Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Hajj Tips

I better write this before I forget.

Unlike Hajj packages from Malaysia that usually covers 45 days of travel to and stay in Makkah, Arafah, Muzdalifah, Mina and Madinah, the Hajj package from Al-Hamra (the name of the company) that we took covered only 9 days of travel and stay in Makkah, Arafah, Muzdalifah and Mina. Basically our package were specifically for Hajj, and does not include extra ibadah.
Our itinerary:
We left Dammam in our ihrams on Thursday 4th December (6th Dzulhijjah), completed our Umrah by Friday morning (5th December, 7th Dzulhijjah). We took off our ihrams (we did Haji Tammatu') and rested for a day in a school-turned-into-hostel in Awali (in between Makkah and Mina) before putting on our ihrams for the Hajj proper on the 6th December (8th DzulHijjah), and prepare for a very long day ahead of us.
We left our hostel for Arafah before fajr on 7th December (9th DzulHijjah) and left it by maghrib (sundown). We were tested by heavy traffic and only arrived Muzdalifah after midnight, so we just drove through and arrived in Makkah at about 4am on 8th December (10th DzulHijjah), did our Tawaf Ifadah, solat fajr, did our saei, solat Eid ul-Adha, then Taufik shaved his head. We then returned to our hostel to pack for Mina.
We left for Mina after Asr, and did the stoning of the big pillar (Jamratul Aqobah). We stayed in Mina on the 9th, 10th of December (11th, 12th DzulHijjah) to stone the 3 pillars, and left after Dzuhr on the 11th December (13th Dzulhijjah) after stoning the 3 pillars for the last time. Went back to the hostel to pack our bags so that they could be sent ahead of us to the airport. We left our hostel and headed for Makkah for our Tawaf Wida' (farewell tawaf) in the middle of the night, then headed for the airport right after. We arrived home on the 12th December (14th DzulHijjah).

I imagine that the itinerary for pilgrims from Malaysia will be quite similar during the 5-6 days of Hajj. You will be travelling between Makkah, Arafah, Muzdalifah and Mina, and your schedule will be quite packed on the 9th and 10th Dzulhijjah, with respite only on the 11th, 12th and 13th days of DzulHijjah.

Here are some tips I would like to share with regards to those 5-6 days:

1. Drink lots and lots of water.
I know you'll be afraid that it will make you want to go to the toilet often and you're afraid if the toilet facilities will be bad, but drink away! Your body will lose water in other ways (sweating, and from reciting the Qur'an and dzikr), so dont worry about overloading your bladder. If you do have to go to the toilet, pray to Allah so that it will be easy.

2. Carry Pocket/Purse sized Tissues, WetWipes, Vaseline, Spray Bottle, your favourite cough drops and Snickers, all in a small sling bag.
These are essential and will make your journey more comfortable. The tissues&wetwipes are really good for quick clean-ups and freshening up. The Vaseline can be used to maintain moisture on any part of the body (especially your lips! Lots of reciting/supplicating will make your lips dry). If you cant find a travel size vaseline, a non-perfumed chapstick will do. I carry a spray bottle of clean water (fill it up with zam-zam if you like) so that i can make wudhu' anytime, anywhere. Suck on a cough drop the moment your throat start to feel scratchy. Eat a snicker to stave off the hunger pangs.
I carry this sling bag everywhere I go. Also in this sling bag were my handphone, some money, a credit card, my insurance card, a copy of our iqama , a copy of our hajj registration, a pair of socks, and a small book of supplications.

3. Have a backpack that can fit 3 days' clothes.
I used this backpack for our trip to Arafah-Muzdalifah-Makkah and our 3-day stay in Mina. It is easy to carry, especially if it just so happens that you have to get off the bus and walk to your destination.

4. Layer your clothes.
The weather can be quite erratic, so if you're not sure if it's going to be cold, make sure you bring layers of clothes instead of thick items. Bring one thick jacket/cardigan/shawl if you have to, and underneath them use layers. I wore my abaya everytime I went out, so on cold days/times I wore thermals underneath them, on warm days I wore a thin t-shirt. On the last day, when we stoned the 3 jamrats right after Dzuhr, I wore my abaya like a dress. Bring socks, wear 2 pairs if it gets cold. (Note: Pullover abayas/jubahs are recommended as opposed to button-front ones.)

