IF you are anything like me, packing is one of the most daunting things you have to do. I can have an empty suitcase staring at me and I will stare right back until I have a panic attack and realise I need to fill it with things.
When going for Hajj is one of the biggest events of your life and it’s not exactly a holiday, it definitely adds to the pressure. This is to all you folks out there, praying that Allah makes it easy for you!
We packed almost everything we thought we would need, what we didn’t know was that our group was pretty awesome and gave us a lot of stuff as and when we needed it!
However, it is always better to be safe than sorry since you don’t quite know what to expect.
Basic things you need for the journey
* Extra ihram
* Socks for salah
* Sunblock and Vaseline
* Face mask – for all the germs and dust and pollution. Everyone falls sick anyway, but you feel a lot better with a barrier between you and the 2 million people in your face!
* Unscented wipes
* Toothbrush and toothpaste
* Of course your small Qur’an, Fortress of the Muslim, a small book with your du’as, and a pen and notebook to write down your reflections, thoughts, and inspirations
* A prayer mat, even a thin travel one will do
* Medicine bag – Any regular medication you might take, as well as precautionary meds: Panadol, cough drops, pain relievers, muscle cream, gauze and band-aids, etc
* A small cross-body handbag for women, a money belt for men
* A bottle of water and a small towel to help with the heat
* Extra reading material – I took a couple of books to read just to vary things a bit. There is a lot of waiting time when you head to the Haram hours in advance to get a spot inside, or in Mina when there isn’t much to do in the tents besides reflect. With a lot of time in the day and no time-wasters, it is a good idea to make du’a, recite the Qur’an, or read. You could take your Hajj guide, or anything that inspires you to do good
* Phone charger and adapter
What to pack for your stay in Makkah
* Shopping bags to carry your slippers around inside the Haram. The chances of finding your slippers on the shelves with a crowd that size is very very slim. Also, you might exit from a different door than the one you entered, so it’s always better to have your slippers on you!
* The padded socks you get at Makkah are great for tawaf on the hard floors
What will come in handy in Mina
* Disposable underwear (for women) – this is so much easier than having to carry around dirty clothes until you can do your laundry
* Soap, laundry line and pegs for when you want to wash clothes
* Sports shoes for walking (for women)
* Slippers for the bathroom – Even though I took both, we actually found these amazing thick-soled slippers that served the purpose and we didn’t actually need our walking shoes (for women). Our feet were well padded and well above the ground and all its dirt
* Toilet kit – miswak, disposable gloves, unscented soap, shampoo and deodorant, Dettol wipes for the toilet, a shopping bag to put your dirty clothes in after you shower (I love shopping bags!). A life saving tip is to have all of it in a waterproof drawstring bag if possible, that you can hang on the hook behind the door or around the shower head. There isn’t a lot of space in the bathrooms to lay out your items!
* A towel
* An umbrella, even though you might get one from your group
* Sunglasses and a cap/hat
* We took a lot of snacks but we were well-fed by our group Alhamdulillah! They might help on long bus ride so take some, but don’t overpack when it comes to food. There is plenty there!
What things you need to pack for ‘Arafah
‘Arafah and Muzdalifah is only a day, so there is no need to take a lot. Just pack the essentials
* Book of du’as – from the sunnah, as well as your personal ones
* A bag to collect your stones for the stoning
* Prayer mat
* Basic medication
* Socks and snacks
* It’s always good to have a bottle of water on you because the time spent in travelling is long
* Toilet bag
* If you are taken the night before, a blanket is useful as the nights are generally cold (depending on the season)
* We were provided with mats for Muzdalifah from our group, but take a small one just in case
What you need to pack for the days after ihram
* Clothes and underwear
* Pyjamas or night clothes
* Scented shampoos and soaps, attar
* If you are headed to Madinah, you can take a few layers of clothing as it is generally cooler there (depending on the season)
General tips for the journey of Hajj
* Always have some cash on you
* It’s better to scale back on technology and take a phone that is hardy if possible, and one that you are not worried about losing or it being stolen
* Keep copies of your passport on yourself
* Have important phone numbers written down – your hajj group leader’s, the numbers of your family with you on hajj, and your family back home
* Label all your luggage and write down any distinctive feature of your bags
* Be as organised as possible – have specific places for everything in your luggage and try not to leave stuff lying around. With so many people and their things, especially in Mina, it is easy to lose your stuff in a mess
* It is a good idea to enquire from your group what facilities you would be getting there – an umbrella, a mat for Muzdalifah, etc – so that you won’t be packing unnecessarily.
If there is anything that I have missed, or any useful tip that you discovered when you go on Hajj and want to share, do let us know!
Even with an exhaustive packing list, there are two very important things that we should not forget to pack:
1) Sabr, patience – Everyone tells you to have bucket loads of it, and you will realise why only when you get there
2) Taqwa, fear of Allah –
“…And take provisions, but indeed, the best provision is fear of Allah. And fear Me, O you of understanding.” (Quran, 2:197)