Tuesday, December 04, 2007

To my friends going for hajj this month

Your experience at Hajj is one that you should never forget. Ozair just reminded me it's been a year now! Alhamdulillah my hajj experience was quite amazing. A few of my friends were also at Hajj last year and I managed to meet up with them. It was great!

I remember talking to Sawitri a month after we returned from Hajj and asking her, when will I feel the impact? And she said that sometimes it comes much later, and the older you are, the earlier it hits you.

Even though it was just me and my father, I think Alhamdulillah I managed to do a few interesting things. I was sick all the way in Madinah and was able to go to the Masjid once a day, if at all. But, I managed to join Rania's Hajj group to visit a Sheikh who was 99 years old, mashallah...

I can't say that Hajj is a spiritual experience. It's actually an experience of struggling to experience spirituality amidst millions of people.

Those who are going for hajj this year have been asking me for advice and tips. All that information can be found online. In fact, there's also a website that Hafsa had found last year- Hajj Tips.com.

What advice would I give?

  • Try to go out of your as much as you can to help people. An old woman/man might need help in making tawaf, someone might lose their slippers, others may get lost, many people lose money as well. There are endless opportunities to help others.
  • Be generous. My Hajj roommate was amazing at this. She'd spend a lot herself, and encourage me to spend as well, and with anything she bought she'd remind me, "wow, there's so much reward in this! aur kharch karo!"
  • Try to do a tawaf a couple of times a day or more (after/before each salah).
  • People will make you go crazy...... ignore them and be patient.
  • Don't waste a single second on the day of Arafat. Most people in my tent were busy with either their chai, or gossiping (unbelievable) or sleeping!
that's all :)

And I carried lemon, tea bags and honey with me everywhere I went. Mummy said that if you have black tea with lemon and honey in it, it will protect you from illness.

16 comments:

Faraz said...

I'll add to the list:

1) Don't let the markets distract you! The markets will have the opposite effect on your heart, negating the benefits of the Hajj.

2) Don't let your attempts at reaching the Ka'aba be a means of harm for others. Some people push and shove their way to the Ka'aba, hurting others in the process, which defeats the purpose. One should try, certainly, but not at the expense of hurting others.

3) Plan your eating and washroom trips in an efficient manner.. you don't want to get stuck waiting in line for a washroom in Arafah for hours - the time is too valuable!

4) Hold your tongue.. no matter what happens, no matter what anyone else does or says, don't say anything that might cause offense.

5) Don't just study the rules of Haj beforehand - study the objectives of hajj as well, the history, the experiences of others... learn about Madinah. Even the pillars of the masjid have stories behind them, and it makes the experience more fulfilling when you can appreciate that history.

Humairah Irfan said...

Jazakallah khair Faraz

I have so many tips in the journal that I wrote during Hajj, small things like keeping a hand sanitizer, empty bottles, how to find your tent in Mina etc, and including what you have mentioned.

But one can't be prepared for all this by getting advice from others.
I felt that if a person can submit themselves to their humility before Allah (swt), everything else gets taken care of.
There were people who had prepared for Hajj as if it was MCAT and they were serious about it, but I saw the same people just losing it- whether it was backbiting or shouting at others. When you see that, you begin to realise how weak we are as humans...

You mention a great point on the history. While I was there I bought an atlas picture book published by Darus Salam and it was fun following history through our trips.

Ibn Uthman said...

If you are young, full of energy, and really up to it, and you want to get the most out of your Hajj, then I suggest a walking Hajj (from Mina to 'Arafaat, and Arafaat to Muzdalifah, and Muzdalifah to Mina (for stoning Jamrah al-'Aqabah), and then to Makkah (maybe by taxi for Tawaf al-Ifadah & Sa'y), and then back to Mina. In this way way you really get to feel the Hajj, and you also see and experience much more of the places that you have to be at. Also, you are constantly on the move instead of being stuck in really heavy traffic for long hours where you could risk breathing in bus fumes (esp. if you're sitting on the bus roof)and you also risk not reaching the places that you are meant to be at.

What was esp. amazing for me to see was how some people were managing to cross these distances literally on all fours, and reaching the destinations even before us. Especially now that Hajj falls in winter the weather should be quite pleasant for a walking Hajj. After all that walking you would just want to sleep, and you'd be able to sleep just about anywhere and on any surface. So if you up to it, be a little adventurous and try the walking Hajj .... This is obviously on condition that you know what you're doing, and where you have to be and you are not too dependent on a Hajj guide.

Thanks for taking us down memory lane with this post of yours. May Allah reward you.

