Quran 2:125

We have rendered the shrine (the Kaba) a focal point for the people, and a safe sanctuary. You may use Abraham’s shrine as a prayer house. We commissioned Abraham and Ismail: “You shall purify My house for those who visit, those who live there, and those who bow and prostrate.”

The Three Types of Hajj

There are 3 types of Hajj that can be performed, Hajj al-Tamattu’, Hajj al-Qiran and Hajj al-Ifrad

Hajj al-Tamattu’

Hajj al-Tamattu’ involves performing Umrah and Hajj, entering a separate state of Ihram for each.

This is considered the best option of the 3 types of Hajj and is the one the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) encouraged his followers to perform.

Hajj al-Qiran

In this form of Hajj, Umrah and Hajj are performed whilst in a single state of Ihram.

Hajj al-Ifrad

This is when performing Hajj only – if you perform Hajj al-Ifrad a sacrificial animal (Qurbani) is not required.

The Miqat

The Miqats are 5 location points that form a perimeter around the outside of the Holy City of Makkah. This perimeter is by no means a perfect circle around Makkah. It is 450 kilometers from the Haram at its furthest point, and passes close to it at it’s nearest. In fact its furthest point is actually just 9 kilometers from Medinah.

Those who are fortunate to live inside the Miqat area can enter a state of Ihram as they near the Haram if they wish to perform Hajj or Umrah. Anyone living outside, including of course those who travel in from different countries, must enter a state of Ihram before they enter the Miqat area if they are intending to perform Umrah or for the pilgrimage of Hajj. Anyone entering the area for other purposes is not required to go into Ihram.

Providing you do so outside the Miqat territory , it is permissible enter a state of Ihram anywhere, although one of the 5 “stations” mentioned below are preferable whenever possible. People often do so before they board the plane to Saudi Arabia, and some even when on the plane before they arrive in Jeddah as they will have crossed the Miqat border to do so.

There are 5 “stations” on the borders of the Miqat that are the preferred places to enter a state of Ihram.

Dhu’l-Hulayfah:

Situated 9 kilometers from Medinah and approx 450 kilometers from Makkah. Dhu’l-Hulayfah is the preferred miqat for those who live in Medinah and other locations in this direction.

Juhfah:

This is the preferred Miqat for those coming in from the North West including those from Syria. It is located approx 190 kilometers north west of the Holy City of Makkah.

Qarn al-Manazil:

A hilly location approx 90 kilometers east of the Hoy City of Makkah. The traditional Miqat for the people of Nejd or for those travelling in from the east.

Dhat Irq:

85 kilometers away on the north east side of Makkah, this is the miqat used by the pilgrims from Iraq and Iran, as well as others travelling from that direction.

Yalamlam:

A hilly area approx 50 kilometers to the south east of Makkah. This is the miqat for pilgrims coming in by ship, particularly India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, as well as the closer residents of Yemen.

Preparing for Hajj

Hajj is often referred to as ‘the journey of a lifetime’ – this journey begins once you make the intention to perform hajj. From there on, you should begin to prepare yourself with the intention not just of performing hajj, but to perform a hajj that is accepted (inshAllah).

An accepted hajj means that you return home with your sins obliterated, as sinless as a newborn child as mentioned in Al Bukhari and Muslim. Most importantly you need to remember that you are doing this solely for the pleasure of Allah SWT and in accordance to his commandment. You must remain humble, sincere, and regretful of your sins and seeking forgiveness.

It Starts with a Longing

From the point of intention you should find yourself longing to visit the Almighty’s House, and yearning for the day where you will have the chance to beg for the ultimate salvation from your misdeeds.

Islamic Preparation

Whilst at Afta Tours we aim to provide you with as much guidance as we can throughout the hajj journey, it is important that you invest time in building your Eimaan and try to ensure that you have a comprehensive understanding of the rituals you will be performing as well as what is encouraged and what is not permissible during hajj and when in the state of Ihram. Ensure that you focus also on things like keeping up with your Salah (namaaz) regularly and observing other duties carefully such as fasting in the holy month of Ramadhan. Reflect on how you conduct yourself in business, with family and in other aspects of your life. Try to follow the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH) in your conduct.  Start your path of asking for forgiveness with every prayer and thankful to the Almighty for giving you this opportunity.

Financial Preparation

Try to keep your finances in order, especially seeing to bills and debts before you leave. It is your duty to ensure that those members of your family that depend on you and are not traveling with you are not left in hardship in your absence.

