Hajj – The journey of a lifetime…
Hajj season has begun again and Muslims across the world are preparing to make this great pilgrimage. All the hajj messages has had me reminiscing about our very own Hajj journey back in 2017. It was an incredible experience…one that changes your entire being.
I will never forget receiving the call during the late afternoon and completely freezing when the lady on the other side of the phone said she was calling from SAHUC, (South African Hajj and Umrah Council), in fact, I thought I had heard her say SANHA but that made no sense… when she received dead silence after mentioning SAHUC , she simply said, “You know why I’m calling” …and with those words the whirlwind began. We had received a cancellation space and had 24 hours to claim our seats. We also had been allocated an operator and had to go with a package offered by that specific operator. Everything needed to be ready for us to depart in 6 weeks. Of course with that came the great many packing lists. And so I have decided to share some of the tips I found useful during my Hajj journey.
There are many packing lists available but I have decided to share the one I found most useful.
Some important notes:
- Of the 5 abayas I packed 2 were old- which I gave away and replaced with new ones.
- I packed pants that were elasticated at the bottom, this is extremely important for ease in wudhu. I also rotated the pants as some were used as pj pants.
- Take a good sandal, due to the heat I could not bear wearing closed shoes, and took a pair of comfortable sandals that could be used for wudhu as well- (mine were crocs strappy sandals)
- Aqua socks are an absolute must!
- Takkies must not be new! They must be broken in for comfort, the last thing you need is blisters from a new shoe.
- Shoe bags are provided by your operator, no need to pack extra.
- Laundromats are easily available in all places (Medina/Makkah/Azizia) for washing ihram towels/ abayas.
- When it comes to ihram towels, buy them in Medina as they are readily available , there is no need to carry these from S.A
- Hajj sandals are available from CII stores for men. This has to be a specific type so ensure it meets the ihram requirements when purchasing.
- Clicks and Cetaphil and Bioderma make unscented sunblock which is a necessity due to the amount of sun exposure during the days of Hajj.
- Mitchum has an unscented roll on.
- Sanex has non fragranced body wash, which is useful as a hand soap as well- less packing.
- Lilets makes unscented liners which can be used in Ihram.
- Buy separate toiletries for the 5 days
- Nail clippers can be purchased from Bin Dawood- great quality.
- Bin Dawood do sell unscented ihram packs for hajj days but are pretty pricey, if you have the time its best to pack from home as the body wash etc. can be decanted into smaller bottles and set aside for use in ihram.
- When it comes to make up- keep it basic, a good bb cream, eyeliner and lipstick. Remember your purpose there.
- Colgate apple shampoo is great for washing abayas/kurtas and eliminates the need for a fabric conditioner… and you can use it for your hair as well- alternatively pack your own shampoo!
- Green sunlight soap cut into 4 pieces comes in handy for other items (one per week?)
- Swim dry towels come in handy during the 5 days.
- You need a small sling bag to carry your kitabs/English Quran etc. into the haram… along with some sweets/money etc. this bag needs to be compact.
- Tawaaf counters are provided by your operator.
- When it comes to kitabs Hizbul Azam is the most comprehensive.
- Bidvest allows you to transfer your money into Saudi Riyals before you leave and offers you 2 debit cards which can be used at most big retail shops in Saudi but you will need cash as well, especially when you land.
- Take an old single duvet cover to sleep inside during the 5 days– one for each of you- your husband will appreciate this more than you especially while in ihram. It’s too hot for any other covering but you feel less ‘exposed’ as such. You can give it away when you leave.
- Check which local pharmacies have ready to go Hajj medication packs- these are a life saver!!
- You will need an umbrella or umbrella type hat ( available at china mall) for the 5 days while walking so your hands are free.
- Cape union Mart makes a good quality battery operated fan with a mister to cool you down- also a must! The ones in Saudi aren’t strong enough. Pack extra batteries.
- PACK LIGHTLY FOR THE 5 DAYS!!
- If someone will be staying with your children, stock up the freezer with required items.
- Place labels on the freezer door indicating what can be found where
- Ensure necessities for school and lunchboxes are readily available
- Make a list of the daily routine for kids including their food preferences and house rules (e.g. Allowed screen times)
- Emergency or important phone numbers listed on the fridge including teachers/doctors/friends for help etc.
- Medication lists for colds/sinus/coughs etc. especially if you have a preference (e.g. Only natural meds )
- If you are leaving a little one, pack a gift for every week you’re away, so each week the child has something new to distract them, avoid toys, perhaps books, playdough, paint sets, craft kits, something to occupy their time. For older kids pre arrange playdates over weekends as those are the times they miss you the most.
- Print a countdown calendar with your movements already included so your older children can track your movements from Medina – Makkah- Azizia- home.
- Invest in a hajj journal/diary to keep your list of duas/gift list/write down your feelings/thoughts for reflection etc.
- Compile a comprehensive dua list from your heart.
This is not just a physical journey, leave home with the thought that you may not return. Take the time to verbally express to those around you how much they mean to you. Take the time to send emails/ WhatsApp’s etc. letting your loved ones know how much you value them. Ask for their forgiveness and for their prayers. Forgive yourself and know that you are worthy of being the guest of the Almighty and that he is waiting for you to empty your soul to him. You are ready to receive his blessings and to begin a new chapter of your life. This is the moment you have been waiting for, and every experience you have ever had has been in preparation for this… everything is exactly as it should be. The timing is not yours, it is your creator that has deemed you ready to make this journey to him, and into yourself in order for you to be whom you were always meant to be. Alhumdulilah!
May all your efforts be rewarded and may your hajj be accepted.
I hope you find this useful…if so please go ahead and share the link with others.