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FAQ Related To Hajj
hajj

General

Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam. All Muslims who fulfill certain conditions must perform Hajj at least once in their lifetime.

What are these conditions? Are there any prerequisites of Hajj? The answers to these and many other similar questions can help you in making decisions, and in planning for Hajj in a better and more efficient fashion.


Who Must Perform Hajj ?

Every Muslim who fulfills the following conditions must perform Hajj at least once in his lifetime:

He must be of sound mind, and in full control of his mental faculties.

He must be old enough, and mature enough to understand the full import, and significance of what he is setting out to do.

He must be financially sound enough to be able not only to bear all of his expenses for Hajj but also to provide adequately for his dependents during his absence and until his return.

Prerequisites Of Hajj

Since Hajj is an act of worship, it must be performed in peace, and with single minded devotion. There are a number of simple, yet important, things you can do to get in the right frame of mind for this unique experience. All of these are self-evident and are based on common sense. They are reiterated below for completeness of the discussion and as a reminder:

Your intention must be to perform Hajj solely for the sake of Allah. Considerations of pleasing or impressing others with your show of piety should never be a factor.

All Hajj expenses must be paid out of money obtained through legitimate (Halal) means. Money obtained through illegitimate or doubtful means is not acceptable.

All of your debts and financial obligations must be fully discharged before you start your journey and, where necessary, a written acknowledgement of the transaction obtained for future use.

You must make an honest effort to resolve your outstanding differences with others and seek forgiveness from those you may have hurt in any way in the past. This is based on specific instructions of Rasool Allah (pbuh) and must be followed for the Hajj to be meaningful.

Preparations For Hajj

Since Hajj is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most people, the importance of early and adequate preparation cannot be over-emphasized. There is a considerable investment of money, time, and physical effort required for the Pilgrimage to be fulfilling and meaningful. Information has to be collected, itineraries must be worked out, and documents have to be readied. The purpose of these preparations is not only to minimize physical discomfort, emotional aggravation and monetary expenses, but also to enable you to perform Hajj in relative peace of heart and mind. Therefore, it makes sense to be as ready as possible for this momentous journey of self-discovery, self-appraisal, and spiritual enlightenment.

Arrangements must be started early enough so that you are not rushed for time in the few days before your voyage commences. The paperwork, shopping, finalizing your travel and residential arrangements inside Saudi Arabia etc., consume a great deal of time. Three to four months ahead of your actual date of departure is a good estimate for starting your preparations. Your travel agent, or a knowledgeable friend who has performed Hajj recently, can also guide you in your preparations. Be sure to apply a "factor of safety" to their recommendations and allow yourself a somewhat greater period of preparation than they advise!

The following guidelines are intended to get you started in the right direction. Since individual needs and preferences vary widely you will, in all probability, add to the list as you prepare for the journey:

Travel Agent

Choose a travel agent who offers a wide selection of "packages" for Hajj. There are a large number of travel agencies all over the country that offer Hajj services, and not all of their products are of equal quality and value. Choosing the right agent is of crucial importance. Hopefully, a representative of your travel agent will be your constant guide and trouble shooter during Hajj. Invest time and effort in this essential phase of your preparation.

Talk to friends and acquaintances who may have recently used the services of various companies and ask them for recommendations. The quality of service and commitment to the comfort and well-being of the pilgrims vary significantly among travel agents. Whereas a good and responsible agent can "make" your Hajj, a bad one can just as easily "break" it.

Be sure to ask the travel agent specific questions and have him give you specific answers:

Documents

General

You will be exerting considerable physical effort during Hajj. All Hajj rites (Tawaf, Sai, Rummy etc.) require a great deal of strength and endurance. The constant crush of hundreds of thousands of other pilgrims, each trying to perform the same rites at the same time in limited spaces and very hot weather, compounds the demands on your physical conditioning and mental toughness.

In order to be prepared for the rigors expected of you, you must be in good physical shape. To achieve this, start a program of brisk walking and jogging for twenty to thirty minutes a day about three to four months before your departure. Gradually increase this regimen to an hour every day or every other day.

After a few days of walking/jogging start reciting audibly the Talbiyah and the prayers for Tawaf.This will keep your mind occupied during the monotony of the exercise, and will also help you get in a peaceful frame of mind. Concentrating on the meaning of the prayers will help you get ready for the actual Hajj as well.

Obtain and study books on Hajj and its rites if you wish to know more about its history and traditions. Familiarize yourself with all aspects of the Hajj process. Memorize the prayers you will be reciting and also learn their meaning. It requires very little effort to do so and it is so much more fulfilling and rewarding when you understand what you recite. It serves little purpose to recite prayers mindlessly with no comprehension of the words spoken.

The more you know about Hajj, its obligations, and prohibitions, the more comfortable and at peace you will feel during the whole process. You will be confident of what you are doing, and will also be independent of the advice and prompting of your friends or a mutawwif. Your prayers will bear the hallmark of the single-mindedness and devotion born of knowledge and confidence. You will also be able to help and guide your less knowledgeable companions, answer their questions, and allay their fears.

Some people do not take the trouble of learning the rites and prayers of Hajj themselves and, consequently, depend on professional mutawwifs for the performance of these rites. You will find such people performing the Tawaf under the leadership of these professionals, trying to keep up with their "leader" in the milling throngs of pilgrims around the Kabah, and at the same time, trying to repeat the prayers intoned by their mutawwif! With a little bit of effort, you can avoid the problems and frustrations of trying to follow some one else closely enough in a vast, moving crowd to listen to and parrot his intonations.

A female pilgrim must travel in the company of her husband or a mahram i.e., a member of her immediate family with whom her marriage is expressly prohibited by the shariah e.g., father, brother, son, uncle, etc. A female pilgrim, who is forty five years of age or older, may be allowed to travel with a group of pilgrims without a mahram if a family in the group sponsors her. Ask your agent for details.