[Hajj Tips Series - Part 2] Makkah and Pre-Hajj

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

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[Hajj Tips Series - Part 2] Makkah and Pre-Hajj

  1. 1. Hajj Tips Series Part 2: Makkah and Pre-Hajj
  2. 2. Ihraam  Ihraam is an immense psychological state. Take it very seriously and strive to be on your best behaviour both internally and in your interactions with others.  Let the mental purity of ihraam serve as a glimpse of the taqwa and clean thoughts that you should strive for in the rest of your life.  Men:  Aside from a money belt, for peace of mind, you may also wear a normal belt to help hold up the bottom ihraam sheet.  When tying the top sheet, find a way that works for you – which you can do alone. Be open to other people’s advice, but if their ways don’t work, don’t be afraid to try your own thing. The most important factors are that you’re comfortable with it and you can do it yourself.
  3. 3. Madinah to Makkah Road Trip  If it’s daytime, savour the mountain scenery. Remember that these strong mountains will one day float in the sky. Nothing on earth is permanent, so never become too attached to dunya.  Stay busy in spiritually-uplifting activities.  Don’t complain about difficulties. Muhammad [saw] made this journey without an air-conditioned bus.  Take plastic / paper bags for car-sickness.
  4. 4. Madinah to Makkah Road Trip (Continued)  Don’t let the nasty toilets scare you. You’re human – just like everyone else – so embrace this as a humbling experience. Allah [swt] is giving you the challenge to build your character and teach you lessons for Hajj and your life to follow.  For toilets, take your own unscented soap, and if you want, rubber gloves, elastic (to hold up your clothing), and separate slippers.  Before you disembark in Makkah, the authorities will do a lot of administration. Bear sabr and endure the wait without complaining. Stretch your body and do something beneficial to pass the time.
  5. 5. First Sight of the Kabah  When you get into Masjid-al Haram, keep your eyes down to avoid seeing the Kabah until you’re in a good spot.  Don’t worry if you don’t break into tears upon seeing the Kabah. The structure has no special powers, and its beauty is in its simplicity. It’s not an idol we worship, but merely a symbol; a representation of unity, history, and the omnipresence of Allah [swt] – the only One worthy of our devotions.  Your first sighting is a special, once-in-a- lifetime moment in which duas are readily accepted. It’s your own personal treasure, so plan your dua. Don’t simply parrot a dua from a book or a group leader. This is yours and yours alone, so don’t waste it.
  6. 6. Umrah  Study the rituals properly in advance. Without knowledge, you may do something wrong.  For males, if you’re with your wife, try to shield her from getting pushed and shoved in the tawaaf.  In tawaaf, beware of wheelchair riders. If you get hit, bear sabr and avoid angry reactions.  There aren’t many prescribed duas and dhikrs for tawaaf, but if you get irritated by the loud group recitations, bear patience and ask Allah [swt] to grant you the best from the situation. In sha Allah you’ll get your own private tawaafs in future.
  7. 7. Umrah (Continued)  When doing sa’ee, try to remember the history behind the act as well as its essential lesson: Allah [swt] will provide, but you need to make the effort first.  For cutting your hair after umrah, men should aim for the sunnah (i.e. shave the head, not just cut three hairs), and women should either wait until they get back to the hotel, or cut in a way that no males see their hair.
  8. 8. In the Haram  If you touch the Kabah, don’t treat it like an idol. It’s just a building – a symbol to be honoured and respected, not to be grabbed emotionally as if it has special powers.  It’s often impossible to get to the Black Stone, Yemeni corner, Kabah door, and hateem area. Make dua for opportunities, and always retain your honour – refusing to fight, push, or hurt others, even if they hurt you.  If you get the chance to pray very close to the Kabah, people may push you. So try to make your duas in sujood, since they’re less likely to disturb you then.  When you get time near the Kabah, don’t waste it. As Hajj approaches, increasing crowds make it much harder to even see it.
