
- Note that in Islam, covering the head with a veil, scarf, etc. is mandatory for women and should be done on Hajj too.
Declare your intention and say the Talbiyah. A special boundary called a Miqat surrounds the holy sites of the Hajj. Pilgrims cannot cross this boundary without having attained the pure state of Ihram. When a pilgrim in the state of Ihram approaches the Miqat at one of six historical entry points, he pronounces the Niyyah – a short recitation of his intention to complete the Umrah. Then, at the Miqat, the pilgrim recites the Talbiyah, a prayer that will be repeated often during the pilgrimage. The words of the Talbiyah are:
- “Labbayka-Allahummma labbayk, Labbayka laa shareeka laka labbayk. Innal-Hamda wanni’mata laka wal-Mulk, laa shareeka lak!”
- This is translated as: “Here I am O Allah, (in response to Your call), here I am. Here I am, You have no partner, here I am. Verily all praise, grace and sovereignty belong to You. You have no partner.”
- If she or he has not already entering into the state of Ihram, the pilgrim must do so at the Miqat before crossing.
- Note – it is tradition to enter these holy entryways and most other holy buildings with the right foot first.
Proceed towards the Ka’bah – the most sacred location in Islam. At first sight of the Ka’bah, keep your eyes fixed on it and stand to the side of the crowd as you say “Allahu Akbar” (“God is Great”) three times, followed by saying “La Ilaha Illallah” (“There is no god but God”). Recite other holy verses if you desire. Say a blessing for the Prophet Muhammad (S) and, in total humility, make your prayers to Allah. This is an especially auspicious time to pray for something.
Perform the Tawaf. Tawaf is a ritual where Muslims circle the Ka’bah. To begin, men should make sure their Ihram garb is properly arranged – make sure the upper sheet passes under the right arm and lays across the left shoulder, exposing the right shoulder. Next, all should face the Ka’bah so that the Black Stone is on your right. Make another Niyyah for Hajj, saying: ” O Allah, I perform Tawaf of Umrah to please You. Make it easy for me and accept it from me.”
- Next, begin to move to the right. Draw close to the Black Stone (the Eastern cornerstone of the Ka’bah) and, if possible, kiss it. If you can’t get close enough to kiss it, you may touch it with your hand. If you can’t get close enough to touch or kiss it, lift your hands to your ears, palms facing towards the Black Stone, and recite this short prayer: “Bismi’Llah Allahu akbar wa li’Lah al-hamd”. Don’t shove or fight for a chance to touch the Black Stone.
- Begin to circle the Ka’bah. Walk counter-clockwise so that the Ka’bah stays at your left. Circle the Ka’bah seven times, praying as you do so. There are no designated prayers for the Tawaf, so you may use ones from your daily life or simply pray from your heart. You may also point at the Black Stone each time you walk by it.
- When you’ve completed seven circles, you are finished. Men can now cover their right shoulder.
Perform Sa’ey. Sa’ey means “to run” or “to make an effort”. In practical terms, it means walking back and forth seven times between the hills of Safa and Marwah which are to the South and North of the Ka’bah, respectively. Originally, this was done outdoors, but today, the entire path is enclosed in a long gallery.
- When you reach the top of Safa, recite another Niyyah, saying: “O Allah! I perform Sa’ey between Safa and Marwah to please You. Make it easy for me and accept it from me.” Then, add: “Inn-as-Safa wal-Marwah min Sha’a’irillah” (“Indeed Safa and Marwah are among the Signs of Allah.”) Finally, face the Ka’bah and recite “Allahu Akbar” three times. Add any additional prayers you may wish, then proceed towards Marwah.
- As you move towards Marwah, recite: “Subhan-Allah wal-hamdu-lillahi wa la ilaha ill-Allah wa-Allahu Akbar wa la haula wa la quwwata illa-billa”, or if you can’t remember this, use the shortened form, “Subhan Allah, Alhamdu Lillah, Allahu Akbar.” You may add any prayers you wish. At the top of Marwah, repeat the glorification of God while facing the Ka’bah, then walk down from the hill again.
- When you’ve walked back and forth seven times, you are finished.
Have your hair shaved or clipped. After completing the Sa’ey, men should have their hair cut short. A man may not want to have his head shaved completely during the Umrah if he plans to complete the Hajj rites in the next few days, which also include shaving. Women should not have their heads shaved but instead may cut a lock of hair or have their hair trimmed several inches.
- After the ritual hair-cutting, Umrah is complete and the restrictions of Ihram are lifted. You can return to your normal activities, wear your normal clothes, etc. However, if, like many pilgrims, you will proceed to complete the Hajj in the next few days, know that you will need to re-enter Ihram to do so.
Part 3 of 3: Performing the Rites of Hajj
Re-assume Ihram and declare your intention to perform Hajj. Depending upon how the trip is scheduled, most pilgrims performing the Tamattu’ pilgrimage have a several-day break in between their Umrah duties and their Hajj duties, so, for sake of ease, they leave the state of Ihram after their Umrah. However, as with Umrah, the Hajj requires ritual purity and meekness before God, so, at the outset of the Hajj, pilgrims re-assume the state of Ihram. As before, bathe, groom yourself, and don the proper Ihram clothes. When you’re ready, say another Niyyah: “O Allah! I intend to perform Hajj. Please make it easy for me and accept it from me. Amen.” After, say the Talbiyah three times.
- The rites of the Hajj last for five days – from the 8th to the 12th of Dhu al-Hijjah. You must stay in Ihram for about three days, abstaining from the activities that are forbidden to you until this period is over.
Head to Mina. On the first day of Hajj, pilgrims head to Mina, a town near Makkah, where they spend the rest of the day. Here, the Saudi government provides amenities – thousands upon thousands of white air-conditioned tents provide temporary housing for each year’s pilgrims. On the first night, no major rituals take place, so you may spend your time praying and reflecting with other pilgrims if you wish. We recommend that you rest and save your energy for the next day – Arafat.
- Note that in Mina, men and women stay in separate tents, which are located adjacent to each other. Though husbands and wives may interact, men cannot enter women’s tents.
- Prayers will be shortened but not combined.
Head to Arafat and perform Waquf. On the second day of Hajj, pilgrims travel to Arafat, a nearby mountain. Pilgrims must reach Arafat by the afternoon, because, at this time, a ritual called Waquf begins. From the time when the sun first starts to decline until the time it sets completely, pilgrims hold a vigil on a plain of Arafat during which time they pray and reflect. Hajj is Arafat. If you do not stand in Arafat, even if only for a few minutes, your Hajj is invalid.
- No specific prayers are assigned for the Waquf, so simply pray to Allah sincerely from your heart. Many pilgrims like to also spend time reflecting on the course of their life, their future, and their place in the world.
Pray in Muzdalifah. After sundown, pilgrims head to a place called Muzdalifah between Mina and Arafat. Here, they offer Maghrib and Isha prayers and spend the night sleeping on the ground beneath the open sky.
- In the morning, gather pebbles, as you will use these for the Ramy “stoning” ceremony later in the day. Pebbles should be about the size of a chickpea, and you will need either 49 pebbles if you are stoning for 3 days and 70 pebbles if you are stoning for 4 days. Gather a couple of extra pebbles just in case you lose some or miss your target.
Perform Ramy in Mina. Before the sun rises, pilgrims head back to Mina. Here, pilgrims participate in a ceremony meant to symbolize stoning the devil. Pilgrims throw seven consecutive pebbles at a special stone monument called the Jamrat al Aqabah.
- This ceremony can be extremely crowded, tense, and emotional. Trampling deaths, though rare, have occurred. Because of this, the elderly, sick, and injured are discouraged from participating. Instead, they may perform this later in the evening or have a friend perform the ritual in their place.
Offer a sacrifice. After the Ramy ceremony, it’s necessary to offer an animal sacrifice (Qurbani) to Allah. In the past, each pilgrim did this individually; however, today, it’s much more common for pilgrims to simply purchase a sacrifice voucher. These vouchers signify that an animal was sacrificed in your name. After selling vouchers, qualified personnel will sacrifice a lamb for each pilgrim (or a camel for every seven pilgrims), butcher the animals, package the meat, and ship it to Muslim communities all over the world to be used to feed the poor.
- Animal sacrifice can be done at any point on the 10th, 11th, or 12th day of Dhu al-Hijjah. If Ramy has to be postponed for any reason, wait until after Ramy to make your sacrifice.
Get your hair cut or shaved. As in the Umrah, pilgrims must have their hair ritually cut. Men may have their hair completely shaved or cut into a very short haircut (if a man opted for a short haircut during his Umrah, he may now want to have his hair completely shaved off, though he is not required to). Women can have a short lock of hair cut – their heads are not shaved.
Perform the Tawaf and Sa’ey. Just as in the Umrah, the Hajj requires pilgrims to perform the Tawaf and Sa’ey rituals at the Ka’bah and the nearby hills. The rituals are performed essentially identically to how they are performed during the Umrah, but it is highly recommended that these ceremonies be done only after the stoning, sacrifice, and hair-cutting rituals.
- After completing the Tawaf and Sa’ey, you are released from your state of Ihram and may resume the activities that were previously prohibited.
- At the end of your third day, return to Mina and spend the night there in prayer.
Repeat Ramy after sundown on the fourth and fifth days. In Mina, you must once again participate in the stoning ritual. This time, you will not throw pebbles only at the Jamrat al Aqabah, but also at two other monuments – the Jamrat Oolah and Jamrat Wustah.
- First, throw pebbles at the Jamrat Oolah, then praise Allah and supplicate with your hands raised (there are no assigned prayers, so you may use your own.) Repeat this for the Jamrat Wustah. Finally, throw your pebbles at the Jamrat al Aqabah, but after, you don’t need to pray – you can return home.
- Repeat this ritual after sundown on the fifth day.
Perform the Farewell Tawaf. Alhamdulillah, your Hajj has come to a close. To mark the end of the most important religious experience of your life as a Muslim, perform one final tawaf, walking around the Ka’bah seven times as before. As you perform the Farewell Tawaf, reflect on the thoughts and feelings you’ve experienced on your Hajj. Offer praise and supplication to Allah. When you’ve finished, complete any unfinished business you have remaining in or around Makkah, then depart for your home.
- After making the Hajj, many pilgrims opt to travel to Madinah, the second-holiest city in Islam. Here, they can visit such holy sites as The Prophet’s Mosque and The Holy Tomb. No Ihram is necessary to visit Medina.
- Note that foreign pilgrims are required to leave Saudi Arabia by the 10th of Muharram (the 1st month of the Islamic calendar).
Below is a good visual summary of what to do each day.
Good Things to Do During Hajj
- Say Salaam to strangers
- Smile at your fellow Muslims – it’s sadaqah!
