A good friend of mine and her husband are embarking on their Hajj pilgrimage in a few weeks and she asked if I had any tips for them. As my husband and I were fortunate to complete our Hajj trip a couple of years ago, I had a few tips that will hopefully make their journey more comfortable. And I thought I should also share them with you in case you or someone you know will be performing the Hajj.
- Backpack (Our group provided us with these) – good to use during tawaf and at Mina as it keeps your hands free and you can have your prayer mat, water bottle, medication and other essentials inside.
- Food – cereal bars, cookies, granola bars, nuts, dried fruits, chocolate etc. whatever you like to eat 🙂 Your Hajj group might be wonderful with providing food and snacks but sometimes you just want something to eat that you’re used to. Gatorade powder was a lifesaver on the day of Arafah. It gets really hot in the tents so to keep hydrated just add some of the powder to a bottle of water (preferably cold). I took mine in a small resealable bag.
- Medication – gravol, imodium, polysporin, tylenol, bandaids etc.
- Refillable bottle – fill with Zam Zam at the fountains during Sa'ee and you wouldn't have to make as many stops at the water fountains for a drink.
- Chinese folding hand fan – I bought one in Saudi and it was probably the best money I spent on the trip! They’re dirt cheap too.
- Sleep mask – this is helpful if you’re a light sleeper or if you like to sleep in a darkened room. It’s especially useful when in the tents in Mina as you’re sleeping in a room with 20+ other people who may not be sleeping at the same time as you.
- Collapsible bucket – if you plan on hand washing your clothes (especially undergarments) then you can buy one from any outdoor/camping supply store. We also used plastic shopping bags to wash our hijabs in the sink. Just place the bag in the sink, fill with water and detergent and soak your hijabs in. It’s a bit more tricky to use than the bucket. Laundry detergent can be purchased when you get to Saudi (bin Dawood is the go to store for everything!).
- Over the door single hooks – to use in the washrooms in Mina to hang your clothes on while you’re showering as there is no place to put your clean clothes. Buy a few different sizes as the thickness of the door would alter how the hook fits.
- Face masks – these are especially helpful if you have dust allergies or in the event you get sick and don’t want to spread your germs 😉
- Petroleum jelly or similar item (unscented) – particularly useful for men to rub on their legs and inner thighs to prevent chaffing while wearing the ihram.
- Comfy shoes – Crocs sandals/shoes is awesome as it’s rubber so when your feet gets wet you don’t have to worry about your shoes being soaked. Wudhu friendly! 🙌🏽
- Light sleeping bag – we bought ours from Walmart. When we were leaving Muzzdalifa we gave it to the other hajjis who were sleeping on the roads and didn’t have a hotel.
- Small scissors – to cut your hair with after Umrah. Learnt this one the hard way; I used a scissors from a manicure set to cut my hair and lets just say it took forever and not to mention how uneven my hair was!
- Sunglasses and hat – for when you’re visiting the historical sites. Sunglasses also come in handy if you plan on doing tawaf during the day as the glare from the sun reflecting off the marble can irritate your eyes.
- Thin/light blanket – it gets somewhat chilly at nights in Mina so if you’d like to cover while sleeping then a very thin blanket or a large pashmina might work. I didn’t have any and used my towel to cover with!
- Unscented wipes – to use any and every time!
- Pocket sized tissues – the washrooms when you’re out and about don’t have toilet paper. Another washroom tip: use the bathroom early on when you get to Muzzdalifa as it tends to get messy after a while.
- Light coloured cotton clothing – keeps you cooler than synthetic fabrics and darker colours.
- Dua list – family and friends will request that you make supplication for them. To remember it all, plus the ones you would like to recite for yourself, it is easier to type it up, print it off and take a couple copies with you. On the day of Arafah, you take your printed copy out and make your dua from there for those who asked for specific things. A major recommendation is to memorize all the dua's needed during tawaf, Sa'ee, etc. beforehand so when you're in the state of ihram, you are just reciting from memory instead of from a book.
- Journal – a pretty journal to write your memories in is a nice treat. It's therapeutic at the end of the night to jot down your thoughts on your journey thus far. It's also handy for writing your dua's in. Here are two that come to mind: Dua journal, Pampered Muslimah
As my husband pointed out, my list is quite long and not everyone will need these things. However, they were useful for me and I'm sure some of it will be useful to others as well 🙂
Hajj Mabrur to everyone performing the pilgrimage this year.