“Pilgrimage thereto is a duty men owe to Allah, those who can afford the journey; but if any deny faith, Allah stands not in need of any of His creature” (Aal-Imran: 97).
When planning your Hajj, there is a lot to consider. First, you have to decide what to pack so that you will be prepared for any eventuality but, at the same time, you need to keep it to a minimum so that you won’t be overloaded with unnecessary things. Second, you must determine what are the most essential items, like documentation and medication, and avoid taking things that are going to slow you down. After all, the Hajj journey is all about leaving the trappings of this world behind. The last thing you want to do is lug unnecessary items around with you on the most important trip you will ever embark upon.
- Small Travel Pouch-
This should be a small yet sturdy fabric pouch that you can wear firmly around your waist, under your Ihram since theft is unfortunately rampant during the Hajj journey. Keep your most important essentials in here, including:
1) Airplane Ticket;
2) A photocopy of your passport and visa, since your passport will be handed in to the “Unified Agents Office” on arrival;
3) Shahada certificate (if you are a revert to Islam from a non-Muslim country, you may be asked to provide proof of Shahada. This can be obtained from your local Imam);
4) Your Hotel Address (written in English and Arabic);
7) Glasses, hearing aids, contact lenses.
- Your Suitcase
For the five days of Hajj, and travelling between Mina, Muzdalifa, Arafat, back to Mina and Makkah, you will require a small to medium lightweight suitcase that is easy to carry. A backpack is ideal. Anything larger is going to be a major hassle for you to carry around.
But before packing, let's look at what you will be wearing for the five days of Hajj. As a woman, Ihram is easy, so you need to set aside one full set of clothing that will go on your body as your ihram. Keep this on the side.
Into your suitcase will go:
1) A second full set of clothing (underwear, pants, abaya, hijab, socks, etc). The emphasis on Hajj is to forget about your physical appearance, so more clothes are unnecessary.
2) A light-weight sweater or a shawl that can double as a blanket for the cool nights in Muzdalifa;
3) A small hand towel;
4) An extra pair of slippers/sandals;
5) Unscented lotion or Vaseline;
6) Unscented sunscreen;
7) A small umbrella: a light-coloured one will reflect rather than absorb light;
8) Small flashlight;
9) Toilet paper;
10) Tooth-brush, miswak and tooth-paste (although you can only use the latter after you come out of ihram);
11) Snacks, such as energy bars, dried fruit and nuts;
12) Refillable water bottles;
13) A spray bottle is indispensable for making wudhu when getting to the taps is difficult in the crowd;
14) Hajj manual, a small copy of the Qur’an and books with du’as, etc.
15) Check with your travel agent if they will be providing meals and blankets, otherwise you may need to take a sleeping bag/blankets and disposable plates;
16) An old sheet; which many sisters have found useful as a cover as well as for dividing a tent and creating a barrier from men should the need arise;
17) Essential medication and a small first aid kit containing Band-Aids, painkillers, etc;
18) Toiletries such as deodorant for when you come out of Ihram.
- Carry-on Iman
This is not a physical bag but rather what you carry in your heart as you embark on your Hajj journey. The most important thing to take with you is Taqwa, a conscious fear and reverence for Allah Almighty who says in the Holy Qur'an: “And take a provision (with you) for the journey, but the best of provisions is righteousness ‘Fearing Allah’. So fear Me, O ye that are wise!” (Al-Baqarah 2:197).
Other items to ‘pack’ include your intention. Why are you going for Hajj in the first place? The answer to that question should be to please Allah and fulfill His rights upon you. Another vital item to add in is provision. Not earthly provisions like you packed in your suitcase, but rather provisions for your soul, which include piety, obedience to the rites of Hajj and consciousness of the fleeting nature of this world and sound belief in the World to come.
Now that your bags are packed and sitting beside the door, all you have to do is remember to be cautious during the Hajj journey for the sake of your own safety and the safety of other Hajj travellers. Remember not to waste a minute of your time during this monumental trip as it will be over before you know it.