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.”
There are 3 types of Hajj that can be performed, Hajj al-Tamattu’, Hajj al-Qiran and Hajj al-Ifrad
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.
In this form of Hajj, Umrah and Hajj are performed whilst in a single state of Ihram.
This is when performing Hajj only – if you perform Hajj al-Ifrad a sacrificial animal (Qurbani) is not required.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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
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
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”