Some Hajj operators prefer to retain their accommodation close to the Two Mosques for the entirety of the Hajj tour. This is a non-Aziziyah package (also known as non-shifting).
Many other Hajj operators prefer to retain their accommodation close to the Two Mosques for most of the Hajj tour, but only move to a third location during the Hajj days. The third location is usually Aziziyah (a suburb in Makkah). This is an Aziziyah package (also known as shifting).
An Azizyah package proves advantageous for most pilgrims for the following reasons:
1. Reduced Hajj costs for pilgrims. The prices of hotels close to the Two Mosques during the Hajj days—and immediately before and after it—increase significantly. Subsequently, a package that includes a third location (e.g. Aziziyah) during that overly expensive period means cheaper and more affordable packages for pilgrims.
2. Residence in Mina during Hajj days (8th – 13th Dhul Hijjah) means paid but unused residency. Every pilgrim is required to reside in Mina for 5 or 6 days. That means pilgrims on a non-Azizyah or non-shifting package during that period will be paying higher rates for hotels whilst not being able to stay there overnight. Therefore, for many pilgrims, it makes sense to pay less for unused hotel residency by choosing an Aziziyah package.
3. Access to Aziziyah hotels and extra facilities during Hajj days. Pilgrims on an Aziziyah package will typically have access to their Aziziyah hotels during their stay at Mina. As the facilities in Mina are very basic, and sometimes crowded, the Aziziyah hotels are an alternative that pilgrims will have access to at any time.
However, it is important to keep in mind that the stay in Mina is part of the Hajj rites; the accessible Aziziyah accommodation that Hajj operators like Hunafaa Travel provide is to alleviate some of the pressure that pilgrims face and provide facilities for refreshment and modest comfort.
4. An opportunity to prepare for the Hajj days. Many pilgrims prefer to break away from the exhaustion and busyness of Makkah just before the Hajj days in order to prepare mentally and physically for the imminent marathon-like Hajj rites that awaits them in a couple of days. As Aziziyah is calm and quiet, especially when compared to the Haram vicinity in Makkah, pilgrims utilize this time by attending Hajj workshops and training sessions organised by their Hajj operators.
5. Transport is available for visits to Al-Masjid Al-Haram. As the Makkah Grand Mosque is roughly 3 miles away, pilgrims eager to visit the Mosque can a take short trip via available taxis and shuttle services.
More on Aziziyah (recommended viewing)
– Hajj pilgrims talk about their experience of staying at Aziziyah
– What is Aziziyah?