Posts Categorized: Hajj

Pre-Hajj To-Do Tips – A Pilgrim’s Journey (Part 3)

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The pilgrimage is no easy task; the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam described it as the jihad of women. That means the entire Hajj experience (before and during it) will be a testing time.
In order to alleviate some of its difficulties, we have listed a number of to-do items ranging from travel precautions to drawing a will. We make mention of food, transport, essential Hajj gear and a whole lot more. Practically preparing for Hajj facilitates a better Hajj experience.
1. Photocopy all official documents. Make extra copies of your passport, leaving a copy behind and taking one with you.
2. Write a will. It will focus your heart on the Hereafter. Some go and never return.
1. Gain familiarity with Hajj. Familiarize yourself with the Hajj itinerary and rituals.
2. Re-learn the basics of Islam. Those travelling for Hajj should ensure that they know how to perform wudu, salah, and also the Funeral Prayer.
3. Read the history. Learn about personalities and events surrounding the Hajj rites.
4. Accompany the People of Knowledge. They can correctly explain the rites. Find a group that organizes daily reminders and provides guidelines on how to perform the Hajj rites.
5. Learn relevant supplications (du’as). There are prescribed supplications at particular points in the pilgrimage.
6. Make du’a from the heart. Do not simply read them from a book.
7. Plan ahead the conversation you will be having with Allah! Be prepared to speak to Him, asking Him to your heart’s content.
8. Pray for people. This includes those that are working during the Hajj for your safety: police, doctors, cleaners and tour guides. Make du’a for the Ummah.
What to Wear
1. Wear good footwear. Ensure they are comfortable and durable.
2. Keep in mind that you may want to put your slippers in a bag when you go to Al-Masjid Al-Haram. The floor of the Haram is granite and may be hard on sensitive feet. Take something that has some padding to ease the hardness of the floor.
What to Carry
3. Stay light. Keep your baggage to the essentials. If necessary, you can buy over there what you can buy here.
4. Keep a prayer mat with you while in Makkah. It can be very uncomfortable praying on the hard floor.
5. Take sunglasses.
6. Take Vaseline. Stop your upper thighs from getting a rash caused by excessive rubbing due to lengthy and plentiful walking.
7. Have some basic medicines on hand for cuts and bruises. Include multi-vitamins just in case.
8. Women pilgrims, please bring a pair of scissors so that it is easy and quick to cut a snippet of your hair at the end of Hajj.
Washroom-Related Gear
9. Take (perfume-free) liquid soap rather than a bar. The bar is difficult to re-package once wet.
10. Take a small bag containing all your toiletries. It especially helps in Mina.
1. Be fit. There will be occasions where transport is not available for long stretches at a time. Get into the habit of walking a few months before you leave.
2. Drink lots of water.
3. Pack healthy snacks because you will likely end up waiting several hours at the airport.
4. Do not waste food. Eat what will keep your back straight and do not over-indulge.
1. Sympathize with fellow pilgrims.
2. Put their rights before yours. You will not be asked about what the next person did to you, but what you did to/for the next person.
3. Have money available to give to the poor.
4. Try to greet Muslims from other countries; Hajj is the largest meeting of the Ummah.
5. When it is time to collect stones at Muzdalifah, try to collect a few extra. You may come across people who require them. The elderly may require assistance in collecting stones.
In-Masjid Al-Haram
1. Many people start forming rows for salah outside the masjid – go further and try to get inside as there will usually be space. Some people like to pray outside because it is easier to get back.
2. Get to the jumu’ah prayer early. Around 10.30am.
3. There are Zamzam reserves everywhere; no need to fight for Zamzam straight after tawaf. Look around for others.
In Mina, ‘Arafah, and Muzdalifah
4. Avoid the rush and save your time by scheduling bathroom trips.
5. When you reach Mina and settle down, take a …

Thinking about Hajj? – A Pilgrim’s Journey (Part 2)

PJ 1

Just because Hajj is many months away that doesn’t mean that a prospective pilgrim should put off any preparations he has [for it] until closer to the time.
Many people begin preparing spiritually, mentally and physically for Hajj a few weeks before flying out. However, a few weeks is barely enough to make the most out of the Hajj experience.
Allah said about the Hajj, “And take provisions, and indeed, the best provision is taqwa (ethical caution).” [2:197]
Allah did not simply command us to do Hajj; He also directed us to plan and make the necessary preparations.
1. Mark key dates. Take note of  the dates when Hajj is forecasted to take place, the duration of the Hajj tour, pre-Hajj seminars, vaccination dates, etc. This way, preparations are properly scheduled.
2. Start saving. Find out the average cost of a good Hajj package and calculate how much of your income should be put aside each month. You may have cut down on expenses. Be careful to not dip into savings.
3. Learn about Hajj. Reading “how” to do Hajj is important, but if you want to feel excited about it then read about its virtues and stories: the story of Ibrahim and his family, the Kabah, the farewell Hajj.
4. Gather supplies and exercise. Make a list if things you will require. That way you won’t forget anything.
There is a lot of walking involved in Hajj. Some people recommend walking regularly prior to leaving for Hajj to build endurance and stamina.
5. Inform family/friends. Informing family and friends from the onset that you are planning to go on Hajj is somewhat like a public pledge. It forces the prospective pilgrim to not give up on his plans. Moreover, this way, the family will understand that any big purchases may have to be postponed.
6. Choose the right Hajj company. We’ve written a separate post on 5 things you should look for in every Hajj operator. Read the article here.

