[Hajj Tips Series - Part 3] The Days of Hajj

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

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

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  • 1. Hajj Tips Series Part 3: The Days of Hajj
  • 2. General Advice  If you haven’t already written your dua list for Arafah by the time you arrive at Mina, do it as soon as possible.  If you don't remember the dua requests of others, summarise them into a general dua asking Allah [swt] to fulfill the duas that others asked you to make for them.  A mobile phone is essential. If possible, get a basic model with long battery life, a torch and minimal distractions (e.g. email and Internet access).  Men: If you’ll be doing the walking Hajj, put (unscented) Vaseline / lubricant on the insides of your thighs while you’re in ihraam. Don’t just assume that you won’t chafe in that area. because if it happens, you’re in for some pain.  The best provision for this event is taqwa. For every challenge, and all your sacrifices to come, know that it’s all for Allah [swt].
  • 3. Mina on Day 1  Accustom yourself to your surroundings, but don’t go overboard. Minimise your exploration time and maximise your personal reflection and preparation for Arafah.  Bring your own unscented toiletries. Always take soap with you to the toilets, and share it with others if they need it.  The toilets don’t feel clean, but that’s no excuse to be dirty. If you accidentally dirty an area, clean it up for the next person who’ll use the stall.  DO NOT take anything of value to the toilet. Leave anything important in your tent (or with someone you trust).
  • 4. Mina on Day 1 (Continued)  Seek good companionship in your tent: people who’ll encourage you to do beneficial things. Avoid those who have a habit of being overly-social, too joking, and inclined towards wasting time.  Keep yourself occupied with beneficial activities, even if it’s just sleeping, or having spiritual discussions with your neighbours. Don’t allow boredom to overcome you.  Don’t over-exert yourself. Do your preparation, but ensure you get enough rest. You might not get to sleep for a while after today.
  • 5. Thoughts on Mina  Let the constriction of your personal space remind you of the grave that awaits you.  Let the simplicity of ihraam clothing remind you of the only material items you’ll take to that grave. What counts most in this life is NOT the external, but what’s inside, and the state of your heart. Strive for a clean and pure heart – which is your ticket to an easier journey to Jannah.  Take this day as a reminder and microcosm of life: we are only here for a short time, and in it we have to prepare for the biggest meeting of our lives. Today, it’s preparing for Arafah – but in the bigger picture, we’re preparing for Qiyamah.  Allow these thoughts and experiences on Mina to sink deep into your psyche so that they’ll be a lifelong reminder of the Hereafter that awaits you. While you’re alive, you have abundant chances to improve your position with your Lord. Use these opportunities while you can.
  • 6. Heading to Arafah  When you’re waiting for transport, use the time it for dua, Qur'an recitation, or anything else productive.  If possible, try to leave Mina only after having made Fajr – because if you’re on the bus through Fajr, you may miss the waqt.  If you get carsick during the bus rides, try facing backwards, and keep a sick bag with you.  If possible, find out from your group the schedule for the day, ncluding when they plan to leave Arafah. Plan your toilet breaks around that, bearing in mind that the toilet queues.
  • 7. Arafah Morning  Get your rest in the morning before wuqoof. Aside from physical rest, also get some mental rest too. Give your mind a break to simply ‘breathe’ and relax.  Enjoy the atmosphere on Arafah and savour the beautiful thoughts and realisations that come to you. Keep pen and paper handy (or electronic versions) and record your thoughts and feelings.  At lunchtime, don’t go overboard and don’t waste time. Eat only what you need, and be quick. Over-eating may make you bloated, tired, and in need of the toilet.
  • 8. Wuqoof  DO NOT WASTE EVEN ONE MINUTE of your wuqoof time. Spend it in dua (or whatever other ibadah you plan to do), and steer clear of people who gossip and waste your time.  If your group is having a program at some point during wuqoof and you don’t want to be part of it, go off on your own. Tell someone you’re going to find some private space, keep your phone on (silent) in case of emergencies, then go.  Wuqoof is the biggest meeting of your life – the most important dua time of your life. So be alone with Allah [swt] and pour your heart and soul out to Him. Use your dua list, but don’t be limited by it. Make dua for whatever you want, even if it isn’t on the list.  If you’re with your spouse, find a quiet spot and make duas TOGETHER for your marriage, family and whatever else. It’s a great blessing to be on Arafah together, so take advantage of it by supplicating as the couple that you are.