  9. 9. In the Haram (Contnued)  Observe your surroundings and look for beautiful sights that your heart will remember for a lifetime after you leave.  When you witness thousands of Muslims making tawaaf, remember the unity in the Ummah, despite the differences we so often hear about in the news.  When you see grown men crying, fellow pilgrims making desperate duas, remember your own insignificance, complete helplessness, and complete need of Allah [swt] for every single thing.  If you feel emotionally disconnected in ibadah, don’t get disheartened. We worship Allah [swt] – not feelings. Make dua for that spiritual connection to grow.  If you can’t stand the heat, try going to the airconditioned basement. But there’s not much to see there, so take your Qur'an, dua list, or other things to do.
  10. 10. General Advice for Makkah  External change requires individual, internal change to adapt. Makkah is different to Madinah, so adjust your mindset and make the most of the different surroundings.  Appreciate the diversity in the Ummah, and broaden your horizons by speaking to strangers (of your own gender). Learn about their lives and draw from their wisdom, while also passing on your own positive messages to them.  Never impose your own cultural standards on others. What you consider rude might just be a norm in other countries.  If you don’t know Arabic, learn some. It’s the common language between Muslims from all parts of the world.  Restrain yourself in times of anger. You may need it a lot in Makkah, where there’s more tension than Madinah. Control your anger and speech at all times.
  11. 11. General Advice for Makkah (continued)  If tempers flare, don’t get caught up in the emotion. If you must be involved, try to be the peacemaker. (And learn the ‘sabr’ hand sign.)  Don’t let the traps of TV, the Internet, and news catch you. Rest as needed, but don’t get lazy.  Use your time beneficially, especially the small moments, like while you’re walking or waiting in line. Engage in dhikr, dua, good conversations, etc.  Your sleep schedule may become erratic, so always ask Allah [swt] for barakah in your sleep, no matter how many hours of rest you get.
  12. 12. Touring in Makkah  Some people will delay the group. Expect this and don’t complain about them. Have sabr and use the waiting time beneficially.  Respect the environment and don’t litter – even if others are doing so. Cleanliness is half of faith.  Always take a spray bottle and enough water for wudu.  Salah always comes first, so don’t ever miss your fardh salah for a tourist attraction. You may regret missing out in the dunya, but in the Hereafter your regret will be much greater.
  13. 13. Touring in Makkah (Continued)  Don’t expect your tour guides to teach or inspire you when visiting historical sites. Always do your own research and homework beforehand so that you can fully appreciate the places you visit.  Take lessons from our heritage and let it inspire you to make great contributions in your own capacity today.  Know your aqeedah well, and learn about what is bi’dah and what is not – particularly when it comes to visiting ziyarah places. Don’t rely on cultural or historical practices because you might reinforce the suspicions that the authorities already have about visitors doing bi’dah.  Don’t waste your time in heated debates about the destruction of historical sites. Appreciate that you can still visit and take benefit from your visits. If you feel strongly, make dua for a solution, then make efforts towards helping the situation.
  14. 14. The Cave of Hira  In the cave, make your fardh salah if it’s time. Otherwise make dua or just nafl salaah. There’s no sunnah salah in the cave.  When you get in, savour the moment, but don’t take too long if others are waiting.  When you’re done, don’t rush to get back down. Spend time above the cave and take in the scenery and the experience. You can’t get this anywhere else.
  15. 15. Final Days Before Hajj  In your final moments before leaving for Mina, reach out to your loved ones. Take advantage of the strong emotions in your heart and convey to them the beauty of what you feel, inspiring them to make this trip, and asking them to make special duas for you in the coming days.  For the coming 5 days, try to remain conscious of Allah [swt] at all times. Taqwa is your best provision, and whatever you’ll experience now is for Allah [swt].
  16. 16. Credits  Tips extracted from the “Hajj Chronicles” e-book: http://wp.me/p12QS-su.  Pictures from:  Zeenat Parker  Bilal Islam  Yacoob Manjoo  Malik Merchant  Chinx786 (Flickr)  susieofarabia.wordpress .com  paklinks.com  Time Light  e72andme.blogspot.co m

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