In this article, first published in 2017, a British Muslim reflects on his Hajj experience
For the previous episode:
In his second episode of Umrah and Hajj diary, Dr. Asad gives Muslims tips on what to put in a backpack to and from the Al-Haram.
The backpack will ideally be a string backpack or a small rucksack:
1) Prayer mat, ideally cushioned (or made from cloth) to save your knees in sujud, but funnily enough, you don’t feel it in your Ihram.
2) Some dates. On some occasions, your hotel will give them to you for free. Great if you’re feeling peckish. Airport plastic bags for liquids are always useful to carry them in.
3) Empty or near-empty bottle; your water supply will come from Zamzam in the Al-Haram
4) Qur’ans are provided at the Al-Haram but keep a pocket one if you like
5) Carrier bag for your shoes
6) Fruit/cereal bar if you’re particularly hungry
7) Surgical Face mask if you feel inclined
8) Phone power pack if your hotel isn’t based near the haram and if you feel you really need it.
In terms of clothing for males when you’re out of Ihram, I can’t rate highly enough the Thobe or Jubba. It’s ‘light’ and allows air to reach your legs. Underneath wear a 3/4 length pair of shorts.
Good deeds inside the Al-Haram:
1) Don’t be afraid to smile at other guests of the Al-Haram and wish them Salam. It’s one of the few places in the world (outside Hounslow) where you will see all walks of life together in one place.
A group from Pakistan will be followed by a group from Indonesia which in turn will be followed by a group from Turkey and then from Sudan or Sierra Leone. It’s extraordinary!
2) If you see a wheelchair being pushed during Tawaf, offer to push it partway yourself.
3) Greet the Al-Haram security with a smile. Their jobs are hard enough as it is.
4) Be less inclined to tip fraudster beggars and more inclined to tip ground maintenance staff (cleaners) at the Al-Haram.
P.S. The local cats love fairy cakes!