  • 9. Wuqoof (Continued)  If your group is leaving before sunset, but you’re not yet finished with your duas, stay behind if you can. It’s a long walk until you get off Arafah, but it’s difficult to make dua on that walk. Choose your own needs instead of the group’s logistical convenience.  If your wuqoof doesn’t live up to your expectations, don’t lose hope and don’t let negativity overwhelm you. Be grateful for the experience, ask Allah [swt] to accept and fulfil all your duas, and be confident that He will do so – regardless of the shortcomings.  Before leaving Arafah, make sure you use the toilet (since there are none on the road to Muzdalifah) and pack enough provisions (water and a few snacks).
  • 10. Arafah to Muzdalifah  When you leave Arafah, as far as possible, stick with your group (and spouse if applicable). It’s easy to get lost in the crowd, even if you’re all on one big road.  Shaytaan is at his lowest, most embarrassed point now. He’ll be waiting for you on this road. Be aware of this enemy and try to keep your thoughts clean. Fill your heart, mind, and tongue with remembrance of Allah [swt].  If you’re walking, keep your garbage with you. Don’t litter, even though many others will do so. You’ve just completed the highlight of Hajj, so don’t start your ‘new life’ being dirty.
  • 11. Arafah to Muzdalifah (Continued)  If things go wrong, try not to panic. Don’t let hopelessness or desperation overcome you.  Stay calm, turn to Allah [swt] for help, and recognise that this might be His way of trying to teach you important lessons.  If you end up walking alone, know that there’s a pedestrian route and a bus route. Keep an eye out for the pedestrian route (or ask others where it is), since your group will probably take it.  Whatever ‘bad’ experience befalls you, know that it’s Allah [swt]’s plan for you. It’s not a disaster, but something you’re meant to benefit from – even if you can’t see the lessons immediately.  No matter how ‘bad’ your misfortune may seem, it could be worse. Be thankful that you’re not worse off.
  • 12. Muzdalifah  Get some rest, but also walk around and observe the scenes. But don’t disturb others who are resting.  When collecting your stones, take extras in case you or others need them.
  • 13. General Advice After Arafah  If you’re keeping a journal, write your experiences and feelings as soon as you can, even if you miss some sleep. Capture them while they are fresh or you may lose them forever.  Savour the feeling of purity after Arafah, but know that you can’t feel like that forever. You will make mistakes again, but it’s easier to erase sins now. Make it a habit to repent immediately after you do something wrong, and beyond that, regularly – even when you can’t recognise your mistakes.  Stay clean by performing good deeds regularly and abundantly in these days.  The soul loves to worship Allah [swt] and is nourished by worship. While your soul is pure, feed it abundantly via ibadah, and savour the beauty of worshipping Allah [swt] without the baggage of sin.
  • 14. Eid-ul Adha  Take the advice of your trusted and knowledgeable group leaders. For example, if the Haram is too packed today, you can delay your ifadah to a better time.  For men, if you start getting hit with stones at the jamaraat, use the top sheet of your ihram as a shield.  If you’re heading to Aziziah after pelting, make sure you know the route back to your lodging. You might not be able to turn back and leave Mina via a familiar route.
  • 15. Days of Tashreeq  Mina is more relaxed now, and while you can unwind a bit, don’t go overboard. You have very few days left here, so while you’re clean and still on this blessed journey, build a mountain of good deeds and habits that’ll elevate you and protect you for the challenging environment you’ll face back home and in your remaining years of life.  Even though you can go back to Aziziah / Makkah for the daytimes, try to stick to Mina. You can have comfort anywhere else, but you CAN’T get the spiritual benefits of Mina and Hajj after these days.  Try not to overindulge on food and drink. Ramadan is a time of spiritual exertion rather than worldly indulgence, and you should treat these days on Mina the same.  If you have a mobile phone, don’t waste time on it. These dying moments of Hajj are precious and extremely limited. Don’t waste them on things you could do any other time back home.