- Read Qur’an with the Tafseer
- Do the authentic dhikr of the morning and evening
- Make dua during your sajdah
- Stand to the side of a gate and offer people water/tea as they leave
- Give major attention to shy people in your group
- Purify your actions for the sake of Allah
- Make dua for your friends (and the author of this list :))
- “The supplication of a Muslim for his brother in his absence will certainly be answered. Every time he makes a supplication for good for his brother, the angel appointed for this particular task says: Ameen! May it be for you too’” [Muslim].
- Remember – during the heat – the unending torment of Hellfire
- Say ‘Laa ilaaha illa Allah, wahdahu laa sharika lah, lahul Mulk wa lahul hamd, wa Huwa ‘ala kulli shay’in Qadeer’ 100 times
- Give charity to those who sell meager things (sandals/eggs)
- Forgive people that wrong you
- Talk to 10 different people from 10 different countries
- Compliment someone sincerely
- Visit the hospital and thank Allah for all that He has given you
- Offer perfume to those around you
- Remember specific blessings Allah has bestowed upon you and say Alhamdulillah
- Pray to Allah using his 99 most beautiful names (al Asmaa’ al Husna)
- Use a Miswak
- Fill your pockets with candies and give to the children that you meet
- Always intend reward from Allah for everything you do
- Donate a Qur’an: When you visit Makkah and Madinah you will see thousands of Qur’ans in the Harams. You may wonder where they come from. You will be surprised to know that a large majority are donated by people like you. Yes, you can donate Qur’ans to both Harams in Madinah and Makkah. It’s very simple; there are tons of bookstores outside the Masaajid. Just go to a bookstore and tell them you want to buy a Qur’an or Qur’ans to donate to the Harams. The bookstore will know which Qur’an to give you, and they’ll stamp the inside for you as well. It costs about 20 to 30 Riyal (about 8 dollars/4 pounds). You then take the Qur’an and put it anywhere you like in the Masjid. It is that simple. Can you imagine the reward you would get for people reading from a Qur’an you donated? If the Qur’an lasts until next Ramadan, then you would get the reward of all the people reading the Qur’an you donated in Ramadan in the holiest places on Earth, while you will already be back home!
- Give water to others: You will see people start coming in the Masjid especially in Makkah for Jumu’ah a few hours before it starts. It is not uncommon for people to arrive around 9-10am for Jumu’ah that starts at 1pm. The reason being that the crowds swells so much that people end up praying up to a mile away on the streets. To get a good spot near the front of the row, people have to brave scorching heat and sun by sitting in the open courtyard for hours. A good way to capitalize on this is (in terms of ajar) is to bring to two 2-liter empty water bottles when you arrive. Fill them with Zam Zam before you sit down in the courtyard. Grab some cups as well. As the crowds begin to increase and it gets hot, start passing out water to those near you. When the bottles finish, ask someone to save your spot. Go refill the bottles and repeat passing out the water to those in the courtyard near you. Remember the Hadith Qudsi regarding giving people water to drink.
- Wheelchairs: Would you like to be able to do multiple Umrahs/Hajj/Salahs at the same time? Donate a wheelchair. There is a hadith that says whosoever becomes a means for something good get the reward for that good act. So imagine, if you donated a wheelchair and someone was able to do Umrah/Hajj and go to the Masjid on the wheelchair. Can you imagine the reward?! Donate a wheelchair and register it at the office by Door 25 (in Madinah). It cost about 200 Riyal (50 dollars/25 pounds). Or just buy a foldable prayer stool for those people who cannot sit down and leave it in the masjid. This costs just 30 Riyal (9 dollars/4 pounds).
The Why’s of Hajj
Why wear Ihraam?
- Ihram is a sacred state where things are literally “haram” for you. Ihram is from haram. Both meanings, to be sacred and to be forbidden, are carried in it. Through the ihram, the heart is meant to leave the temporary and the finite – to make it, in a sense, “forbidden” – and to prepare for the sacred audience of Allah’s presence.
- Prohibitions – cutting or shaving hair, cutting nails, perfume, hunting, marriage, foreplay, and intercourse. Additionally, men cannot cover their hair or wear stitched clothing.
- These prohibitions remind us not to worry about vanity. This is like Qiyama, and you have better things to worry about.Our uncovered hair shows that we don’t have dignity and are slaves to Allah.
- The muhrim has disengaged from everything and anything that distracts him or her from Allah and, consequently, from remembrance, peace and stillness. The muhrim has left his or her home taking taqwa or Allah-consciousness, the best sustenance, as a provision.
- You are now putting on the clothes of your death, and this symbolizes you being physically dead. Is there anything you regret not doing before you “die?” This is the time to ponder and think.
- Just think that one day you will really “die” and you will be wearing these exact clothes. Once Ihram is worn, all focus (just like in salah) should be on ONLY Allah. Free your mind of all the worries of the world, and return back to your Creator.
- Whether you are a king, prince, doctor or a janitor, you are all wearing the same two pieces of clothes just as you will at your death. Thus, in the eyes of Allah, as you get ready to enter His house, everyone is equal in His “eyes.” Family, creed, color, job… here, nothing matters to Allah except your obedience.
- When you put on your ihram and start making your tawaf and sa’i and go to Mina and Arafah, no one will recognize if you are a minister or teacher or director or this or that. No one can tell. Regardless of how fancy or expensive your ihram is, a few hours later, it is not as fancy as it used to be. You will all look alike. People will not call you by your title. Even if you try to zoom out of the beautiful scene of tawaf around the Ka’bah, who are you in that crowd? You are like nothing in these waves of people who come from all over the world. The beautiful thing about it is that they all come unified for one purpose: to dedicate their service to Allah, and that is what they keep saying: “Labbayk allahumma labbayk (in Your service we are here)… We are answering Your call, O Lord! We associate no partners with You. We answer Your call.” Allah looks at the crowd in Arafah and He sees the hands and the people as they are making du’a. Allah asks the angels – and He knows, but He is showing this beautiful scene to the angels – “Tell Me what these people want from Me.” Allah knows the answer. They say, “Ya Rabb, they are coming here asking for Your Mercy and Your Forgiveness. They are coming here admitting their faults and wanting Your Mercy.” Allah answers them saying, “Be my witnesses that I have forgiven them their sins.”
- Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) stated: “The earth was rolled out from Makkah. Allah stretched (the earth) from underneath it. Thus it is called the mother of all cities.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari)
- “The first mountain that was placed on the earth was Abu Qubais.” (Abu Qubais is the name of a mountain near Makkah.) (Ibn Abi Shiba, Ibn Abi Hatim and Dailmi from Ibn Abbas.)
- “The angels were the first beings to circumambulate around the sacred house, two thousand years before Allah created Adam.” (Ibn Abi Duniya from Anas lbn Abi Shiba from lbn Abass/ Shafi from Ka-ab Alqirti)
- “There is no city on earth through which Allah multiplies one good deed by a hundred thousand except Makkah.” (Sahih Bukhari , lbn Hibban)
- “Whosoever offers a salat therein, then that salat is enhanced a hundred thousand fold over.” (Sahih Muslim / Sunan Nisai)
- “Whosoever gives one dirham therein in charity, Allah writes for him the reward of having spent a hundred thousand dirhams in charity.” (Ibn Abi Zubair in the Jamul Latif from Sunan Tirmizi)
- “Anyone who completes the recitation of the full Qur’an once therein, Allah records for him the reward of a hundred thousand recitations.” (Baihaqi , lbn Majah)
- “Whosoever glorifies Allah once therein, for him is recorded the rewards of having glorified Allah a hundred thousand times elsewhere. Every good deed which a servant enacts in the haram is equivalent to a hundred thousand deeds enacted elsewhere.” (Sunan Nasai)
- “Anyone who falls ill in Makkah for one day, Allah renders his body and his flesh haram (forbidden) from the fire of Jahannam.” (Sahih Bukhari)
- “Anyone who falls ill in Makkah for one day, Allah records for that person the rewards of having done good deeds equivalent to sixty years worship in any other place.” (Muatta)
- “Anyone who endures the heat of Makkah with patience for an hour of the day, Allah will distance that person from the fire of Jahannam by a distance of a journey of five hundred years and bring him closer to Jannah by a distance of a journey of two hundred years. Indeed Makkah and Madinah eject any impurities within them like flames eject rust from iron. Understand carefully! Difficulties and calamities abounded in Makkah right from its inception. Great stages are realized by enduring these difficulties.” (Sahih Muslim)
- “Anyone who endures any difficulty experienced in Makkah (with patience), I will intercede and bear witness for him on the day of Qiyamat.” (Sunan ibn Majah)
- It is the knowledge of over 4,000 years of history which really renders a pilgrim to tears. It is that history which one must study in depth before embarking to Makkah.
- Keep in mind that you are now entering the precinct of the King of all Kings. Remember that when you were present in your own house, you did not follow His orders and commands. You did not respect His wishes, but yet you are now entering His home. Are you not ashamed to approach Him in a sinful state? Would you allow someone whom you did not respect to enter your house?
- You are now entering the house of your Host. Pay respect to Him and show Him how much you have missed Him. Talk to your Lord.
- Understand the fact that this house represents the house for the people. Therefore it is your home too. Allah’s house is your house, because you are from Him, it belongs to you, thus, you are no longer a traveler, and Qasr salah is not required.
- Various individuals around the world come and visit the “wonders of the world.” Yet, every year 2 million Muslims come and visit a hollow cube made from bricks. No architectural beauty to this building, yet everyone is infatuated with it. Why? Because the Kaaba is like the sun, and we are like the planets that circumambulate around it, and our mere existence is based on its energy.
- Today this ancient city is Makkah, lying in a harsh, rocky, and mountainous desert landscape where, in antiquity, no crops seem to have grown and a climate of suffocating heat, deadly winds, and clouds of flies prevailed. For reasons known only to Allah, this land is the most beloved on earth to Him. It is far removed from the lush comforts and adornments of this world in greener, leafier and more fertile parts; it is a place that none would think to visit but those devoted to worshiping Allah, compelled by His instruction: Pilgrimage to the House (Ka’bah) is a duty mankind owes to Allah, those who are able to undertake it.” [Q3:97]
Why do we do Hajj?
- You are the luckiest person in the world. Allah has invited you personally to His House. It is a humble journey of a poor needy slave to the House of The Most-Generous King.
- Prayer is a form of worship you do with your body, zakat is a form of worship you do with your money, Hajj is a form of worship you do with your body AND money.
- Hajj consists of the Hajj of the Body (walking, standing, collecting and throwing), the Hajj of the Mind (performing the rites with understanding) and the Hajj of the Heart (performed in total submission to The Almighty).
