In this article, first published in 2017, a British Muslim reflects on his Hajj experience
MAKKAH – Dr. Asad, a British Muslim shares his experience on Umrah and Hajj, going through the spiritual journey along with around 2 million Muslims from across the world.
Today (in the voice of Nouman Ali Khan) we will be discussing the Tawaf.
Here are the tips:
If you are performing the Tawaf (circumnavigating around the house of the almighty) as part of your Umrah, one of the quietest times we’ve found is straight after Juma as people tend to stay away due to the heat. The Tawaf diameter is often small allowing ease of movement with minimal contact with fellow ‘Tawafees.’ Do however expect to see congestion around the corner of the Black stone as people say ‘Salam.’
Another good time is in the middle of the night between midnight and 2 am (missing the Isha rush and early enough before the start of the Fajr rush).
These are recommended times for Umrah as you will also be required to do Saee (Safa-Marwa) which in itself can be tiring so plan your Umrah time well.
Over the course of the week, there is nothing stopping you from performing Tawaaf at any time, even if you’re not in Ihram (spiritually cleansed state while adorning two pieces of in stitched cloth for males). We recommend the same times if you would like to be on the ground floor and close to the Kaaba, however, remember you will be in the sun during the day which can be tiring.
Some often find just after Fajr to be quite a useful time too as the ‘all-nighters’ depart. One thing’s for sure though. The closer you get to Hajj the harder it is to find any Tawaf space at any time of the day as many of the Hajees have now made their way from Madinah to Makkah to join you.
If you do find congestion around the Kaaba on the ground floor we recommend the following:
If it’s busy on the ground floor make your way to the first or second floor and perform your Tawaaf there (in the shade) There is also a top Floor (much less congested but in the Sun).
The Circumference and subsequent distance covered during you Tawaf will be greater on these floors, but the congestion will be far less, and therefore less frustrating an experience.
Think of it like going around the M25 vs. the North Circular. Can be 2-3 times the distance but you’re going 70mph v 10-15mph in some places on the A406!
Don’t forget your Tawaf starts at the corner of the black stone (as indicated by the Green lights). We’ve been reliably informed that a Tawaf is not complete until you have done seven rounds so make sure you’ve had good rest beforehand because it’s a seriously long walk. As an example on Friday (when we carried out our first Umrah) we covered just over 10 miles of walking in that single day (which included our walk from the hotel which is only 15 minutes away!!!)
Today’s visit to the Al-Haram including Tawaaf was around 6 miles. Advice: Get walking beforehand (barefoot if you can) so it’s not a huge shock to you when you get round to performing your Umrah!
We’ve found from our experience a great time to sleep is between Fajr and Zuhr.
‘Allooooow’ the hotel breakfast as the timings can and will often be difficult!!. Sleep is very important. Eat fruit when you wake and drink some milk or whatever pastry you’ve managed to get hold of from before.
Last thing: the Juba item of clothing is awesome. Again, I can’t rate it highly enough. It’s really the dress of choice!
For the first two episodes: