[Hajj Tips Series - Part 1] Pre-Departure and Madinah

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This is the first of a 3-part series on practical tips for a productive Hajj.

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[Hajj Tips Series - Part 1] Pre-Departure and Madinah

  1. 1. Hajj Tips Series Part 1: Pre-Departure and Madinah
  2. 2. Intentions  Actions are judged by intentions. Frequently purify and renew your intentions , especially when you face challenges or feel lazy.  Guard yourself from that which can pollute your intentions. Be cautious about thoughts, feelings, activities, discussions, and people that could take you away from Allah [swt]’s pleasure.
  3. 3. Personal Preparation  You’re on a journey of dua, so write a dua list with your own duas and the ones that others ask you to make for them. The list will help when you’re overwhelmed by emotion or tiredness but need to remember those duas.  Learn how to pray the Janazah salah. You’ll get many opportunities to pray it and get its rewards and benefits.  Practise abundant sabr. Things will go wrong, so be mentally prepared and make the decision to be patient, not panic, and enjoy it, taking positives from it. Stop and think before you complain, and try to see the wisdom in Allah [swt]’s putting the problem in your path.
  4. 4. Personal Preparation (Continued)  Fear and anxiety are all in your mind. The reality usually isn’t as bad as you imagined. Necessity conquers fear , so try to save yourself the trouble beforehand by remembering this.  At all times, DO NOT do things that will displease Allah [swt] . Be very careful of mixed-gender social gatherings, and be careful of over-indulging in food and other pleasures.
  5. 5. Logistics  Don’t pack a lot of clothes . Be prepared to do a little bit of your own washing (handwashing in the bath) every few days – unless you want to pay crazy laundry prices.  Don’t fret over foreign exchange . Consult your operator if there are money exchanges near the Haram (other than banks). At the very least, have some Riyals for your first day or so.  When travelling, always keep your money on you (i.e. not in a suitcase). If you’re travelling with someone, split the money between you for safety reasons.  Make your luggage uniquely identifiable. Even if you have to put bright children’s stickers on, do it. Embarrassment is better than struggling to find your bags.
  6. 6. While Travelling  Guard your salah at all times . Learn about salaah of the traveller, including how to make wudu and salah on a plane. Fajr on the plane is about an hour before sunrise – wherever you are – so ask the flight crew to help with timing and qibla direction, and do your best. Don’t skip salah, or make it late, just because of travel. You have to try to make salah on the plane.  Look for positive opportunities to help others. Share your food, and if you’re efficient in handling paperwork, luggage and getting to the right places, try to help those who find it difficult. Make a special effort to help the elderly.
  7. 7. While Travelling (Continued)  Avoid in-flight entertainment . Start avoiding these distractions so that it’ll be easier to shun them in Madinah or Makkah (where TV is available in your hotel room).  If your leader(s) seem to be making things worse, keep your cool and encourage others to do the same. Be firm, but in a constructive manner, to ensure that things get sorted out – without being insulting to those who are not fulfilling your expectations. Be patient, make dua for them and focus on making the trial as smooth as possible.  While waiting, use your time wisely . Avoid things that have no spiritual benefit, and stick to that which is beneficial – even if it’s not formal worship – such as spiritually beneficial conversations.  When foreigners push and shove, be patient, compassionate and firm . Maybe they’re not trying to be rude. Maybe it’s just normal behaviour in their country.  Before disembarking, use the toilet on the plane. The airport toilets might not be clean.
  8. 8. General Tips for Madinah  Early on, imagine how it’ll be when you have to leave Madinah. Use this feeling to help you appreciate it and make the most of it.  Consider Madinah as an essential Hajj preparation. Make an intention that your time there will be spent in activities that help purify you and bring you closer to Allah [swt], so that when you get to Makkah (and beyond that, Mina and Hajj), you’re in a far better state than you were when you left home.
  9. 9. General Tips for Madinah (Continued)  Mobile phones and other distractions will often be present. You can’t change or avoid this, so don’t complain. Accept the reality and try to focus your heart on Allah[swt] instead – building a strong connection that won’t let these minor things disturb you. Make dua to achieve that state, and try to achieve it through sabr.  Hajj is a journey of dua and constant connection to Allah [swt], so make all the duas you want. Strengthen your bond with Allah [swt] througha acts of worship pleasing to Him. After all, back home, you’ll probably never get this kind of chance to focus 100% on such activities. Embrace and use the chances while you have them on this trip.  Drink plenty of zam-zam, and make intentions each time, and duas with it. Believe with certainty that it has the benefits mentioned in the hadiths.
  10. 10. General Tips for Madinah (continued)  Since you’ll probably be spending a lot of time in the masjid between salahs, plan your time beforehand and take the stuff you’ll need (e.g. your Qur'an, books, pen and paper, and even your Netbook / iPad / tablet).  For males, if it’s too busy in or outside the masjid, try to go up to the roof. It’s amazing up there – and much quieter.  In the Rawda, don’t push and don’t be rude, even if others are. Be patient, and when you get your chance, don’t take too much time. Give others a chance. Remember that as soon as you’re on the cream carpet, you’re in the Rawda. So even if you can’t make salah yet, still make dua – because you’re in a piece of Jannah!
  11. 11. Touring in Madinah  When touring, you’ll meet people who make things difficult for others. If you have no control, don’t complain or whine. Just appreciate that you got to be there and make the most of it. Make dua that you’ll get another chance to FULLY experience it in future.  When visiting masajid and sacred sites, don’t disturb the people there. Maintain the proper etiquettes of the place and follow the posted rules (e.g. no photography).  When learning about historical events and places, try to extract lessons that you can apply in today’s times, and your own personal life.
  12. 12. Touring in Madinah (Continued)  Don’t believe everything you hear about the historical sites. Many people narrate unauthentic stories and folklore that may have no real basis.  Although the Saudi government discourages visits to certain historical sites, try to understand the reasoning behind this. If you want to visit those sites for legitimate reasons (i.e. you’re NOT going to do bi’dah there), visit. It helps you make more of your trip, and also gives you a taste of other areas that aren’t so shiny and impressive.  Try to visit the Madinah Multimedia Museum if possible.  Very carefully manage and limit your shopping so that you can maximise your time in the masjid. You may never visit Madinah again, so remember that shopping is a side benefit – not the main reason you’re there.
  13. 13. Touring in Madinah (Continued)  For males, try to visit Janatul Baqi – but DO NOT carry out any acts of shirk or bidah. Never, ever pray TO the dead – only pray FOR them!  Participate in a burial if you can – and make it a means of benefit: remember that you will be in this position one day.
  14. 14. Credits  Tips extracted from the “Hajj Chronicles” e-book: http://wp.me/p12QS-su.  Pictures from:  Fagrie Hendricks  Zeenat Parker  Yacoob Manjoo  http://culturextourism.com  http://www.empowernetw ork.com  www.travelpod.com  http://navedz.com/  http://susieofarabia.wordp ress.com/  http://almiskeenah.com

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