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A Hajj Travel Checklist
In the first part of the Labayk series, we saw the importance of being spiritually ready for Hajj and looked at possible suggestions on how to prepare ourselves by engaging the mind, body and soul. As much as it is a spiritual journey, performing Hajj is made up of physical aspects, and in order to fulfil Hajj in its entire essence, we need a checklist of things to take with us that will aid us in completing the pilgrimage. This second article aims to provide a compilation of things required specifically for Hajj and has been created after conversations and feedback from various people who have performed Hajj over the past 5 years.
o Document pack
Instead of having all your required essential documents loosely thrown into a bag and subject to misplacement and/or damage, a document pack provides an effective solution to this whereby all paper work is consolidated in a single folder or plastic wallet. These are easy to find in the stationery department of most stores and really offer the convenience of a stress-free passage through ticket counters and borders. Remember to include the addresses of where you will be staying and also the contact of your group supervisor or other group members.
o Hajj related resources
As was suggested in the first article, it is important to know and understand the rituals that are to be done and the various supplications to be recited at different times. It therefore came as no surprise that most people recalled having a small guide at hand as very useful. Taking the same resources you used during your prior preparation for Hajj can be useful as you are already familiar with the content and layout. Some groups provide a small bespoke guide; check if this is something your group offers prior to departure. Islamic libraries within your communities can also be a great place to pick up some really good reading material for Hajj. If you are looking to purchase some resources, check out: https://www.world-federation.org/news/zilhajj-1435-hajj-resources. A great tip shared by a Hujjaj was to listen to some audio lectures prior to your trip while on a treadmill or during your outdoor walks. This is a great way to simultaneously prepare your mind and body for Hajj.
o Personal items
Have a sturdy backpack to carry all your essential items. It will especially be useful during your times in Arafat, Mina and Muzdalifah. Gather all your personal items in a handy pouch. This, once again allows for convenience in your travels. Some personal items that were highly recommended by recent pilgrims include, but are not limited to, fragrance-free toiletries, nail scissors (for snipping the hair when required as well as for trimming nails), pocket tissues, non scented wipes and miswak/toothbrush. While some generic retail products out in the market are advertised as fragrance-free, they still do contain fragrance so best check with customer service prior to purchase. Recently, a lot of companies and individuals have released their own line of fragrance-free toiletries specifically targeted towards people going for Hajj. Some that I came across are Labayk Products (www.labaykproducts.com), Iman Pure Products (www.imanpureproducts.com), Hajj Safe (www.hajjsafe.com) and The Olive Tree Soap Company (@OliveTreeSoapCompany). Alternatively, you could just carry with you a single unscented soap which can be used for all cleansing purposes.
This criterion can vary since every individual is unique in their health requirements. If you take regularly prescribed medications, carry these with you. In addition, almost everyone recommended rehydration salts. Since the heat causes you to lose water and essential salts in the body, having a glass of water mixed with these sachets can provide a boost, for example, before you begin Tawaf or really at any point where you feel you may need energy to stay focused on your true goal. General pain relief, throat lozenges and band aids were also high up there on the list.
o General Items
This list contains miscellaneous items that lots of people recommended. A comfortable pair of shoes, lightweight travel towels, a roll of nappy bags (for multipurpose use e.g. waste disposal, storage), 1 extra ihram in case of accidents, 2-pin travel adaptors, ear plugs and sleeping masks for some comfort on bus rides or crowded rooms, sunglasses and energy bars which are easy to carry and a great power snack during waiting times.
Finally, remember the spirit in which you are going to perform your Hajj and let that be the main focus of your trip. Most of the items listed above are there to facilitate this process and make it easier for you truly devote yourself to your Creator instead of wasting time in queues or be consumed by fatigue. If you find yourself needy of something you don’t have, simply ask your group members, and more often than not, someone will have what you are looking for. Likewise, be open to sharing what you have with fellow pilgrims and earnestly look out for each other. Adopt minimalist packing, you will find that the less you have in terms of possession, the more you will have in terms of concentration to reflect, meditate and plead to the Almighty. A lot of items that can be taken are optional and quite often add unnecessary weight to your luggage. Since you are the best judge of your needs, pack according to your suitability but be careful not to over pack. The one item that most people said they didn’t need was extra clothes, so once again, stick to a minimum.
In verse 197 of Surah al-Baqarah, The Almighty says in relation to Hajj, ‘And take your provisions with you (for your journey), but the best provision is Taqwa (fear of God and piety)'. Once again, here is a reminder of the significance of this journey. Consider it when you are packing your bags and make sure to pack lots of Taqwa. I think this verse of the Holy Quran perfectly sums up this article. Bear in mind that it is after all the house of God that you are visiting; if He has chosen for you to be there, He will protect you completely. Just put your hand on your heart and say to your God, Labayk, Alahuma Labayk.
A number of books and papers have been written on wudu’ in its practical and spiritual aspects. This particular work is different in that it tried to understand the deeper secrets of wudu’ through some of the recommended supplications of Imam Ali(a).