Physical Preparation

Whilst the team at Afta Tours work hard on ensuring you have the best selection of amenities by focusing on the closest and best hotels, refreshments, air-conditioned travel etc. The rituals of hajj themselves can be quite demanding, especially when Hajj falls in the height of summer. For this reason It is always ideal to perform hajj whilst in the peak of health – however If you have any particular medical requirements, seek advice through your doctor as well as the Afta Tours team  who can guide you in the right direction. It is also recommended that you look after your diet and exercise in the months leading to Hajj.

Emotional Preparation

Hajj can be a very emotional experience – and to get the most from it you must remember the gift that you seek to be granted. On the plains of Arafat, on the main day of Hajj you will be have the opportunity of a lifetime which cannot be paralleled. It is a chance for you to cry out your sins and seek a fresh start. To pray for your family and friends and for the entire Ummah with absolute humility, sincerity and intention to refrain from past misdeeds. InshAllah your prayers will be heard.

Legal and Travel Requirements

  •  A British Passport, or full UK residency for all other passports
  • All passports must be valid for more than six months from the date of travel and have at least 2 blank pages for Hajj Visa
  • A valid A.C.W.Y. MENINGITIS vaccination certificate (Valid for more than 2 years)
  • Four recent passport size colour photos (with a white background)

Hajj and Umrah Travel Advice

Many of the following items are available in Saudi Arabia, but in order to save time searching for them, it is advisable that you should bring them with you.

Documents:

– Notarized copies of your passport, in case your passport is lost

– Pilgrims arrival photo-ID Card, issued upon arrival to Jeddah. You should carry this ID Card at all times

Ten passport size photographs for use by authorities for various ID cards and other documents and procedures

– Vaccination Record Book

– Names and addresses of hotels you are staying in in Makkah and Madinah. If you are lost, you can call them or get directions

– Plastic bracelet with the name, address and telephone number of your Tawafa Establishment printed on it. Make sure you carry this bracelet at all times. In case you are lost or have an accident, this bracelet will let you get to the right people.

Money:

Take a sufficient amount of currency to cover expenses. Have most of money in the form of travelers’ checks and a small amount of Saudi riyals.

Medication:

Have a small first aid kit with you, containing adhesive dressings, some insect repellent, antiseptic creams and water sterilization tablets.

If you live in the West and are not used to high temperatures, take plenty of salt tablets and start taking them as soon as you arrive in Jeddah. If you cannot get these tablets, two tea spoonfuls of common salt is adequate per day. This will prevent you from losing too much salt through your sweat (loss of salt can make you feel very weak).

Take something to soothe your throat since sore throats are common.

Take something to help you if you develop a cough, constipation or diarrhea.

If you suffer from any ailment such as a heart or chest condition or diabetes, tell your doctor or specialist that you are planning to undertake the Hajj journey and ask their advice on how to reduce your chances of becoming ill. Also ask them for a report to carry with you, with a list of your usual medications. Make sure you take with you enough medication to last the duration of your journey.

Luggage:

Sturdy, hard-cased luggage with heavy duty wheels. A waist pouch to keep and carry valuables at all times. Good quality light backpack for carrying personal stuff during Hajj.

Clothing and bedding:

– Two or three sets of Ihram: The Ihram consists of two pieces of white, plain cloth, either 100% cotton or light terry-cloth. These are cool to wear and also provide for better absorption of the heavy perspiration you will inevitably experience during Hajj.

– Light and airy clothes for street wear. Take enough clothes to make your stay comfortable, but do not over-burden yourself with unnecessary clothes. Professional laundry facilities are available in Saudi Arabia. If going on Hajj during winter months, take some woolen clothing as the early mornings tend to be cool.

– Three or four pairs of rubber slippers for use during Ihram. Couple of pairs of comfortable shoes or sandals.

– Two large and two small towels

– Sleeping bag for bedding, inflatable pillow and thick sheets

Toiletries:

Tooth brush, toothpaste, moisturizing and disinfecting hand soap, bath soap, shampoo, disposable razors, shaving cream, small mirror, comb, nail clippers and disinfectant, deodorant, tissues and toilet paper.

Miscellaneous items:

– Bottled water to avoid dehydration

– Folding umbrella to protect from sun

– A prayer rug

– Copy of the Holy Qur’an and books that give you authentic and detailed information about the rites of Hajj. DO NOT take audio or video tapes as the authorities will review them at the airport and that will cause delay.