- What is Hajj? Hajj in the Arabic language means aim, destination or purpose (qasd). The reason is clear: Hajj is the ultimate journey of loving submission (‘ubudiyah) and conscious surrender (riq) to Allah. Its ultimate destination is your encounter with the House of Allah (Bayt al-Allah) – the Ka’bah – with both your physical body and, more importantly, your heart (qalb).
- You will be journeying from your earthly house to your spiritual home – Makkah.
- The haram is sacred. Feel safe when you enter it. Don’t feel unworthy to approach the Ka’bah. Anticipate meeting Allah. Thank Allah swt for giving you this opportunity to see his house.
- You will best tested in Hajj, guaranteed, even if you are a VIP. No matter how much you pay and how much technology has advanced, Hajj is still going to be a test.
- This annual event of faith demonstrates the concept of equality of mankind, which allows no superiority on the basis of race, gender or social status. The only preference in the eyes of God is piety as stated in the Quran: “The best amongst you in the eyes of God is most righteous.”
- While performing his pilgrimage, Malcolm X wrote, “They asked me what about the Hajj had impressed me the most… I said, `The brotherhood! The people of all races, colors, from all over the world coming together as one! It has proved to me the power of the One God.’ . . . All ate as one, and slept as one. Everything about the pilgrimage atmosphere accented the oneness of man under one God.”
- Allah has invited you to His House, which He has called the al-Bayt al-‘Atiq – the ancient, liberated and liberating house. Your journey is one of freedom and liberation. For as your body leaves its material house to journey to Allah’s House, your heart is meant to disengage from the lower self (nafs), the shaytan, and the world (dunya) and journey to Allah.
- The ultimate reward for a Hajj mabrur (accepted Hajj) is to return home with the purity of a newborn child. What could be a greater incentive! But beware, for Hajj is a selective process. Only a few will attain a Hajj mabrur, which is a Hajj performed correctly, without any disobedience to Allah and without indulging in any argumentation. Be prepared. Be vigilant. Be focused. This will be one of the greatest – and sweetest – struggles of your life. And though you will long and dream for the rest of your life to come back, you may never return again.
- Hajj is your chance to become an angel and to live with the delight of an angel.
- The person who intends to perform Hajj must do so with the express niyyah of attaining Allah’s Pleasure, and to fulfill one’s fardh, and also to diligently carry out the Commands of Allah and His Rasool sallallahu alayhi wasallam. The rewards for deeds depend greatly on the niyyah that is formed. Sincerity is extremely important.
- You go for Hajj because Allah commands you to do so, and your intention is to submit to the will of Allah. You travel there with full humbleness and humility to Allah.
- The Hajj is an opportunity to renew your covenant with Allah, that you worship none but Him. Why did you undertake the journey to Makkah anyway if you didn’t believe in Him?
- Hajj is a return to origin, root and beginning of Islam. It is also a self-presentation before Allah. In a sense, it is rehearsal of the Day of judgment when all human beings will return to Allah (SWT).
- One of the earliest scenes of Hajj, which reminds you of what is yet to come, is the check-in lines at the airport. You wait for hours. One reason for this wait is the luggage. It’s an early reminder of the Akhira. The more load you carry the longer the wait will be. Provision is essential during the Hajj. Food as a source of nutrition is required to ensure you have the energy your body needs to fulfill, the optimal way, the obligation of Hajj. Pilgrims need their energy to engage themselves in worship not cooking or fetching water. There will be no time for distractions. However, Allah subhanahu wa ta’alaa directs our attention towards a more essential provision for the journey, a provision for the soul, Taqwa. “And take a provision (with you) for the journey, but the best of provisions is righteousness ‘Fearing Allah’. So fear Me, O ye that are wise!” [2:197]
- Hajj teaches us that Muslims are brothers and are equal.
- Hajj teaches us that there are no differences among people due to race, tribe, color, home country, or language.
- Hajj teaches us that we belong to Allah alone and that we all need His mercy and forgiveness.
- Hajj is the biggest world gathering in the world. It is a demonstration of Islam’s unity and Islam’s universality.
- Muslims get acquainted with the spiritual and historical environment of the prophet Muhammad which strengthens their faith.
- It is a reminder of the Grand Assembly of the Day of Judgment when people will stand equal before Allah waiting for their final destiny.
- It confirms the commitment of Muslims to Allah.
- Muslims on Hajj are rewarded, per Allah’s will, with forgiveness of all their sins and they return back as pure and innocent as the newborn.
- What’s the purpose of any Pilgrimage? It’s to gain greater spiritual purification and presence after our lives. But most of the time we live our lives overly-concerned with our bodies, our other passions & desires and choose to be unmindful of our spiritual growth.
- Allah mentioned to us the beauty of the diversity. “We made you into tribes and people of different colors, backgrounds, languages, so that you may get to know one another.” We see this in Hajj. People sit down and don’t have a common language and start talking a sign language, but they enjoy the experience, the food, and helping one another fulfill the obligation of Hajj.
- Man was created from two different components, earthly and heavenly. Even though the source of the body is earth, it does not make it human until it’s mixed with its counterpart, the heavenly part, the soul. It was made clear in many ayat in the Qur’an how man was created from earth, dirt or clay. But the soul was kept a secret. Of the little we know about it, is that it is sent down with an angel after the passing of 120 days for the baby in the womb. It is for sure not coming from earth, because it’s coming from above. Consequently, the body needs nutrition of earthly ingredients to sustain its functionality. Things like a good, nutritious and balanced diet with ample amount of exercise will definitely do the job. That’s why we eat at least three meals a day. This, however, will not do any good for the soul. However you try to satisfy your spiritual starvation with earthly material, for instance, music, or sports or whatever, the soul will not feel happy. It might enjoy a momentary high with some yoga exercises but it is not the food it’s yearning for. Man is a human being by the soul not just the body. When a strong healthy human being dies, he or she is called a dead body or corpse. They are no longer counted amongst the people. But the soul will always remain the soul. Shouldn’t then extra attention be given to the nutrition of the soul? Isn’t this why we feed our souls at least five times a day? And snacks in this case are always rewarding. The source of the soul is heavenly, and that’s why you seek heavenly nutrition to feed it. Taqwa and fearing Allah is something supernatural. When people stand, for the sake of Allah, against what is natural instinct it is indeed a heavenly power that is working it out. Hajj is one source of this nutrition.
- Allah does not receive anything material from us, but He receives and sees our piety. “It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah: it is your piety that reaches Him:” [22:37]
- Hajj is a unique opportunity to seek Allah’s (SWT) forgiveness and make a fresh start. The main thing you need is bags of Taqwaa, patience and best of manners.
- Hazrat Abu Huraira(RA) reports that the Prophet (S) said: “Whoever performs Hajj for the sake of pleasing Allah and therein utters no word of evil, nor commits any evil deed, shall remain from it as free from sin as the day on which his mother gave birth to him.’
- Hazrat Buraidah (RA) reports that the Prophet (S) said: “The expenses incurred during Hajj is like that incurred in Jihaad; rewarded seven hundred times.”
- Hajj is learning to be patient with everything in life, including buses. It wouldn’t be Hajj if all you did was retreat on top of Mount Arafat and meditate and pray and then shave off your head and say, “Woo hoo! I’m a Hajji now!” You have to struggle. You have to earn it. You have to fight your impatience and give the people around you a million excuses so you can forgive them. You have to fight your past – all the events and all the people – and let it go. No matter what happens, keep reminding yourself that if you slip up EVEN ONCE, you could nullify your Hajj. Nothing is worth that!
- One of your main goals at Hajj is to forgive. To let go. Work on it when you leave for Hajj and while you’re there. If you don’t complete this task at that time then be prepared to continue healing when you return. Think of it this way – Allah is forgiving you of all of your sins, do your best to forgive one person of one or a few sins they’ve committed. If they wronged you, let Allah take care of the matter. For now, take it upon yourself to forgive and move forward with the life Allah blessed you with.
- It is important that Hajj should be kept free of ulterior and worldly motives. Joining worldly objectives with religious aims is like adding water to milk. There are three types of adulteration which are possible in the performance of Hajj:
- To ruin the Hajj even before departing from home by having a desire to be called a Hajji, and using haraam or doubtful earnings for this ‘ibaadah.
- To engage in improper acts while performing Hajj e.g. to commit sins during the time that one is engaged in the performance of Hajj, or to have arguments and not to make tawbah (repentance).
- To complete the Hajj and then to indulge in such deeds that defile the Hajj, e.g. to neglect the fardh salaat, to indulge in sin etc.
- Your Hajj will be the best investment for your life, for your endeavors, for your health, for your finances, for your marriage, for your family, and for your Afterlife.
- Your Hajj will cause you to struggle with your money, with your body, and with your heart.
- Your Hajj will remind you of how ungrateful you are for the little things in life – constantly available clean water, warm food, a cozy bed, privacy of your own home, changes of clothes.
- Your Hajj will remind you of how ungrateful you are for the bigger things in life – money to afford an airplane ticket rather than walking, having actual shoes rather than plastic sandals which will fall apart any day, access to showers and toilets of your own rather than using public ones.
- Your Hajj will teach you gratitude.
- Your Hajj will cause you to forgive those you’ve never been able to have mercy for.
- Your Hajj will cause your anger to dissipate towards those who have been the source of so much anxiety in your life.
- Your Hajj will bring you closer to your family and all those you love.
- Your Hajj will help you understand those you could never see eye to eye with, those whose reasons for their actions were always vague.
- Your Hajj will help you mend the emotional wounds which have remained for so many years, so raw and deep you thought the infection had spread too far for it to simply heal itself now.
- Your Hajj will be a means of salvation.
- Your Hajj will renew your hope.
- Your Hajj will allow tranquility to reenter your heart.
- Your Hajj will allow you to shed the dead skin of your past and leave it in the dust of the Arabian deserts forever.
- Your Hajj will help you in focusing on your future – and not just your future – but also the future of all those you love, alive today or yet to come.
- Your Hajj will remind you of how little you have lost and how much more you have gained.
- Your Hajj will help you improve on your relationships with others.
- Your Hajj will form a stronger bond between you and God.
- Your Hajj will be your security policy – you prayed for what you needed to pray for and now God will handle it.
- Your Hajj will leave you convinced that everything will be fine from here on out, not because you went to Hajj or that you’re suddenly special now, but because God loves you more than anyone else ever could.
- The 5 pillars of Islam take care of our destructive flaws:
- Belief in 1 God – association with Allah
- Prayer – arrogance, pride
- Fasting – curbs our desires for food, intimacy, flaws of tongue
- Mandatory Charity – greed
- Hajj – all of the above
Why say Talbiyah?
