As Hajj is approaching, many are getting ready for the journey of their lifetime. The first daunting task when going for Hajj is to study and learn the Hajj rites. The second is, what to pack for Hajj. Here are just a few things which really helped me during my Hajj journey which I undertook in Sep 2014.

  1. Simple Cell Phone: Often people get seperated from their family during Hajj. A small simple nokia phone with a long lasting battery, is a must for each member of the family, in order to get in touch with each other.
  2. Smart Phone with Internet SIM and GPS enabled:  Everyone has one these days, make sure it has a good battery which lasts and must keep a powerbank as well to charge when needed. Many people lose their way while in Mina and cannot find their tents or their way to the Jamaraat. Many have difficulty reaching their hotels in Azizia. Lots of energy and time is wasted in this search. A smart phone with internet and GPS enabled will make it easier to find the way using google maps. Elderly people, especially,  should be taught to use the smart phone and navigate using google maps. Their tent and hotel locations should be pinned on the Google Map for easy navigation. There are shops on the ground floor of the Clock Tower where you can easily buy the internet sim from. Please make sure to only use the internet for beneficial purposes and never ever waste your time on the internet.

3. Secret Under Clothes small bad to keep your money safe on you.  You can buy this or use any other small hanging bag to keep under your ihram or abaya

4. Shoe Backpack: Don’t leave your slipper lying around the masjid. If you keep your slippers in nooks and corners of the masjid, you will never get them back because the cleaners pick them up and throw them away. Keep this bag with you and when you enter the masjid or start tawaf, put your shoes in it and wear the bag like a backpack, or tie to your main bag you are carrying.

5. Spray bottle and small towels for wudu: Keep  a few small towels with you. Buy a small spray bottle which can easily be bought from Bin Dawood or stores around the Haram. When you are in the bus or in the masjid and it is difficult to go out to do wudu, just use the spray bottle to do wudu. Keep the towels in your lap to soak up the water. This trick was extremely useful and helped to save a lot of time taking trips to the washrooms.(Washing all the parts three times is sunnah, once is fard, so you may wash all the parts just once and your wudu will be valid. See Islam QA for details).

6. Towels for Tawaf: The best time to do tawaf is before zuhr prayer, when the crowd is less due to heat. Go around 10:30 a.m. and do as many tawafs as you can. Finish a good time before zuhr, so you can  find a proper place to pray. At this time, the sun is shining very brightly so take a pack of small face towels with you. . Just soak the towels with water or zamzam and put them over your head. Take  a bottle filled with zamzam with you and soak the towels with water every now and then. InshaAllah the tawaf will be easy to do even in the scorching heat.

7. Deep Heat Spray or Cream and crepe bandages: I can not tell you how much relief these two things provided when my legs muscles were sore from walking. No matter how much you prepare, you are never prepared. You have to walk a lot, especially to and fro between Azizia and Mina and walk to the Jamaraat and back to your hotel

8. Vaseline, Foot Cream, Bandage, socks: Keep your feet in top condition as you have to walk a lot. Apply Vaseline overnight wear socks when possible. It’s easier to walk with socks on inside the masjid.

9. At least 12 change of clothes, Surf and hangers. Take a pack of surf and hangers. Wash your clothes and hang them to dry in the hangers in the washroom. (if you are not sharing and if you are allowed to wash clothes by the management.)

10. Abayas and Scarf: At least seven should be taken and still you will need to wash them or get them washed. The quantity you take will depend on the duration of your journey.(i went for 40 days)

11. Two sets of Ihram: Men should take two sets of Ihrams. They will wear one. One maybe required if the worn one gets dirty or soiled by accident. It is not easy to wash the ihram with its thickness. It is perfectly permissible to change the ihram sheets while in the state of Ihram. 

12. Comfortable slippers and walking shoes (for ladies): As walking is a requirement, this would help tremendously. Rubber crocs help doing wudu. Otherwise wear rubber slippersMake sure your shoes don’t hurt you if you walk in them for a long period. For long distances, like walking to Mina Tent, walking to Jamaraat and walking to Azizia, I always wore my comfy walking shoes with socks. Shoes would also protect you from accidentally injuring your feet. Men should also take extra slippers in case they get lost.

13. Honey and Cinnamon powder. You can easily buy from Bin Dawood stores. Regularly drink this hot tea made by dissolving one tablespoon honey and cinnamon powder in hot water. This will prevent  flu/ cough/ allergy, InshaAllah.

