Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam. It's an obligatory duty for every Muslim, provided he/she is capable of it. It must be performed with good intentions and complete dedication.
Umrah, also known as “minor Hajj”, is similar to Hajj at times. Moreover, every pilgrim needs to perform Umrah before they go for Hajj. However, you can perform Umrah at any time during the year.
Note that the Islamic calendar is lunar. So, the dates will differ from the Gregorian calendar.
In this article, we intend on guiding and helping you on your quest for spirituality with some important tips. So, keep reading!
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Hajj is an annual pilgrimage to Mecca (in Saudi Arabia), with multiple pilgrims from around the world. It starts from the 8th to the 12th of Dhu al-Hijja, which is the final Islamic month.
Pilgrims need to go through demanding rituals to seek forgiveness from Allah. It is also aimed at boosting trust and love for Allah and his Messenger. It reminds every believer about his obligation to him and to rely on his plan with complete mind, heart, and soul.
Here are some tips to help you out on your spiritual quest.
The Ministry of Health of The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has provided health guidelines to follow for those specific conditions. These include chronic diseases, pregnancy, and infancy. There are also guidelines to follow during and after Hajj.
There are some regulations for Yellow Fever, Meningococcal Meningitis, Poliomyelitis, and Seasonal Influenza. Health guidelines for Asthma sufferers during Hajj have also been updated recently.
It’s best to read them before planning your pilgrimage. Those with terminal medical conditions have been exempted from the duty.
Stay hydrated, keep using sunscreen, and seek shade whenever possible. Dress according to the weather. Try and perform rituals at night to avoid daytime heat, if possible. There’s air-conditioning in Haram on the first and second floors. You can pray there during the hottest parts of the day.
The weather conditions added to the crowd and rituals can be taxing on the pilgrims. Try to be patient, understanding, and compassionate. Avoid unnecessary conversation and remain focused on your mission of Hajj.
Punctuality is a key factor in Hajj. Ensure that you perform Salah on time with Jamaat. Remember, this is a religious duty and not a leisure outing. So, you need to take care of all that you do, and when you do it.
Deciding on an intention is one of the most pivotal parts of Hajj. You can change your intention before assuming Ihram, but try to not change after that. But, if you still want to, you can change from Tamattu to Qiran but not from Tamattu to Ifrad.
Contrary to a common myth, you’re allowed to change your white ihram sheets as and when you need them. This won’t relinquish your ihram. You only come out of ihram only after completing all the rites and shaving/clipping your hair.
While performing tawaf, it is common to observe that some people shout dua in unison following the imam. However, this isn’t right, as it creates a lot of confusion and disturbs others engaged in their own duas.
Umrah is an extremely blissful experience for any Muslim out there. It fills the hearts of Muslims with purity and spirituality. However, you’re not obligated to perform it as it is a Sunnat-e-Muwaqada, or highly recommended.
Here are some tips to help ease your Umrah, especially if you’re a first-timer.
Include all the must-visit Islamic sites to visit while you’re in Makkah and Madinah. These include Mount Uhud, Cave of Hira, Jannat-ul-Baqi, and Masjid-e-Nabawi.
Ensure that you have the necessary knowledge about why you’re undertaking this journey. Familiarize yourself with the various Fardh and Sunnah rituals. Get an in-depth understanding from authentic sources, Quran and Hadith.
Make a list of duas that you want to ask Allah, for yourself, your family, and your friends. You’d be at the most sacred place worshipping the Almighty. Your duas are certain to be accepted if it’s with good intention and pure heart.
Eat fruits only after washing them properly. Avoid eating pre-opened fruits or even salads. They might have been exposed to unhygienic conditions.
Give charity to the poor who try hard to earn. Look for opportunities to do good deeds. Try to donate a Quran to Haram and Masjid-e-Nabawi for people to read. Donate wheelchairs or prayer stools to Masjid for those who cannot pray while standing.
Umrah demands a huge deal of physical exertion and can take a toll on your body due to the amount of walking involved. The Tawaf can range between 1.4 km and 4.1 km. It mostly depends on the crowd and the floor on which you perform it.
Moreover, the Sa’ay between the hills of Safa and Marwah is near about 2.8 km, which makes it quite a distance, too.
The aforementioned are some of the must-know tips for Hajj and Umrah for the first-timers. If you plan on going on this spiritual tour, make sure that you’re prepared mentally and physically.
May Allah shower his blessings upon the Ummah and accept your intention in the worship and guide you to the true path. Aameen!
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