- One enters into ihram with talbiyah. Talbiyah is the heart’s most profound surrender to the invitation and call of Allah: Here I come to You, my Lord, here I come – fully and forever. With the talbiyah, we proclaim that no associate (sharik) or attachment will distract us from seeking Allah. Our hearts will not see, hear, obey, or be lured to another, besides Him. The recitation of this talbiyah is to be said with constancy and conviction, and not intermittently and infrequently. Talbiyah is essential to focusing our hearts. It will remind us of the purpose of our journey; it will facilitate us in foregoing our rights, demands and expectations while yet rendering fully the major and minor rights of others; it will dispel distractions; and it will make all obstacles easy, even pleasurable.
- When you recite the Talbiyah, don’t just say it like a parrot, without knowing what it means and what it implies. Think about the greatness of these words and an even greater Greatness of the One you are saying these words to. You are saying “Labbaik, Allaahumma Labbaik…” What do these words imply? Oh Allah I am here, here to serve You, here to obey You, here to submit my life, my wants, my desires only to You. I am ready for change. Oh Allah, I love You and I worship no one but You. So forgive me and guide me.
- Everyone is saying the same same talbiya. Everyone is answering the call of Allah “Here I am oh Allah!”
Why do Tawaaf?
- The sky has seven layers; man has seven souls. Each turning around the Kaaba represents a phase, a stage; man covers a phase and is elevated up to the seventh sky, above the material realm. Besides, it means to rise from the lowest step of the soul, which has seven steps, to the highest one. That is, from nafs al-ammarah (soul commanding the evil) to nafs al-mutmainnah (tranquil self); from the animal life to the spiritual life.
- Circumambulating the Kaaba is a kind of worshiping taken from the order of the universe. The planets rotate around the sun, the electrons around the nucleus, the moth around the candle; rotating around such a center means allegiance with love.
- Putting Allah SWT at the center of your life.
- Tawaf is like prayer, except we can speak.
- Lexically, tawaf means to turn, walk, etc around something. Everything in the universe, from the tiny atoms to huge galaxies, is in a state of tawaf. In the atom, electrons turn around the nucleus; in the galaxy, billions of stars rotate around the center of the galaxy with an incredible speed. As it is stated in the Qur’an, each swims along in an orbit. (Yasin, 40) The view formed by tens of thousands of Muslims walking around the Kaaba is like the view of a galaxy turning together with billions of stars. Therefore, it is necessary to let oneself be on the orbit in order to get full spiritual pleasure in tawaf. A Muslim who can enter this orbit lets himself be controlled by that spiritual flow and gets the pleasure of becoming a drop in the sea of the believers. The circumambulation around the Kaaba is regarded to be the symbol of the summary of the universe and creation, and surrendering to the divine pre-ordainment.
- A person starts tawaf leaving the Kaaba on his left. It has a symbolic meaning. The heart of man, which is the place where Allah looks, faces the House of Allah in tawaf. Allah looks at the heart of man, not his shape, appearance, money and property. It also indicates that tawaf should be performed heartily.
- A person enjoys the pleasure of being a believer around the Kaaba. It is very difficult to taste that pleasure, which takes place so vividly and enthusiastically, in any other place. The feeling of closeness experienced in that holy place makes hajjis feel at home. The Kaaba’s scent feels so acquainted and its coziness feels so comprehensive that no other love can be so attractive for a believer.
- There is no difference among people who perform a prayer in congregation; similarly, there is no difference among people who circumambulate the Kaaba. All believers are equal there. There is no sign that differentiates a person from others. There exists unity, which is the symbol of oneness. It is necessary to be lost in the sea of believers and to melt in the congregation.
- Allah does not want material things but a sound heart. “Oh hajji! Do not think that they want gold or silver from you. They want a sound heart on the day when wealth and sons are not beneficial.”
- The angels encircle the heavenly Baitul Ma’mur in an ever-lasting Tawaf.
- Some reports teach that it was in Makkah that our father Adam (‘alayhi al-salam) longed to go back to paradise and be in the presence of Allah. To console his loneliness, Allah commanded him to do tawaf around the space of the current Ka‘bah. Adam did, and he felt whole again.
- Other texts teach that Nuh (’alayhi al-salam), Ibrahim (’alayhi al-salam), and many prophets before them (’alayhim al-salam), all did tawaf around Allah’s sacred House. Their spiritual energy and legacy fills the air. You will be walking in the footsteps and the heart-steps of Rasulullah (sallalahu ’alayhi wasallam) and his noble companions.
- In tawaf, you will be mirroring the worship of the angels, the mala’ikah, those heavenly creatures created of pure light and enveloped in the worship of Allah. Texts teach that the Ka‘bah is connected in an imperceptible way to the Bayt al-Ma‘mur, the heavenly Ka‘bah of the angels, around which they are constantly in tawaf. Seventy thousand angels perform tawaf around this house and are replaced with others, never to return.
- It feels so great making Tawaf around the Kaaba when you’re submerged in waves of human beings, hundreds of thousands from all walks of life, and you’re just one of many. It feels so great knowing that Allah sees you there, deals with you individually and answers your calls.
- There is no compulsory recitation while performing Tawaf.
- This is the center of the world of worship.
- Angels have circumambulated beneath the Majestic Throne from time immemorial, praising and glorifying His Majesty in such throngs that, it is narrated, the heavens creak with their sheer numbers.
- No one will make Tawaf against the flow. No one is going to do sa’i from the opposite side just to make a statement. No one can do that.
- Regardless of how you put your ihram on, it will look the same.
- Regardless of how much you try to carry with you, what else can you carry except the belt around your waist? Not much. You will carry the essentials. That is exactly the essence of this dunya. When you stand before your Lord, you should carry nothing but the essentials, the things that will help you go through the journey.
- Tawaaf is approximately 1.2 to 1.86 miles depending on the crowd present.
- One idea is to pick different dua or prayers for each round, or to pick the first round for seeking forgiveness, the second round for making dua for the community, etc.
- Each Tawaf represents us tearing down one of the veils that prevent us from seeking nearness to Allah.
Why do Sa‘i between Safa and Marwa?
- Sa‘i means to work, to strive, to act.
- We remember in sa‘i the actions of Hajar (‘alayha al-salam) as she climbed, walked and ran up both Safa and Marwa looking for sustenance for her starving child. The miracle of zam zam was gifted to Hajar for her efforts and sincere reliance. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) teaches that if we drink zam zam with firm faith and certainty, Allah will most definitely answer our supplication.
- Remember your own mother and everything she’s sacrificed for you as you’re doing Sa’i.
- As servants of Allah, we are embedded in time and space. We must act, all the while cognizant that it is Allah who creates both cause and effect. To see waves upon waves of pilgrims walking and running between Safa and Marwa is to recognize that the reality of our life is constant sa‘i between struggle and reward, struggle and reward. On the hills of Safa and Marwa, where the pilgrim alights in reflection and supplication, the heart exalts, seeing Allah’s power in all matters, yours and others, large or small.
- Remember that Hajar was in a state of tawaqqul, but she did NOT just sit around waiting for something to happen. She had already checked Safa and Marwa for water or sustenance… but instead of giving up (most of us would give up — we’d think that we already tried Safa and already tried Marwa) — sa’i literally means “to strive.” She continues to run back and forth even though she’s already tried. She doesn’t give up. This is not just a lesson in striving. It is a lesson in hope. She hoped that she would be saved, and that the provision from Allah swt would come. Tawaf is repetition as well. We are circling again and again. In repetition, consistency, and perseverance, THAT is where we get results. We see the same theme with all of our ibadah: prayer, fasting, tasbeeh. This is analogous to lifting weights. You have to repeatedly perform the exercise. Repetition brings results.
- Another lesson from Sa’i: The water did not come from her efforts. It came from Allah swt. It is not our efforts that bring the results, but the effort itself is STILL necessary because it is part of our worship and our servitude to Allah swt. Hadith that Prophet (S) said to his companions: “None of you will enter jannah by your deeds.” It is only through the mercy of Allah swt that we enter Jannah. Even for the Prophet (S) himself! The dependence needs to be on Allah swt. Do the efforts, do the deeds, and put your full reliance on Allah swt.
- Another lesson from Sa’i: Allah swt would not put you in a situation if you cannot handle it. Allah swt does not burden us with more than we can bear, or more than what is beyond our potential.
Why go to Mina?
- Mina, or Muna, means desire, hope, longing.
- Some texts teach that it was in Mina that Adam (‘alayhi al-salam) longed and desired to journey back home to paradise and to be, once again, in Allah’s presence.
- It is in Mina that the journey begins. The day spent in Mina, termed the day of tarwiyah (meaning, in part, to quench, to drink to one’s fill), is meant for our heart to focus on the aim of their journey, to gather in resolution and focus, and to begin our inner momentum towards the House of Allah.
- You remain in Mina as Allah’s guest. Here, we must eat and drink with the consciousness of a guest in front of a Most-Magnanimous Host. The greatest nourishment during these days, as Allah himself indicates, is His dhikr, or remembrance. We are destined to leave but Allah intends we leave gradually, in gratitude to Him, remembrance of Him and gathering a firm resolution for permanent change when we depart.
Why go to Arafat?
- ‘Arafat is the essential pillar (rukn), of Hajj; without ‘Arafat, there is no Hajj.
- This is THE day you were waiting for. This is what Hajj is all about. The Prophet (S) said, “Hajj IS Arafah.” (Abu Dawud) Put in all you’ve got during the day of Arafah. Take advantage of each hour, minute and second. Do not waste even a single moment. Make a dua list and make lots and lots of dua, for this is the day to make dua. The Prophet (S) said: “The best of du’a is du’a on the day of ‘Arafah.”
- Hazrat Ayesha (RA) reports that the Prophet (S) said: “There is no day in which Allah sets free more souls from the fire of hell than on the day of Arafaat. And on that day Allah draws near to the earth and by way of exhibiting His pride remarks to the Angels: “What is the desire of these servants of mine.” Allah celebrates, in the presence of the angels, the hujjaj on ‘Arafat asking for forgiveness. And He affirms to the angels that, yes, He has forgiven them.
- ‘Arafat means to know, to understand. Another verb scale conveys the meaning of perfuming, making fragrant, scenting.
- ‘Arafat is the cleansing station outside the Haram where we stand and seek forgiveness for all that we’ve committed in our lives. We beg and implore Allah to make us worthy of entering into His haram, visiting His House and being in His presence.
- Here, on ‘Arafat, we learn two things. As we acknowledge our disobedience, our sins, our rebelliousness and our forgetfulness, we know our unworthiness as true servants. We reveal everything to Allah, minor or major, Who knows already but simply wants us to admit with true transparency and sincerity what we are inside of ourselves. Moreover, we begin to know the all-enveloping knowledge, the inestimable mercy, the boundless generosity and the limitless grace of Allah in forgiving and effacing our sins. Who is it, beside Him, that can forgive and that does forgive? There is no refuge or flight from Allah except to Him.
- How ready our Lord is to forgive His slaves. It’s a matter of us asking and making the intention that we’ll change our ways.