Names of Madinah


Al-Madinah has been given many names. Historians have traced about 100 names given to Al-Madinah. It used to be part of early Arab culture that when they favoured and cherished something they would give it many names.
However, about 6 have been authentically traced back to the Prophet’s era salla Allahu `alayhi wa sallam.
1. Yathrib (يَثْرِب)

This is the name of the city before the advent of Islam. The Prophet changed its name and directed the Muslims not to use the ancient name.
2. Al-Madinah (المَدِينَة – The City)
This is the name by which it became known after the Hijrah. This name is mentioned several times in the Qur’an and Hadith.
3-4. Tabah (طابَة – Pleasent) and Taybah (طَيْبَة – Good)
The Messenger of Allah made a reference to the city with these two names.
5-6. Al-Dar (الدَّار –Home) and Al-Eman (الإِيْمَان – Faith)
These are two names are mentioned in the Qur’an: “And (it is also for) those who, before them, had residence in the Home and the Faith…” (59:9)
As for Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah (المَدِينَة المُنَوَّرَة – The illuminated City) then this appeared in the third century and became popularised during the Ottoman Empire.

Introduction – A Pilgrim’s Journey (Part 1)

PJ 2

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Throughout human history, people have been assembling for various purposes. Commercial, cultural, political, and recreational purpose have drawn thousands if not hundreds of thousands. But nothing compares to the Hajj—a gathering of millions. It is an assembly of believers bound together for a single reason: to answer the call of the Lord of the Worlds:
“Declare to the people the Hajj. They will come on foot and on every lean camel. They will come from every remote path.” [22: 27]

The result is an awe-inspiring gathering of faith. The Hajj—all of its motions and utterances—are for the sake of glorifying, exalting and surrendering to Allah.

What is ‘A Pilgrim’s Journey’?
A Pilgrim’s Journey was originally a 7-week email series produced by Hunafaa Travel with the goal of preparing a pilgrim for Ḥajj. It is concentrates primarily on the spiritual dimensions of the divinely revealed rites. It is less to do with fiqh and more to do with the deeper meanings symbolised in the Hajj.

Too often, the primary focus of a pilgrim’s preparation is on the do’s and don’ts; not much consideration is given to the deeper, more profound meanings of the pilgrimage.

What will I get out of it?
An appreciation that the Hajj rites are more than just statements and actions; they embody powerful ideas and everlasting meanings, which mature and guide the heart and mind of every pilgrim. You will, by Allah’s Grace, begin to admire the wisdom, gentleness and mercy, which Allah has placed in this epic, marathon-like worship.

Who is it for?
It is for all Muslims especially anyone travelling for Hajj. The content in this email series is applicable to life beyond the pilgrimage.
A breakdown of the contents is as follows:
1 – Thinking about Hajj
We discuss how to best plan for Hajj.
2 – To-Do tips
The pilgrimage is no easy task. To alleviate some of its difficulties we address a range of troubling issues.
3 – Explanation of the Talbiyah
We reflect on the meanings of the most repeated phrase of Hajj.
4 – Umrah: A Journey to The King
Most people couple their Hajj with an Umrah, and the actions stipulated in it are also found in Hajj. Here, we dissect the Umrah experience.
5 & 6 – 8th -13th days of Dhull Hijjah
The days of Hajj have begun. We look at what takes place on these days and make an effort to uncover the buried gems and treasures herein.
7 – Conclusion of the Hajj season
We discuss life at the end of the Hajj cycle.
8 – Bonus: A Pertinent Advice
Parting advice from one of our resident scholars.

