Hajj is the most sacred and the most desired journey for every Muslim.
I am sharing with you some interesting insights, information and facts about Hajj or the Pilgrimage to Mecca.
There has been a significant growth in the number of pilgrims that have been attending Mecca every year since 1996 (by 70%). Nonetheless there many more Muslims that wish to go for Hajj every year but are not able to make it due to limited visas or restriction by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
A very interesting chart illustrating the last years (2012) statistics of Pilgrims that attended for Hajj from across the globe and various measures that were undertaken by the Saudi government to serve the Pilgrims.
Approximate distances between main locations:
– Makkah to Mina: 8 kilometers (5 miles)
– Mina to Arafat: 14.4 kilometers (9 miles)
– Mina to Muzdaliah: 3 kilometers (1.8 miles)
– Makkah to Arafat: 22.4 kilometers (14 miles)
Many of the following items are available in Saudi Arabia, but in order to save time searching for them, it is advisable that you should bring them with you.
– Notarized copies of your passport, in case your passport is lost
– Pilgrims arrival photo-ID Card, issued upon arrival to Jeddah. You should carry this ID Card at all times
Ten passport size photographs for use by authorities for various ID cards and other documents and procedures
– Vaccination Record Book
– Names and addresses of hotels you are staying in in Makkah and Madinah. If you are lost, you can call them or get directions
– Plastic bracelet with the name, address and telephone number of your Tawafa Establishment printed on it. Make sure you carry this bracelet at all times. In case you are lost or have an accident, this bracelet will let you get to the right people.
Take a sufficient amount of currency to cover expenses. Have most of money in the form of travelers’ checks and a small amount of Saudi riyals.
Medication: See Medication
Sturdy, hard-cased luggage with heavy duty wheels. A waist pouch to keep and carry valuables at all times. Good quality light backpack for carrying personal stuff during Hajj.
Clothing and bedding:
– Two or three sets of Ihram: The Ihram consists of two pieces of white, plain cloth, either 100% cotton or light terry-cloth. These are cool to wear and also provide for better absorption of the heavy perspiration you will inevitably experience during Hajj.
– Light and airy clothes for street wear. Take enough clothes to make your stay comfortable, but do not over-burden yourself with unnecessary clothes. Professional laundry facilities are available in Saudi Arabia. If going on Hajj during winter months, take some woolen clothing as the early mornings tend to be cool.
– Three or four pairs of rubber slippers for use during Ihram. Couple of pairs of comfortable shoes or sandals.
– Two large and two small towels
– Sleeping bag for bedding, inflatable pillow and thick sheets
Tooth brush, toothpaste, moisturizing and disinfecting hand soap, bath soap, shampoo, disposable razors, shaving cream, small mirror, comb, nail clippers and disinfectant, deodorant, tissues and toilet paper.
– Bottled water to avoid dehydration
– Folding umbrella to protect from sun
– A prayer rug
– Copy of the Holy Qur’an and books that give you authentic and detailed information about the rites of Hajj. DO NOT take audio or video tapes as the authorities will review them at the airport and that will cause delay.
– Pen, pencil, small notebook
– Mobile phones to keep in touch with your group and also to phone home. SIM cards only valid for a month are available over the counter in most phone shops in Makkah and Madinah. Before leaving, make sure your phone can accept any SIM card, as opposed to being tied to a network.
– Multi-blade pocket knife, can opener, small scissors
– Small flashlight, with extra batteries
– Small bottle of dish washing liquid and laundry detergent
Interesting Facts About Hajj and Kabah:
1. When Prophet Ibrahim upon him peace built the kabah walls, Allah almighty ordered him to loudly announce that people should come for Hajj. He remarked saying how far would his voice reach to which Allah Almighty replied: make the announcement and I shall make your voice reach people. So he announced: oh people! Allah has made Hajj obligatory upon you at the ancient house ‘albayt alateeq’. Everything in between the heavens and earth heard this announcement. (Ibn Abi Hatim, Ibn Jurayj)
This announcement reached each and every soul. This is the reason why hajees go to hajj replying to the call of Prophet Ibrahim saying “labbayk Allahumma labbayk”.
Allah Almighty reminds us of the call of Ibrahim (Nida Ibrahim) in the Noble Quran (23:27).
2. The first creation to perform Hajj before humans were the angels. (Sharh Lubab)
3. All Prophets after Ibrahim alayhissalam performed Hajj.
4. Prophet Adam alayhissalam and
many other prophets before Ibrahim alayhissalam also perform Hajj with exception of Prophets Hud and Salih as they were too busy in the matters of their people. (Irshad al-Sari)
5. Our Noble Prophet sallAllahu alayi wasallam performed many Hajj before and after proclamation of prophethood however he only performed one Fardh Hajj that was made obligatory in his shariah.