- Apart from the day of the battle of Badr, there is no day on which the Shaytaan is seen to be more humiliated, more rejected, more depressed and more infuriated, than on the day of Arafat… all this is only because of the abundance of mercy descending on this day and Allah’s forgiveness of the great sins of His servants. (Mishkat)
- The Messenger (saw) made the following dua in Arafah: “Laa ilaha ilallah, wahdahu laa shareeka lahu, lahul mulku wa lahul hamd, yuhyi wa ymeet wa huwa ala kulli shayyin qadeer” – “There is none worthy of worship except Allah alone, no partner has He, for him is the sovereignty and the praise, he is the one who gives life and takes life and he is able to do all things.”
- In Arafat, you understand that this is the place where the creation of man began. This is the same place where Prophet Adam and Bibi Hawa asked for forgiveness and were granted their wishes. Thus, we should do the same and seek repentance for all our sins.
- Arafat is nothing but a plain desert. There is nothing to see or witness at this place. Thus, Allah is telling us that here there are no distractions, so think and reflect.
- In Arafat, you can be under the shade but it wouldn’t protect you from the heat. You can drink water but it wouldn’t quench your thirst. Think about the Day of Judgment when the sun will be above you and mankind will be standing naked with sweat rising around us depending upon how many sins we committed. Think of Arafat as the Day of Judgment – standing before Allah, asking for forgiveness!
- Reflect on the Prophet’s last sermon given here over 1400 years ago.
- When people put their hands down and the sun goes down on Arafah, they realize that the most important day of Hajj is almost done. That is an amazing feeling. We can’t describe this! Specifically, the last hour of the day of Arafah is overwhelming. Some people may relax during the day, but in the last hour those who really came for Hajj, this perhaps will be their most important hour of their lifetime as they stand there waiting for the sun to go down and wishing that it won’t go down. They keep asking Allah over and over again. Allah gives them an energy that they themselves are surprised to know that they have.
- Finally, as the sun begins to set, you continue, perfumed and scented with the purity of Allah’s grace and forgiveness, ever closer to His Haram.
Why go to Muzdalifa?
- Muzdalifa, from the Arabic root izdilaf, means to approach, to get closer.
- Muzdalifa is a second station of cleansing and purification. The pilgrim is now closer to the Ka‘bah. We remain in supplication (du‘a’) after fajr, imploring Allah again for pardon and guidance. Some scholars have said that in Muzdalifa, Allah also forgives our violations against the rights of others. Such violations are not usually forgiven unless, in addition to seeking forgiveness, we remedy what has been violated.
- All individuals in Muzdalifah are now the soldiers of Allah – the soldiers to uphold the truth. The stop is for you to collect arms as you prepare to battle your enemy (Satan) tomorrow. The biggest Satan is within you!
- If we were all to get off the plane in Jeddah and head straight for Muzdalifah, I doubt that any of us would be able to stay there in the bare ground and under the open sky and entire night. Allah knows this about us and so he prepares us. We spend a day and night in Mina (under air-conditioned tents), then we head off to Arafat (once again a tented city, but not nearly as nice as Mina. There are no lights and no air-conditioning as we only have to spend one afternoon there), and finally we head off to Muzdalifah. After having been through Mina and Arafat and gradually experiencing less and less luxury and amenities, we have to say we were better prepared for Muzdalifah than if we had gone there directly from our luxurious life back home. It’s here that you really begin to appreciate your life back home and all the little things you take for granted. Spend the night praising Allah and thanking Him for His mercy on us. Each and every single one of us (regardless of our social status) has a lot to be grateful for!
- Waadi Muhassar is a place between Mina and Muzdalifa. It is here that Allah (swt) destroyed Abraha and his army of elephants. This incident is mentioned in Surah Fil, and it is believed to have taken place just before the birth of the Prophet (S). It is sunnah for Hujjaj to walk briskly past this area as the Prophet (saw) did, as it was a place of punishment from Allah (swt). The story of the owners of the elephant is as follows:
- The governor of Abyssinia, Abraha Al-Ashram, had built a place of worship and asked all Arabs to worship there. This site was richly decorated with treasures from the collection of Bilquis, Queen of Saba. He erected gold and silver crosses, built ebony and ivory pulpits, and raised the site’s stature and expanded its width. But the Arabs refused to bow down. Their loyalty lay with the Ka’aba, built by Ibrahim (AS).
- An Arab, in defiance and mockery of Abraha’s command, desecrated at the church. This angered Abraha so much that he swore to destroy the Ka’aba. Abraha gathered his army of men and elephants and marched toward Makkah.
- When the army reached Waadi Muhassar, the largest of the elephants sat down and refused to move further. The more it was pulled towards the Ka’bah, the more it moved backwards. Strangely enough, when it was turned in any other direction (away from the Ka’bah), it ran in that direction. It was while the army was here that Allah (swt) sent little birds with pebbles in their beaks. As they flew over the army, the birds released their stones, which devastated the army, causing all they struck to fall down dead. Some of them collapsed just witnessing the sight and they then made off back to Sana. Abraha’s fate was much worse. As he proceeded back to Sa’na, his flesh started wasting away and rotting. By the time he reached Sa’naa, his fingers had already fallen off and his body was no more than a skeleton. It was there that his heart eventually collapsed and he died.
Why do we throw pebbles in Mina?
- The word Mina means ‘to flow’ as it is here that the blood of sacrificial animals flow during the day of Eidul Adha. During the Farewell Pilgrimage (Hajjat-ul-Wada) the Muslims had brought with them 100 camels to be sacrificed. On the 10th Dhul Hijjah the Prophet (S) stoned the Jamarat and went back to his camp in Mina where he sacrificed 63 of the camels. Ali (RA) slaughtered the remaining 37 camels and the Prophet (S) instructed that a part of each camel is cooked and served to him and his Companions.
- It was in Mina that the shaytan attempted to dissuade Ibrahim (AS) from sacrificing his son. When Ibrahim left Mina and was brought to al-Aqaba, the devil or Satan appeared to him at a stone-heap. Gabriel urged him to pelt the devil with stones in order to defy it. Ibrahim followed the angel’s advice and threw seven stones at the devil, which vanished immediately. The devil, for the second time, appeared at the middle stone-heap, when Gabriel again urged Ibrahim to pelt it with stones, which, Ibrahim immediately followed, by throwing seven stones. For the third time, the devil made its appearance at the little Stone-heap, and Ibrahim urged by Gabriel defeated the devil by throwing seven small stones at it.
- The stoning has great symbolic significance. The first appearance of the devil is the temptation of sacrificing his son, in accordance with God’s command. The second appearance of the devil marks the temptation of Hagar, Ibrahim’s wife against the sacrifice of their son. The third appearance signifies the temptation of Ismail, Ibrahim’s son from getting sacrificed. The stoning of the devil symbolises man shunning his lower desires and directing his steps to attain closeness to Allah. This spiritual significance is the reason why pilgrims stone the walls during Hajj pilgrimage.
- During our stay in Mina, we re-affirm and re-declare our desire and hope for spiritual freedom by casting pebbles for three days. Each casting of the pebbles cements our resolution to contain and confine both the lower self (nafs) and shaytan.
- The stop in Mina allows you to renew your promise to Allah to destroy all existing idols in the world.
- Why do you continue to hit all three jamaraat for the next 2-3 days after you have defeated Satan on the first day? This is because Satan may survive even after he has been defeated. Satan is always looking for another way in, so beware! He has many colors and many tricks.
- In casting the pebbles, the pilgrim affirms Allah’s greatness over everything and covenants with Allah that he or she will never regress to anything which displeases Him.
- After the nafs is jailed by the casting of the pebbles, it is slaughtered. Ibrahim’s (AS) sacrifice was momentous: he sacrificed his very will. Ibrahim was named the Khalil (cherished friend) of Allah because his love for Allah pierced and consumed his entire heart.
- The delay in Mina is for you to think and reflect about Hajj and understand what you have just done.
- This 2-3 day break in Mina allows the Muslims to talk and get to know one another. It also gives them the time to discuss problems and their potential solutions in their respective communities. In this way, Mina is the biggest conference in the world!
- Each stone is used to kill the enemy. Who is the enemy? Anything that pulls you away from Allah. Stone your ego to death, anger, jealousy, pride etc.
- The hair – signifying status, station and pride – is now shaved. Whatever remaining trace and residue of the disobedient nafs is now completely cleansed.
- Now, the pilgrim is welcomed by Allah to visit His Haram and His House. He or she is now freed from ihram, but not completely. Washing and the use of perfume are now permitted; intimate relations are not. Approaching one’s spouse is unbefitting considering that now the pilgrim is going to visit the Host.
What is the Significance of the Sacrifice of Ibrahim (AS)?
- During the Hajj of Ibrahim (AS), he was commanded to sacrifice his son. Allah, of course, never intended that the slaughter take place. Allah wanted, instead, to purify and free Ibrahim (AS) from every love and every attachment besides Him.
- The sacrifice of the animal signifies the slaughter of the nafs by Ibrahim (AS).
- Sacrifice purifies our heart. Allah swt did not intend for Ismail to be slaughtered. He does not want any difficulty for us. He wanted to purify Ibrahim. You must be able to give from that which you love. We only reach goodness through sacrifice.
- In Hajj, we have to give up a lot of things. Money, time, physical health, etc…
Why do Tawaaf al Ifada?
- The movement from ‘Arafat to the Haram is called ifadah. Ifadah means to flood, to rush, to move. The rite of tawaf that takes place after the casting of the pebbles, the sacrifice and the shaving of the head is likewise termed Tawaaf al-Ifadah.
- The heart (qalb), cleansed and purified from its attachments, inundated with love, desire and longing, floods to the Haram, to the House, and to its Lord. There, it circumambulates the House and renews its pledge of complete and loving submission.
What is the Significance of the Door of the Kaaba?
- At the top of each door is inscribed: “Allah Jal jalaalah Muhammad sallallaahu alaihi wasallam” Beneath all of this is inscribed: “In the name of Allaah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful.”
- “Enter with peace and safety” [Surah Hijr, verse 46]
- “Allah has made the Ka’bah the sacred house, as well as the sacred months a means by which (the physical and spiritual safety and well-being of) mankind is maintained.” [Surah Maa’idah, verse 97]
- “Say, “O my Rabb! Allow me to enter a pleasant place, allow me to leave pleasantly and grant me such authority from Yourself that is coupled with (Your) assistance.” [Surah Israa, verse 80]
- “Your Rabb has made mercy (towards you) compulsory upon himself.” [Surah An’aam, verse 5]
- “Your Rabb says, “Supplicate to Me and I shall respond.” [Surah Mu’min, verse 60]
- Beneath all of this is inscribed: Say, “O My bondsmen who have wronged their souls (by committing kufr or other sins)! Never lose hope of Allah’s mercy.” [Surah Zumar, verse 53]
- The words “Allahu Akbar” are inscribed on the two rings and Surah Faatiha has been engraved beneath the lock.
