It’s easy for young people to take the trip of a lifetime for granted and not use their time wisely while on Hajj. It is a physical, emotional, and deeply spiritual journey and it is important that we understand its greatness from a young age. It’s a grave mistake to think that if you make Hajj when you are young, “well, I will just make it again”. Maybe not; and you will regret it if you didn’t make the most of this opportunity and you didn’t make a productive hajj.
This is not just another family trip or a great time away from them, but it’s possibly the most rewarding trip that you will ever take. There are many ways to prepare and make the most of every moment spent in the blessed lands, fulfilling the rituals of hajj as productively as possible.
Here are our best tips for a productive hajj:
Hajj is an ‘ibadah which requires, mental, spiritual and physical strength. The five days will take its toll on all these aspects but our bodies will take the most strain. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said:
“A strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer”. (Sahih Muslim)
We are quick to think of this only in a spiritual sense, but we tend to forget that this also encompasses the physical strength. If you are strong enough to endure the physical hardship it will help you to solely focus on your worship.
Get into a light exercise routine like walking everyday. It doesn’t have to be a rigorous regiment and walking is the best exercise you can get. Get outside but if you have to use a treadmill with an incline. A strong body means that you will be less distracted.
Research and Journal
The days leading up to Hajj are usually spent making Umrah, Tawaaf, and visiting places of significance in Islamic history. Spend time before you leave researching places of interest and familiarize yourself with the historical aspects of every place.
By researching sites of historical significance that you will visit, it is easier for you to connect and allow you to appreciate why these places are important in our history. Carry a notebook and pen and jot down your feelings and thoughts while you are visiting, writing things down cements your own living history. This journal is something you will treasure your whole life.
During Hajj you will find certain camps having classes and gatherings to motivate the Hujjaj (people performing Hajj). Attend these classes and gatherings. They will motivate you in fulfilling your duties and will stop you from wasting time. They will also strengthen ties of kinship with our fellow Hujjaaj. The friendships you make on Hajj are friendships you cherish for a lifetime.
Before you leave on Hajj ask your friends and families to write their prayers for you and themselves in a notebook. Writing things down allows for clarity and reflection. Reflect on your own prayers for yourself and loved ones and write these down. Use this book on the blessed days of Hajj. Sincere dua will amplify your acts of worship and heightens the likelihood of your prayers being answered.
Be of Service to Others
Another great way of using your time wisely is to dedicate your time to the service of others. Make this your intention before you leave. Help the elderly with the Sa`i, between Safa and Marwa. You could also push wheelchairs for those family members who are tired.
Offer Zam Zam to those who find it hard to get to the taps. You could even assist young mothers with children. When the crowds begin to intensify during the latter days of Hajj, help and assist people to find a space in the Haram or provide a chair for those who need it.
Increase Your Tawaf
Youthfulness means you will have more energy and stamina. Also being in the holy lands will increase our spiritual highs to new levels. Use this energy to make extra tawaf not only for yourself but for others. Perhaps you could ask people when they write in your dua journal if they would like you to make a tawaf for them. Try and fulfill the requests little by little everyday.
Our lives are filled with constant distractions; from our cell phones, smart watches, to the latest series that we watch. The best thing you can do for yourself and your hajj is to be present and conscious in whatever you do. Being present in every moment will assist you with the ritualistic aspects of your ‘ibadah. If this means leaving your phone at the hotel then so be it. Drink in everything you see, but do it without a filter on Instagram.
When you are doing the Sa`i, think about Hajar, all those years ago running between the two hills. When you visit the cave of Hira, contemplate about angel Gabriel who came with the verses of the Qur’an in the narrow confines of the cave’s walls. Try and imagine the day of Judgement as you stand in the blazing sun of the day of Arafah. Think about our Prophet (PBUH) and his companions who lived in these lands. Every step you take is in their footsteps.
The greatest lesson we can take from our Hajj is that life is a struggle. Everything that we want in our lives will require us to strive and struggle for it. We are never too young to learn this lesson.
The best advice I ever received about Hajj, was from my elementary school teacher. Her words always stay with me. “The gift of Hajj is not afforded to everyone. There are wealthy people who just can’t get to these blessed lands even though they have the money. And while it is not granted to everyone it is granted to those who really want it.”
Know that this journey it’s not like any other trip, but it is a journey that will change your life.