Congratulations!!! You have been blessed with the opportunity to visit the house of Allah the Most Loving, the Most Merciful, the Most Magnificent. I’m super excited for you and kinda jealous but in a Masha’Allah way. Insha’Allah this is going to be the most amazing experience of your life! May Allah SWT accept your Hajj and make this a means of coming closer to Him. Ameen.
Allhumdullillah I had the opportunity to go for Hajj 3 years ago. I still can’t believe I went! Sometimes when I see pictures of the Ka’bah it literally takes my breath away. Something about that simple black box, so still and grand while surrounded by billions of lovers and worshipers clamoring all over it for attention and salvation.
It’s a juxtaposition of serenity and whirling commotion.
I still can’t believe I was there.
This year four of my cousins from around the globe will be going for Hajj Insha’Allah. Like most topics, I have way too much information to share than can be contained in a single conversation or post.
My plan Insha’Allah is to do a series of posts about the practical day-to-day side of Hajj. Like the title suggests- I have about a billion tips and tricks to share! I’m going to assume your hajj group will be educating you on the spiritual aspect of Hajj, I will supplement a little on that aspect but mainly focus on the practical side of Hajj.
I became very Type-A personality during my Hajj preparations and I have no regrets! I strongly believe that being mentally prepared for a myriad of possibilities helped make my hajj experience phenomenal. It’s not to say that everything was flawless and nothing went wrong, lots of things went wrong but I was barely bothered by it because I was prepared.
The reoccurring theme in all my Hajj research was PATIENCE! “Make sure you pack two suitcases worth of patience; you will be tested”- they weren’t kidding. Even before boarding the plane to go to Hajj the tests of patience began. I accidentally dropped my purse in front of a man being pushed in a wheel chair. He went nuts! Right there in front of hundreds of fellow Hajjis he started screaming about how I could have killed him, my apologies don’t mean much when he’s dead, how I should be more careful etc. I had just recovered from balling my eyes out over parting with my son for three weeks and now this man was going mental on me.I didn’t take off my earrings or roll up my sleeves – I was patient. I was prepared to expect the bizarre and insane happenings.
Today’s post will go over how to prepare for Hajj, what clothes and shoes to wear and general packing tips and tricks.
The future posts will cover:
Sadaqa & Good Deeds
Shopping & Gift Guide
What to Watch out for
Please please please remember me while you’re there- especially on the day of Arafat; every time you see a cup of chai, a tea bag,or every morning (Sahar means dawn) or whenever you see the colour purple..or a girl wearing hijab…just remember me while you’re at Hajj darn it!
Sometimes when you hear about Hajj you think it’s some sort of battle or epic fight with fellow Muslims- you’ll hear about the stampedes and twisted ligaments etc, as a result you may wanna pack armor instead of abayas- it’s not like that but it can be like that. A couple million people in a very close proximity-anything can go wrong. When my husband’s optometrist suggested glasses based on whether or not they would fall off his face when he would be elbowed in the face while at Jamarat- I got really worried.
How I prepared for hajj:
Our hajj group was pretty fantastic Masha’Allah- they provided us with booklets, DVD’s and Hajj classes. Still, we did a lot of research on our own. Here’s some of the resources I found beneficial:
I read this book from cover to cover- So much useful and practical information Masha’Allah.
The author also did a YouTube lecture pretty much summarizing the book. I recommend you watch it.
2) http://www.hajjcoach.com- Muhammad al-Shareef does an awesome job of preparing Hajjis mentally, spiritually and practically. It’s a 10 week lecture series which you can watch back to back but he recommends you watch it over a period of 10 weeks for full benefit.
3) Looking at peoples personal hajj pictures. Allhumdullillah a dear family friend was sweet enough to share her ‘Hajj-book’ with me. I’m actually surprised with how much it benefited me. Not only did it reduce my anxiety but it helped me visualize the hajj experience better than all other research combined. We ended up making a photobook of our hajj photos as well.
It’s gonna be hot! I was especially concerned about the heat because I usually shut down if overheated. I cannot function, concentrate or do anything with my life when my sweaty clothes stick to my body and my hijab starts to strangle me. In case you are visiting my blog for the first time, you can read about my tumultuous relationship with the sun here.
I went for 3 weeks, I packed 7 abayas, 7 pants and tank top/t-shirts and more hijabs than I needed. It’s ideal to pack stuff that you’re willing to leave behind. You will most likely shop while you’re there so you may need to purge some of your clothing to make room for gifts etc.
What I wore:
- Light (non-black) abayas made out of cotton, linen or chiffon(layered with some other fabric). **make sure the abaya sleeves are not too tight that you can’t roll them up to make wudhu. I had to cut a brand new abaya because the sleeves wouldn’t go up past my mid forearm.
- Tank tops and light cotton pajama pants under the abaya (if your abayas have wide sleeves wear long sleeve tops under your abaya because you will be flashing some major arm while holding bus handles, waving or reaching for something).