  • 16. Pelting the Jamaraat  On the way to the jamaraat each time, remember to apply taqwa. Don’t waste your time in social conversations / spiritually- unproductive actions. Immerse yourself in dua, reflection and dhikr so that you can make the most of the experience.  Remember the spiritual significance of pelting. Consider each pelting as a protection and self-purification – to cast away the evils inside your own soul, and to repel the devils when they tempt in in future.
  • 17. Planning Ahead  Living your Hajj is the challenge for the rest of your life. While you’re still pure and fresh on Hajj, plan how you can maintain your Hajj. For example:  Live a life of repentance by seeking Allah [swt]’s forgiveness each day.  Maintain and improve your salaa as it’s a critical pillar of deen.  Regularly take account of yourself. Consider where you were, where you want to be, and what you can do to be better.  Strive to improve in character.  Repair your relationships with others.
  • 18. Leaving the Kabah for the last time  This is an immensely sad moment, so let your feelings make a deep impact on your heart and soul and mind.  Be grateful for the entire trip, with your gratitude manifesting itself through action. If you’re grateful, Allah [swt] will give you more (i.e. bring you back again, In sha Allah).  Remember that Allah [swt] is closer than your jugular vein. You may feel very close to Him in Makkah, but He is always close to you, no matter where you are in the world.  Before you leave the Haram for the last time, make a last dua while looking at the Kabah. It’s a memory you’ll forever treasure, and In sha Allah the sheer gratitude of the experience will bring your heart forever closer to Allah [swt].
  • 19. Final Moments at Mina  Spend time with your companions in your final days and nights of Hajj. Appreciate that Allah [swt] has specifically chosen each of you to be companions on this journey.  After salahs, reflect on the meaning of the takbiers. Consider your experiences and let them fuel the sincerity of what you’re saying: you’re testifying to Allah [swt]’s greatness.  Take mental snapshots of the scenes. In later years, when you’re home for Eid ul- Adha, replay those scenes in your mind, and let them remind you of this journey.  When it’s all over, thank Allah [swt] again and again and again for granting you this journey.  In the journey of Hajj and the journey of life, try to always be conscious of Allah [swt]. Taqwa is the very best provision.
  • 20. Life After Hajj  Because you’re now so pure and sensitive, the spiritual filth of the outside world may shock you. But you have to live in this world without letting those things corrupt you again.  Protect your senses by staying away from such sights and sounds. Shaytaan will use your senses to trap you again.  If you can’t avoid them, once you experience them, immediately try to replace those experiences with something better. For example:  If you see a non-mahram in indecent clothing, immediately look at a halaal picture  If you hear dirty music, immediately listen to / recite Qur'an.
  • 21. Life After Hajj (Continued)  Make frequent and sincere duas asking Allah [swt] to protect you, help you live your Hajj, and help you make a positive impact in helping to clean up the society you live in.  When you go home, you return as an ambassador of Hajj. Your job is to inspire others and encourage them to make the journey themselves.  When you’re telling other people your Hajj stories (back home or even still on Hajj), emphasise the lessons you learned.  Don’t ever let the title “Hajji” make you arrogant. You should be even more humble and fearful of slipping up, because after this incredible experience, you need to live up to the high standards of your Hajj until you die. Non-Hajjis don’t have that responsibility.
  • 22. Final Thoughts  In life, generally, people won’t remind you to do good. You have to remember on your own. Always try to be be conscious of Allah [swt] and of what you’re doing – i.e. whether it’s pleasing to Him or not – even if others are heedless at the time.  We’re taught that the way you live is the way you’ll die; and the way you die is the state you’ll be resurrected in. Strive to live a righteous, God-conscious life and always make dua that your moment of death will come at a time when Allah [swt] is pleased with you.  May Allah [swt] grant you immense benefits and lessons from this Hajj, and make it the fuel that’ll drive you to Allah [swt]’s pleasure, and into Jannah.
  • 23. Credits  Tips extracted from the “Hajj Chronicles” e-book: http://dreamlife.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/hajjchronicles.pdf .  Pictures from:  Sh. Muhammad Al-Shareef  Bilal Islam  Yacoob Manjoo  Fraz Ismat  Tony Duckles  Yusuf Parak  Al Anwar Hajj & Umrah 2011 Facebook group  studentofthequran.com  muslimtune.com  livisoc.org