Useful tips for the first part of the Hajj

Hajj this year will take place in the Middle of November and many people from High Wycombe will shortly be flying out, some for the first time. Here a sister gives some useful tips for the first part of the Hajj. May the pilgrims travel in safety and enjoy the experience of a lifetime.

Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam and its performance can be achieved only once a year on the 9th of Zulhajj (the last month of Islamic calendar), whereas the Umrah (Umrah is called a mini Hajj and can be undertaken at any time and any day of the year). Before beginning your journey bear in mind that your intentions are to perform the Hajj or Umrah and that one should be in a state of patience and peace and be able to help those who are weaker and elderly around you, this is a good deed. Be selfish in earning the good deeds.


Due to the high volume of air traffic during the time of Hajj your flight may experience some delays. Some people manage to completely read more than one, two or sometime three Qur’ans from the time of departure for Hajj and return.


If your flight is direct to Jeddah than you must make your niah (intentions for Hajj) by offering two raka’s in the state of Ihram before departure. If you land in Jeddah without the state of Ihram you must go outside the Miqat (boundary) the nearest being close to Madina and still have to do Fidya (in other words to slaughter an animal goat or lamb for the sake of Allah to compensate for the mistake by entering in the Miqat without having an Ihram on). Then and only then you may enter Makkah in the state of Ihram. However, if your flight stops anywhere in the Middle East before Jeddah, then you can change into Ihram at the transit airport. An announcement (in the airplane) is made at least half an hour before the boundary of Miqat to allow you to change into your Ihram. Whilst in flight upon entering the Miqat say; I answer your call with Hajj, and then start reciting The Talbiyah: (translated)  


Here I am at Your service O Lord, here I am.
Here I am. There is no partner to You.
Here I am.
Truly, the praise and favour is Yours,
and the dominion.
There is no partner to You.


The above is recited as many times as possible and upon every new journey you make that takes you closer to Al Haram (The Ka’baa) and the ritual journeys of Hajj.


On arrival at Jeddah airport expect delays for the legal process of coming for Hajj. This process can take several hours, so be patient and recite the Qur’an, keep reminding yourselves the reason of your journey. May Allah give you patience.


Some useful Suggestions


Upon arrival at your hotel in Makkah rest and be refreshed before heading to perform your Umrah. My suggestion is, if possible, that you enter the Al-Haram through the gate Assalaam though Sunnah of Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam is to enter through Assalaam gate or you may enter through any gate you easily can and keep your eyes lowered as you get closer to the Ka’baa, (the cube like structure towards which all Muslims face at the time of prayer) then raise your eyes to glance at the Ka’baa for the first time. The feelings cannot be put into words but you need to experience the aura of the mighty, beautiful and powerful square in the middle, there you will feel in the state of nakedness of your past and you will ask for forgiveness in a way you have never asked before. (May Allah accept your Dua’s). Offer two rakas as salutation in Al-Haram shareef.


The Hajj is an exciting experience and it needs to be enjoyed. The Hajj is not difficult; the difficult part is the reason of Hajj upon return.

The Umrah started by taking yourself with the flow of other pilgrims doing the Tawaf (going around the Ka’baa seven times) and reach the point where the green light is visual. This point marks the corner of the Ka’baa of the Black Stone (Hajar-e-Aswad) throughout the al-Haram shareef.


Upon reaching the green mark, for this is the starting point, make praise by reciting “Bismillah, Allahu Akbar wa Lillahil hamd and raising your hands towards the corner of the Black stone” and begin your first tawaaf around the Ka’baa in an anti-clockwise manner. Do this seven times and finish at the green mark, then offer two rakas nafl prayers.


Now proceed towards the mount of Safa (In reality it is raised ground and not a mountain) by the steps and begin your Sa’ee (walking from Safa to Marwa) by heading towards the mount of Marwa at each point praising Allah Ta’alaa. N.B. Safa to Marwa is one journey and Marwa to Safa is two journeys and so on until seven journeys are completed. You must begin your journey at SAFA and NOT MARWA. Whilst walking between Safa & Marwa and Marwa & Safa you will enter a short length marked with green lights, during which the men must hasten their walk (gentle running) until the next green light, ensuring not to offend anyone in the process. The Sa’ee commemorates the hardship Hazrat Hajarah/Hager the mother of Hazrat Ismail went through in search of water, where Allah blessed her cries and produced the well of Zamzam by the holy heals of Hazrat Ismail. 


Having completed the Tawaaf and Sa’ee, cut your hair, for men either shave your head with blade or with machine or at least men must cut one quarter of their head’s hair which is compulsory, for men under no circumstances less than one quarter is allowed (except illness) and an inch long lock of hair for women.

You are now relieved from the state of Ihram, remove the Ihram, take a shower, and get changed. You are now free to do, as you like; visit sites, go to sacred sites.


State of The Ihram


During the state of Ihram the following are obligatory:

  1. Make five daily prayers, read some Qur’an
  2. Avoid obscenities, committing sins and quarrelling.
  3. Guard against harming others by action or by word of mouth.
  4. Do not cut your nails, or pluck out your hair, (no harm if fallen naturally)
  5. Do not use scent or perfume on clothes or body. (Buy unscented soap from Boots called Simple)
  6. Do not kill or frighten any living things in state of Ihram.
  7. Sexual intercourse, love play and fondling are strictly prohibited.
  8. A man may not cover his head, with a cap or the end of the Ihram. (take note with an umbrella)
  9. A woman must not cover her hands or face


If any of the above rites of Umrah are deliberately broken then there is a penalty (Fidya). Slaughter of an animal.

It is permissible to wear flip flops or like, a ring, pair of glasses, hearing aid, wristwatch, belt or a girdle that protects one’s money or documents.


The Hajj also requires the pilgrims to travel to the plain of Arafat on the day of the Hajj and other necessary and detailed steps for Hajj and you should consult specialist texts for this.

New/extra Umrahs


If you desire to perform extra Umrahs then you must go to Masjid Hazrat Aisha at Makkah boundary to make the intention of Umrah in the state of Ihram and perform two raka nafl then heading for the Ka’baa to do tawaaf & Sa’ee as described above.

There are ample transportation facilities available. However, there are some private cars that charge heavily for small journeys haggle for best price.


The tawaaf can be performed around the Ka’baa or in Al-Haram on the ground floor, or on the first floor and even on the top floor; these levels are also available for Sa’ee (Safa & Marwa). It is advisable for the elderly or sick or injured to take advantage of these facilities though longer but less stressful. For disabled people there is a special track for wheel chairs. Wheel chairs can be rented for tawaaf and for Sa’ee. You may however use your own wheel chair.


Once you finish the Umrah your next journey will be to the Holy City of Madinah to visit the Holy Grave of our Beloved Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam and the Holy Mosque of our Beloved Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam. Beloved Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam said “Man Zara Qabree wajabat lahu shafa’atee”, “whoever visit my Holy Grave my intercession is obligatory upon them.


May Allah Ta’alaa give all Muslims the opportunity to do Hajj and Umrah again and again. Aamin.


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