14. Small and spacious backpack: This will be your main bag with everything you need when you leave your hotel room for masjid e haram and when you leave for Arafah and Muzdalifah from Minah.
This bag should be spacious enough to carry the following items:

a. Small water bottle (keep refilling with zamzam while in Haram)

b. Small travel Janamaz.(It will be a good idea to use the prayer mat especially with the current Covid scenario)

c. Your shoe-bag. Stuff it in and take it out when entering the haram to keep your shoes. Once in the masjid, tie your shoe bag to your backpack so you don’t lose your shoes.

d. Your dua books and cards, tawaf tasbeeh, Hajj and umrah books.etc .

e. Your Hajj ID cards/ imp documents that you have to carry all the time with you.

f. Small Quran with translation.

g. Keep some amount of money in the bag and the rest of the money should go into the hidden underclothes hanging bag. Always keep it under your clothes.

h. Dates, dried apricots , biscuits etc for a quick snack when hungry.

i. Spray bottle and towels for wudu.

j. Extra pair of  socks.

k. Panadol, disprin some other meds you take.

l. Extra scarf pins.

m. Fragrance free soap. Cut up into small pieces and take one piece with you every time you go to the washroom. (This is only when you are in the state of ihram)

n. Foldable small umbrella. You need to keep this with you when you go to Mina. It comes very handy and gives you shade when you are walking to Jamaraat from your tent or walking to your hotel in Azizia.

PACKING FOR MINA for the Day of Arafah and Night in Muzdalifah

On the 8th ZilHajja you will pack a small bag apart from the backpack mentioned above and travel to Mina. Spend the day there and the next morning after Fajr leave for Arafah spend the day there and then after maghrib you will leave for Muzdalifah and spend the night there. The following morning you will come back to your hotel room,  which will be in Azizia, most probably. So, on the first day of Hajj, you have to pack very carefully. You can not take a lot of things because the space in Mina is very limited and you can not carry so much stuff to Arafah and Muzdalifah as well. Following are some things you should pack for these days in you Mina Bag.

  • Sleeping Bag or straw mat for Muzdalifah. Some nice foldable ones are compact and light to carry.
  • Inflatable or small pillow for Muzdalifah.
  • Big bed sheet as mentioned below for women to cover themselves.
  • Big Chaddar for Mina to wear instead of Abaya.
  • Wear slippers to Mina and keep one extra pair.
  • An extra ihram for men and an extra dress and abaya for women. (The toilets are filthy and you just can’t take the risk of accidentaly  soiling your clothes or abayas)
  • Fragrance free soap. Cut it up into small small pieces and take one piece with you to the washroom every time you go.
  • Medicines like panadol, anti diarrhoeal, Primolut -N for ladies etc
  • Antibacterial cream like Polyfax and bandage for foot in case you get injured.
  • Quran and adhkaar books. Hajj guides.
  • Cell phone with power bank.
  • A big Water bottle. Make sure you have enough water for Muzdalifah.
  • Some dry food items like dry fruits, biscuits,dates. Do not eat a lot in Mina and Muzdalifah. Do not drink a lot of tea. Avoid rich oily foods. If your group provides you with oily food and lots of tea,.  avoid it and instead eat these dry things you carry with you. You don’t want to visit the washrooms frequently!
  • Spray bottles and small towels for wudu.
  • Wet wipes and tissues. Ensure the wipes are also fragrance free.

MORE TIPS FOR MINA AND RAMI

  • When your group takes you to your Mina Tent on 8th ZilHajj, look around, you should see a big yellowish royal palace on one of the hills in Mina. Have a good look and use this as a guide to find your tent location. Note down your Tent no, street no etc so you may easily find the way back to your tent on 10th Zilhajj. Mark your location on Google Maps. There will be no buses or any other transportation within Mina on 10th and 11th ZilHajj and you will have to walk on foot from Azizia to Mina.
  • On 10th Zilhajj, the best time to do rami  is chasht time. This is when Rasool Allah ﷺ did Rami on the day of Qurbani. It was not very crowded In Sha’ Allah and we did rami easily at chasht time.
  • For the Ayaam-e- tashreeq (11th, 12th and 13th) time for rami is between Zhur and Maghrib and the best time is before Asr. It is not so crowded at this time.
  • Please also note that it is wajib to spend the day (as much as possible) and especially the nights of 10th, 11th and 12th ZilHajj in Mina. However, the groups mostly arrange dinner in Azizia hotels. So the best thing to do is, to go to Mina at night after dinner, spend the night there and stay there till Zuhr and lunch and then go to do Rami after lunch  This is the best time to go and its not so crowded as well. After rami go back to your hotel in Azizia for resting and dinner and then back to Mina at night.

