As salamu alaykum,
May peace and blessings be with you.
As the days of Dhul Hijjah draw upon us, many of us will be preparing for Hajj. For most of us, this will be our first time, and you're probably feeling all sorts of emotions! So where do I start? What do I bring? What do I do? Am I ready? It can be overwhelming, and you're not alone. I have compiled a list to help myself and you to prepare and get organized! Let’s get started!
- Being called for Hajj is an invitation from Allah (swt), it's a great honour and it's always good to keep our intentions pure.
- Always check-in with your Niyah (intention) and ensure your niyah is only for Allah (swt)
2. Save your Money
- Going for Hajj is not cheap, from hotels to tickets and everything in between, it all adds up. Keep a budget to help you stay on track. Download an app for this, if you haven’t started using one. Im old school, so I keep everything in an excel file ;)
- Determine how you’re going to save money. Maybe it will be one full pay check a month that goes into a saving account, or even cutting down on your leisure activities.
- You have to find a way to save money, and as you do so Allah (swt) will make it easy for to save!
- Writing a will is an important part of your Hajj prep- don’t forget this step!
3. Research Hajj Groups
- Research, Research, Research every group!!! There are numerous Hajj groups that offer practically the same stuff, at a different cost!
- While you are researching, it is a smart idea to have a checklist of what you like to have in your Hajj Package and check out what they're offering.
- Have an open discussion with your family members, friends and local masjid communities that have performed Hajj in the recent years. (Everyone will have a different experience, so keep an open mind)
- If it’s within your budget, don’t skimp out on hotels that are closer to the Haram’s. If you’re staying at hotels closer to the masajids, it’ll simply be easier for you to read all your prayers in congregations.
- It never hurts to read salatul istikhara to help decide what group you choose.
4. Study and Review
- Most groups offer seminars and sessions on how to perform Hajj. However, it’s equally important for you to spend some quality time on reviewing the steps, the history and prayers. Don’t hold back, try to learn as much as possible.
- Learn about the significance of all the important places in Makkah and Madina, and what duas to read at those places
- Get yourself familiar with lectures, books, workshops and ask your circle of friends/family about their experiences.
- Think about all the ways you can maximize your trip and jot them down in a journal.
- Write down your goals and how you plan on attaining them
5. Making Amends
- Sincerely ask Allah (swt) for all your mistakes- revive yourself with some lectures to help you out with this
- Sit down with Allah (swt) make a long duaa and beg for forgiveness for all that you have done, knowingly and unknowingly and make a vow to not engage in those sins again
- Write down a list of people you’ve hurt, and go back as far as your memory can take you! These are the people you need to go find, and seek forgiveness from them as Allah (swt) cannot forgive the wrong that you did to others.
- There might be some people on your list that you won’t be able to find, in this case give sadaqa on their behalf.
6. Pack some Patience and Prepare your Heart
- This whole journey is full of trails, just like Ibrahim A.S. Even our Prophet (saw) also experienced trails, he lost his luggage as well! So no matter how advanced we’ve evolved in our modern day life- you will experience trails!
- Remember this: Jannah is not easy and our sins are not just washed away without some hardship.
- Keep in mind that’s you’re not going on vacation to a 5 star resort. The lower the expectations you have during your entire trip, the better your experience!
- Always have your cool in every situation! Easier said than done, but develop some coping mechanisms to help you keep calm. There's going to be crowding, pushing and shoving. Not everyone will apologize.
- Say Alhamdulillah to everything that happens to you during Hajj!
- When you go for Hajj, you are no longer in control; Allah (swt) is in control, so move along with His plans!
- Sprinkle acts of kindness , hold your tongue, smile and pay it forward!
7. Prepare yourself: Physically
- Hajj is a tiring journey on your body, no matter how fit you are!
- It is wise to start getting your body ready physically for the trip.
- Start off with walking 3km a day and increase your distance.
- Be mindful of what you eat and portion sizing’s.
- Get your immunization ready, make sure you have all the required vaccinations.
Some essentials to bring with you:
- Little tip: don’t over pack!
- Copies of your passport
- A backpack
- Hand sanitizer, face masks and baby wipes
- Extra pair of flip flops and good walking comfortable shoes
- Scent free toiletries – don’t forget your Vaseline!
- Snacks – opt for mixed nuts, protein bars, Rice cakes, granola mixes, pretzels, crackers, dry oatmeal cups, almond butter packs, etc.
- Hajj guide, Dua books and a copy of the quran – you can download apps on your phone as well
- Travel prayer mat
- Immodium, Ibuprofen, Vitamin C, lozenges for sore throats, flu meds, eye drops, electrolyte powders, antihistamines
- A blanket
- Super light clothing
- Water bottle
- Pocket tissue
- Travel adapter/ external battery pack
- An unlocked phone- you can purchase a Saudi SIM card, can be done first thing at the airport
- A massive pre-made dua list
- Sadaqah cash
- As for clothes- for women, opt for lighter colours and fabrics. Purchase a few abayas in advance, but you can always buy more while you're there.
- Don't forget to pack your Honey Hijab for Eid al-adha!
I pray that you find this helpful for yourself and loved ones. Share your tips in the comments below to help others out! Don't forget to support the local shops! I pray that you all have a blessed Hajj and, may Allah (swt) grant all of us the opportunity to go for Hajj, accept all our dua's, and may He accept from us.