It is always better to familiarize yourself with different Holy sites and places before you proceed for Hajj. Video films on Hajj are a good means to attain this objective. Hajj Guides should be studied in detail. Look at the Hajj landmarks minutely. Remember Hajj does not involve much of duas or rituals. It requires more of etiquette because a pilgrim has to spend six days in company of an international assembly of people. Spirit of camaraderie, bon homie and fraternity must be nurtured.
Saudi Arabia has invested heavily in modernizing Hajj facilities. We must use them carefully to get the best results. For instance, there may be taps that need not be turned. You just place your hand below and water will bubble out. These are sensor operated taps. Escalators are common in Haram Sharief and in toilets and bathrooms. Closets in underground Zam-zam well need just to be pressed for water jets to spring out. One can directly drink from them. Phones can be used conveniently with phone cards. Buy and keep a few cards. They avoid hassles for change. Some Indian pilgrims who use the brick or mud pellets for drying urine, carry them to flight toilets. These will surely choke the toilets and make them unusable for others. Such practices must be avoided. Use tissue paper instead. It is available in plenty on the plane. Use the places meant for specific purpose for the same purpose. For example, · Do not make wuzu at Zamzam closets inside the Masjid e Haram. These closets are for drinking. · Do not take bath at underground Zam-zam well. You can however pour water over head and drench your Ihram.
Do not wash clothes at toilets in Mina or Arafaat. Washing can be postponed till your return to Makkah. · Get your head shaved only at the Barber's saloons. The unauthorized Pakistani barbers may offer a concessional head shave at SR5 beneath the Jamaraat bridge. Avoid them. Because police whisks them away every now and then. If you engage them it is possible you will be left with with half shaven head. Do not carry gas or oil stoves to tent cities. They are hazardous. Buy cooked food. At Arafaat muallim and philanthropists distribute food packets. Avoid smoking inside tents.
Buying Qurbani coupons of IDB is the easiest way to discharge your obligation to sacrifice. This meat is hygienically packed and sent to people in distress in different countries. This way you will also be contributing to a cause. Do not panic in times of emergencies. Mark the exit routes in advance. Fire is the greatest hazard. Take care of the old, infirm people and women. They are more vulnerable in such situation than others. Memorize every place, location or camp that is assigned to you for stay.
Remember them in relation to the shops around, numbers inscribed or colours of signboards. Muzdalifah is usually the place where people get severed from their families or groups. Remember the route you take while going to toilets during the nightly stay at Muzdalifah. Traffic moves 'always from right' in Saudi Arabia. When you are crossing the road, look towards your left for incoming vehicles. Most pilgrims get hurt because they do not care for the local rule. Carry tablets for common ailments such as diarrhoea, fever, cold, pain etc. Saudi chemists dispense medicine only in packets.
Tablets distributed by Indian dispensaries are generally of poor quality. Do not use tap water supplied in buildings for drinking anywhere on the pilgrimage route. This will cause you stomach problems. Either drink zam zam in the Haram Sharief or buy bottled water from the market. Makkah Municipality has erected zam zam water closets at various street corners for the convenience of pilgrims. Water can be stored from these closets. Often bottled water is distributed free of cost by philanthropists. Certain rites and rituals may be prescribed with particular schedules, for instance, stoning at Jamaraat may be preferred (afzal) during prescribed hours. But this may lead to over crowding and stampede. Do not insist on afzal schedule but look for convenience. Allah does not want pilgrims to risk their lives or incur injuries.
PREPARATIONS for Hajj should normally start immediately after filling up of forms. Baggage should be light and you should bring suitcases of normal size that are easy to handle. You must put identification marks (name and address of the pilgrims) on them. Subsequently, the pilgrim pass number of the pilgrim should also be added to the identification marks on the luggage. Identification should be in the form of tags attached to the baggage and also details written on the baggage itself with an appropriate coloured indelible ink pen. Avoid taking gunny bags, sacks and other loose material. Suit cases should not have any pouches on the outside. Find out the weight of free baggage allowed on your plane. You must be careful to take less baggage since you would be carrying a number of items back from Saudi Arabia like dates (khajur), prayer mats (janamaz), zam-zam water, other assorted items like prayer caps (topi), prayer beads (Tasbeeh), etc. and such other items that you may wish to buy as gifts or for your own use.
Banned items in Saudi Arabia Al-Hamdulillah Saudia Arabia is Strictly following Islamic Laws., You should get to know of the items that are banned in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia before packing your luggage. If you are bringing medicine for your personal use, you should bring the doctor's prescription in original with you, otherwise medicine will be confiscated. Do not bring cooking oil, kerosene, flour, perishable items or other stuff that the customs officials may have objection to or may have problems in identifying. Do not carry any gift or packet given to you by any one, not even by your relatives and friends. If carrying such a thing becomes essential then you must thoroughly inspect the packet that you are to carry since you will be personally held responsible and liable if it contains any objectionable thing. Please remember that even magazines, photographs, books and religious literature as also audio and video cassettes may be confiscated at the customs. Drugs invoke the death penalty. Liquor is banned.
Ensure Safety of Documents Please ensure that photocopies of your pilgrim pass, your Meningitis certificate, your bank draft, your ticket and other necessary documents like doctor's prescription, etc. are kept in a separate folder in your luggage. The original pilgrim pass, Meningitis certificate, bank draft, ticket and other essential papers should be carried by you on your person in the hand baggage that you are carrying and this hand baggage should also be properly marked for identification. Please ensure that your hand baggage is never out of your sight from the time you reach your airport in India till the time you reach your room in Makkah (Saudi Arabia).
You must start making other preparations for your journey like booking your railway or bus tickets, or other transport for travel from your home to the city and airport from where you are to embark for Saudi Arabia. You must also ensure that you have a proper place to stay at this embarkation point.
If you are advanced in age, you must have a companion accompanying you from home till this embarkation airport. Get photocopies of all your medical records, purchase your medicine and get the doctor's prescription for the same. Purchase necessary items like pyjamas, kurtas, shirts, lungis, underwears, slippers, shoes, caps, sweaters, blankets, toilet mug (lota), water bottle, soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, comb, socks, handkerchief and such items that are necessary for your journey.
Please have some extra ropes, twines, a few polythene bags, a small torch, a few cells, notepad, pen etc. in your hand baggage. You must remember that you have to travel light and so, for example, if you are accustomed to wearing kurta and pyjama then you must carry only 4-5 (washable) sets of the same. Remember that Hajj season is now in the relatively colder months and hence you need to have a sweater and blanket for your protection.
Your rooms in Makkah and Madinah and the tents in Mina may be air-conditioned and hence you will feel cold, especially during night. Even in the Haram Sharief at Makkah and Madinah, most of the portion is air-conditioned. Start taking long walks every day in preparation for the walks that you will need to make during the course of Hajj and at Makkah and Madinah. This will build up your stamina and accustom your body to such long distance walking.
Source :-Islamic Voice Dec 03 Edition.