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  1. I purchased their Economy Package for Hajj 2019 and it was great. The hotel in Makkah, IBIS Styles was clean, nice and had great food. It also had shuttle service to Haram. I really enjoyed that I did not have huge crowds of people out front the hotel. The hotel in Madinah, was right next to Masjid El Nawabi and exactly what was advertised. They did a great job all around from all the questions I had before Hajj to my departure from Jeddah, everything was well handled. EZ Hajj Groups Hajj Packages Cheapest Hajj Packages from USA Best Hajj Packages from USA Hajj 2020
  2. You may have learned about Hajj as a child and dreamed of visiting someday. You’ve likely been saving up for years just for this moment. And now, it’s finally happening. Allah has invited you, out of all the other Muslims in the world, to visit His home. Alhamdulillah. We’ve put together this all-inclusive guide to help you make the most of this beautiful journey of the body and soul. Feel free to print it out and take it with you to read on your flight and throughout your Hajj. May Allah (swt) make your journey a smooth one and may He accept your Hajj! Which Hajj Group Do I Choose? This is often our first thought when we start planning the logistics of Hajj. For starters, we recommend www.hajjratings.com for a nice overview of different groups. More importantly, though, the heart plays a role here. Don’t let your heart heedlessly rely completely on the group you chose or the amount you spent. We know of people who get the VIP package and are completely disappointed and others who get the economy package and are completely satisfied. Place your trust in Allah first. No matter how much you spent or what your Hajj group promised, they are creation and at any given time, the situation may get completely out of their control. As for the Creator, place your tawakkul on Him alone and you won’t be disappointed. Attach your heart to Him, expect the best from Him, seek your needs from Him and He will surely make it a successful Hajj. “Whosoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him” (al-Talaq 65:3). Make sure you work on your spiritual provision in preparation for Hajj, more than the material sustenance. What you really need during Hajj is righteousness and piety. Hajj will test your patience to limits you have never known before. This is the purpose of it. Definitely do your research for a Hajj group, but don’t stress the decision too much. What are you carrying in your heart? Why are you going for Hajj? What are you trying to achieve when you go to Hajj? That is what matters the most. Before You Go Learn how to pray Salatul Janaza. Understand the meaning of what you recite in salah – good source here. Make a will before you leave. Sincerely repent – pray 2 nafl and make tawbah. Ask your family and friends to overlook and forgive your shortcomings. Print a dua list. Ask your family and friends for dua requests since you will be in the holiest of all places on the best day of the year – Arafat. You can make a quick form on google forms and then email it out to all your acquaintances. While stepping out of the home, offer the following supplication: Bismillaahi tawakkalthu ‘ala Allaahi laa hawla walaa quwwatha illaa billaahi — (I start by the name of Allah; in Allah, I place my trust. There is no strength (to do good) nor power (to resist evil) except with Allah). Learn and appreciate the history of Makkah and Madinah. The most important advice we can give you is to really learn the seerah of the Prophet (S) to appreciate the beauty of the place you are about to set foot in. This will make your Hajj more special and memorable. The difference between an average Hajj vs. an OUTSTANDING Hajj is this point. The 3 best sources that come to mind are: Watch the Omar Series on YouTube, starting here. You will visually see Islamic history from the point of view of Omar ibn al Khataab (3rd Caliph). The series is action-packed, captivating, and reportedly the biggest Arab production ever. It’s 23 hours long but totally worth every minute. Listen to Yasir Qadhi’s seerah on YouTube here. It’s over 100 hours of in depth detailed knowledge, with great connections to modern day society. Read Martin Ling’s Muhammad here Suggested Packing List Pocket Quran and pocket dua book Dua list for yourself and others; here is a great place to start! Men: Ihram (2 pieces of plain white cloth) and belt to hold Ihram (thicker one for colder weather,’; bring an extra pair if you like in case the first gets dirty) Lots of underwear if you don’t want to do laundry. Note: Laundry is 3-5 times more expensive during Hajj season. If you are planning to wash your clothes yourself, bring some detergent and good sturdy plastic bags (such as trash bags) to line the sink with when you wash your clothes, because sinks may be dirty Umbrellas for the heat. This is absolutely necessary! Small flash light for Arafat/Muzdalifah Men: shaving razor and/or scissors for cutting your hair (if you plan on doing it yourself) Vaseline (very necessary, men should apply on thighs to avoid chafing in their Ihram) This Hajj guide and/or a Hajj app on your phone Small journal to document experiences, reflect, write prayers, and write goals to change in sha Allah Sunglasses – highly recommended since the sunlight is harsh A smartphone or tablet that can connect to wifi to call and message family back home Phone charger Universal adapter Toilet slippers Hand sanitizer Light jacket for nighttime (if needed) Extra copy of passport (Saudi government will take all passports and give them back after Hajj) Small light foldable prayer mat Power bars and granola bars — bring extra to share with others Cheap watch you don’t mind getting very dirty Eyeglasses if necessary. Don’t wear contact lenses since there is dust everywhere. Travel packs of tissues Extra plastic bags for dirty laundry or other random needs; extra plastic bags are always useful Empty water bottle to fill up at airports and keep you hydrated A suitcase that is easily identifiable. Try to avoid black; or if you have a black one, tie a ribbon around it so your luggage doesn’t get confused with someone else’s. Unscented deodorant Unscented baby wipes Unscented bug repellant Light drawstring bag or backpack to keep your shoes in while you’re inside the masjid Slippers Sleep eye mask and ear plugs Basic medicines (Immodium, Tylenol, ibuprofen, cough drops, Vitamin C tablets) If you’re planning on going shopping, take a collapsible bag inside your suitcase so you can fill it with all the new items you purchase And last but not least, a clean heart and lots of taqwa ? Preparing Your Mind If we ask you what you see below, what will you say?One black dot, right? Wrong! Its actually one black dot surrounded by lots of white dots. But you can’t see the white dots, right? That’s exactly how we see all our blessings. We just take them for granted. On Hajj, create a mentality where you look for the white dot in every situation. The black dot will always be there (traffic, long lines, rude people, sickness) but look for the white dots (alhamdulillah I’m in Makkah, alhamdulillah I’m with my brothers and sisters from all over the world, alhamdulillah I have 2 legs that carry me through these beautiful rituals). With that mentality you will strengthen your resilience and pass any test that Allah brings your way. And trust us, you WILL be tested. Weather Saudi Arabia has a desert climate characterized by extreme heat during the day, an abrupt drop in temperature at night, and very low annual rainfall. From May to September, most of the country bakes in temperatures that average 42°C and regularly exceed 50°C in the shade. July and August are particularly brutal. The coasts are only slightly moderated by the sea, which usually keeps temperatures below 38°C — but at the price of extreme humidity (85-100%), which many find even more uncomfortable than the dry heat of the interior. Only the elevated mountainous regions stay cool(er), including the summer resort city of Taif and the mountainous Asir region. In winter, though, it’s a surprisingly different story. Daytime highs in Riyadh in December average only 21°C, and temperatures can easily fall below zero at night, occasionally even resulting in some snow in the southern mountains. The winter can also bring rains to all or most of the country, although in many years this is limited to one or two torrential outbursts. The end of spring (April and May) is also a rainy season for much of the country Money The Saudi currency is the Saudi riyal (ريال, SAR), which has traded at a fixed 3.7450 to the US dollar since 1986. The riyal is divided into 100 halalas, which are used to mark some prices, but in practice, all payments are rounded to the nearest riyal. Odds are you probably will never see any halala coins. Bills come in values of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 riyals, with two series in circulation. Saudi Arabia is still largely a cash society, but credit card and debit card acceptance is surprisingly good everywhere. ATMs are ubiquitous especially in gas stations and malls, and all banks accept foreign cards. The largest bank in the country in the National Commercial Bank. Money-changers can be found in souks but are rare elsewhere. Merchants do not accept foreign currencies. Prices are generally fairly expensive: figure on USD50/100/200 for budget, mid range and splurge-level daily travel costs. Tipping is generally not expected, although service staff are always happy to receive them and taxi fares are often rounded up (or, not uncommonly, down). Food and Drink Fast food is certified halal in Saudi Arabia and thus is a huge business there, with all the usual suspects (McDonalds, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Subway) and a few chains that rarely venture outside America elsewhere (e.g. Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr., Little Caesars). Meals served with fries and Coke cost SR10-20. Some local imitators worth checking out include: Al-Baik – Fried chicken – in Jeddah, Makkah and Madinah, but not Riyadh Kudu – Saudi sandwich chain Cheaper yet are the countless curry shops run by and for Saudi Arabia’s large Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi community, which serve up large thali platters of subcontinental fare for under SAR10. Just don’t expect frills like air-conditioning. Be cautious about eating in such restaurants since they do not follow western health and safety standards. The national Saudi Arabian dish is the kabsa (orange/red colored rice with lamb or chicken with strong essence and spices, but not chili). It’s similar to Indian biryani but not quite the same. The Middle Eastern staple of shawarma (doner kebab) is widely available, with SAR3-4 being the standard price for a sandwich. The Egyptian mashed fava bean stew foul is another cheap staple, and these shops usually also offer falafel (fried chickpea balls) and a range of salads and dips like hummus (chickpea paste) and tabbouleh (parsley salad). Mandi (chicken or mutton cooked with rice in a pot suspended above a fire) is also common. Finding restaurants that serve actual Saudi cuisine is surprisingly very difficult. Although many larger hotels have Arabic restaurants, they are usually of lower quality. Your local Saudi or expatriate host may be able to show you some places or if you’re really lucky, an invitation to dinner at home. Pork is forbidden in Islam and is not served in Saudi Arabia. Tap water Tap water throughout the country is NOT safe to drink. In the summer, tap water can be very hot. Bottled water is readily available and cheap at SAR2 or less for a 1.5L bottle, so many visitors and residents choose to play it safe. Many residents prefer to buy drinking water from purification stations. Crime While Saudi Arabia actually has one of the lowest crime rates in the world due to regular police presence in public, a very small level of non-violent opportunistic theft like pick-pocketing and purse snatching does exist like any other part of the world. Police in Saudi Arabia are divided into three authorities: Traffic Police (colored green), General Police (colored blue), and Special Safety Police (colored brown). Things to See in Makkah Makkah is Islam’s holiest city, as it’s the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and of our beautiful faith itself. Traveling through the city where so much history took place is a surreal and emotional experience. Jabal ar-Rahma (Hill of Arafat) – The site of Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) last sermon. Jabal Al Noor (The Mountain of Light) – In this mountain is the Cave of Hira, where Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) received the first revelations of the Holy Qur’an. Jabal Al Thur – The cave in which Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and Abu Bakr (RA) hid for three days and nights as they made Hijra to Madinah. They were fleeing from from the Quraysh, who intended to kill our beloved Prophet (pbuh). The cave entrance was blocked by a spider’s web and a bird’s nest, leading the Quraysh to believe no one was in the cave. SubhanAllah! Jannatul Mu’alla – The cemetery in which several members of the Prophet’s (pbuh) family and many Sahabah are buried. Abraj Al Bait (Makkah Royal Hotel Clock Tower) – a huge service complex that opened in 2012 to modernize Makkah and cater to its pilgrims. It definitely makes for an imposing sight as it towers over the pilgrims inside the masjid. The tower also includes an Islamic Museum and a Lunar Observation Center. Mina – A “city” that hosts millions of people during the annual Hajj pilgrimage. This artificial neighborhood is made up of 100,000 air-conditioned tents. During Hajj, this is the site of the symbolic stoning of the devil. Muzdalifah – An area of 12.25 square kilometers of desert where private hajj packages spend the night. Things to See in Madinah Madinah is the second holiest city in Islam. The Prophet (pbuh) had so much love for Madinah since the small and persecuted Muslim community was able to establish themselves there and thrive. Narrated Anas: The Prophet (pbuh) said, “O Allah! Bestow on Madinah twice the blessings You bestowed on Makkah.” Since it is visited only by Muslims for religious purposes, the main thing to see is the Masjid an-Nabawi or the Prophet’s Mosque. Men are allowed to visit the actual burial site of the Prophet (pbuh) and pay respects throughout the opening hours of the mosque, which used to close for the night at around 10PM but has since become 24/7. Women may visit only after the Fajr and Dhuhr prayers, when they are taken there in groups according to their countries. Jannatul Baqi – a huge graveyard where most family members and companions of the Prophet (pbuh) are buried. The plains and mountain of Uhud – Where the Battle of Uhud took place. Martyrs of Uhud – The burial ground of the 70 martyrs of The Battle of Uhud, including the Prophet’s uncle Hamza who is considered one of the greatest martyrs of all time. Masjid Quba – The first mosque of Islam. Masjid Qiblatayn – Where the Prophet (pbuh) was ordered by Allah to turn his face from Masjid Aqsa in Jerusalem to the Kaaba in Makkah while offering prayers. Masjid Jumu’ah – Where the Prophet (pbuh) prayed the first Jumu’ah or Friday prayers. Masjid Gamama – Where the Prophet (pbuh) once prayed for rain. The battleground of Khandaq or the Trench. How to Do Hajj Be sure you are ready to perform the Hajj. Hajj is not to be taken lightly or as an afterthought. In ancient times and even recently with several accidents and stampedes, it is not uncommon for pilgrims to die during their journey to Makkah. Hajj should be approached with seriousness and dedication. Study the rituals of the Hajj, begin to clear your mind of worldly distractions, and, most importantly, be repentant for past sins, which will be forgiven during your pilgrimage. As with all forms of Muslim worship, Hajj must be undertaken with sincerity and out of a devotion to Allah. Hajj cannot be performed for the purpose of gaining worldly recognition or material gains in this life. Hajj must be performed in accordance with Prophet Muhammad’s words and deeds (pbuh) as described in the Sunnah. Decide which type of Hajj you will undertake. Muslims have three different options when it comes to performing the Hajj. Each offers a slightly different experience in terms of the rituals performed and the timeline of events on the pilgrimage. The three types of Hajj are: Tamattu’. This is the most common form of pilgrimage and the one recommended by the prophet Muhammad himself. Tamattu’ involves the pilgrim performing the rites of the minor pilgrimage ritual known as Umrah, then performing the rites of the Hajj. Pilgrims performing Tamattu’ are called Mutamatti. As this is the most common type of pilgrimage, especially for foreigners to Saudi Arabia, the rest of this guide assumes you will be performing this type of pilgrimage. Qiran – In this option, the pilgrim performs the rites of both the Umrah and Hajj in one continuous act with no “break” in the middle. Pilgrims performing Qiran are called Qaarin. Ifraad – this form of pilgrimage involves performing only the rites of the Hajj – not of the Umrah as well. This form of pilgrimage is also notable for being the only one that does not require animal sacrifice. Pilgrims performing Ifraad are called Mufrid. Plan your trip to Saudi Arabia. Hajj takes place in and around the holy city of Makkah, which is located in the country of Saudi Arabia. As when traveling to any foreign country, you will want to have your passports, travel documents, tickets, and so forth renewed and sorted out well in advance. Keep in mind that national governments can sometimes be slow to issue new passports when old ones expire. Hajj occurs from the 8th to the 12th of Dhu al-Hijjah, the 12th month of the Islamic calendar. Because the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, the date of the Hajj changes every year on the Western Gregorian calendar. Note that, according to the Saudi government, the last day that pilgrims are allowed to arrive at King Abdulaziz Airport in Jeddah for Hajj is the 4th of Dhu al-Hijjah. The Saudi government offers special “Hajj visas” to American Muslims who have not made the pilgrimage in the last five years. Obtaining one of these visas requires an up-to-date passport, a completed application form, copies of marriage or birth certificates, and an up-to-date immunization record. Pilgrims often travel to perform the Hajj in groups as a sign of solidarity. Contact members of your local Muslim community to see if any are performing Hajj this year. If so, you may want to consider coordinating your trips. Prepare to be immersed in religion. As a traditionalist Islamic monarchy, the nation of Saudi Arabia has rules for personal conduct, especially that of women, that may be unfamiliar to foreigners. All women performing Hajj should plan to travel in the company of a Mahram – a close relative, husband, in-law, etc. Women over 45 can perform Hajj without a Mahram if they are part of a large group and have a notarized letter of consent from their husband. Everyone – both men and women – who are attending Hajj should prepare to be exceedingly modest for the duration of their stay in Saudi Arabia. Clothing must be modest and unadorned – for much of the pilgrimage, special religious garb is required for men. Cologne, perfume, makeup, and scented soap should be avoided. When a pilgrim enters the sacred Ihram state of ritual purity, smoking, swearing, shaving, cutting one’s nails, and sexual intercourse are forbidden. Assume Ihram. Ihram is a holy state of purity that all Muslims must assume before performing the rites of Hajj and which must be maintained for the duration of the rituals. Ihram requires certain physical actions and behavioral changes, but the real spiritual state of purity is attained by proclaiming one’s intention to sincerely pursue the Hajj and by reciting the Talbiyah prayer. Thus, someone who assumes Ihram externally but doesn’t have sincere belief in his or her heart isn’t truly fulfilling Ihram. Men and women enter into Ihram differently: Men: Bathe (or perform wudu, partial ablution) with the intention of Ihram, but don’t apply cologne or other scents. Sincerely repent for your sins. Clothe yourself in clean, plain Ihram sheets – wrap one around your waist and wear the other over your upper body. Wear simple sandals or flip flops that don’t cover the top portion of your foot. Avoid covering your head. These simple garments signify the equality of all before Allah. The wealthiest king and the lowliest beggar wear the same clothes on Hajj. Women: As with men, bathe or perform wudu and avoid applying scents, etc. You should also avoid applying makeup or other cosmetics. However, women don’t have special clothes for Ihram – their ordinary clothes should be used, provided that they are clean and modest. Note that in Islam, covering the head with a veil, scarf, etc. is mandatory for women and should be done on Hajj too. Declare your intention and say the Talbiyah. A special boundary called a Miqat surrounds the holy sites of the Hajj. Pilgrims cannot cross this boundary without having attained the pure state of Ihram. When a pilgrim in the state of Ihram approaches the Miqat at one of six historical entry points, he pronounces the Niyyah – a short recitation of his intention to complete the Umrah. Then, at the Miqat, the pilgrim recites the Talbiyah, a