TIPS FOR ARAFAH                                                                                 

  • We easily reached Arafah by bus from Azizia without much traffic jam. There was a big tent in Arafah with air coolers. However, some of the coolers were not working and most women wasted their time trying to get it fixed and arguing and bickering with each other over the coolers. Please practice sabr, it may be very hot, the coolers won’t work, you might not get a very comfy place to sit. Have sabr and keep yourself busy in adhkaar. Do not talk and gossip.
  • The environment inside the Arafah tent was more like a party. Free tea, laban, juices and drinks. Avoid drinking and eating alot. The toilet arrangements in Muzdalifah are negligible  and keep in mind you have to spend the entire night there. If the environment in the Arafah tent is party-like, please leave the tent and go outside and take your foldable umbrella to give yourself shade and make dua intensely. THIS IS HAJJ. Make the most of it. There is a Hajj Khutbah from Masjid e Nimrah at Zuhr. Often the meal is served at Khutbah time in your tent and there is no arrangement for listening to the khutbah. Delay eating and tune in to the radio (on your cell phone using headphone) to listen to the Hajj Khutbah- which is in Arabic, even if you don’t understand it! It is masnoon to listen to the khutbah.

TIPS FOR ZAMZAM

  • Don’t buy pre-filled zamzam cans! It may not be zamzam. Fill it yourself.
  • Don’t drink anything else other than zamzam while you are in Haram. It keeps you healthy and strong and minimizes the trips to the toilet. This is my personal experience.
  • Buy a large plastic water bag which you can easily stuff in your bag. When you are going back to Azizia or to your hotel, fill up this bag (it can hold 6 litres and you can buy this from Bin Dawood) from the zamzam coolers which are placed outside the new building. It’s not very crowded there. This way you will only drink zamzam even in your hotel room.
  • Take this zamzam filled bag with you when you are travelling to Medinah and/or Azizia for good.
  • At the airport, when you are going back home, unfortunately, zam zam cans get stolen. To avoid this buy the 5 lit or 10 lit can, whichever has been allowed by your airline and pack it in a box or a bag so it is not identifiable from outside.That way your zam zam cans will not get stolen as no one will know what’s inside.

The Following tips are for women.

  • Big Chaddar: In Mina, you can take off your abaya but keep a big light weight chaddar to cover yourself with.
  • Bedsheet:   In Muzdalifah, if you don’t have a tent, you are out in the open and lots of men can be around you and you have to stay the entire night, so cover  yourself with a big bedsheet when you lay down.
  • Tent: Some women preferred to sleep in traveling tents to maintain purdah. This is a good option if you can carry and set up the tent easily.However, it can get very hot and stuffy inside the tent.
  • Long loose abayas for Masjid e Haram: Front closed, long and flowing abayas are good for the Haram because you have to walk with lots of men around you. Sometimes even way before the Salah begins, people just come and sit in the Masjid courtyard and there is very less place to walk or you have to walk with men sitting all around the path. I also wore socks to cover my feet and also wore sunglasses. My abaya sleeves were long enough to cover my hands as well.
  • Shorter Abbayas for Mina, Arafah and Muzdalifah: Shorter Abayas which are not very flowy and do not drag on the ground with simple sleeves are much more preferable in the days of Hajj because the streets are not very clean in Mina. They are easier to manage in the washroom as well.
  • Pack of scarf pins, scarf clips, hair clips and hair bands:  We all know how many just get lost, so take a pack. Don’t waste your time looking for and buying them from shops. Often the quality is also very bad and the price too high.
  • Eid Clothes: Don’t forget Eid and pack some new or nice clothes to dress up on Eid.But please don’t ruin your Hajj by going in front of non – mehrams with makeup jewellery and nice clothes.
  • Scissors: For cutting your hair after the umrah and tawaf e ziarah. Please don’t cut your hair in an open public space. Come back to your room and then cut your hair to exit the state of Ihram.
    • Women should pray in women designated areas or where there are no men behind them or on the sides. To find such a place women will have to leave tawaf extra early. Basement of the Haram is best for women with separate areas only for women)

Most of all keep making dua to Allah to make this trip easy for you.. to provide you His help throughout the journey and accept your Hajj and all your ibadaat.

May Allah accept from me and you. Ameen

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