What is the Significance of the Yemeni Corner?
- Because this corner is still standing on the foundation that Ibrahim (AS) built, the narration of Abdullah bin Abbas (RA) states that the Prophet (pbuh) made “Istilaam” of it.
- “Istilaam” refers to the touching of the corner whether this is done by hand or by kissing. Since the Prophet (pbuh) touched the Rukn Yamaani by hand, this practice is Sunnah. However, there is no harm if one is unable to touch it due to the crowds.
- It was the practice of the Prophet (pbuh) that when he passed between the Rukn Yamani and the Hajar al-Aswad, he recited the following du’aa: “O Rabb, grant us (all that which is) good in this world, (all that which is) good in the Aakhirah and save us from the punishment of the fire (of Jahannam).” [Surah Baqarah, verse 201]
What is the Significance of Maqam Ibrahim?
- The significance of Maqam Ibrahim relates back to the construction of the Holy Kaaba. Maqam Ibrahim is the large black stone on which Ibrahim (AS) stood while he was building the upper walls of the Kaaba.
- One of the miracles of Ibrahim (AS) is that when he stood on that stone, it became soft and his feet left impressions in the rock that can still be seen today.
- The Prophet (pbuh) said: “The stone is the station of Ibrahim. Allah made it soft and made it a mercy. Ibrahim would stand on it and Ismail would hand the stones up to him.”
- At the time of Ibrahim (AS) the Maqam was attached to the Kaaba. Umar (RA), seeing that leaving it where it was would make the space too crowded for Tawaf or for prayers, had it moved to the place it is now to make it easier for people. There was consensus among the Sahabah for Umar’s (RA) action, for he was the one who had suggested it should be taken as a place of prayer.
- Juhm bin Hudhayfah (RA), a Sahabi who was present when the Quraysh rebuilt the Kaaba as well as when Abdullah bin Zubair (RA) rebuilt it, says that the blessed footprints of the Prophet (pbuh) very closely match those of Ibrahim (AS).
- Note that the significance of the Maqam Ibrahim is that it is a place for the performance of salah and not for touching or kissing.
- Ibrahim (AS) constructed the Kaaba using rocks from five mountains: Hira, Thubayr, Labnaan, Toor and Jabalul Khayr. Toor Seenaa is actually situated in the eastern desert of Egypt.
- When Ibrahim (AS) completed the construction of the Kaaba he was commanded by Allah (swt): “And proclaim to mankind the Hajj (pilgrimage). They will come to you on foot and on every lean camel, they will come from every deep and distant (wide) mountain highway (to perform Hajj).” [al-Hajj 22:27]
What is the Significance of Zam Zam?
- The Zamzam well has provided some 4,000 years of almost continuous water supply, a living miracle.
- On Allah’s instruction, Ibrahim (AS) took his son Ismail (AS) and the child’s mother Hajar (AS) to Makkah where he left them with only some water and dates as provisions. Once the provisions ran out, mother and son became thirsty and restless. Hajar (AS) climbed up Mount Safa to see whether she could spot any people from whom she could get water. When she saw nothing, she crossed the valley and then climbed up Mount Marwah for the same reason. When she saw nothing here either, she started running from Safa to Marwah and back again in her anxiety. When she had done so seven times and was atop Mount Marwah, she heard a sound. When she returned (to where her son lay), she saw that an angel had struck his wing on the ground, causing water to gush forth from the spot. The name of the well comes from the phrase Zome Zome, meaning ‘stop flowing’, a command repeated by HajAr (AS) during her attempt to contain the spring water.
- The Zamzam well is approximately 30m deep. Up until 1953 water was drawn by bucket. Electric pumps now pump water into tanks.
- Even the Zamzam well was moved down to the basement so that Tawaf could be performed above it. The buildings in the Mataf and the dome of the Maqaam Ebrahim were also demolished so that the Mataf could accommodate even more people. Towards the end of the expansion, a rare quality of marble was used to pave the Mataaf that does not heat up even in the most intense heat, thus making it possible for people to perform Tawaf barefoot even on the hottest days.
- The water of Zam-Zam has countless virtues and it is extremely pure and clean. It is the most blessed and pure of all waters on earth.
- Its position is upon the most blessed place on earth, i.e. near the Kaaba and within the Haram.
- This well is surrounded by three such sacred places: Hajre Aswad, Safa and Marwah which grants it virtue (over all other wells).
- This is such blessed water, from which Prophets, pious and Allah-fearing people have drunk.
- This is the same water with which Angel Jibraeel (AS) bathed the pure heart of our beloved Prophet (pbuh).
- This water also has this virtue that our beloved Prophet (pbuh) twice rinsed his blessed mouth in the bucket of its well, thereby granting it the virtue of having the effect of his mubarak mouth.
- Our beloved Prophet (pbuh) requested this water from Makkah while he was stationed in Madinah.
- It is reported from Hadhrat Jaabir (RA) that our beloved Prophet (pbuh) said: “That person who has completed seven Tawaafs of the Kaaba Shareef, then he performs 2 Rakaats Salaat behind the Maqaam-e-Ebrahim, and he has a drink of the water of Zam-Zam, all his sins will be forgiven.” [Tafseer Waahidi]
- Our beloved Prophet (pbuh) said: “For whatever object Zam-Zam is drunk, that object will definitely be fulfilled. If one drinks it with the purpose of being cured, then Allaah Ta’ala will grant cure for the drinker, or if one drinks it for his thirst to be removed then Allaah Ta’ala will remove his thirst. Because it is the well of Jibraeel (alaihi salaam), and with it Allaah Ta’ala quenched the thirst of Hadhrat Ismaeel (alaihi salaam).
- Our beloved Prophet (pbuh) has said that the water of Zamzam will have the desired effect of whatever intention is made at the time of drinking Zamzam. Zamzam should be drunk with the intention of quenching the thirst of the Day of Qiyaamah (resurrection). It should also be taken with the intention of shifaa (cure) from spiritual and physical ailments. It is commendable to drink Zamzam with the niyyah of being granted the tawfeeq of conforming to the sunnah of our beloved Prophet (pbuh).
- Take advantage of going to the bathroom at night when there are no lines.
- Take advantage of your free time. That is when you will have the most opportunities to help others or say/do something bad. Keep away from sins during these five integral days of your life by exhausting the leisure minutes with good conversation and lending a hand to people. If nothing else, take out your journal and start writing and reflecting or remembering Allah.
- Get used to long queues and people pushing in because even though they are in ihram, you will wonder at the common sense that some people are lacking. Patience is a MUST whenever you leave your tent.
- Keep your shoes inside your tent in a plastic bag. Otherwise if you leave them outside your tent they may be “borrowed” or get lost.
- For women, the hardest thing to come to grips with is the area for wudu. There is no partition between the men’s and women’s taps and therefore you will be right next to men when performing wudu. You really have to ask yourself, what’s more important in this situation, taking off your scarf and pulling up your sleeves and abaya so you can do wudu regardless of who is standing there, or preserving your modesty?
- Use this time to pray or read Qur’an as often as possible. Don’t take part in idle talk as that negates the real purpose of being there.
- Don’t eat too much so you don’t have to use the toilets too often.
- Don’t worry too much about making sure you have a group that provides food for Mina etc, as there is plenty of food and fruit readily available everywhere you go.
- Don’t take too many things with you when you use the toilets there, as you will have nowhere to put them. Women, cargo pants come in especially handy here. You can keep a little bit of soap and toilet paper in your pockets.
- Rest as much as you can before Arafat begins. Prepare your dua’s as well as dua’s for anyone who has asked you to pray for them while you are on Hajj. Write them down if possible. If you are from a non-Arabic speaking background, then make sure you learn the meanings of the dua’s you are reciting. If you wish, you can pray in any language, as Allah is all Knowing, all Seeing. He knows our thoughts and intentions better then we do.
- Bring water, some fruits or granola bars to eat, and an umbrella to shade you from the sun if you can’t sit in an already shaded area.
- Arafat does have some street vendors and food that you can buy on the streets, but please don’t waste too much time on those. If you have managed to arrive in Arafat before Dhuhur prayer, then use that time to rest a little as it does tend to get a little warm and you want to retain all your energy for the most important afternoon of your life.
- Use the full day of Arafah for worship—not just the time after Asr (late afternoon prayer). Many people fall into this trap and spend time sitting, eating and talking on the most important day of Hajj and only start making du`a’ after `Asr. Separate yourself from people and focus on seeking forgiveness. The Prophet ﷺ used to make du`a’ the entire day and intensified the supplication after `Asr. The same thing applies after Arafah when people revert to their old habits and lose focus while they are still on Hajj! Continue to keep yourself busy with reading, remembrance, and extra worship.
- Bring unscented bug repellant. You will need it here because there are tons of mosquitos!
- Try not to eat too much while you are in Arafat (or Mina and Muzdalifah for that matter). Try to eat only fruits and dry biscuits or bread. Avoid heavy foods as the lines for toilets in Arafat and especially Muzdalifah are really long. Stay hydrated, though.
- Plan to avoid the bathrooms at Muzdalifah. Eat/drink accordingly and use the bathrooms in Arafah before getting on the bus to Muzdalifah.
- Take a flash light. After sunset there are no lights at Arafat and as people start to leave in droves, some areas can begin to look quite creepy.
- It is approximately six miles from Arafat to Mina where your tents are, and Muzdalifah is about halfway there. It is sunnah to leave Arafat right after Maghrib and walk this trip. In our experience it is actually a lot faster and easier to walk than taking the buses unless you have a physical difficulty and are unable to. There are streams of hujjaj walking from Arafah heading towards Muzdalifah. These streams start coming together, making small highways and streets. Then they become two major highways. Imagine the darkness of the night and the lights on the highway. People are all following the same course and chanting the same call with different accents. These are millions of people walking. There are two main highways like two rivers flowing. They merge in one huge path. They are walking peacefully – no pushing and no shoving. They keep merging together towards Muzdalifah. This is perhaps one of the most beautiful sights you may see. You realize how great this ummah is and how big and how huge a blessing it is to be from this ummah of Muhammad (S).
- If you do walk to Muzdalifah, it will take about 3 hours walking at a brisk pace. Find a spot and sleep for a few hours, then collect your stones for the Jamarat and leave slightly before Fajr to the Jamarat. In our experience, the groups who took the buses did not arrive until around 3 a.m. although they left slightly before we did. They spent well over 5 hours in hot crowded buses and were not able to find a spot to sleep once they got to Muzdalifah since the area around where the buses unload is too crowded. None of them were happy with the situation. Our group, although VERY tired, felt a deep satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment. In our opinion walking has another advantage which is the experience of walking the same route as the Prophet (S) with hundreds of thousands of other Muslims all with the same goal.