prayer that will be repeated often during the pilgrimage. The words of the Talbiyah are: “Labbayka-Allahummma labbayk, Labbayka laa shareeka laka labbayk. Innal-Hamda wanni’mata laka wal-Mulk, laa shareeka lak!” This is translated as: “Here I am O Allah, (in response to Your call), here I am. Here I am, You have no partner, here I am. Verily all praise, grace and sovereignty belong to You. You have no partner.” If she or he has not already entering into the state of Ihram, the pilgrim must do so at the Miqat before crossing. Note – it is tradition to enter these holy entryways and most other holy buildings with the right foot first. Proceed towards the Ka’bah – the most sacred location in Islam. At first sight of the Ka’bah, keep your eyes fixed on it and stand to the side of the crowd as you say “Allahu Akbar” (“God is Great”) three times, followed by saying “La Ilaha Illallah” (“There is no god but God”). Recite other holy verses if you desire. Say a blessing for the Prophet Muhammad (S) and, in total humility, make your prayers to Allah. This is an especially auspicious time to pray for something. Perform the Tawaf. Tawaf is a ritual where Muslims circle the Ka’bah. To begin, men should make sure their Ihram garb is properly arranged – make sure the upper sheet passes under the right arm and lays across the left shoulder, exposing the right shoulder. Next, all should face the Ka’bah so that the Black Stone is on your right. Make another Niyyah for Hajj, saying: ” O Allah, I perform Tawaf of Umrah to please You. Make it easy for me and accept it from me.” Next, begin to move to the right. Draw close to the Black Stone (the Eastern cornerstone of the Ka’bah) and, if possible, kiss it. If you can’t get close enough to kiss it, you may touch it with your hand. If you can’t get close enough to touch or kiss it, lift your hands to your ears, palms facing towards the Black Stone, and recite this short prayer: “Bismi’Llah Allahu akbar wa li’Lah al-hamd”. Don’t shove or fight for a chance to touch the Black Stone. Begin to circle the Ka’bah. Walk counter-clockwise so that the Ka’bah stays at your left. Circle the Ka’bah seven times, praying as you do so. There are no designated prayers for the Tawaf, so you may use ones from your daily life or simply pray from your heart. You may also point at the Black Stone each time you walk by it. When you’ve completed seven circles, you are finished. Men can now cover their right shoulder. Perform Sa’ey. Sa’ey means “to run” or “to make an effort”. In practical terms, it means walking back and forth seven times between the hills of Safa and Marwah which are to the South and North of the Ka’bah, respectively. Originally, this was done outdoors, but today, the entire path is enclosed in a long gallery. When you reach the top of Safa, recite another Niyyah, saying: “O Allah! I perform Sa’ey between Safa and Marwah to please You. Make it easy for me and accept it from me.” Then, add: “Inn-as-Safa wal-Marwah min Sha’a’irillah” (“Indeed Safa and Marwah are among the Signs of Allah.”) Finally, face the Ka’bah and recite “Allahu Akbar” three times. Add any additional prayers you may wish, then proceed towards Marwah. As you move towards Marwah, recite: “Subhan-Allah wal-hamdu-lillahi wa la ilaha ill-Allah wa-Allahu Akbar wa la haula wa la quwwata illa-billa”, or if you can’t remember this, use the shortened form, “Subhan Allah, Alhamdu Lillah, Allahu Akbar.” You may add any prayers you wish. At the top of Marwah, repeat the glorification of God while facing the Ka’bah, then walk down from the hill again. When you’ve walked back and forth seven times, you are finished. Have your hair shaved or clipped. After completing the Sa’ey, men should have their hair cut short. A man may not want to have his head shaved completely during the Umrah if he plans to complete the Hajj rites in the next few days, which also include shaving. Women should not have their heads shaved but instead may cut a lock of hair or have their hair trimmed several inches. After the ritual hair-cutting, Umrah is complete and the restrictions of Ihram are lifted. You can return to your normal activities, wear your normal clothes, etc. However, if, like many pilgrims, you will proceed to complete the Hajj in the next few days, know that you will need to re-enter Ihram to do so. Part 3 of 3: Performing the Rites of Hajj Re-assume Ihram and declare your intention to perform Hajj. Depending upon how the trip is scheduled, most pilgrims performing the Tamattu’ pilgrimage have a several-day break in between their Umrah duties and their Hajj duties, so, for sake of ease, they leave the state of Ihram after their Umrah. However, as with Umrah, the Hajj requires ritual purity and meekness before God, so, at the outset of the Hajj, pilgrims re-assume the state of Ihram. As before, bathe, groom yourself, and don the proper Ihram clothes. When you’re ready, say another Niyyah: “O Allah! I intend to perform Hajj. Please make it easy for me and accept it from me. Amen.” After, say the Talbiyah three times. The rites of the Hajj last for five days – from the 8th to the 12th of Dhu al-Hijjah. You must stay in Ihram for about three days, abstaining from the activities that are forbidden to you until this period is over. Head to Mina. On the first day of Hajj, pilgrims head to Mina, a town near Makkah, where they spend the rest of the day. Here, the Saudi government provides amenities – thousands upon thousands of white air-conditioned tents provide temporary housing for each year’s pilgrims. On the first night, no major rituals take place, so you may spend your time praying and reflecting with other pilgrims if you wish. We recommend that you rest and save your energy for the next day – Arafat. Note that in Mina, men and women stay in separate tents, which are located adjacent to each other. Though husbands and wives may interact, men cannot enter women’s tents. Prayers will be shortened but not combined. Head to Arafat and perform Waquf. On the second day of Hajj, pilgrims travel to Arafat, a nearby mountain. Pilgrims must reach Arafat by the afternoon, because, at this time, a ritual called Waquf begins. From the time when the sun first starts to decline until the time it sets completely, pilgrims hold a vigil on a plain of Arafat during which time they pray and reflect. Hajj is Arafat. If you do not stand in Arafat, even if only for a few minutes, your Hajj is invalid. No specific prayers are assigned for the Waquf, so simply pray to Allah sincerely from your heart. Many pilgrims like to also spend time reflecting on the course of their life, their future, and their place in the world. Pray in Muzdalifah. After sundown, pilgrims head to a place called Muzdalifah between Mina and Arafat. Here, they offer Maghrib and Isha prayers and spend the night sleeping on the ground beneath the open sky. In the morning, gather pebbles, as you will use these for the Ramy “stoning” ceremony later in the day. Pebbles should be about the size of a chickpea, and you will need either 49 pebbles if you are stoning for 3 days and 70 pebbles if you are stoning for 4 days. Gather a couple of extra pebbles just in case you lose some or miss your target. Perform Ramy in Mina. Before the sun rises, pilgrims head back to Mina. Here, pilgrims participate in a ceremony meant to symbolize stoning the devil. Pilgrims throw seven consecutive pebbles at a special stone monument called the Jamrat al Aqabah. This ceremony can be extremely crowded, tense, and emotional. Trampling deaths, though rare, have occurred. Because of this, the elderly, sick, and injured are discouraged from participating. Instead, they may perform this later in the evening or have a friend perform the ritual in their place. Offer a sacrifice. After the Ramy ceremony, it’s necessary to offer an animal sacrifice (Qurbani) to Allah. In the past, each pilgrim did this individually; however, today, it’s much more common for pilgrims to simply purchase a sacrifice voucher. These vouchers signify that an animal was sacrificed in your name. After selling vouchers, qualified personnel will sacrifice a lamb for each pilgrim (or a camel for every seven pilgrims), butcher the animals, package the meat, and ship it to Muslim communities all over the world to be used to feed the poor. Animal sacrifice can be done at any point on the 10th, 11th, or 12th day of Dhu al-Hijjah. If Ramy has to be postponed for any reason, wait until after Ramy to make your sacrifice. Get your hair cut or shaved. As in the Umrah, pilgrims must have their hair ritually cut. Men may have their hair completely shaved or cut into a very short haircut (if a man opted for a short haircut during his Umrah, he may now want to have his hair completely shaved off, though he is not required to). Women can have a short lock of hair cut – their heads are not shaved. Perform the Tawaf and Sa’ey. Just as in the Umrah, the Hajj requires pilgrims to perform the Tawaf and Sa’ey rituals at the Ka’bah and the nearby hills. The rituals are performed essentially identically to how they are performed during the Umrah, but it is highly recommended that these ceremonies be done only after the stoning, sacrifice, and hair-cutting rituals. After completing the Tawaf and Sa’ey, you are released from your state of Ihram and may resume the activities that were previously prohibited. At the end of your third day, return to Mina and spend the night there in prayer. Repeat Ramy after sundown on the fourth and fifth days. In Mina, you must once again participate in the stoning ritual. This time, you will not throw pebbles only at the Jamrat al Aqabah, but also at two other monuments – the Jamrat Oolah and Jamrat Wustah. First, throw pebbles at the Jamrat Oolah, then praise Allah and supplicate with your hands raised (there are no assigned prayers, so you may use your own.) Repeat this for the Jamrat Wustah. Finally, throw your pebbles at the Jamrat al Aqabah, but after, you don’t need to pray – you can return home. Repeat this ritual after sundown on the fifth day. Perform the Farewell Tawaf. Alhamdulillah, your Hajj has come to a close. To mark the end of the most important religious experience of your life as a Muslim, perform one final tawaf, walking around the Ka’bah seven times as before. As you perform the Farewell Tawaf, reflect on the thoughts and feelings you’ve experienced on your Hajj. Offer praise and supplication to Allah. When you’ve finished, complete any unfinished business you have remaining in or around Makkah, then depart for your home. After making the Hajj, many pilgrims opt to travel to Madinah, the second-holiest city in Islam. Here, they can visit such holy sites as The Prophet’s Mosque and The Holy Tomb. No Ihram is necessary to visit Medina. Note that foreign pilgrims are