– Pen, pencil, small notebook

Mobile phones to keep in touch with your group and also to phone home. SIM cards only valid for a month are available over the counter in most phone shops in Makkah and Madinah. Before leaving, make sure your phone can accept any SIM card, as opposed to being tied to a network.

– Multi-blade pocket knife, can opener, small scissors

– Small flashlight, with extra batteries

– Small bottle of dish washing liquid and laundry detergent

Hajj Seminar

A pre-hajj seminar is offered as part of the hajj packages arranged by Afta Tours. This seminar is located at a venue in London each year prior to travelling. It’s aim is to ensure that you are prepared for the journey and the days of hajj that follow.

All pilgrims are informed in advance of the date and venue and are urged to attend. It is also a forum where they can be introduced to other members in the group and have the platform to raise questions that the whole group can interact with.

Travelling for Hajj – Flights

As arranged and explained in our pre-hajj seminar, the group meets up at Heathrow Airport, London (unless informed otherwise). It is important that you ensure that you have your passports and tickets ready for check-in, and that you have complied with advice given regarding your luggage.

If you are travelling straight to Makkah via Jeddah Airport

When we take off for Jeddah Airport you can expect (inshAllah) direct flights to take between 6 and 7 hours. If you are booked for a changeover flight then this will take a little longer.

Upon arrival at Jeddah airport, you will go to the special Hajj Terminal. From here you board onto an air-conditioned coach to head to the holy city of Makkah.

If you are travelling first to Medinah

When we take off for Medinah Airport you can expect (inshAllah) direct flights to take between 6 and 7 hours. If you are booked for a changeover flight then this will take a little longer.

From Medinah Airport you board onto an air-conditioned coach to head to the holy city of Medinah to visit the Masjid Al-Nabwi, Medinah Al-Munawarah

Ihram – The State of Ihram

What is an Ihram and how should I wear it?

The Ihram garments for men consists of two pieces of white sheet. Wrap the larger sheet around your waist to cover your body from the navel to the ankles. Secure the Ihram either with a belt or by a strip of fabric torn from Ihram material. Drape the other sheet over the back and shoulders and wear a pair of stitched or unstitched sandals or shoes which do not cover the ankles. The head should not be covered, and no underwear should be used. The Ihram should preferably be white.

Should women wear the Ihram?

Women are allowed to make Ihram in any dress they wish which fulfills the Islamic conditions of public dress, regardless of the color. Women’s hands and face should be uncovered in Ihram. Their heads should be covered.

 Are there things I should and shouldn’t be doing while I am in a state of Ihram?

Yes, a Muhrim (someone who is in state of Ihram) must observe certain obligations and prohibitions. These are:

  • – Keep your head uncovered at all times. Women should keep their heads covered
  • – Do not shave, cut your hair, clip your nails, use perfume, or wear sewn clothes of any kind
  • – Do not perform marriage or get married yourself
  • – Do not kill an animal of any kind for any reason, unless it poses a danger to you and to the others.
  • – Do not enter into conjugal relations with your spouse. Avoid suggestive and provocative talk or gestures and remain focused on Hajj

Labaik Allahuma Labaik

As you travel towards the Kaaba, and when you circle it (tawaaf) , you should continuously repeat the following declaration…

Labaik Allahuma Labaik, labaik la sharika laka labaik, Innal hamda wann’imat laka wal mulk, la sharika lak

Translated this means:

I stand up for YOUR service, O GOD! I stand up! I stand up! There is no partner with YOU! I stand up for YOUR service! Verily YOURS is the praise, the beneficence, and the dominion! There is no partner with YOU”

Divine Inspiration

Narrated ‘Aisha: (the mother of the faithful believers) Al-Harith bin Hisham asked Allah’s Apostle “O Allah’s Apostle! How is the Divine Inspiration revealed to you?” Allah’s Apostle replied, “Sometimes it is (revealed) like the ringing of a bell, this form of Inspiration is the hardest of all and then this state passes ‘ off after I have grasped what is inspired.

Sometimes the Angel comes in the form of a man and talks to me and I grasp whatever he says.” ‘Aisha added: Verily I saw the Prophet being inspired Divinely on a very cold day and noticed the Sweat dropping from his forehead (as the Inspiration was over).