5. Tawaf/Saei with gripped socks.
You know them socks with rubber dots on the soles? Just like the ones for babies but these are for adults? They are really good for tawaf and saei. Masjidil Haram's marble floors can be quite cold and normal socks are slippery so these socks give you some grip and the extra friction makes it less tiring.

6. If you can, have your MP3 player filled with Qur'an translation.
I really should've bought an iPod lah. I only had a few selected surahs on my phone. I found it really helpful, especially when it's not conducive to read (i.e. in the bus, at night, noisy surroundings, you've lost your wudhu'). The translation helps you understand the meaning of the surahs. I got my surahs with English Translation from www.dhikrullah.com.

7. Write your supplications (dua) in a small notebook (buku tigalima).
I wrote all my supplications in a small flip-over notebook so that I don't forget, but I found flipping over a little cumbersome. I think a regular notebook (that flips left/right) would be much much easier to hold and flip as you move along.

8. Take your medicines.
You don't know what's gonna happen, so no matter how confident you are about your health or biological cycles, take your medicine! You do not want to fall sick during these 5 days.

9. Do lots of dzikr and supplications.
Take this time to really remember the Almighty and all that He has given you and reflect upon yourself. 'Istiqamah' bak kata lollies.. :)
Rasa macam rugilah pulak bila dah susah-susah pegi buat haji, tapi membazir masa buat benda lain... :P (Especially for me lah, since I feel like this is my last chance to buat haji).

I'm sure there are more tips.. feel free to share. Hopefully I can go again and make full use of the tips here :)


  1. It is also best to leave your temper at home and bring a lot of patience.
    I think Allah saved me from the tragedy at Mina because I had to redo my Haj. InsyaAllah.

  2. elisa
    1. I do agree with your papa about temper, anger and patience.
    2. I presume most of the tips are for ladies or for men not in their ihram.
    3. I would take some cautions about wetwipes and vaseline (due to the fragrance) when one in ihram - forbidden during ihram I reckon.
    4. Recite a lot of doas.
    5. there is VIP package for 16 days but the cost way too expensive.
    6. taking a short hajj package could be a little risky if you still have that biological cycle and it happens during that critical period when you have to leave while tawaf and saei are yet to finish.
    7. one of the common mistake men did during hajj is to shave before they finished tahalul awal (thani)esp. those coming back from muzdalifah to mekah to do tawaf and saei. they should cut their hair to complete the tahalul awal before shaving their head. shaving at barber directly after saei could cost them a "dam", as the shaving cream has fragrance. Wallah hua'lam.

  3. Anonymous7:24 PM


    Thanks for sharing those really useful tips. InsyaAllah we will use your tips when the time comes...


  4. thanks for the tips. did either of you fall sick during the haj period?

  5. Papa,
    Astaghfirullah.. i still regret not heeding Mama's advice on leaving my temper at home.. :P
    *hangs head in shame*
    The Jamrats have 4 floors now, with escalators leading to the top floor. (check out taufik's FB for pics)
    Alhamdulillah, even at crowded times, it didnt feel so crowded. Tahun ni tak ada apa2 tragedy, alhamdulillah.

    2. Well, we are in ihram only from the 8th till the 10th (morning, if you do your tawaf/saei before jamratul aqobah and tahallul awal). My husband bought an extra kain ihram (the bottom only) on those days to act as 'kain basahan' bila pegi toilet and also as an extra layer if it got cold.
    In Mina, he wore track pants and t-shirts most of the time, and put on a clean thaub (jubah lelaki) for ibadah.
    3. Vaseline (the petroleum jelly, not the lotion) is unfragranced. I used Sebamed chapstick, which also has no fragrance. But again, these restrictions are only from the 8th before Dzuhr till you tahallul on the 10th (we finished ours by eid adha prayers) .. so takdelah busuk mana pun kalau tak pakai fragrance. I slapped on all that is required (lotions and such) on the 8th before pakai ihram.
    6. heheh that's why I put up number 8 - take your medicines ;)
    7. ahah... good point. Some people may think they need to shave their head off completely to complete their tahallul awal, when actually, you cutting off your hair at Marwah has already completed your tahallul awal.

    Insya-Allah!! Once you've set your mind to go, I'm sure you will get there eventually!

    I had a sore throat, but thanks to taufik's insistence and persistence, cepat2 dan kerap makan ubat (strepsils) and alhamdulillah tak melarat. We also took flu shots before we went so I think that also helped in staving off the bugs.
    I also bawak children's chewable vitamins and sucked on that time time boring.. ehehehe.

  6. thanx for the tips sis!