required to leave Saudi Arabia by the 10th of Muharram (the 1st month of the Islamic calendar). Below is a good visual summary of what to do each day. hajj guideGood Things to Do During Hajj Say Salaam to strangers Smile at your fellow Muslims – it’s sadaqah! Read Qur’an with the Tafseer Do the authentic dhikr of the morning and evening Make dua during your sajdah Stand to the side of a gate and offer people water/tea as they leave Give major attention to shy people in your group Purify your actions for the sake of Allah Make dua for your friends (and the author of this list ) “The supplication of a Muslim for his brother in his absence will certainly be answered. Every time he makes a supplication for good for his brother, the angel appointed for this particular task says: Ameen! May it be for you too’” [Muslim]. Remember – during the heat – the unending torment of Hellfire Say ‘Laa ilaaha illa Allah, wahdahu laa sharika lah, lahul Mulk wa lahul hamd, wa Huwa ‘ala kulli shay’in Qadeer’ 100 times Give charity to those who sell meager things (sandals/eggs) Forgive people that wrong you Talk to 10 different people from 10 different countries Compliment someone sincerely Visit the hospital and thank Allah for all that He has given you Offer perfume to those around you Remember specific blessings Allah has bestowed upon you and say Alhamdulillah Pray to Allah using his 99 most beautiful names (al Asmaa’ al Husna) Use a Miswak Fill your pockets with candies and give to the children that you meet Always intend reward from Allah for everything you do Donate a Qur’an: When you visit Makkah and Madinah you will see thousands of Qur’ans in the Harams. You may wonder where they come from. You will be surprised to know that a large majority are donated by people like you. Yes, you can donate Qur’ans to both Harams in Madinah and Makkah. It’s very simple; there are tons of bookstores outside the Masaajid. Just go to a bookstore and tell them you want to buy a Qur’an or Qur’ans to donate to the Harams. The bookstore will know which Qur’an to give you, and they’ll stamp the inside for you as well. It costs about 20 to 30 Riyal (about 8 dollars/4 pounds). You then take the Qur’an and put it anywhere you like in the Masjid. It is that simple. Can you imagine the reward you would get for people reading from a Qur’an you donated? If the Qur’an lasts until next Ramadan, then you would get the reward of all the people reading the Qur’an you donated in Ramadan in the holiest places on Earth, while you will already be back home! Give water to others: You will see people start coming in the Masjid especially in Makkah for Jumu’ah a few hours before it starts. It is not uncommon for people to arrive around 9-10am for Jumu’ah that starts at 1pm. The reason being that the crowds swells so much that people end up praying up to a mile away on the streets. To get a good spot near the front of the row, people have to brave scorching heat and sun by sitting in the open courtyard for hours. A good way to capitalize on this is (in terms of ajar) is to bring to two 2-liter empty water bottles when you arrive. Fill them with Zam Zam before you sit down in the courtyard. Grab some cups as well. As the crowds begin to increase and it gets hot, start passing out water to those near you. When the bottles finish, ask someone to save your spot. Go refill the bottles and repeat passing out the water to those in the courtyard near you. Remember the Hadith Qudsi regarding giving people water to drink. Wheelchairs: Would you like to be able to do multiple Umrahs/Hajj/Salahs at the same time? Donate a wheelchair. There is a hadith that says whosoever becomes a means for something good get the reward for that good act. So imagine, if you donated a wheelchair and someone was able to do Umrah/Hajj and go to the Masjid on the wheelchair. Can you imagine the reward?! Donate a wheelchair and register it at the office by Door 25 (in Madinah). It cost about 200 Riyal (50 dollars/25 pounds). Or just buy a foldable prayer stool for those people who cannot sit down and leave it in the masjid. This costs just 30 Riyal (9 dollars/4 pounds). The Why’s of Hajj Why wear Ihraam? Ihram is a sacred state where things are literally “haram” for you. Ihram is from haram. Both meanings, to be sacred and to be forbidden, are carried in it. Through the ihram, the heart is meant to leave the temporary and the finite – to make it, in a sense, “forbidden” – and to prepare for the sacred audience of Allah’s presence. Prohibitions – cutting or shaving hair, cutting nails, perfume, hunting, marriage, foreplay, and intercourse. Additionally, men cannot cover their hair or wear stitched clothing. These prohibitions remind us not to worry about vanity. This is like Qiyama, and you have better things to worry about.Our uncovered hair shows that we don’t have dignity and are slaves to Allah. The muhrim has disengaged from everything and anything that distracts him or her from Allah and, consequently, from remembrance, peace and stillness. The muhrim has left his or her home taking taqwa or Allah-consciousness, the best sustenance, as a provision. You are now putting on the clothes of your death, and this symbolizes you being physically dead. Is there anything you regret not doing before you “die?” This is the time to ponder and think. Just think that one day you will really “die” and you will be wearing these exact clothes. Once Ihram is worn, all focus (just like in salah) should be on ONLY Allah. Free your mind of all the worries of the world, and return back to your Creator. Whether you are a king, prince, doctor or a janitor, you are all wearing the same two pieces of clothes just as you will at your death. Thus, in the eyes of Allah, as you get ready to enter His house, everyone is equal in His “eyes.” Family, creed, color, job… here, nothing matters to Allah except your obedience. When you put on your ihram and start making your tawaf and sa’i and go to Mina and Arafah, no one will recognize if you are a minister or teacher or director or this or that. No one can tell. Regardless of how fancy or expensive your ihram is, a few hours later, it is not as fancy as it used to be. You will all look alike. People will not call you by your title. Even if you try to zoom out of the beautiful scene of tawaf around the Ka’bah, who are you in that crowd? You are like nothing in these waves of people who come from all over the world. The beautiful thing about it is that they all come unified for one purpose: to dedicate their service to Allah, and that is what they keep saying: “Labbayk allahumma labbayk (in Your service we are here)… We are answering Your call, O Lord! We associate no partners with You. We answer Your call.” Allah looks at the crowd in Arafah and He sees the hands and the people as they are making du’a. Allah asks the angels – and He knows, but He is showing this beautiful scene to the angels – “Tell Me what these people want from Me.” Allah knows the answer. They say, “Ya Rabb, they are coming here asking for Your Mercy and Your Forgiveness. They are coming here admitting their faults and wanting Your Mercy.” Allah answers them saying, “Be my witnesses that I have forgiven them their sins.” Why Makkah? Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) stated: “The earth was rolled out from Makkah. Allah stretched (the earth) from underneath it. Thus it is called the mother of all cities.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari) “The first mountain that was placed on the earth was Abu Qubais.” (Abu Qubais is the name of a mountain near Makkah.) (Ibn Abi Shiba, Ibn Abi Hatim and Dailmi from Ibn Abbas.) “The angels were the first beings to circumambulate around the sacred house, two thousand years before Allah created Adam.” (Ibn Abi Duniya from Anas lbn Abi Shiba from lbn Abass/ Shafi from Ka-ab Alqirti) “There is no city on earth through which Allah multiplies one good deed by a hundred thousand except Makkah.” (Sahih Bukhari , lbn Hibban) “Whosoever offers a salat therein, then that salat is enhanced a hundred thousand fold over.” (Sahih Muslim / Sunan Nisai) “Whosoever gives one dirham therein in charity, Allah writes for him the reward of having spent a hundred thousand dirhams in charity.” (Ibn Abi Zubair in the Jamul Latif from Sunan Tirmizi) “Anyone who completes the recitation of the full Qur’an once therein, Allah records for him the reward of a hundred thousand recitations.” (Baihaqi , lbn Majah) “Whosoever glorifies Allah once therein, for him is recorded the rewards of having glorified Allah a hundred thousand times elsewhere. Every good deed which a servant enacts in the haram is equivalent to a hundred thousand deeds enacted elsewhere.” (Sunan Nasai) “Anyone who falls ill in Makkah for one day, Allah renders his body and his flesh haram (forbidden) from the fire of Jahannam.” (Sahih Bukhari) “Anyone who falls ill in Makkah for one day, Allah records for that person the rewards of having done good deeds equivalent to sixty years worship in any other place.” (Muatta) “Anyone who endures the heat of Makkah with patience for an hour of the day, Allah will distance that person from the fire of Jahannam by a distance of a journey of five hundred years and bring him closer to Jannah by a distance of a journey of two hundred years. Indeed Makkah and Madinah eject any impurities within them like flames eject rust from iron. Understand carefully! Difficulties and calamities abounded in Makkah right from its inception. Great stages are realized by enduring these difficulties.” (Sahih Muslim) “Anyone who endures any difficulty experienced in Makkah (with patience), I will intercede and bear witness for him on the day of Qiyamat.” (Sunan ibn Majah) It is the knowledge of over 4,000 years of history which really renders a pilgrim to tears. It is that history which one must study in depth before embarking to Makkah. Keep in mind that you are now entering the precinct of the King of all Kings. Remember that when you were present in your own house, you did not follow His orders and commands. You did not respect His wishes, but yet you are now entering His home. Are you not ashamed to approach Him in a sinful state? Would you allow someone whom you did not respect to enter your house? You are now entering the house of your Host. Pay respect to Him and show Him how much you have missed Him. Talk to your Lord. Understand the fact that this house represents the house for the people. Therefore it is your home too. Allah’s house is your house, because you are from Him, it belongs to you, thus, you are no longer a traveler, and Qasr salah is not required. Various individuals around the world come and visit the “wonders of the world.” Yet, every year 2 million Muslims come and visit a hollow cube made from bricks. No