Hajj Highlight

Sharing tips mengenai haji dari seorang teman. Saya record di sini supaya nanti bisa liat lagi. Mudah2an berguna juga untuk yang lain. Dan terima kasih untuk author (Reina) yang telah mengijinkan tips2nya ditaro di blog ini.


I have summarised some tips and interesting points of our hajj experience below:

·         Expect delays at Jeddah airport, if you can get out of there within less than five hours you are considered very lucky (be patient, as there might be at least over 100,000 people arriving at the same time)
·         The main reason why you have to wait for so long at the Jeddah airport is because of the confusion with your luggage and the bus to take (claiming your luggage and passing the immigration did not take us that long). Your passports will be stamped so many times before you could finally catch the government bus and the bus driver will not leave the place until the bus is full (if it takes them five hours to wait to get it filled then you just have to live with it)
·         It comes handy to have a bit of Saudi riyals upon arrival (to buy some drinks or food as you’ll be really hungry or thirsty at Jeddah airport while waiting) as ATM is hard to find there
·         Expect to pay tips for almost everything, porters, bus drivers, cleaners, cats (if you could understand the language hehe) you name it!
·         Once you have left the airport expect the bus to stop at so many places before reaching your accommodation (there will be a few pit stops and you’ll get free snacks and drinks, hajj  dvds, pamphlets etc on the way)
·         Don’t panic if the above sounds daunting. There’s really nothing you have to do apart from waiting, everything else is done by your tour operator (that’s why you pay that much)
·         The departure lounge is much better than the arrival one at Jeddah airport (but you are not there to enjoy a luxurious life)

·         Prophet Ibrahim asked Allah to bless Makkah once, you don’t need a proof you’ll be able to feel it as soon as you get there so mind your behaviour
·         You’ll see moslems doing things that are against sunnah inside the Haraam mosque such as talking on mobile phone while doing tawaaf and saee, talking bad about other people from different countries, and pushing and shoving inside
·         You’ll also see people doing tawaaf in a group reciting du’a and prayers loudly while trying to bulldoze everyone in their way. Be patient and give a way, trust me it’s not worth the trouble plus you don’t want to lose your umrah/hajj rewards by fighting it
·         Bid’aah (innovation which is against the sunnah) is so openly practiced such as crying uncontrollably while kissing and rubbing the bricks of Ka’baah and at Maqam Ibrahim, reciting du’a so loudly and following an ‘imam’ while doing tawaaf and saee
·         Expect to hear phone ringing every few minutes playing a variety of musical tunes while a congregational prayer is being held inside. My view on this matter? It’s so disrespectful!
·         If you don’t normally wear face cover, expect some random stare from men. Don’t look at them and make sure you have your mahram with you at all times!
·         The sellers can speak Malay, Urdu, Arabic (of course) fluently but English? You can try hard, but sometimes body language will do the job!
·         The Shurtis (religious policewomen) will check your bags upon entering the Haraam mosque but they’ll let you keep your mobile phones, cameras, snacks, drink bottles etc (unlike the ones in Madinah who are a lot stricter)
·         The Shurtis can get very particular if you sitting among men inside the Haraam mosque (generally, mixing is not allowed but some scholars say Makkah is exceptional), my best advice? Go to the female section, less likely you’ll get moved
·         Don’t pray sunnah prayer straight after the fard prayer, wait for janazah prayer to finish then do your sunnah prayer afterward (the reward of a janazah prayer is as big as mount Uhud) otherwise you’ll miss it!
·         Watch out for those desperate women looking for a praying spot and don’t be surprised if they end up sitting on your lap while you are waiting for the congregational prayer to start, 99.99% of all cases I’d let someone in and sit next to me even if I had to crouch my legs and drew them to my chest this is much better than having a gap in your saf.
·         Come an hour or two before the congregational prayer starts, you have more chance to get a good spot inside the Haraam mosque. Some women are reluctant to share their praying spot and happy to have a gap in their saf. This is wrong! Some even try to make themselves bigger than they really are by spreading their legs, place bags next to them etc.
·         There are so many beggars in Makkah (mostly women and children) some of them have branded hand bags and looking like some oil sheikh’s wives but it’s up to you to make a professional judgement whether to give or not
·         While I was sitting waiting for Matt (he was buying us a takeaway) in front of a gold shop in Makkah just outside the Haraam mosque, an old man came and gave me money. What I learned from this event: either I should have sat longer to make more money hehe or don’t sit on the steps unless you want people to think that you are a beggar
·         I personally did not have the time for shopping and do not understand how some people manage to shop till they drop in Makkah and Madinah. If I went for shopping I would have to miss one of the fard prayers or risk missing a nap or meal. Try to shop after Isha if you can.

