Hajj Packages and Legal Requirements
Shop around for a Hajj package that suits your needs. Try to look for a travel agent who can help you with the other details of Hajj, such as the legal requirements, Hajj tours, etc. Hajj preparations require several legal documents such as a visa, immunization records, birth certificate, marriage certificate, etc. Check with the Saudi Arabian embassy or a Hajj/Umrah travel agent to review the requirements and prepare the paperwork.
Physical Hajj Preparations:
As you begin your Hajj preparations, it is wise to begin improving your level of physical fitness. Hajj is a physically demanding task (having to walk in the heat, run between Safa and Marwa, etc.) so begin preparing for this by getting involved in some form of physical activity such as walking, running, cycling, or sports. Also, get a medical checkup.
Clothing For Hajj Preparations
You don’t need to enter the airplane wearing your ihram. So for Hajj Preparations, Wear comfortable clothes that you can take off easily to change into your ihram when the time comes. Another point worth mentioning is to take clothes with the climate of Saudi Arabia in mind. There is no need for you to pack your favorite winter jacket as there is no need for it in Saudi Arabia’s desert climate. Bring light clothes suitable enough for the number of days you are staying.
Remember that you may be buying clothes there, so pack wisely. You do not want to bring a bag full of clothes only to buy new clothes in Saudi Arabia but have no space to get them back home with you. Also, ensure your clothes align with what is acceptable in Saudi Arabia. For women, it is probably best to wear an abaya. Since you will most likely be in Makkah and Madinah during your Hajj stay, a niqab is unnecessary. But I have heard that outside Makkah and Madinah, it may be better to wear a niqab. For men, do not wear shorts that expose the knees.
Boost your immunity.
Traveling from the U.S. takes a considerable toll: long plane rides, layovers, and a wait anywhere from 2 – 12 hrs at the Jeddah airport. So indulge in fruits and veggies in the U.S., especially those rich in antioxidants. Stay away from sick people as best as you can during the trip. One friend started taking a teaspoon of honey regularly in her tea. A few people wore a surgeon’s mask throughout the trip. Although it may seem to mean don’t share your water bottles or share prayer mats. You might still get sick, but take whatever precautions you can.
Pace yourself upon arrival.
Try to balance resting and making the most of your time in Makkah and Madina. You don’t want to wear yourself out before going to Mina, but at the same time, you want to earn good deeds in the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah.
Take medicine as soon as you feel sick, but avoid taking antibiotics unless or until you have been diagnosed with a bacterial infection. Ricola cough drops are excellent. Taking several packs is a good idea because people will ask you for some. Everyone gets the ‘Hajj cough.’ Use lemon, honey, orange juice, etc. Take Vitamin C supplements regularly during the trip – don’t wait till you get sick to start this!
Ihram For Hajj Preparations:
For men, the ihram is a two-piece unhemmed cloth where one sheet is tied around the waist, and the other layer covers the upper body. For women, the ihram clothing is no different from how one would typically cover in a hijab.
Keep your luggage light, bringing only the essentials. One suggestion for Hajj preparation is to remember that you probably will be getting a few things back for friends and family, so save some space in your luggage for this stuff. Read your country’s airport regulations to find out what you can and cannot bring in your carry-on luggage to avoid any problems.
Spiritual Hajj Preparation
Hajj is the best time to make dua. As Hajj preparations, make a Dua for yourself so you don’t spend valuable time merely thinking of what to ask. A Dua list would allow you to reflect on your shortcomings, making your repentance sincerer. When going for Hajj, many people will ask you to make dua for them. It would be difficult to remember all the Dua you are supposed to go to, so a list of Dua will help you remember them and make dua for them.
Get in the right mindset by surrendering yourself to Allah (SWT)
You are going on Hajj, not on a vacation in a 4-star hotel. You will be tested in different ways so remind yourself to be patient and not to complain. You are invited as Allah’s guests, so use the correct manners that a guest should have. As a bonus, try to catch yourself before reacting negatively to a test by acknowledging that what is making you upset is the test.
Remember why you are here: to complete Hajj and go back home.
You are not here to change the Saudi government or fix the ignorance of the ummah (community). You are not here to argue with different people about who is right and wrong. You might need to develop a mantra or phrase to remind yourself. A few people would remind themselves, saying, “La jidaal,” or “No arguing,” if they started to get annoyed with a spouse, family member, or random uncle in the group.
Other Tips for Hajj Preparations
Ask people who have performed Hajj about their experiences, what was difficult, what problems arose, and how they solved them, etc., so that you are better prepared. Also, remember to stay hydrated and take any required medications with you.