- Buy a pair of underwear per day and throw them out after use- you don’t want to waste your precious time doing laundry nor do you want to carry around dirty clothes
- A visor and sunglasses for sun protection. Some hajj lists suggest an umbrella as protection from sun but you will forever be worried about poking someone in the eye. My visor cost $5 at Walmart, I could adjust the velcro to make sure it didn’t fall off and it protected my face perfectly.
- Many women might be wearing hijab for the first time. Worry not there’s no shortage of hijab tutorials on YouTube! However, I suggest wearing your hijabs loose for air circulation
- Invest in a crossover body bag large enough to fit a pocket size Quran, drawstring shoe bag and water bottle. Make sure the straps are sturdy.
- Batman hijab/khimar- this came in handy while at Mina especially: regardless of what you’re wearing underneath, you can slip this full covering hijab on and not worry about covering yourself-very helpful when you’re in a hurry. Try to get the ones with built in sleeves.
- Bring nice clothes with you as well (unless you’re only going for a week), there will be plenty of time for photo opportunities. My husband and I coordinated most of our outfits because I’m silly like that :). Our hajj pictures turned out really nice by the way !
Make sure you break in new pairs of shoes a couple weeks prior to leaving for hajj.
* I wore Skechers Active Breathe Easy Relaxed Fit Mary Jane Shoe. It had a strap to ensure they wouldn’t come off for any reason, they were easy to slip on, the top part was breathable mesh, the sole was comfortable and gave my foot support. Allhumdullillah they were the PERFECT pair of Hajj shoes. No complaints whatsoever.
No need to spend big bucks on washroom slippers – I bought mine at the dollar store.
I had bought thick, padded socks to wear during Tawaf and Saiyy because I was told that is when your feet experience the most wear and tear -but I didn’t end up wearing them because no one else was!
Avoid being South Asian- yes I know, this is Hajj we are talking about: everyone is Holy moly and no arab is better than a non-arab..but the general population is kinda racist towards South Asians. I don’t want to dampen the mood but it’s the truth. They associate South Asians as general laborers or low class..I know your shilvaar kameez is the most comfy thing ever but if you’re the type to be bothered by being treated like a second-class citizen then just avoid putting yourself in that situation. Ladies wear an abaya and men wear a thawb.
General items to pack and tips
*your personal toiletries
* sleeping bag
*mini sewing kit that includes scissors
* hand-held digital scale
*aloe vera gel for rashes, cracked skin and as a moisturizer
*adapter for 220V
*ear plugs and eye mask (really came in handy at Mina)
* GSM phone. This will save you HOURS when trying to meet up with someone.
*scent free disinfectant wipes
*any medication you take as well as prescription for it
* mini book light
*photocopies of all your documents. Put a copy of the photocopies inside each luggage just in case one of the luggage pieces is lost.
* Vaseline/ petroleum (while men are in Ihram their legs rub against each other and can cause painful chafing). Actually I used petroleum jelly as sun block and moisturizer as well.
*good quality black permanent marker to label belongings especially your Zam Zam. It is worth paying to get your Zam Zam packed in sealable bags at the airport. Make sure you clearly label it with your name and address first
We were a mini pharmacy:
Tylenol Complete (we used this more than any other meds)
non-drowsy anti-allergy medication
Tums (antacid tablets)
One of the benefits of being a mini pharmacy was that we were able to provide others with medicine when they needed it which helped us accumulate good deeds.I will be getting more in depth on the topic of good deeds in future posts Insha’Allah – but for now remember that you are rewarded according to your intentions and whether or not someone actually uses your medications, you will receive good deeds anyway!
Extra luggage locks and keys: on three separate occasions we needed our locks broken to our suitcases (long story of he said she said – I blame my husband and he blames me).Honestly, people can break into your luggage if they want to. I was amazed at how effortlessly and quickly the hotel staff helped us break off the locks with missing keys! Read Aytul Kursi over your belongings- Locks are simply a deterrent for the average convenient thief. I highly recommend painting the edges of your keys with nail polish to help identify them – it wills save you lots of headache and frustration.
Wow- that was about 2000 words only on 2 topics of Hajj tips and tricks! See what I mean about having too much to say?I hope all you Hajjis-to-be found them helpful. Stay tuned for the rest of the Hajj tips and tricks series. Please let me know if there’s anything specific you want me to write about.
For the rest of the Billion Hajj Tips and Trick series:
Part One http://chaiwithsahar.com/a-billion-or-so-hajj-tips-and-tricks/
Part Two http://chaiwithsahar.com/a-billion-or-so-hajj-tips-and-tricks-2/
Part Three http://chaiwithsahar.com/hajj-tips-shaikhs-shopping-and-shifaa/
Part Four http://chaiwithsahar.com/hajj-tips-part-four-two-types-of-people-at-hajj/
Part Five http://chaiwithsahar.com/hajj-tips-step-by-step-hajj-guide/