Faraz said...

I'd also recommend the walking Hajj. It's really not that difficult a walk; waiting in the buses would have been much more of a hassle. My mother, who was in her late 50's when we went, didn't find the walking to be difficult at all.

As for the history, yes, it really helps you appreciate where you are. There are lots of tributes within Masjid Nabawi itself to important events in the Prophet's time. I attended a seminar at the Islamic Centre of Quebec before I went, and Shaikh Bokhari did an amazing job teaching us about both the rules/regulations, as well as the inner dimensions and historical significance of the journey and landmarks.

Humairah Irfan said...

That's SO TRUE! I was trying to calculate, there must have been at least 40,000 vehicles on the road from Arafat to Muzdalifah! The reason why I got sick was that 14-hour bus ride, under 5km. In fact, we didn't even make it Muzdalifah before fajr. I insisted we get out and walk, but my father thought I wont be able to manage. Finally, with a lot of indignation and several attempts, I stepped out of the bus and told my father I'm walking. So he had no choice but to come along. And guess what? The bus reached Makkah after dhuhr!!! Sadaf and I were the only women who walked from our group... for everyone else, their men decided to do the stoning for them. But walking was just amazing. This definitely is one valuable tip.

Jazakallah khair

sheepoo said...

I eagerly look forward to the day when I will be in the Haram with my head bowed down and asking for Allah's forgiveness. Insha Allah!

Thanks for all the tips. Jazak Allah.

Humairah Irfan said...

Sheepoo, inshallah you'll go soon. Just like how the ability to learn Arabic is a blessing from Allah, so is being able to perform Hajj. I'll make dua for you :)

Anonymous said...

salam humairah...Z and I are going with the Ottawa group you told us about, and im really looking fwd to it. make dua for us that all goes well.
did you like the book i emailed u?
samar

Anonymous said...

humairah! there's so much to do, I leave on Saturday. hope I don't lose it before I get there!
thanks for the tips, i got them twice now ;)
ashu

Ozair said...

I get asked the same questions too ... mashallah your tips are awesome.

My response to the question of what Hajj is:

Hajj is like the reality show 'The Amazing Race'. You are with a group of people who you may not agree with all the time. You move from one challenge to another, but once you are done, it is the rewarding and fulfilling experience you will ever feel.

Ozair said...

*most rewarding and fulfilling experience you will ever feel

Syra said...

I m longing to go on Hajj. InshahAllah some day soon :)

Anonymous said...

The correct address is: www.hajtips.com

Anonymous said...

It's been a week since I've come back from Hajj this year (2008). I have got a vivid flashback of last week Friday, at this time (UK 14:11), I was in the mataaf area just prior to Maghreb salah, gazing at the Ka'ba sharif contemplating whether the purpose of my Hajj was fulfilled and what change will take back home when I face the challenges of life.

anyways, with regards to walking hajj - people say it's not that bad and easy - but for those who have got baby soft feet - please do not let blisters spoil you haj...this is a serious point - cos them blisters really are painful - you need your feet for tawaf-e-zayarah (which is one of the fardh) and all those long walks to jamarat, coming back to mina from haram on the second day etc..

secondly, somebody did mention that after a long walk you are so exhausted u could snooze off anywhere and everywhere - even on a cubicle - BUT.....YOU CANNOT, I REPEAT CANNOT AFFORD TO DO THIS ON YAUMUL ARAFAT....
u have to be energetic on this day..u'd rather get sun burnt standing (waquf) and making dua to Allah from zohar to sunrise instead of losing ur kneecaps and falling asleep by walking from Mina to Arafat (2-3 hrs)...u just have to weigh ur options...

Some of us will go over there just to tick off our last check box (yippy! got my fifth pillar constructed), some of us will go for a challenge (i'm macho and will do walking hajj, do a bit of mountneering and feel top of the world standing on Jable Noor), some of them will
do it cos we feel left out (all my friends have done it)...whatever the above, the experience is will be unique on individual basis, but later on u realise what u could've done and not done..

aint lecturing, but the above and the whole intense countdown to hajj day, will deviates us from those imprtant arkaans that we need to perform in the last 5 days of hajj...so let's pray that we keep our screwed on constantly and know what we are doing...

At the end of the day, it is not upto us to decide who's Hajj is valid or void..only Allah does...
Hajj Mabroor for all Hajis 2008 and for other make dua for us if you go next year...

back to reality now...
sarfaraz

Syra said...

thanks 4 sharing your thoughts. JazakAllah khayr.

lubna naqvi said...

What wishes or what do u say to someone who leaves on a hajj ?