·         Australia private tents in Mina are quite luxurious (air conditioned with thick sofa beds, blankets, pillows, fresh bed linen, and you get three meals a day) compared to other countries yet so many hujjajs prefer to stay back in their five star hotels and miss out on getting the rewards for staying three nights in Mina
·         Expect to walk, walk and walk during hajj. We walked from our apartment in Aziziyah to Mina tents and Jamarat back and forth on daily basis so it’s good to invest in good sandals or shoes (we had blisters, stracthes and everything in between)
·         Saudi Arabia is hot! Pack sunscreen (non fragrant and non water resistant for hajj days), umbrella, sun glasses and hat if you can prior to going to Mina and Arafah. Matt went red like a lobster and got sunburn so badly and I got so tanned by the end of it
·         On the way to Jamarat Matt saw a hujjaj carrying a bloodied sacrificed animal on his shoulder looking for a poor person to give to. We’re glad we got that part of hajj taken care of
·         If you need some pebbles for Jamarat better grab some here otherwise there are plenty in Muzdalifah
·         Throwing pebbles at Jamarat is so easy now. We suggest that you go to the third or fourth level if it’s open as it is less crowded
·         Toilets in Mina are very interesting. More traditional squatting toilets than western style ones are available to use. The queue can also be daunting during the peak time (around an hour before Adhan) the queue could go as long as five metres! So hold your wudhoo for a few hours if you can
·         Don’t take your head cover off while inside the tents even when sleeping, there is not much of privacy as anybody (including men but mostly cleaners) can walk in anytime

·         This is what hajj is all about! You have at least five hours to beg Allah for everything. Based on our personal experience, we could only do a 16 page du’a three to four times during the period
·         The whole Arafah is a standing place but personally doing your du’a out in the open is much more desirable as you can concentrate better without having to worry that people around you hear your heartbreaking du’a plus it’s better to be on the safe side away from riyaa
·         There is nothing wrong doing your du’a inside the non-air conditioned tent and you’ll be accompanied with at least fifty other people in your tent doing the same thing as it is very hot outside the tent
·         Don’t bother going to Namira mosque while in  Arafah from the Australia tent it’s at least a few hours walk you really need to safe your energy for the du’a and the muzdalifah trip (also you see people climbing the Jabal Rahmah to do their du’a and prayer up there)
·         Don’t spend your time napping (you’ll be able to catch up with your sleep in Muzdalifah) while in Arafah, this is the one and your only chance to change your life and everyone else. Beg Allah for everything and everything more you may have no second chance!
·         Toilets in Arafah are similar to the ones in Mina by now you’ll get used to the queue

·         This is your chance to catch up with your sleep. We got a sleeping bag as part of the hajj package so we were lucky to have a comfortable sleep
·         Given that there are around three millions of people looking for a sleeping spot the same time as you are, be prepared to walk and walk for a while before finally finding one
·         There are some people who are very defensive over the “empty space” next to their sleeping spots. They try to reserve the space for their families, relatives, friends etc who are yet to arrive. You can try to fight for it and risk losing your patience or you can continue walking
·         We arrived quite late in Muzdalifah around 10 o’clock at night and could only find spot metres away from the portable toilets, you could argue that it’s a good spot or bad one depending on your circumstances nevertheless we had a good entertainment around Fajr time. The water from the toilets in front of us somehow leaked into the ground where the electricity cables were buried under. The result? A spectacular fireworks! We had no time to enjoy this phenomenon instead we packed up and walked to Jamarat straight after fajr.
·         We managed to get some pebbles here, chick peas size real good quality ones hehe for the Jamarat

·         Prophet Muhammad SAW asked Allah to bless Madinah and it got blessed twice, when you pray at the prophet’s mosque you can feel it in your heart you may be able to gain more khusoo in your prayer here than elsewhere
·         We felt that it was like a dream to be able to pray so close to where the prophet is. It is sad to see people doing things against the sunnah knowing that the prophet is just metres away from us
·         To pray two rakaah sunnah prayer in Raudah is desirable as long as it does not involve pushing and shoving others as it will then become haram (similar to doing tawaaf) but the reality is some people seem so desperate that they are willing to do anything to get there
·         If you really want to pray two rakaah sunnah prayer in Raudah try NOT to join any ziyarath group inside the mosque – although the shurtis may push you against your will sometimes as they deliver lectures in Arabic, Malay, Urdu, Turkiye etc and so you must sit and listen before being allowed to run for Raudah. It’s a lot quicker to skip the lecture (but I recommend to attend once at least) just hang around near the three doors partitioning the men section of the mosque and wait until one of them is open, then go. They rotate the entrance every time so you don’t know which one will be opened next
·         For women, Raudah is opened after Fajr, Dhuhr and Isha prayers. Hang around and expect to wait for at least an hour before they open one of the doors
·         The graves are not opened for women to visit but when you are in Raudah you will get an idea that the graves are nearby, you’ll see women commit bid’aah weeping and doing du’a/prayer in the direction of the graves
·         One the way out from Raudah I spotted a lady praying in a wrong direction (instead of facing Kaabah direction), I had to physically moved her. Be prepared to do the same!
·         The women get so wild once the door to Raudah is opened, some will do anything including pushing you to the ground so take it slowly and let those women go first (there’s no point praying in Raudah which is only a sunnah by allowing yourself to commit haraam action to get there)
·         Once you are in Raudah expect even wilder behaviour as everyone wants to find a spot to pray; people walking all over your head (if you happen to do a sujood at that time), standing in front of you while praying (you may have to cancel your pray as you won’t be able to do rukoo and sujood), and tapping you on the head and shoulder to get you finish quickly
·         If you have to do shopping, try to get some ajwa dates. This is a very famous type of dates, our prophet recommended us to eat seven every morning to ward off poison and black magic

That’s all I could think of at the moment, please forgive me for any shortcomings. Happy to share more of our personal experience if required.

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