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Hajj and Umrah

 

 

"And proclaim among men the pilgrimage: they shall come to you on foot and upon every lean beast; they shall come from every deep ravine." (Quran 22:27)

Every year approximately 25,000 British pilgrims perform Hajj. For many it is a once in a life time journey. There is planning and preparations to be made many months, sometimes years, before final departure. For most people the months of meticulous planning are rewarded by a hassle free Hajj. But even with advanced planning, some individuals do experience problems. The key is to keep these to a minimum so that you are not distracted from performing your obligations in a complete, fulfilling and enjoyable manner.

Since Hajj is an once-in-a-lifetime experience for most people, the importance of early and adequate preparation cannot be over-emphasized. There is a considerable investment of money, time, and physical effort required for the Pilgrimage to be fulfilling and meaningful. Information has to be collected, itineraries must be worked out, and documents have to be readied. The purpose of these preparations is not only to minimize physical discomfort, emotional aggravation and monetary expenses, but also to enable you to perform Hajj in relative peace of heart and mind. Therefore, it makes sense to be as ready as possible for this momentous journey of self-discovery, self-appraisal, and spiritual enlightenment.


Arrangements must be started early enough so that you are not rushed for time in the few days before your voyage commences. The paperwork, shopping, finalizing your travel and residential arrangements inside Saudi Arabia etc., consume a great deal of time. Three to four months ahead of your actual date of departure is a good estimate for starting your preparations. Your travel agent, or a knowledgeable friend who has performed Hajj recently, can also guide you in your preparations. Be sure to apply a "factor of safety" to their recommendations and allow yourself a somewhat greater period of preparation than they advise!


To begin with obtain and study books on Hajj and its rites if you wish to know more about its history and traditions. Familiarize yourself with all aspects of the Hajj process. Memorize the prayers you will be reciting and also learn their meaning. It requires very little effort to do so and it is so much more fulfilling and rewarding when you understand what you recite. It serves little purpose to recite prayers mindlessly with no comprehension of the words spoken.
 

 

 

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