Your Hajj CheckList
Your Hajj Checklist by Dalya Ayoub
When I reflect on the blessings of my life – which are countless as Allah Reminds us in the Quran, the ability to perform Hajj in 2007 comes straight to mind amongst blessings on the list. Alhamdulilah.
Many of my dear sisters have answered the call and are going this year to Hajj. I am so thrilled for them mashaAllah and writing this for them and all other sisters embarking on this once in a lifetime journey!
It’s fair to say that there are no words to describe my Hajj experience. I read and listened to a lot about hajj before going and asked people who have been there for their feedback and advice. But whatever you read or listen to doesn’t come close to experiencing it yourself.
On a side note, many people unfortunately share their negative experiences (which is a reflection of their negative worldview anyway) and made this amazing obligatory ritual sound like something to be feared (the thieves they said, and the disgusting toilets they emphasized!). I don’t think people should actually share these things since it’s Hajj we’re talking about here! Seeing the Kaabah for the first time and making tawaf around it is like a dream and it’s supposed to make you forget about anything else.
I’m writing this primarily to recommend to my sisters what they need to pack so they are prepared insha Allah. Because I took things I wish I didn’t take, and didn’t take things I wish I took!
So here is a list of what I believe will be beneficial to pack on your Hajj journey insha Allah:
Hajj Checklist for the Sisters:
- Clothes: I took 3-4 light abayas, with easy to put on scarves (ideally a long light jilbab hijab). It’s also good to take a couple of the Ameerah Hijabs (the small cotton ones) for Mina stays; where most probably you will be sleeping in a tent and will need to sleep in your hijab. Take a lot of undergarmnets, a couple of light leggings, socks, shirts/singlets to wear under the abaya, and of course don’t forget your pjs.
- Toiletries: Unscented soap, Vaseline, Unscented roll on deodorant, waterless hand wash sanitiser and an antibacterial gel, tooth brush and toothpaste (to clean surfaces before eating and wudu areas) and your other basic toiletries that you regularly use.
- Shoes:I highly recommend crocks as your main footwear in Hajj. They are closed from the front; open at back so they still allow some air and very easy to put on and take off and comfortable to walk with (just make sure you don’t get bright colours). Get another comfortable slipper just in case your crocks are stolen or lost. A light walking sport shoes is good also (walking skechers are excellent especially during the travel time from here to there, on the buses, when you visit Mount Uhud, etc.), and socks of course.
- Medicine: Your hajj group will most probably have the basic first aid items needed; but it’s a good idea to bring your own (bandages, bandaids, cough drops, pain killers, vitamins, essential oils, muscle rubs, bandaids, etc)
- Your Hajj Bag: This item is the most essential because you will be carrying this around most of the time for many hours. I took a medium sized and light cross bag. I don’t recommend a backpack (because it allows thieves easier reach) nor shoulder bags as it will be painful on your shoulder.
What to put in this important cross bag:
- Quran (a light and medium sized one; not larger than your hand is ideal)
- Your Phone
- A small purse (don’t take your current wallet because I’m assuming its too big; you only need some cash, identification card, license, credit card, etc)
- Your passport (it’s a good idea to make a couple of copies of your passport and put copies with someone else just in case
- Tissues/ Wet unscented wipes
- A Water Bottle (for Zamzam water)
- Sunglasses (if you wear vision glasses; take a spare pair)
- Dua booklet (and your personal dua list that you prepared prior; although dua will flow naturally but it’s essential to have a list so you don’t forget; especially the people who asked you to make dua for them that includes me please!).
- Thikr beads/counter (optional)
- A small/foldable prayer mat (those ones that can be folded into a tiny purse-like) because most times you won’t be able to pray inside the haram as it will be packed and you may pray on the street, doorways, etc and the floor may be dirty.
- A shoes bag. A plastic bag can do, but best to buy a light show bag that you can tie on your cross bag; as you will need to take off your shoes when you enter the haram (never leave your shoes in the shoes area; it’s very unlikey that you will find it again and you will waste a lot of precious time)
- A journal (notepad) and a pen! For me this was very important and its one of the best things I did in my Hajj journey was to keep a journal. I wrote in it what I did, where we went, my experiences, highlights, feelings, etc. – on a daily basis and dated each page. When I went back home (although you will feel like there is your home and you won’t want to leave; the farewell tawaf is another story) I cut these notes out and glued them with corresponding pictures which I took there of the special places and made it into a Hajj photo journal. I love my hajj photo journal so much and every year before hajj I go through it and it brings back the best memories (you will be surprised that you will forget many things unless you write them down).
However, if you forget to take something; don’t worry because this journey is not about the stuff. In fact, you can hardly take a thing and still perform hajj (you will see many poor people sleeping on sideways with minimal belongings that they carry around with them as they can’t afford to sleep in a hotel). It’s not about what we pack in our bags that will make the difference; it’s about what we pack in our hearts. If there is one thing you must take with you before you leave; its your niyyah (pure intention that you want to perform this obligatory act for Allah’s Sake Alone)!
Seek forgiveness from others, make lots and lots and lots of dua from now for Allah (swt) to make your journey easy for you, to stay healthy and most importantly; for Allah to Accept your hajj as a hajj mabroor (perfect hajj and the best type!). The criteria for a Hajj mabroor as mentioned in the Quran is that there it’s free from fusooq (no sins) and free from jidaal (no argument). Whatever you see or whatever happens that tempts you to argue; just don’t and know that this will be your jihad (Hajj is actually the jihad of a woman, so perform your only jihad opportunity in the best way you possibly can!). Busy your tongue with the remembrance of Allah as much as you can and repent from all your sins (the ones that you know you’ve committed and the ones you don’t know about).
I will conclude this blog with what I wrote on the first page of my Hajj journal on the morning of traveling to Hajj, the 2nd December 2007 (this is a translation from Arabic):
Today is the day. We woke up early, I packed some last minute items and checked the list one final time I have mixed emotions; feeling happy yet sad at the same time. Only Allah Knows how much I wanted this day to come I’m happy because my heart has been yearning for this blessing for sometime now I’m happy because I feel honoured and privileged to be chosen by Allah to go to His house although I’m not deserving of this a bit… I’m happy because I’m going to see with my own eyes the kaaba in real life and not in pictures, I’m happy because I’m going to stand on Arafat and make dua. I’m sad because I’m going to leave 2 parts of me that need me, Mariam (who was 2.5 years old) and Ayah (who was just 11 months old!), and my beloved parents and siblings (may Allah reward them immensely as they are the ones who looked after our children). I cried a lot, and I have been crying for the last few weeks leading up to hajj du to these mixed emotions the thought of leaving my two babies for three weeks is difficult. But I guess if I truly knew with certainty the reward of Hajj and the Generosity of Allah; I don’t think that I will cry as much for these dunia related reasons and worries. I am entrusting Allah with them and He Will Look after them; with Him no trust is ever lost Bismilaah.