architectural beauty to this building, yet everyone is infatuated with it. Why? Because the Kaaba is like the sun, and we are like the planets that circumambulate around it, and our mere existence is based on its energy. Today this ancient city is Makkah, lying in a harsh, rocky, and mountainous desert landscape where, in antiquity, no crops seem to have grown and a climate of suffocating heat, deadly winds, and clouds of flies prevailed. For reasons known only to Allah, this land is the most beloved on earth to Him. It is far removed from the lush comforts and adornments of this world in greener, leafier and more fertile parts; it is a place that none would think to visit but those devoted to worshiping Allah, compelled by His instruction: Pilgrimage to the House (Ka’bah) is a duty mankind owes to Allah, those who are able to undertake it.” [Q3:97] Why do we do Hajj? You are the luckiest person in the world. Allah has invited you personally to His House. It is a humble journey of a poor needy slave to the House of The Most-Generous King. Prayer is a form of worship you do with your body, zakat is a form of worship you do with your money, Hajj is a form of worship you do with your body AND money. Hajj consists of the Hajj of the Body (walking, standing, collecting and throwing), the Hajj of the Mind (performing the rites with understanding) and the Hajj of the Heart (performed in total submission to The Almighty). What is Hajj? Hajj in the Arabic language means aim, destination or purpose (qasd). The reason is clear: Hajj is the ultimate journey of loving submission (‘ubudiyah) and conscious surrender (riq) to Allah. Its ultimate destination is your encounter with the House of Allah (Bayt al-Allah) – the Ka’bah – with both your physical body and, more importantly, your heart (qalb). You will be journeying from your earthly house to your spiritual home – Makkah. The haram is sacred. Feel safe when you enter it. Don’t feel unworthy to approach the Ka’bah. Anticipate meeting Allah. Thank Allah swt for giving you this opportunity to see his house. You will best tested in Hajj, guaranteed, even if you are a VIP. No matter how much you pay and how much technology has advanced, Hajj is still going to be a test. This annual event of faith demonstrates the concept of equality of mankind, which allows no superiority on the basis of race, gender or social status. The only preference in the eyes of God is piety as stated in the Quran: “The best amongst you in the eyes of God is most righteous.” While performing his pilgrimage, Malcolm X wrote, “They asked me what about the Hajj had impressed me the most… I said, `The brotherhood! The people of all races, colors, from all over the world coming together as one! It has proved to me the power of the One God.’ . . . All ate as one, and slept as one. Everything about the pilgrimage atmosphere accented the oneness of man under one God.” Allah has invited you to His House, which He has called the al-Bayt al-‘Atiq – the ancient, liberated and liberating house. Your journey is one of freedom and liberation. For as your body leaves its material house to journey to Allah’s House, your heart is meant to disengage from the lower self (nafs), the shaytan, and the world (dunya) and journey to Allah. The ultimate reward for a Hajj mabrur (accepted Hajj) is to return home with the purity of a newborn child. What could be a greater incentive! But beware, for Hajj is a selective process. Only a few will attain a Hajj mabrur, which is a Hajj performed correctly, without any disobedience to Allah and without indulging in any argumentation. Be prepared. Be vigilant. Be focused. This will be one of the greatest – and sweetest – struggles of your life. And though you will long and dream for the rest of your life to come back, you may never return again. Hajj is your chance to become an angel and to live with the delight of an angel. The person who intends to perform Hajj must do so with the express niyyah of attaining Allah’s Pleasure, and to fulfill one’s fardh, and also to diligently carry out the Commands of Allah and His Rasool sallallahu alayhi wasallam. The rewards for deeds depend greatly on the niyyah that is formed. Sincerity is extremely important. You go for Hajj because Allah commands you to do so, and your intention is to submit to the will of Allah. You travel there with full humbleness and humility to Allah. The Hajj is an opportunity to renew your covenant with Allah, that you worship none but Him. Why did you undertake the journey to Makkah anyway if you didn’t believe in Him? Hajj is a return to origin, root and beginning of Islam. It is also a self-presentation before Allah. In a sense, it is rehearsal of the Day of judgment when all human beings will return to Allah (SWT). One of the earliest scenes of Hajj, which reminds you of what is yet to come, is the check-in lines at the airport. You wait for hours. One reason for this wait is the luggage. It’s an early reminder of the Akhira. The more load you carry the longer the wait will be. Provision is essential during the Hajj. Food as a source of nutrition is required to ensure you have the energy your body needs to fulfill, the optimal way, the obligation of Hajj. Pilgrims need their energy to engage themselves in worship not cooking or fetching water. There will be no time for distractions. However, Allah subhanahu wa ta’alaa directs our attention towards a more essential provision for the journey, a provision for the soul, Taqwa. “And take a provision (with you) for the journey, but the best of provisions is righteousness ‘Fearing Allah’. So fear Me, O ye that are wise!” [2:197] Hajj teaches us that Muslims are brothers and are equal. Hajj teaches us that there are no differences among people due to race, tribe, color, home country, or language. Hajj teaches us that we belong to Allah alone and that we all need His mercy and forgiveness. Hajj is the biggest world gathering in the world. It is a demonstration of Islam’s unity and Islam’s universality. Muslims get acquainted with the spiritual and historical environment of the prophet Muhammad which strengthens their faith. It is a reminder of the Grand Assembly of the Day of Judgment when people will stand equal before Allah waiting for their final destiny. It confirms the commitment of Muslims to Allah. Muslims on Hajj are rewarded, per Allah’s will, with forgiveness of all their sins and they return back as pure and innocent as the newborn. What’s the purpose of any Pilgrimage? It’s to gain greater spiritual purification and presence after our lives. But most of the time we live our lives overly-concerned with our bodies, our other passions & desires and choose to be unmindful of our spiritual growth. Allah mentioned to us the beauty of the diversity. “We made you into tribes and people of different colors, backgrounds, languages, so that you may get to know one another.” We see this in Hajj. People sit down and don’t have a common language and start talking a sign language, but they enjoy the experience, the food, and helping one another fulfill the obligation of Hajj. Man was created from two different components, earthly and heavenly. Even though the source of the body is earth, it does not make it human until it’s mixed with its counterpart, the heavenly part, the soul. It was made clear in many ayat in the Qur’an how man was created from earth, dirt or clay. But the soul was kept a secret. Of the little we know about it, is that it is sent down with an angel after the passing of 120 days for the baby in the womb. It is for sure not coming from earth, because it’s coming from above. Consequently, the body needs nutrition of earthly ingredients to sustain its functionality. Things like a good, nutritious and balanced diet with ample amount of exercise will definitely do the job. That’s why we eat at least three meals a day. This, however, will not do any good for the soul. However you try to satisfy your spiritual starvation with earthly material, for instance, music, or sports or whatever, the soul will not feel happy. It might enjoy a momentary high with some yoga exercises but it is not the food it’s yearning for. Man is a human being by the soul not just the body. When a strong healthy human being dies, he or she is called a dead body or corpse. They are no longer counted amongst the people. But the soul will always remain the soul. Shouldn’t then extra attention be given to the nutrition of the soul? Isn’t this why we feed our souls at least five times a day? And snacks in this case are always rewarding. The source of the soul is heavenly, and that’s why you seek heavenly nutrition to feed it. Taqwa and fearing Allah is something supernatural. When people stand, for the sake of Allah, against what is natural instinct it is indeed a heavenly power that is working it out. Hajj is one source of this nutrition. Allah does not receive anything material from us, but He receives and sees our piety. “It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah: it is your piety that reaches Him:” [22:37] Hajj is a unique opportunity to seek Allah’s (SWT) forgiveness and make a fresh start. The main thing you need is bags of Taqwaa, patience and best of manners. Hazrat Abu Huraira(RA) reports that the Prophet (S) said: “Whoever performs Hajj for the sake of pleasing Allah and therein utters no word of evil, nor commits any evil deed, shall remain from it as free from sin as the day on which his mother gave birth to him.’ Hazrat Buraidah (RA) reports that the Prophet (S) said: “The expenses incurred during Hajj is like that incurred in Jihaad; rewarded seven hundred times.” Hajj is learning to be patient with everything in life, including buses. It wouldn’t be Hajj if all you did was retreat on top of Mount Arafat and meditate and pray and then shave off your head and say, “Woo hoo! I’m a Hajji now!” You have to struggle. You have to earn it. You have to fight your impatience and give the people around you a million excuses so you can forgive them. You have to fight your past – all the events and all the people – and let it go. No matter what happens, keep reminding yourself that if you slip up EVEN ONCE, you could nullify your Hajj. Nothing is worth that! One of your main goals at Hajj is to forgive. To let go. Work on it when you leave for Hajj and while you’re there. If you don’t complete this task at that time then be prepared to continue healing when you return. Think of it this way – Allah is forgiving you of all of your sins, do your best to forgive one person of one or a few sins they’ve committed. If they wronged you, let Allah take care of the matter. For now, take it upon yourself to forgive and move forward with the life Allah blessed you with. It is important that Hajj should be kept free of ulterior and worldly motives. Joining worldly objectives with religious aims is like adding water to milk. There are three types of adulteration which are possible in the performance of Hajj: To ruin the Hajj even before departing from home by having a desire to be called a Hajji, and using haraam or doubtful earnings for this ‘ibaadah. To engage in improper acts while performing Hajj e.g. to commit sins during the time that one is engaged in the performance of Hajj, or to have arguments and not to make tawbah (repentance). To complete the Hajj and then to indulge in such deeds that defile the Hajj, e.g. to neglect the fardh salaat, to indulge in sin etc. Your Hajj will be the best investment for your life, for your endeavors, for your health, for your finances, for your marriage, for your family, and for your Afterlife. Your Hajj will cause you to struggle with your money, with your body, and with your heart. Your Hajj will remind you of how ungrateful you are for the little things in life – constantly available clean water, warm food, a cozy bed, privacy of your own home, changes of clothes. Your Hajj will remind you of how ungrateful you are for the bigger things in life – money to afford an airplane ticket rather than walking, having actual shoes rather than plastic sandals which will fall apart any day, access to showers and toilets of your own rather than using public ones. Your Hajj will teach you gratitude. Your Hajj will cause you to forgive those you’ve never been able to have mercy for. Your Hajj will cause your anger to dissipate towards those who have been the source of so much anxiety in your life. Your Hajj will bring you closer to your family and all those you love. Your Hajj will help you understand those you could never see eye to eye with, those whose reasons for their actions were always vague. Your Hajj will help you mend the emotional wounds which have remained for so many years, so raw and deep you thought the infection had spread too far for it to simply heal itself now. Your Hajj will be a means of salvation. Your Hajj will renew your hope. Your Hajj will allow tranquility to reenter your heart. Your Hajj will allow you to shed the dead skin of your past and leave it in the dust of the Arabian deserts forever. Your Hajj will help you in focusing on your future – and not just your future – but also the future of all those you love, alive today or yet to come. Your Hajj will remind you of how little you have lost and how much more you have gained. Your Hajj will help you improve on your relationships with others. Your Hajj will form a stronger bond between you and God. Your Hajj will be your security policy – you prayed for what you needed to pray for and now God will handle it. Your Hajj will leave you convinced that everything will be fine from here on out, not because you went to Hajj or that you’re suddenly special now, but because God loves you more than anyone else ever could. The 5 pillars of Islam take care of our destructive flaws: Belief in 1 God – association with Allah Prayer – arrogance, pride Fasting – curbs our desires for food, intimacy, flaws of tongue Mandatory Charity – greed Hajj – all of the above Why say Talbiyah? One enters into ihram with talbiyah. Talbiyah is the heart’s most profound surrender to the invitation and call of Allah: Here I come to You, my Lord, here I come – fully and forever. With the talbiyah, we proclaim that no associate (sharik) or attachment will distract us from seeking Allah. Our hearts will not see, hear, obey, or be lured to another, besides Him. The recitation of this talbiyah is to be said with constancy and conviction, and not intermittently and infrequently. Talbiyah is essential to focusing our hearts. It will remind us of the purpose of our journey; it will facilitate us in foregoing our rights, demands and expectations while yet rendering fully the major and minor rights of others; it will dispel distractions; and it will make all obstacles easy, even pleasurable. When you recite the Talbiyah, don’t just say it like a parrot, without knowing what it means and what it implies. Think about the greatness of these words and an even greater Greatness of the One you are saying these words to. You are saying “Labbaik, Allaahumma Labbaik…” What do these words imply? Oh Allah I am here, here to serve You, here to obey You, here to submit my life, my wants, my desires only to You. I am ready for change. Oh Allah, I love You and I worship no one but You. So forgive me and guide me. Everyone is saying the same same talbiya. Everyone is answering the call of Allah “Here I am oh Allah!” Why do Tawaaf? The sky has seven layers; man has seven souls. Each turning around the Kaaba represents a phase, a stage; man covers a phase and is elevated up to the seventh sky, above the material realm. Besides, it means to rise from the lowest step of the soul, which has seven steps, to the highest one. That is, from nafs al-ammarah (soul commanding the evil) to nafs al-mutmainnah (tranquil self); from the animal life to the spiritual life. Circumambulating the Kaaba is a kind of worshiping taken
  3. Across the globe, millions of Muslims prepare to embark on the sacred pilgrimage of Hajj. Hajj is a fundamental pillar of Islam, hence holding immense significance in the lives of all Muslim believers. Muslims who are physically fit and financially stable are required to perform Hajj at least once in their lifetime. This holy journey for Muslims requires planning from before and the utmost preparation. Let’s take a look at the following tips and advice that can help turn your Hajj experience into a memorable and rewarding journey. 1. Ask ALLAH Before you start planning for Hajj, say Bismillah (In the name of ALLAH) and supplicate to ALLAH. This will allow you to ask ALLAH for the time, strength and ability to gather resources for the upcoming Hajj pilgrimage this year. It is only HE that can make anything possible in this universe. 2. Start inquiring about any legal documentation In order to perform Hajj, a number of legal documents are required. This includes a Visa to travel to Saudi Arabia, valid passport, and any paperwork regarding residency in your country. Legal documentation requires time so it’s best to begin planning early. This can all be done by contacting the Saudi Embassy in your locality or simply by discussing the matter with any travel agent dealing in non shifting hajj packages. 3. Read about how to perform Hajj It’s essential to know about Hajj before embarking on this spiritual journey. Various guidebooks, pamphlets, online materials are available for Muslims to read and gain thorough knowledge on how to perform Hajj. This includes knowing about the different rituals, how and when they are performed, as well as things to avoid and things that are recommended for Hajj. Other than this, a handbook of various Duaas (supplications) that are to be read during Hajj should be kept safely to read when required. 4. Keep physically fit Hajj is a physically demanding journey. Believers are required to walk long distances in heated conditions, as well as run up and down Safaa to Marwa. These are just few examples of the rituals required for Hajj. All Muslims should prepare for Hajj by starting to eat healthy and walk for a minimum of 30 mins each day. A medical checkup should also be performed. 5. Stay in touch with those who have performed Hajj It’s always great to stay in contact and converse with family and friends who have been on Hajj. Sharing their experiences with you can give you an overview of the journey; rituals performed and added tips for a successful Hajj pilgrimage. 6. Make an important checklist for things to carry The following items are great to have with you at all times: · Money in your own currency as well as Saudi Riyals · Mobile phone · Extra pair of rubber slippers · Gloves · Small water bottle · Scissors and nail clipper · Sleeping bag/mat · Address and contact number of the hotel/ Kafila you are residing in. Emergency contact names and numbers should also be with you at all times. · Your identification card/ information · Appropriate clothing for men(Ehram) and women · Small cloth bag for collecting stones for the ritual of Hajj Hajj is a beautiful passage that requires careful thought and planning from before. Muslim believers should gain as much knowledge and information about Hajj so they can make the best out of this divine journey.
  4. If a person dies before performing obligatory Hajj or if one vowed to perform Hajj but died before fulfilling one’s vow, his heir must assign someone to perform Hajj on behalf of the deceased. All the sequential expenses in this regard must be paid out of the deceased’s property, as indeed must be any debts left by him. Read More Info: www.LinkTours.com/Blog
  5. We all know that Saudi Arabia is one of the most conservative Muslim countries. But thanks to the oil reserves which is continuously helping them in becoming one of the top economical countries despite of all the strict rules and regulations. Everything has its two sides and people who visit the country would know about the kindness of Saudi people. They actually follow their customs traditions strictly. People who have done business meetings with them would know that how punctual they are and particular about their dealings. One thing more they are particular about is hospitality values. Book any of the Hotels in Makkah and you will witness their values. Their way of welcoming the guests and serving them will inspire you a lot. They will treat you like a family and all of the top hotels possess great management who warmly welcomes their clients. You will get the services according to your purpose of visiting as if you are business associate, they will provide you a separate space for your meetings and work. The country is also promoting tourism and expanding their trades. Now people have another reason of visiting it other than Hajj/Umrah or business. Tourism in a conservative country is not as easy especially for women because they have some gender specific rules. But once you accept the reality and ready to cover up, you will see how friendly the nation is. Their rich and traditional culture is a center of attraction for many. You can only observe the wonders of Saudi Arabia while staying there, interacting with the people. Whenever you plan a tour to Saudi Arabia, do consider Haramayn Hotels for your accommodation. No one is providing a large list of Hotels in Madinah with easy booking. Our partnered hotels are offering reasonable deals to their customers. No matter you are traveling with a family, for pilgrimage or for any other purpose you are always welcome. Haramayn hotels is facilitating visitors in every way, you can book your desired room through our user friendly online platform.