- If you walk from Arafat, do not stop as soon as you see the sign letting you know that you are in Muzdalifah. Continue walking for a ways and you will find that the areas further in are much less crowded and the bathrooms are in a much better state.
- While you are in Muzdalifah, collect extra stones. When you’re throwing the stones at the Jamarat, some may miss the target and others may fall from your hand before throwing and it is better to have extras than to be in need. The best container to collect your stones in was a small, empty water bottle. It is readily available, has a lid, and the size of the opening is perfect for the size of stones you should be collecting.
- The walk from Muzdalifah to Mina is about 1.5 hours.
- The passage for performing Rami is very straightforward now. You basically walk straight in one direction, throw your stones, and keep walking forward to the next Jamarat. Don’t stop at the front tip of the Jamarat as that’s the busiest. Walk ahead a little and go to the tail end of each Jamarat and you will find plenty of empty space there.
- Do not throw your stones from far off. Not all of us are professional football or cricket players who are experts at throwing long distances. If you are trying to avoid the rush and not go too far in, then you are most likely not going to get your stones all the way to the Jamarat. Instead you are most likely lobbing them at some poor soul who’s standing in the first few rows.
- Be considerate of all others around you. Please do not get emotional when throwing the stones such that you wave your arms and body around with such passion as to knock out the people standing immediately in front or behind you.
- Make dua after stoning. Step to the side and make dua for a long time.
- Keep walking straight through to the end after completing your Ramy. Do not turn around and walk back the same way you came. There are separate passages for your return journey.
- With regards to the Jamarat, the first time you go there will be right after spending the night in Muzdalifah. Since people trickle in depending on when they leave, and it is not too crowded. The next two days are a totally different story. The crowds are unbelievable. In fact it is the most crowded point during Hajj.
- Do not confuse the fact that you cast your stones on the first day after Fajr with the other days. Casting your stones at the Jamarat in the later days can only take place AFTER the adhan for Dhuhr (noon prayer) in order for it to be valid, no matter what anyone else says. Sometimes travel agents try to convince their groups that there is a sheikh somewhere that said it was alright to go before Dhuhr so that they can get out as soon as possible. Do not ruin all of your Hajj effort over this issue.
- It is our experience that the lower level is a better option than the upper level because it tends to be less crowded. On the lower level you can also exit from any door as opposed to the upper level ramp which is the only way to get in or out of the upper level. The entrance to the upper level is more prominent and therefore most people use that one as a default, but the lower one is there and it looks almost like a parking garage entrance.
- As soon as you are done with the first day of the Jamarat (right after Muzdalifah) you break your ihram when you arrive back to your tents. Therefore, in the last days you are allowed to wear any clothes you like and stitched shoes that enclose your entire foot. Do so! Wear a good pair of very secure shoes to the next two days of Jamarat. The piles of flip-flops in the Jamarat that people lose are unbelievable. Also, there are stones covering the ground by then so you really do not want to go shoeless.
- At Mina you will find professional barbers and copycats with razors who will leave your head bloody. Needless to say, try to find the professional ones. The professional ones use disposable barber blades that have a plastic safety cover which breaks off when used and cannot be put back (he will break it in front of you, so that you know it’s new).
- The pro of the first floor is that you’re right there next to the Kabah and it can sometimes be the fastest Tawaaf.
- The con is that it is incredibly crowded. You truly have no control over where your body goes in such a crowd, and your face might get flattened against another man’s hairy, sweaty back.
- The pro of the second floor, which is the same in circumference as the top floor, is that it’s covered so you’re protected from drenching rain and scorching sun.
- The con is that even though it’s the same distance around as the third floor, it might take longer because it has several pillars in the Tawaaf area that hold up the third floor, so everyone has to keep going around them and it makes the Tawaaf slow down and traffic build up slightly. The other problem is that the folks pushing people in wheelchairs walk along the outer ring of the Tawaaf so you get scrunched up towards the inner circle where there are the most pillars and people to walk in between. You can try walking in the outer edge but pretty soon you’ll hear someone go “Sssst” and you whip around to find your Achilles is going to get clipped soon by a wheelchair a boy is pushing and you have to keep jumping out of his way. We developed a phobia of wheelchairs after Hajj. You’ve been warned.
- The pro of the third floor is that it’s a nice wide open area so you have freedom of movement and you have a lesser chance of getting stuck in the midst of a crowd of people.
- The con is that your Tawaaf may take twice as long as it would on the first floor and you’re directly under the sun.
- Madinah’s Haram closes after Isha’ it’s not open all day like Makkah’s.
- You can come as late as you want to Masjid an Nabawi and still make it into the first row. I didn’t understand at first but then I learned that the first row continues from inside the Masjid to the outside courtyard and extends all the way to the gates circling the entire Masjid. That’s one massive row!
- The best time to visit the Rawdah in Madinah is at nighttime. The Rawdah is a piece of paradise found in the Prophet’s masjid in Madinah. It is floored with green carpet and so it is easy to identify but difficult to take advantage of.
- If you plan on doing some major shopping, avoid the malls in Makkah and buy most of your stuff in Madinah. It’s cheaper.
- If you are sensitive to light bring sunglasses as it gets very bright at the Kaaba.
- Stick with your group at all times.
- Keep most money tucked away. Have at most 400 Riyals with you.
- Do not leave any belongings in any bus at any time no matter what.
- Everywhere you go you will have to compete with crowds and traffic. The best example we can give is imagine living in a crowded theme park for a few weeks. If you need toilets, there is a line; if you want food, there will be a line; you get the idea. The only difference is that the lines are not quite as organized as you would expect.
- You will have a considerable amount of spare time before and after Hajj. Use some of it for “housekeeping” like laundry.
- Be patient, understanding, caring and compassionate. The hot weather, the tremendous crush of the pilgrims, and the considerable physical demands of Hajj tend to make people irritable and short tempered. You can avoid potentially awkward situations and unnecessary arguments by remaining focused on your mission of Hajj, and by maintaining a positive and caring attitude towards others.
- Don’t ever leave money or other valuables (e.g. papers, jewelry etc.) in your room. Always carry them with you on your person and be aware of people around you.
- Don’t expect Hajj to be a vacation.Try to take your frustrations, hardships, and disappointments (and there will definitely be many!) in stride as a part of the sacrifice expected of you. See if you can ease someone else’s burden a little by offering your support.
- Don’t get involved in unnecessary religious discussions with anyone. You will see slight variations in religious and Hajj practices amongst different people. Someone may even point out to you the “wrongness” of your ways. Be patient and walk away from a difficult situation.
- Keep good companionship during the trip. You might observe different types of people in your group: the complainers, the chit-chatters, the Debby-downers, etc. If you feel distracted, then keep to yourself since you don’t want the negativity to rub off and affect your experience. Make a pact with yourself that you will come back from Hajj and keep the complaints to yourself. There might be things that you don’t like but you will hold those complaints in your heart and share constructive criticism with the group organizer. Good friends will remind you and support you in this goal. Optimism is contagious!
- Don’t be put off by the hot weather. Even though it is very hot you really don’t feel it.
- The best act of ibadah in Makkah is tawaf and the best act of ibadah in Madinah is prayer.
- Make sure that you have your Ihraam in your hand luggage so that you can put it on at the airport or at your stopover.
- Try to perform Duha prayer as much as you can.
- Watch the sunset from the top of the roof of the Haram.
- Pray Fajr on the roof of the mosque and reading Qur’an until Sunrise.
- Follow a burial procession to the Baqi.
- Take great care and be punctual in the performance of all salaat with jama‘a.
- There are air-conditioned areas in the Haram (area around the Ka`bah) in Makkah on the first and second floor (enter through King Fahd entrance and stay on the left). Plan on praying/sitting there during the hottest part of the day.
- Treat tawaf (walking 7 times around the Ka`bah) like prayer and strive for khushoo’[concentration]. The virtue of tawaf is well known: it is recommended to perform tawaf in the Haram before praying 2 rakahs (units of prayer) as the ‘greeting’ of the masjid.
- When entering the mosque, to avoid losing your sandals you can pop them into a bag and carry them in a drawstring backpack.
- Wash all fruits including dates in clean water before consumption. Stick to fruits that have to be peeled before use. Avoid pre-cut fruits, salads, and food handled in an unsanitary fashion. Avoid all food exposed to the elements. Fast food is available at some places but tends to be of somewhat lower quality than its American counterpart. It is, however, safe and sanitized.
- Do pace yourself in everything, including acts of worship. Know your physical limits and stay well within them. It is only too easy to get caught up in the emotion of the moment and exceed the boundaries of your strength and stamina. Pilgrims often try to spend every spare moment of their time in prayers and devotions in Haram-ash-Shareef and often become sick. It is very painful and frustrating to get sick in a foreign country and an illness during Hajj is even worse as it defeats the purpose of your visit.
- Whenever entering either of the two masjid or any other masjid, form a niyyah for nafl i‘tikaaf.
- Perform nafl salaat with the niyyah of expressing one’s gratitude to Allah swt.
- During your stay in Makkah abundantly increase your recital of the Kalimah Tayyibah:Laa’ilaha il lal’lahu, and istighfar: ‘Astaghfirullah.
- Beggars will present a real problem especially if you are not used to seeing them. For those who have been to Middle Eastern countries or the sub continent, you will be able to pick the difference between the authentic beggars and those that are there for business. They will be ruthless in their pursuit of you and will not hesitate to interrupt you while you are deep in prayer or even overcome by emotion due to your prayers. Don’t be swayed by their stories of having lost passports, or loved ones, or tickets, etc. If you offer to buy them a ticket or food they will clearly reject it and demand money. I even had a man come up to me in Arafat while I was deep in prayer and interrupt me. At first he made dua for me and then started his sad story. I personally refused to give money to anyone that asked for it. If they looked genuine I offered to buy them food, or a bus ticket or petrol or what ever they were asking for; but I wouldn’t give them money. The beggars really affect your heart. Every time you pass by a beggar (and you don’t give them money), it makes your heart that little bit harder. There is no doubt that 95% of them are professional beggars. One safe bet is just to give money to the South Asian custodial workers who need money to send back home.
- Try to meet as many Muslims as possible. The diversity of nationalities, cultures that one experiences is mind-blowing. Meet the Turks, the Malaysians, the Russians, the Europeans, the Africans… meet everybody. Feel the common bond that exists within us all and that pulls us to this wonderful piece of Heaven on Earth.
- Everywhere you go always make a rendezvous point with whoever you’re with (whether it’s just your spouse or your entire group).