6. Hajj was made obligatory upon this ummah the 9th year of migration to Madina according to the most preferred opinion. (Rad al-Muhtar).
7. Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Siddique Allah be pleased with him was appointed the first ameer of Hajj that year (9th hijri). He and Sayyiduna Ali were ordered to announce there that no mushrik was to be allowed to perform Hajj any longer and that none should make tawaf uncovered as was the pagan norm. (Irshad alsari)
8. Our Noble Prohet sallAllahu alayhi wasallam did not perform Hajj that year. Imam Haskafi and others mentioned that He knew that He would live the year after (10th) to perform Hajj! (Durr Mukhtar) One reason was that he did not want to join Hajj whilst infidels were still in control.
9. Our Prophet sallAllahu alayhi wasallam performed only 1 fardh Hajj during his entire life, a few months before his demise in the 10th year of migration. It became known as the farewell hajj (hajjatul wada). Over 100,000 Muslims gathered at this historic event. Some even travelled from Yemen to attend. It is narrated in Sahih Muslim about this very Hajj that our Beloved Prophet distributed his hair among the companions.
10. Makkah is called ummul Qura ‘mother of all cities’ in the Quran because Allah almighty started the creation of the earth from
makkah. Land was spread from Makkah from which mountains were also formed the first of them was jabal Abu qubays that is near the kabah hence called ‘mother of mountains’. (Sharh Lubab)
11. Makkah is called Bakkah in the Quran (3:96) where the kabah is described as the first house placed by Allah Almighty for the worship of humankind.
Bakkah is one of the names of Makkah. It holds possible different meanings: this area ‘lowers’ the necks of arrogant people or that honourable people ‘gather’ there. One opinion is that Bakkah is the exact area where the kabah stands whilst the rest of the city is called Makkah. (Irshad al-Sari)
12. It is narrated that before Prophet Adam upon him peace, there stood a building in the exact area of the kabah that was called ‘duraah’. It was lifted right above this area in the heavens and is also called albayt almamur. Albayt almamur is the kabah of angels on the seventh heaven where our Prophet alayhissalam met his grandfather Ibrahim alayhissalam on the night of ascention (meraj) who was reclining on the wall of albayt almamur.
13. Prophet Adam alayhissalam was ordered to circumambulate the kabah and during the storm of Prophet Nuh alayhissalam, this building was lifted to the heavens the second time to the fourth heaven. (Sharh Lubab)
14. Kabah in reality is the name of the area/space (fada) of the building/walls therefore if in any case the building does not remain tawaf around the space and prayer in direction of the space would still be valid! (sharh lubab)
15. The space directly above and directly below the building of the kabah is also a part of the kabah. Directly above it in the 7th heaven is the kabah of angels albayt almamur.
16. Therefore if somebody prays on the roof of the masjid or on a mountain, he would still be considered to be facing the kabah though the building would be below. However it is disliked in the Hanafi School to go to the roof of the masjid alharam (for tawaf or salah) and all mosques without necessity.
15. If someone prayed salah inside the kabah, he can face any direction as he would be facing the kabah anyway.
16. The area of hateem (external wall around the kabah to one side) is also called Hijr Ismail. It is narrated the Prophet Ismail and his blessed mother Hajir are buries here. In fact there is a narration that this is the resting place of 70 Prophets. This area is a part of the original foundation of the kabah so whoever prayers in this area in fact is praying inside the Kabah.
17. Have you thought why are people circulating the Kabah infront of others who are praying? Is it not a sin to pass infront of a person praying? The answer: tawaf is like prayer hence these people are as though they are a row of praying people infront of other people in prayer. (Sharh Lubab)
18. The sabab/cause of prayer is the time so when it enters salah becomes fardh. The sabab of Hajj
is the Kabah, the house of Allah almighty.
19. On the day of Eid al-Adha when every Muslim is parying eid salah, the Haji in Mina does not pray eid. There is no eid prayer for the haji.
20. There is a fardh of Hajj that if were not performed by the magrib time of the 12th of Dhulhijjah can be performed at anytime of one’s lifetime. In other words, one fardh of hajj can be performed outside the months of Hajj: that is Tawaf al-Ziyara.
21. If however a married person did not perform tawaf alziyarah and returned home, physical relation with his wife would remain haram upon him until he does not return to Makkah and perform this tawaf, even if that is after 20 years! So make sure that you do not miss this tawaf if you are married!
22. The honour of the kabah is amazing. One is still several miles away but must enter the state of Ihram at his point of entry (meeqaat) out of respect for entering the land that is attached (nisbat) with the kabah! Not just Makkah city (area
of Haram) but all of its surrounding area (called “hill” in Arabic) also is honourable. Now imagine the honour of the peice of land where the kabah itself stands.