Etiquette of travelling to Hajj


There are many points of etiquette to be followed by the traveller, which the scholars have compiled. One of those who compiled these rulings well was al-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him), in his book al-Majmu, where he mentions sixty-two points of etiquette. We will mention some of them in brief, and anyone who wants to know more may consult the writings of al-Nawawi.
He said:
Chapter on the etiquette of travelling
1 – When a person wants to travel, it is recommended for him to consult those whose religious commitment, experience and knowledge he trusts about travelling at that time. The one who is consulted must be sincere in offering advice and avoid being influenced by whims and desires. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“and consult them in the affairs” [3:159].
The authentic hadiths (prophetic reports) indicate that the people used to consult the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) with regard to their affairs.
2 – Once he has decided to travel, the Sunnah is to seek Allah’s guidance by praying istikharah. So he should pray two units of non-obligatory prayer, then recite the du’a of istikharah.
3 – If he has decided to travel for Hajj or any other purpose, he should start by repenting from all sins and makruh (disliked) actions, and he should put right any wrongs he has done towards people and pay off whatever he can of the debts he owes them; he should also return anything that has been entrusted to him and seek forgiveness from anyone with whom he has any dealings or friendship. He should write his will and have it witnessed, and he should appoint someone to pay off the debts that he was not able to pay. He should also leave with his family and those on whom he is obliged to spend enough funds to cover their needs until he returns.
4 – He should seek to please his parents and those whom he is obliged to honour and obey.
5 – If he is travelling for Hajj or any other purpose, he should strive to ensure that his funds are halal and free from any suspicion. If he goes against this and goes for Hajj with wealth that has been seized by force, he is a sinner and although his Hajj may be outwardly valid, it will not be a proper Hajj (Hajj mabrur).
6 – It is recommended for the one who is travelling to Hajj or for any other purpose for which provision is carried to take a great deal of provision and money with him, so that he can share them with those who are in need. His provisions should be good (i.e., halal), because Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“O you who believe! Spend of the good things which you have (legally) earned, and of that which We have produced from the earth for you, and do not aim at that which is bad to spend from it” [2:267].
He should give willingly so that it will be more likely to be accepted.
7 – If he wants to travel for Hajj, he should learn about how they are to be done, for no act of worship is valid if done by one who does not know it properly. It is recommended for the one who wants to do Hajj to take with him a clear book about the rituals which also speaks about their aims, and he should read it constantly and often throughout his journey, so that it will become fixed in his mind. Hence there is the fear that for some of the common folk, their Hajj will not be valid because they fail to fulfil one of the conditions and so on. And some of them may imitate some of the common folk of Makkah, thinking that they know the rituals properly and thus being deceived by them. That is a serious mistake. Similarly in the case of one who is going out for jihad etc, it is recommended for him to take a book which speaks of what he needs to know, and the warrior should learn what he needs to know about fighting and the du’as to be said at that time, and the prohibitions on treachery, killing …

Shaykh Bin Baz’s advice to Hajj pilgrims


From ‘Abdul ‘Aziz ibn ‘Abdullah ibn Baz to whomever reads it among pilgrims and Muslims everywhere.
Dear pilgrims,
As-salamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh
Welcome to the Sacred City of Allah and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that is honoured by Allah with serving performers of Hajj and ‘Umrah and visitors of the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah, who come from different places all over the world. Allah also grants the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia the blessing of serving the sacred places and securing them for those who are circumambulating the Ka’bah or staying (for worship in the Masjid), or bowing or prostrating themselves (there, in Prayer).
I ask Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) to enable you to perform your Hajj and visit the Prophet’s Masjid safely, faithfully, quietly, tranquilly, and easily. May Allah accept your Hajj, give you the best reward for it, forgive you your sins, grant you out of His bounties, and make your return to your homes safe. Verily, Allah is the Most Generous, the Most Bountiful.
Dear pilgrims, Muslims remain in a good condition as long as they advise each other, recommend one another to the truth and patience, and help one another in righteousness and piety. Thus, I remind you of the fact that you are now witnessing virtuous days and blessed places. You have come from far places and encountered a lot of difficulties in responding to Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) and intending to perform a great obligation and a lofty righteous deed that Allah (Exalted be He) orders you to do by saying:
 And Hajj is a duty that mankind owes to Allah, those who can afford the expenses; and whoever disbelieves, then Allah stands not in need of any of the ‘alamin (mankind, jinn and all that exists).

The foregoing facts necessitate that pilgrims have to keep and look after certain things to have their Hajj accepted, have their Sa’y (going between Safa and Marwah) rewarded, and have their sins forgiven through the guidance and help of Allah. Verily, there is no reward for the accepted Hajj other than Jannah (Paradise).
The following are some of these things:

Pilgrims have to make their intention sincere to Allah (Exalted be He). This is very important for obtaining the reward of Hajj. Allah (Exalted be He) says:
And they were commanded not, but that they should worship Allah, and worship none but Him Alone, and perform salah and give zakah, and that is the right religion.
Allah (Exalted be He) also says:
So whoever hopes for the Meeting with his Rabb, let him work righteousness and associate none as a partner in the worship of his Rabb.

Pilgrims and Muslims generally should make sure that they draw closer to Allah (Exalted be He) through acts that Allah (Exalted be He) ordains for His servants. While performing different rituals of Hajj, pilgrims have to follow the example of their Prophet (peace be upon him) who said: “Take your (Hajj) rituals from me.” (Related by Muslim). The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said: “Pray as you have seen me praying.” (Related by Al-Bukhari).
On the other hand, Allah (Exalted be He) says:
Indeed in the Messenger of Allah you have a good example to follow for him who hopes for (the Meeting with) Allah and the Last Day, and remembers Allah much.
Accordingly, whatever a person does sincerely for the sake of Allah but not in conformity with the practice of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) is rejected and not accepted by Allah (Exalted be He). Proof of this is the sahih (authentic) Hadith in which the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever does any act not in compliance with our deen (religion) will have it rejected.” (Related by Muslim). Moreover, Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says to His Messenger (peace be upon him):
Say (O Muhammad): “If you (really) love Allah then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
Pilgrims and Muslims generally should be knowledgeable of the rulings of their religion. This enables them to perform the obligations of their religion correctly in the same way that they were ordained. Allah (Exalted be He) says to His Prophet (peace be upon …