Hajj is one of the pillar of Islam and one of the best things we can do for us to grow spiritually. There are so many steps in the process of how to perform Hajj, but what I want to concentrate on in this post is all the Hajj tips fellow Muslims shared with me on social media.
I asked on my Instagram for them to share their tips for those who have gone for Hajj in Saudi and let us know what we should prepare for when we get invited.
I have been to Umrah in Ramadan several times, and this year 2023, was one of the busiest I have ever seen the place. So I can only imagine during the time of Hajj.
Keeping in mind that close to 3 million pilgrims attend Hajj in a small place, it sounds logical that it could be both dangerous and frustrating, as some things that could take a few minutes take hours, and that can make someone impatient. Many people who embark on this journey are unprepared for the experience and what to expect.
Even the whole process through the Nusuk app seemed to be stressful and just about the first passage of the right to be invited to Allah’s house.
So, in order to make the whole process a little bit easier, I have put a list of 10 essential things you should know before starting this beautiful journey.
Practical Hajj tips from Muslims Hajjis
#1 Have Extra Copies of Important documents
Make sure you make extra copies of your documents, as they could get lost. It’s always a good idea to keep extra copies in different places while on Hajj, for example, one in your luggage and one with you; in case you lose one, you will have a backup copy.
On your phone, keep your Hajj permit and also a copy of your passport. I always have one in case it gets lost, stolen or misplaced. Keep it safely in your bag.
#2 Check for obligatory vaccinations & restrictions
Saudi officials have announced that for this year, you don’t need Covid vaccinations, and there are no requirements for the vaccine, but they still require the Flu vaccine and meningitis one. Whether they will be checking is another story, but they have been requested by people going.
Keep copies of these as well, printed and on your phone. For the years that the certificates for require to enter Saudi, I always had them with me on my phone.
#3 Start walking asap
Universally the one major tip by people was that you need to walk a minimum of 10k steps a day. Many people mentioned they had walked even up to 30k steps in one day during Hajj. So it is definitely advisable to start as soon as you plan to go for Hajj.
The fact that during Hajj, someone could walk up to 20 miles skips a lot of people’s minds, and they start their Hajj journey without considering their physical state.
It is extremely important to exercise before Hajj, as it will be easier for you, not only to perform your religious obligations and reduce the physical strain but to enjoy the experience more. Considering you have other factors to navigate, like the heat and the fact you might not be able to carry water with you all the time, you will enjoy more of your Hajj without tiredness.
Start walking months in advance but also sign up for classes like Pilates, Zumba or other cardio options to help you. It doesn’t matter whether you are a male or a female. You can even do them at home with Youtube videos.
#4 Pack For a comfortable stay
Depending on your Hajj package, you will have things included like ihram for men, pillows and bedding in the Mina camp however, if you have to have a more comfortable stay bring things that also make you feel good.
Considering you will be tired and hot, clothing that is breathable is vital whether you are a male or a female. Polyester abaya and thobes are suggested to be avoided. Bring a cotton abaya and if you feel comfortable, light colours too. Hajj in 2023 is over the hottest months so making sure you are comfortable is essential.
Bring comfortable shoes. Crocks were suggested, and personally, my Birkenstocks, the beach version, have been lifesavers during Umrah.
Others suggested you bring adaptors and extension cords and to create a small amenity kit for your Mina stays to have everything on hand. I will be creating a packing Hajj article because a friend of mine made a great one, and I have to share it.
One-piece hijabs for Umrah and Hajj could save sisters a lot of worrying as they stay put and cover your hair. Furthermore, for a more comfortable stay, you can consider extra sheets, a travel pillow and a camping mattress which are easy to carry.
#5 Have a small light backpack
Everyone suggested that you bring a small backpack with you for your daily essentials. This is on top of the luggage you will have with you during your Mina stay for your clothes.
I bought this backpack for my trip to Peru and it was great and light.