  6. Ramadan the greatest month ever Ramadan and Qur'an, they are the best combination ever, Ramadan is the best time of a year to start and finish Qur'an with love and excitement, in this holy month there are a lot of good deeds could be done by Muslims to help others like serving Iftar and suhoor to the needy at rahman tables everywhere, Ramadan is a great opportunity for Muslims everywhere to redeem themselves and ask Allah for forgiveness about any wrongs or bad deeds they've done. So readingQur'an and praying are the best thing to do in the holy month beside fasting of course. Muslims love praying Taraweeh prayers as a sunnah from the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), to gain more rewards from Allah in the holy month, and more light to their hearts. Ramadan is the best month a year for Muslims around the world.
  7. The Prophet ﷺcame to his companion Abu Bakar Siddiq (R.A) and told him about the permission God gave them to migrate from Makkah to Madina. The people of Makkah had all propaganda prepared against the Muslims and the Holy Prophet ﷺ. On the other hand, these people were also familiar with the nobleness, truthfulness and the trustworthiness of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. Yet they were convinced to plot against him ﷺ. Thus, it was decided that the Muslims of Makkah will all be migrating to Madina. Read More Info : Migration of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
  8. The pilgrimage i.e. Hajj represents the spirit of Islam. Allah has acknowledged the Holy Kaaba as a sign of Islam so that each Muslim from all the corners of the world can communicate himself to this blessed place by offering prayers in its way and set up a bond with Allah and His believers. This once in a lifetime compulsion helps make a strong message towards non-Muslims make known the power and harmony of Islam and its believers. More Info: Secrets of Hajj
  9. The pilgrimage i.e. Hajj represents the essence of Islam. Allah has declared the Holy ka’aba as a symbol of Islam so that every Muslim from all the corners of the earth can relate himself to this sacred place by offering prayers in its direction and establish a bond with Allah and His believers. This once in a lifetime obligation helps generate a strong message towards non-Muslims reveal the power and unity of Islam and its believers. Read More Info: Secrets of Hajj
  10. Salaam kids I have been given the honour of going to hajj and will be leaving this Friday InshaAllah. Please forgive me for any offence and harm I may have caused you during my time here. Please also remember me in your duas. Stumped the Awesomeness.
  11. It is a project for simplifying the teaching of the rules of Islam in many different languages in order to spread Islam among Muslims. This is done through a book called "Illustrated Islamic Law for Acts of Worship". This book consists of five chapters which are , (Salat),, and (pilgrimage). The book comprises explanation with videos, pictures and proofs. Also, the project has web sites, new media and CDRom in the languages of Arabic, Spanish, French, Germany, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Persian, Bengali, Swahili, Indonesian, Amharic, Tajik and Hausa.
  12. Salam... Since the hajj season is nearing i thought i'l post this beautiful article that talks about the real essence and meaning of hajj. A very sincere advice from the heart. I think everyone needs to read this Insha Allah Hajj Meaning Of Hajj The word Hajj means “to set out”, “to make pilgrimage”, and “journey to a high destination.” Performance of Hajj is to reach for the mercy of Allah and in this case the high destination being Allah SWT himself. Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam and it is incumbent upon every able Muslim to carry out this journey in order to purify himself for Allah. Every action and ritual in Islam has a maqsad or a purpose. If we lose the essence and purpose of a ritual, then it becomes an empty shell with no fruit inside; meaning the benefit of the action is lost. Hajj like any other pillar of Islam has purpose, manners, virtues, value, reward and benefits. Glimpse of the Pillars of Islam Here, we will briefly mention the purposes of five pillars of Islam. Shahadah (Embracing Islam) Shahadah is to declare the oneness Allah SWT and the prophet hood of Muhammad SAW. It is a mandatory act incumbent upon anyone entering the fold of Islam and it is to be done in the presence of other Muslims. The purpose of shahadah is to recognize the Creator and to enter the fold of Islam in order to attain the pleasure and mercy of Allah. Salaah (obligatory prayers) Allah SWT has prescribed five daily prayers for Muslims. Recite what is sent of the Book by inspiration to thee, and establish regular Prayer: for Prayer restrains from shameful and unjust deeds; and remembrance of Allah is the greatest (thing in life) without doubt. And Allah knows the (deeds) that ye do. (29:45) This Quranic verse establishes the purpose of Salah for us which is to restrain the believers from committing evil deeds. Fasting Fasting during the month of Ramadan is compulsory on every healthy adult Muslim. Allah SWT said: O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint. (2:183) Zakah (mandatory charity) Just like fasting cleans the soul and body of the person from harmful elements, zakah cleanses the wealth of the person. It purifies the heart of the believers from stinginess and selfishness and trains them to adopt the qualities of Allah SWT which are kindness and generosity. Hajj (Pilgrimage to Makkah) Pilgrimage to Makkah is the fifth pillar of Islam and it collects the attributes of all other pillars within itself. It is the only pillar of Islam that has a surah named after it. The purpose behind hajj is great and its wisdom is immense. Salaah is the first level of purification and elevation, to remind us of our slavery and our eventual standing in front of Allah SWT. Fasting is the second level of purification for those who might get rusty through the year and need an intensive routine of devotion and self sacrifice in order to renew their spiritual drive. Zakah is an even higher level of purification by cutting off the love of material wealth from the heart by giving a portion of it to the needy of humanity. Hajj is the culmination of all these. The main purpose of hajj is to go back to Allah SWT, to detach one’s heart from everything and devote oneself completely to Allah! The magnitude of this journey can only be understood when one realizes who he is going to visit: The house of Allah SWT himself, on this earth. Surat-ul-hajj Surat-ul-Hajj is the twenty second surah of the Qur’an and it was revealed in Medina. However it is very much like a Makkan surah in its structure and message. The surah talks about Allah SWT, His qualities and greatness, meaning of pure submission to Allah, the importance of building the faith in Him SWT, to remind one of the Day Of Judgment, grave, and the experiences of the afterlife. In the middle of this talk of the hereafter, there are a few verses about Hajj. O mankind! fear your Lord! for the convulsion of the Hour (of Judgment) will be a thing terrible! The Day ye shall see it, every mother giving suck shall forget her suckling- babe, and every pregnant female shall drop her load (unformed): you shall see mankind as in a drunken riot, yet not drunk: but dreadful will be the Wrath of Allah. (22: 1—2) Allah SWT opens the surah about the fifth pillar of Islam with a terrifying view of the Day of Judgment which according to Prophet SAW will be equal to 50,000 years of our time. Prophet SAW went on to stress the immensity of the Day by telling us how close the sun will be to us: one fingertip and a half away or according to another interpretation about a mile away. Right now the sun is 93,000,000 miles away from us and if it was any closer, the earth wouldn’t be able to bear the heat. We have to start living with the warning of Allah and review our priorities in life. Luqman Hakeem summarized the message of Allah in these precise words for his son: “Serve this world according to the time you are going to spend in it, and work for the akhirah according to the time you are going to spend in it.” Thus, the main purpose of the Hajj is to remind us of the Day Of Judgment, of death, and our meeting with Allah SWT. The beauty of the Qur’an is so that every surah starts with the headlines of the messages and matters that Allah SWT wants to talk to us about, and it ends with the summary of the topic. In this case, Allah SWT wraps up the matter of Day of Judgment with the following advices for the believers: O ye who believe! bow down, prostrate yourselves, and adore your Lord; and do good; that ye may prosper. (22:77) And strive in His cause as ye ought to strive, (with sincerity and under discipline). He has chosen you, and has imposed no difficulties on you in religion; it is the way of your father Abraham. It is He Who has named you Muslims, both before and in this (Revelation); that the Messenger may be a witness for you, and ye be witnesses for mankind! So establish regular Prayer, give regular Charity, and hold fast to Allah. He is your Protector - the Best to protect and the Best to help! (22:78) Notice the underlined parts; it is Allah SWT who has chosen us, we didn’t choose ourselves for this bounty of guidance. Along with guidance, the ability to perform the rituals prescribed by Allah SWT are also a bounty from Him SWT. And look at how Allah SWT ends this surah which is the crux of the message of Islam and the road to salvation: utter and complete submission and reliance on Allah SWT. Journey of Hajj is Reminder of the Journey of the Hereafter Journey of hereafter begins with death which is referred to as “qiyamat-ul-sughra” or minor day of judgment. A person is clothed in coffin before being sent to his place of residence until Allah decides otherwise. Just like coffin symbolizes the beginning of the last journey, Ihraam symbolizes the abandonment of material life by removing ordinary clothes and donning of two un-sewn pieces of cloth (for men). Ihraam is symbolic to the coffin as it is supposed to put us in the state of humbleness and humility, awareness, and a state of alertness and warning! It is Allah’s mercy to give us this chance of remembering Him and the Day of Judgment by allowing us to experience this symbolic state of afterlife. This journey reminds us that we will stand in front of Him SWT at the land of Arafah on the Day of Judgment, the way we gather at the time of Hajj. What higher mercy can Allah bestow on His believers than to have them attain the level of purity of new born babies? RasulAllah SAW said: "There is no ritual parallel to an approved Hajj, and there is no reward for it less than Paradise. A pilgrim becomes (so pure) like a newborn baby. Once the pilgrims complete their