This is the most important and dramatic event in a MuslimÕs life.
Accordingly, you must prepare yourself for this holy journey. I would like to
share with you few tips that might help ease some of the difficulties that you
might encounter. Beforehand, I would like to extend my deepest appreciation to
the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for consistently introducing new procedures, and
implementing new plans to accommodate more visitors every year. My intention is
simply to point out few ideas and not religious advice that you might want to
consider, based upon my own experience and that of the group I was travelling
with, during the year of 2001.
How to prepare for your Trip to perform Hajj / Umrah
Start preparing yourself after the
month of Ramadan.
Read the story of the life of the Prophet Mohammed, Ibrahim and his
son IsmaelÉpeace be upon them all. Try to put yourself through that
Get up at least once a week during the last hour of the night to pray
asking God to facilitate your intention to perform the Hajj/Umrah.
Memorize the procedures necessary to perform Hajj/Umrah and try to
watch a video that demonstrates those events.
Exercise; walk, run, bike, swim Éetc. Coming out of the month of
Ramadan and into Hajj, you need to quickly get your body in shape. No matter how
young you are your perseverance will be tested.
Memorize few DuÕa. In other words, capitalize on the spiritual
transformation you went through in Ramadan and sustain your momentum by
preparing yourself physically and spiritually for Hajj.
Items you need during your stay in Mecca
Men should use a cream against rash. Use daily during the Ihram period.
Soap; Fragrance free and deodorant. Use the fragrance free during Ihram.
Underarm deodorant, fragrance free during Ihram
Plastic slippers for the rest rooms
Koran and DuÕa pocket
A phone calling card (for U.S.A.
A facemask to cover mouth and nose especially during Tawaf and SaÕyyi.
The mask is good for no more than 30 minutes.
A cassette player! You will spend a long time in transit especially when
en route to and from Mina and Mt Arafat. As you might get tired especially after
a long day in Mt Arafat, and with the slow moving traffic, this could become
useful to ease some of the tension by listening to Koran recitations, lectures
and so on.
Upset stomach medication
Anti diarrhea medication
Fever reducer and painkillers.
Antibiotics. A 5-10-day course for bacterial infections.
Toilet tissue paper. Rest rooms are only equipped with water hoses.
Money belt. During Ihram period, men travelling with a female are advised
to have their partner carry the cash in their belt wrapped inside their clothes.
Otherwise, men should wrap the belt around their waist. Refrain from carrying a
lot of cash at one time.
Men are encouraged to wear Sandals during Ihram. Slippers might restrict
your movement in a congested area.
Laundry detergent to wash clothes
Insulated water bottle. Fill it with Zamzam water before going to Mena
and Mt Arafat.
During the days of Al Tashreeq, when stoning the three Jamarat, I
recommend the following:
Wear rugged clothing,
Avoid wearing slippers
Do not carry an umbrella
Leave your wallet behind
Count the Jamarat and have them ready, preferably in a pocket size
bag, before getting there.
x) Avoid taking lots of clothing with
you. Nevertheless, take enough underwear to minimize
the time spent on washing.
z) During your time there, drink lots of water and eat a
healthy meal. Increase your intake of carbohydrates since youÕre on the move a
Your time in Mecca
1) Carry your sandals/shoes with you in a plastic bag when in
Al Masjid Al-Haram.
Do not leave on the shoe rack for you might forget where you have left
them. Bring a prayer rug with you.
Try not to drink too much water before you start your Tawaf or SaÕyyi. You can
make up for that at the end. Rest rooms are extremely congested.
Remember the gate number when you enter the Mosque. Look around you for
landmarks that can guide you back. The King of Fahd gate is the most recent
addition at this time and that section is air-conditioned.
Try to perform ÔUmrah late in the evening 2 hours before Al-Fajr prayer. Least
DonÕt exit right after the jamaÕh prayer at the Al Haram mosque. Wait at
least 15 minutes to avoid the crowds.
Most tours when departing Mt Arafat, travel directly to Mena to throw Al-Jamrah
Alkubrah, others stop briefly at Al-Musdalifah then continue to Mena while
others spend the night or part of it at Al-Musdalifah and then continue to Mena.
If at all possible, after leaving Mt Arafat, spend the night at Al Muzdalifah,
pray Fajr, then go directly to the KaÕba and 1-perform Tawaf Al Ifadah. 2-shave/cut
your hair, 3-pay for the slaughter,
if applicable, 4-change your Ihram
clothes and wait for the evening, 5-
to throw Al Jamrah Al Kubrah. This is a good way to avoid the crowd.
Consider the second or third level of AL-Haram Mosque when performing Tawaf Al
Ifadah and Al WadaÕ. 'During Tawaf at the main level, try to move to your right as
you approach the black line that runs across from the black stone to a nearby
green light hanging on the wall. Also, carry with you a pocket Koran and a
DuÕa pocket book during Tawaf and SaÕyyi.
Consider the second level when performing SaÕyyi especially if you have a
shortness of breadth.
Men who choose to shave all their hair with a razor are encouraged to go to a
professional salon to avoid unnecessary cuts to the head.
A new packaged sealed razor should be used. A haircut using scissors can
be performed on a street corner.
the days of Al Tashreeq, try to stone Al Jamarat during the evening. Once there,
it is best to take the second level. When approaching Aljamarat avoid walking
straight across towards them. Instead, bear to the right or left, approach at an
angle, as itÕs less crowded. It
is very dangerous to bend over and collect jamarat from that area. When
performing DuÕa between the Jamarat stations try to move to the far side to
avoid the heavy traffic.
11) Arrive at least one hour before the Friday noon prayer at
Al Masjid Al Haram. Otherwise, you can pray at other local mosques and with
GodÕs willing earn the same reward. The Friday prayer period preceding the day
of Arafat is one of the most congested times at Al Masjid Al Haram.