Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam that entails the pilgrimage that Muslims across the globe undertake to pay homage to the House of Allah and perform different rituals while doing so. Hajj is one of the greatest gathering of people on the face of this world and it embodies the preaching of equality, submissiveness, humility and universal brotherhood taught by Islam.
Millions of Muslims go for Hajj every year. When there is such a large population of people undertaking an event, the importance of prior planning and taking precautions becomes imperative. In order to perform Hajj without any hassle and discomfort, it is imperative that a Muslim takes necessary precautions, look for Hajj guide, and take proper planning measures. This is the first part of the two posts that cover preparatory tips for Hajj. In this first part of preparation for Hajj we will discuss the general and critical preparatory tips for Hajj.
General Preparatory Tips:
There are some general preparatory measures that can be taken in order to make sure that the whole travel is smooth and without any discomfort. Although these measures are not that imperative, yet their ensuring helps in making the processes more efficient.
1. Wearing of Ihram:
Ihram is a special dress which men wear during Hajj. As most of the Muslims are not accustomed to wearing this sort of a dress, therefore, it can be more than helpful if men wear it in their homes before leaving for Mecca. If they wear it upon their arrival to Mecca, then they can face difficulty in properly handling the dress as they are not accustomed to it, which can result in diversion in attention during the rituals. As far as the wearing of Ihram is concerned, instead of relying on pins and belts, mention should roll the top edge of the cloth over the initial roll four to five times so that the cloth finds grip an sticks to the body in a firm manner.
2. Washing Ihram Before Wearing:
It is necessary that the Ihram clothes that are worn should be void of any kind of scent or perfume, therefore, it is imperative that the clothes be washed before wearing them and if possible one should not use any scented fabric while washing them as well.
3. Prayer Before Wearing Ihram:
Wearing of Ihram is a special occasion for a Muslim therefore, at such a moment a Muslim must keep in mind the Sunnah of offering two Rakkat prayers of Ihram.
4. Use Of Alum:
As mentioned earlier that the use of any kind of scent or perfume is forbidden during Hajj, therefore, you need to avoid any kind of deodorant to prevent sweating or the smell caused by it. In this regard, the unscented substitute is available in the form of Alum which is easily available in the spice markets of Saudi Arabia where it is called “Shabbah”.
5. Women Precautions:
Once women wear Ihram, clipping of nails or removing of hairs becomes forbidden for them, therefore, it is necessary that women clip their nails before going for Hajj and as far as handling the hairs is concerned, they should practice binding them days before leaving for Hajj in a way that does not require regular brushing.
6. Making Niyyah For Hajj:
Although making Niyyah refers to the intentions one has for doing an act, however, when the pilot of the plane announces approaching ‘Meeqat’ that is a good time to make the niyyah for Hajj and be mentally prepared for the rituals that need to be undertaken afterwards.
7. Adjust Your Watch:
As soon as you arrive at Jeddah airport, the first thing that you need to do is to adjust your watch according to local timings so that you can keep track of prayer timings as well as the proceedings that will take place in your journey forward.
Critical Preparatory Tips:
Although Hajj is primarily related to performing religious rituals and remaining busy in rememberance of Allah, however, in order to do so one needs to by physically and mentally prepared. There are some critical factors which apparently may seem insignificant or of little importance but they can derail the whole flow of things. Some critical tips related to Hajj are discussed below.
1. Keep The Slippers Beside You:
Slippers are a necessary element which you have to have with you in order to move around while performing different rituals. As there is a mass gathering so the wise ploy is to keep the sleepers besides you instead of leaving them in the shoe rack as there can be many sleepers resembling yours so the probability of them getting mixed up is greater. To avoid any discomfort to you and to others, the wise thing to do is to keep the sleepers besides you wherever you go.
2. Keep Cool:
Such a humungous crowd is not something that you might see in everyday life, therefore, in order to avoid any panic you must keep calm and not get irritated over trivial matters such as someone stepping on your foot and so on. The more calm and cool you are the more peacefully will you see all the crowd and hence reserve your energy for the rituals.
3. Take The Alternate Route To Baab as-Salaam:
The Baab as-Salam is the door through which Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) used to enter Kabah. Due to this importance of the door, many pilgrims search for the door to enter and have no knowledge of the fact that the door is closed in the days of Hajj because of the crowd. You must take the alternate route located at a distance of few steps from the door which takes the pilgrims to Safa and Marwa mountains.
4. Women Should Take A Mahram Along:
Women are allowed to be without a Mahram on the night of Muzdalifah and at the place of Jamrat, however, during the rest of the rituals women are advised to take a Mahram with them to avoid any kind of inconvenience and to serve as a helping hand in case any unwanted situation occurs.
5. Don’t Leave The Belongings In The Bus:
The most common mistake which the pilgrims make is that they leave their luggage in the bus on which they came to the particular destination. As there is a huge number of buses that are almost the same and provide commute to the pilgrims, therefore, the chances of you forgetting bus you came in increase exponentially. Therefore, in order to avoid loss of any kind of luggage, it is recommended that you keep it with you whenever you leave the bus, no matter if it is for a little while.
6. Travel To Muzdalifah On Foot:
After spending a day at Arafat the pilgrims set their course for spending the night at Muzdalifah. Due to all the crowd and rush most of the people take buses from Arafat to Muzdalifah. If you don’t have any ailment or physical disability then you must prefer walking to Muzdalifah as it is just 6miles from Arafat and you can reach their way earlier than by going through bus. Moreover, above all, it is the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), so the extra reward of walking there is always available for taking.
7. Collect Extra Stones For Jamarat:
Jamarat is the place where the pilgrims throw stones at the pillars of Satan. It is advised that you collect extra stones before leaving Muzdalifah as there is a probability that you might miss the pillars, therefore, the extra stones can come in handy.
This is the first part of the preparatory tips for Hajj, the tips continue in the next part where additional tips related to Hajj preparation are discussed.