Having in mind that many people could wait four or more hours to be processed, what you have in your bag is extremely important for those hours. Some snacks, water or fruit for the long wait or walks can be helpful.
You can also consider investing in a belt bag for easy access to your phone as well. I use mine for Umrah, and it is super helpful to keep my hands free but have my essentials.
In my bag, I always have a power bank as well to charge my phone. This is mostly for Umrah because I do take a lot of photos when in Makkah for the blog, but even when I travel, I have one.
#6 Know that toilet facilities are limited
Toilet facilities are shared with, of course, in the camp, and they are going toilets, which means you will definitely need to keep that in mind.
People suggest you bring a bottle for cleaning yourself; you can get a spray bidet from Amazon or even a normal bottle. A belt of some sort might also help you to keep your abaya from getting wet, as some mentioned there are no hooks on the doors they had.
A sister mentioned you actually took a hook with her for the door to keep her abaya which I thought was cool.
#7 Have no expectations
I think pretty much everyone mentioned this to me. Don’t go with high expectations even if you have a VIP package and you have paid thousands. Don’t expect 5-star service and ease. If you don’t want to get disappointed, you should keep your expectations low.
Expect to be tested with what you don’t like the most. Hajj is not a holiday but a ritual and an Islamic obligation that, if completed right, will wipe out all your sins. So don’t think it will be a walk in the park but more like up the mountain under to hot sun.
Allah will test your patience with what you don’t like the most, as at the end of it, the reward is worth it.
#8 Be Kind
One of my personal struggles during Umrah is people and how they push and try to get ahead, or they go super slow.
I can only imagine how Hajj will be, and this was echoed by what people on social media shared. Expect that you will walk behind slow people, that Jamarrat will be of you also being pushed. It doesn’t matter that people are in ihram or that you are doing Hajj or Umrah. You will experience this.
Different cultures and language barriers don’t help, and with millions together in a small space, it is inevitable.
Keep in mind you are there to please Allah, you have nowhere else to be, and this is an act of worship as well, in a way.
As there is no gender segregation in pushing, if you’re a woman, you should stay close to your mahram or have the means to contact each other if you get lost.
#9 Make a list of all your Duas
Prior to leaving for your Hajj, make a list of all your duas. Hajj is a spiritual journey above else. We sometimes get caught up in the rituals of hajj or what to pack for it, but this is your chance to ask for anything.
I know from experience that when I am doing Umrah, I keep repeating the same duas repeatedly because I forgot my lesser once or the wording.
Many sisters suggested writing down all of your crazy duas and actually keeping them on your phone or your book. The day of Arafat is a golden ticket and your chance to make those duas, and you don’t want to miss it. Make them crazy and include duas for Dunya and Akhira. They will be answered insha’Allah.
You can definitely include the duas from the Hajj books but make sure you also have your own personal duas. While you are at it also ask family and friends what dua they want. You still get the reward too.
#10 There is a lot of waiting
There is a lot of waiting during Hajj for people to move for groups to leave etc. People have recommended having books, your dua list and a journal to keep you company. Keep busy with beneficial acts even when you are not performing rituals rather than idle chatting.
Not everything you read needs to be Islamic, you can read inspirational books that will elevate you mentally or you can read one of the all-time classic Secrets of Devine Love. Anything to spiritually elevate you and make this one of the best hajj and experiences of your life.
You can bring your Kindle so it is easy to read and not carry around too many things.
Personally, I always have a note on my phone where I journal while on Umrah and add duas to my list.
Someone had said Hajj is jihad without thorns, and I loved this saying.
It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that many say you become a different person internally. Read and learn the rituals of Hajj, but no matter how many articles you read about the best Hajj tips from those who have already performed Hajj, you will only learn through going through the holy pilgrimage of Hajj yourself.
Allah invited you to his house to complete a pillar of our religion; we know millions have missed Hajj this year for one reason or another. Open your heart to all the goodness and tests, and insha’Allah, you will be blessed in this life and the next.
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