- There are no restrooms inside either of Masjid al-Haram or Masjid an-Nabawi. The bathrooms are located outside of the masjids and they are super crowded (and not to mention unclean even though the custodians do the best they can). Always use the restroom before you leave your hotel/apartment. If you have to go, then find a nearby mall or hotel, go up a few floors where it’s less crowded (and therefore cleaner as well) and use those. If you’ve broken your wudu, just do it at the Zam Zam or water stations. But be clean about it and don’t let water spill all over. Respect the sanctuaries and the custodians.
- Don’t compare your group to other groups. It’s very easy to get caught up in what other people ate or what their tents were like. Avoid going down that road and remind yourself that everyone’s test will be different and no one has a problem-free Hajj. Focus on yourself, make incessant talbiyah [Labbayk Allahuma labbayk—I respond to Your call O Allah, I respond to Your call], and embody your submission to Allah (swt).
- When in trouble, ask Allah for help. This advice was given by an elderly woman sitting in the Prophet’s ﷺ She said to always start your actions by asking Allah (swt) to help you. Allah (swt) can make anything happen—all we need to do is ask.
- Savor the new experiences and focus on the positives. Yes, you will see strange and rude actions and plenty of ignorance. But you will also see grown men shed tears while gazing at the House of Allah (swt) and pleading for mercy and forgiveness. You will see millions of people unite from all corners of the world for one purpose alone: to fulfill the obligation of Hajj and surrender before their Creator. Reflecting on these facts creates a deep respect for our religion. How amazing is the call to prayer which transforms the chaotic amblings of millions of people into perfectly circular lines within the span of a few minutes? How amazing is our faith that pushes people to struggle and give up basic comforts because of a sincere desire to please their Lord? Revel in the voices chanting in unison, marching onward with a single hope, and with a bond that overcomes all walks of life. Witness the power of submission and obedience and how it transforms tired pilgrims into an army of the faithful.
- Always keep in mind that Hajj is a test. You can prepare yourself as much as possible but nothing [completely] prepares you for the reality of the experience. You will experience highs and lows. There will be moments of great awe as well as moments of great frustration. Pack a bag of patience!
- While in Hajj do not do things to display to others. Do not announce your Hajj to everyone (to avoid riyaa which is to show off and act to gain fame).
- Be at your best behavior amongst your companions. Assist them in their needs. The person who helps his companions on this journey will be regarded as a mujaahid (one who strives to uplift Islam).
- The waiting game of Hajj is like the waiting game of life. It’s what we do with that seemingly infinite amount of time that determines the outcome. And the ultimate outcome is the Hereafter. Which plane we board at that time depends solely on the actions we perform (or maybe fail to perform) today. One plane will take us up, the other down.
- A hajji is fortunate in being present at the various sacred places where du‘a are assured acceptance. Therefore repeatedly ask Allah (swt) for your needs of this world and the Hereafter. Your du‘a must be appropriate and made with respect and humbleness. Do not ask for meaningless and unrighteous things.
- Hajj can either be a burden or an enjoyment, depends on your perspective. NBA basketball players run 6 miles when playing without realizing it, but if you told them to run 6 miles they would most likely be unwilling.
- Since your stay there is a short one, you should value every moment there. Do not waste your time roaming in the bazaars and do not indulge in meaningless things and idle talk. Do not allow your attention to drift towards the decoration and splendor of the buildings, nor indulge in humor and ridicule.
- Do not criticize the conditions and people there. After all, the local residents are human and are prone to faults just as we are. When noticing the shortcomings of others, special attention must immediately be drawn to one’s own faults and weak points.
- For this reason, a contemporary pilgrim (hajji) will witness and experience not only the very heights of spirituality but also the depths of profanity. I say this because there is no better place to witness the oft-mentioned distinction between the lofty Islamic faith on the one hand, and its very human Muslim practitioners on the other, than the two holy sanctuaries of Makkah and Madīnah during the month of Dhu’l-Ḥijjah.
- It really shocked me to see how violent (or maybe I should use the word “passionate”) people became about certain things. It seemed that some people gave more importance to touching a thing or being first in the row at any cost rather than trying to understand why they were there or what dua’s would be best at this time.
- Remember you are here because Allah swt invited you here, not because of your money.
- Allah swt knows us all by name. Allah swt is ready to forgive his slaves.
- There are so many countries represented in Islam and once they all stand to pray they put their differences aside and pray together. 1 out of every 10 hajjis is from Indonesia. About 3.1 million pilgrims from 200 countries perform the Hajj every year!
- Focus more on the rites/rituals of Hajj (Manasik-e-Hajj) than the services provided at that time.
- The Ka’bah is not the destination; it is the starting point of one’s commitment to cast away one’s bad ways and to begin a new Allah-centered life.
- You are walking on the same grounds that the Prophet (S) and Ahlul bayt walked on hundreds of years ago.
- “And they say: “We hear, and we obey, (we seek) Thy forgiveness, our Lord, and to Thee is the end of all journeys.” [2:285] So when you move out your home wherever you’re coming from or walk out of your hotel in Aziziyyah around Makkah, or even your tent in Mina, remember that you are the answer to this perpetual call.
- Some people forget that they are going for Hajj… they expect Mina to be a five star hotel and the whole journey about relaxation and luxury. So they complain about the food, they complain about the weather, they complain about the crowds, the bus, the beds, the bathrooms, the tents, the A/C in Mina, you name it. They complain about everything under the sun. Remember this is Hajj, not a cruise or a vacation. Remember when not so long ago people traveled for months through dangerous terrain and rough weather to get to Hajj, not to mention the heat, diseases, thugs and other hardships of travel. They had to draw water from a well and walk to the bushes to relieve themselves. Look around you, what is there to complain about? Alhamdulillaah, you have flowing water from a tap and running bathrooms. And even if they are not as clean as they should be, at least they are there. You have hot food and air conditioned tents, a place to sleep and transportation from one place to another. So be patient and thank Allah.
- Obviously, everybody wants their Hajj To be ‘Mabroor’ (accepted) because the Prophet (S) said: “There is no reward for Hajj mabroor except Paradise.” (Al-Bukhaari) They said: “What makes Hajj mabroor, Messenger of Allah?” He said, “Providing food to people and spreading (the greeting of) salaam.” (Fath al-Bari, 4/446) Thus we see that being kind to the people, being generous and considerate, serving and helping them is the key to having your Hajj accepted. So go ahead and help that old lady with her luggage, and the older brother across the street. Move over to make room in the ‘saff’ for your fellow Muslim so that they too can find a place to pray. Distribute candy among the children, pass out glasses of Zam Zam, smile at everyone and say salaam to those you know and those you don’t. In other words, just keep your eyes and ears open for every opportunity to do good and jump at any chance you get to spread khair; do all this for the sake of pleasing Allah Alone and In sha Allah your Hajj will be mabroor.
- Reflect on why you are here. Have tawakkul in Him and complete faith. Be sure to know that He will take care of you. Be kind to His slaves, have patience and forbearance, take everything in stride and look for the positive in everything, even if it seems bleak. So when the bus breaks down, it’s okay because it was the Will of Allah that it happened. And when the guy next to you pushes you, or your shoes get stolen, forgive him. And if your luggage gets lost for a day or two, be patient. And if you get stuck in traffic for 8 hours, remind yourself – whatever time Allah has decreed for me to get there, I will get there, not a second before and not a second after.
- “Whoever attends the janaazah until he offers the prayer will have one qeeraat (of reward), and whoever attends until (the deceased) is buried will have two qeeraats.” It was said, “O Messenger of Allaah, what are the two qeeraats?” He said, “Like two great mountains,” meaning, of reward.
- Utilize your time wisely while in Makkah and Madeenah. Do all your 5 prayers in the Masjid. When you pray in Masjid al-Haraam in Makkah, your salaah is multiplied by 100,000. Just imagine, if you’re there for about two weeks (14 days), and you pray all five prayers in the masjid, that’s equivalent in reward to praying more than 3,800 years! SubhanAllah. When you get to Mina, busy yourself with making dua, dhikr, reading Qur’aan, etc.
- When you look at the large number of people there for Hajj, don’t get overwhelmed or bothered. Instead, raise your head up high, feel proud and thank Allah. After all, all those people are none but your own brothers and sisters in Islam. This is the Ummah of your beloved Prophet, Muhammad (S). They are from you and you are from them. They are a part of you, just as much as you are a part of them. All of you are there for one purpose only – to worship One God, Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala). So love them, have mercy for them and make dua for them.
- Every shop owner at Hajj time knows you’re not Saudi. You’re a traveler, an outsider who is desperate to take souvenirs back home. There is a good chance they will try to rip you off. Don’t be the type of person that agrees to any price because you think he won’t give you any better or that the shop owner next door won’t be more flexible. Give up a couple minutes of your time and save a few dollars; then you’ll have more money to buy food and drinks for all of your friends and the poor and needy you’ll run into every day.
- Bonus: Try to find the 4th floor of the Haram. (Yes, it exists!) Few people know about it and you pretty much have the whole place to yourself. Only 1 escalator will get you there.
- GOLDEN TIP for all: go there with very little expectations. Tell yourself constantly that you will be satisfied just to be there and be given this chance to pray to Allah for forgiveness of all your past sins. If you have no expectations, then you will be pleasantly surprised by the miracles that Allah bestows on His guests while they are in His city, performing the Hajj for His sake. You will also be able to overcome the extreme conditions of Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifah because your main aim will have been to go there and Pray to Allah (swt) and not worry about the accommodations or amenities… after all it’s a test for only a few days and then it’s all over. By the time you come back, you will have forgotten all the negative things about these places because you didn’t let them take away your main focus from your Ibaadah.
- You are starting a new life with a clean slate, in sha Allah.
- An accepted Hajj has the reward of paradise! ?
- Upon returning from Hajj do not emphasize the difficulties which you may have been endured, in an attempt to show off (it was so hot, we had no food, we fainted, etc.). Instead turn your attention towards the eternal benefits and rewards you will receive. One must understand that the difficulties endured during this sacred journey are insignificant compared to the high position one will receive in Jannah.
- Hajj is an amazing spiritual experience. It is not about just going for five days to perform particular rituals and rites and coming back again, with a shaven head. This is not the experience of Hajj. Hajj is profound and deeper. It penetrates the heart and the soul. Those who go to Hajj and experience Hajj the way it is supposed to be come back completely transformed into completely different personalities.
- The real Hajj begins when you return back home to all the materialism and the distractions. This will be the true test.
- Your speech, actions, manner and disposition must be an example for others, and this is truly the best gift that one can bring back for the rest of the people.
- Although Hajj is deemed as the journey of a lifetime, for many it will be a turning point and the beginning of the journey back to their faith. For a few people, Hajj will be an ongoing journey as they come back home and try to implement lessons in patience, physical sacrifice, and complete submission. As one scholar advised, “Take your Hajj back home with you. Be in your life as you were on Hajj.”