rituals, they will be told: ‘You’ve built a construction then do not destroy it. Your past is forgiven, then take care of your future.’" Purpose of Hajj: An inward journey In Islam there is wisdom and purpose behind all rituals. Some of these wisdoms we know and some we don’t. The rituals we don’t understand or are unclear to us are a mere test of our obedience to the Omnipotent Lord. It is just like a corporation where a boss might give the worker a task which he doesn’t understand. This doesn’t mean that the task is not important; there might be many reasons behind assigning such a task, one of which could be test of obedience and loyalty. The boss might want to know the level of obedience of the worker before promoting him to a higher position in the company. Some of the rituals of Hajj we will understand and some we won’t. But one thing is for sure that the purpose behind all the rituals is the obedience of Allah SWT. It is through the obedience to His Lord, that a believer is spiritually elevated... Once this understanding of obedience to the Lord is inculcated in the heart, it closes the door to the doubts and whispers of Shaytaan. Since Hajj is the accumulation of all other pillars of Islam, the attacks from Shaytaan and trials from Allah are almost mandatory in order to sift the believers from hypocrites. There will be many inconveniences and undesirable happenings in the journey but if the believer is focused on the purpose, all these will not be of any importance. Once you intend to go on Hajj, worry about your dealings with Allah and your service to Him SWT, and not about the service of the travel agent or the inconveniences you might face during the journey! Know that the difficulties will be there regardless of how much you try to avoid them, as it is through hardships that Allah SWT checks the status of our faith and our sincerity to Him. If you focus on the gifts and services that Allah SWT has offered you throughout your life, you can’t help but worry about what kind of service you are offering Him SWT and what attitude you are showing Him. ‘Here I am O Allaah, (in response to Your call), here I am. Here I am, You have no partner, here I am. Verily all praise, grace and sovereignty belong to You. You have no partner.’ This call of labbaik or saying ‘Here I am’ is to be done with humbleness, humility, service and devotion to Allah SWT enveloped by absolute love for Him. First purpose of Hajj is to capture our desire and nafs to fully enslave ourselves to Allah SWT. Our temptations and desires should never exceed a limit where they become the driving force of our actions. Unless we capture our ego, arrogance, and temptations, and surrender them to the will of Allah SWT, we will never be able to attain salvation and true success on the Day of Judgment. To remember the Day of Judgment and affairs of the afterlife as we have been discussing. Third purpose of Hajj is to remember the mercy of Allah SWT and to acknowledge how many chances of repentance and purification He SWT has provided us with. It is one of our duties to inculcate this mercy of Allah SWT in our personalities and to deal with others accordingly. Hajj is supposed to bring out this trait in a believer in its entirety as he gets a chance to view the state of many Muslims who are inferior to him in health, wealth and ability. Prophet SAW was sent as a mercy to mankind and he said: “Allah shows mercy to those who show mercy. Show mercy to those on earth, and Allah will be merciful to you.” (Abu Dawood #4941 & Tirmidhi #1924) To gain the level of absolute purity towards Allah SWT. The restrictions such as prohibition of sexual intercourse, of contracting marriage, of being a witness in marriage, or even intending marriage while in the state of Ihram are to be honored or they can break the state of Ihram and nullify Hajj. These are all halaal acts but at this time, they become prohibitory acts because they are dealing with the affairs of this world and Allah wants us to leave off worldly matters entirely and be purely for Him SWT. This is the true essence of the call of pilgrimage: Humble ourselves to Allah and His creation by not causing any oppression. Any oppression even towards animals, let alone other Muslims, can nullify Hajj. This heightened state of consciousness during Hajj is to remind us of the etiquettes that we have forgotten, and to revert back to these lost teachings of Islam. To try to build the habit of obedience to Allah SWT during these ten to fifteen days of journey of Hajj. Once this habit of doing everything according to the will and teachings of Allah and His Prophet is established, maybe when the person returns, he/she will continue to obey Allah in their daily lives. To remove the love of dunya and material possessions from our heart. We are so occupied with our work, business, family, friends, education etc in this life that the affairs of the hereafter go in the background. The purpose of Hajj is to remove all of these ties from our heart and reset our priorities according to Allah and His Prophet SAW. While going on Hajj, we leave everything behind us just like we will leave them when we die. While we are on the journey, the worldly matters will continue, which is a reality check for us to refocus our energies to where they will really help us. This is why one of the manners is when you leave your house with the intention of Hajj, you forget about everything except your Creator and Owner Allah SWT. The journey of Hajj is symbolic of our life’s journey to the hereafter. No place on earth is our permanent residence. We are all here to spend a designated amount of time according to the will of Allah and will leave sooner or later, and will spend some time in transit until the Day of Judgment is established. That is when our final residence will be determined: the best of residence being jannah and the worst being hell fire. To remind us of the brotherhood and equality in Islam. Irrespective of race, ethnic affiliation, skin color, material wealth, educational level—we are all same in the eyes of Allah; we follow the same rituals and customs and are encouraged to be generous and kind to each other. We are supposed to take care of the needy Muslims during this time as that is a high form of worship. Example Of Generosity Abdullah Ibn Mubarak was a wealthy Taba’ee (follower of the companions) who was known for his generosity. Every year at the time of Hajj, he used to equip a large caravan for Hajj and distribute all his money in the way of Allah to the point that after Hajj he had nothing left. Why would he do that? To get the ultimate benefit from this journey and to devote all he had for the sake of Allah SWT. Once Abdullah Ibn Mubarak headed out with his caravan to Hajj and on the way he saw a woman collecting a dead bird from the side of the road and walking away. His curiosity was intrigued and he followed the woman and inquired about her actions. She said that she was going to cook it to feed her hungry children. He was shocked and asked her if she didn’t know of the prohibition of eating dead animals? She in turn asked him if he was not aware of the permissibility of it for those who are at the brink of starvation. He was so moved by her ordeal that he gave all his Hajj money to this lady and went back to his house and locked himself indoors. He forbade his family to inquire the reason of his return and to tell anyone that he had come back, as he wanted to keep his deed purely for Allah. He stayed indoors until the season of Hajj passed entirely and caravans started to return from Makkah. He began to go outdoors and started meeting the returning pilgrims who would thank him for his assistance that he provided them in Makkah, Medina, or other places that they had visited. He was shocked; he returned to his room and started crying to Allah SWT asking Him to explain what was going on. Abdullah Ibn Mubarak saw RasulAllah SAW in his dream who gave him the good news that Allah was so pleased with his action towards this woman that He created an angel in the form and look of Abdullah to do the Hajj on his behalf along with the good deeds that Abdullah regularly used to do. He SAW went on to inform Abdullah that Allah had rewarded him for ten Hajj and had accepted the hajj of all others because of him. All because Abdullah had helped a needy woman! RasulAllah SAW said: "Whosoever relieves from a believer some grief pertaining to this world, Allah will relieve from him some grief pertaining to the Hereafter. Whosoever alleviates the difficulties of a needy person who cannot pay his debt, Allah will alleviate his difficulties in both this world and the Hereafter. Whosoever conceals the faults of a Muslim, Allah will conceal his faults in this world and the Hereafter. Allah will aid a servant (of His) so long as the servant aids his brother.” (Muslim) Hajj is supposed to remind us of the needs of Muslim ummah either financial or spiritual, and to discuss these matters and return to our respective places of residence with the intention to fulfill these needs. During the early days of Islam, scholars used to have a designated meeting place during hajj where they would regularly meet to discuss the affairs of the ummah and pool their resources to come to common understanding and goals. This leads us to the next purpose of Hajj which is inculcating and adhering to good behavior and manners. It is not the amount of prayers that we do but rather our behavior, our humility and our willingness to be of assistance to others that gains us the real ranking with Allah SWT. Allah SWT explains to us in Surah Al-Baqarah, ayah 197: For Hajj are the months well known. If anyone undertakes that duty therein, Let there be no obscenity, nor wickedness, nor wrangling in the Hajj. And whatever good ye do, (be sure) Allah knoweth it. And take a provision (With you) for the journey, but the best of provisions is right conduct. So fear Me, o ye that are wise. Conclusion The real preparation for Hajj is not the knowledge of the rituals; that is secondary. The matter of primary concern is the preparation of the heart so you go in a state that is acceptable to Allah SWT. Allah SWT is asking us to prepare... the conscientiousness of Allah for this journey; the awareness that Allah is watching me at any given time and is with me whenever I need Him SWT! Status of the heart matters more than the rituals... Angels descend according to the status of the heart of the slave, not the amount of his deeds. If the status of heart is acceptable to Allah and even the person makes minor errors in carrying out his rituals, Allah is an All-Merciful and a Pardoning Lord. But if the heart is full of shirk (association with Allah) and arrogance, then even if all the rituals are carried out perfectly, the purpose of hajj will be lost. Daee Ahmed Moait
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