Another year has come around and another Hajj (holy pilgrimage) period has started for Muslims from all around the world. Those who have decided to take part in this year’s Hajj may have already made some preparations for this holy journey or are in the process of gathering their stuff and making arrangements. But even when we think we are more than ready, we find ourselves saying: “Oh, I forgot that!” right on the way to the airport!
Hajj is a journey that every Muslim is required to participate and loves to do so. However, according to Islamic principles, before deciding to take part in this occasion, you should ask yourself these three questions:
1. Can you afford Hajj financially? [i] (This includes buying tickets, hotel expenses, and your expenses during your stay in Mecca and Medina, etc.)
2. Are you physically able to perform Hajj rituals? [ii]
3. Is the route to Mecca and Medina (to which I recommend you to travel and have a plan for it) safe and open? [iii]
If you are positive about all the above questions, you are considered to be Mustati (i.e., obliged to take part in Hajj) . Then you can start preparing yourself for this journey. If not, don’t get disappointed. Pray to Allah to give you the necessary abilities for participating in the next year Hajj.
Hajj is first and foremost a spiritual journey. A journey to the depth of your soul. If you don’t know why you are taking all these difficulties, then your effort will lose its meaning. Like any other action in Islam, you should perform Hajj with the intention of Allah’s satisfaction and surrendering to His will.
Search for a travel agency which offers various Hajj packages and consult with them about the necessary documents you need in order to ask for visa from Saudi Arabia. You can also visit the website of Saudi Arabia‘s Ministry of Hajj for more information.
You can also ask your friends or acquaintances who have taken this journey before about the best travel agency for Hajj. Or you can visit the nearest mosque or Islamic center in your city, and ask the Muslims there about travel agencies.
Either way, make sure you know about the date, duration, accommodation, your representative there, and the type of transportation your agency offers within Mecca and to Medina. You can find some useful questions to ask from travel agencies on this website.
The best way is to google it. Try to have a clear view of all the places you will visit during Hajj such as Mina, Arafat, etc. You can download a map and see the locations. Also make sure you check the weather, to know which clothing best suits you. Typically Saudi Arabia is hot during Hajj rituals so be ready for a hot and sunny journey!
Since Hajj rituals take much energy and need a healthy body to complete the tasks before everything visit your doctor and have a check-up. If there are any medicines that you should use during your journey, make sure you get the prescription from the doctor and buy the medicines beforehandedly.
Hajj is a one-month journey, so you will need many things during this time. Here is a list of some necessary or useful things to pack in your baggage for Hajj:
An extra set of clothing (white underwear, trousers, hijab, white socks, etc.)
Waist Pouch (Fanny Pouch)
slippers (flip-flops, thongs), sneakers
towels (2 large, 2 small)
elastic eye-glass holder
sunglasses (or clip-on sunshades)
travel alarm clock
A scent-free lotion or Vaseline
A scent-free sun protection free
A medical face mask
toothbrush and toothpaste
small shampoo bottle
some plastic bags
Saudi Arabia’s Money (Rials)
Guidelines for Hajj
pen, pencil, notebook
A praying mat
A small copy of Quran, prayer and Dua books, Tasbeeh
Foods/Snacks/Water (some light food, like biscuits, cereals, nuts, dried fruits, etc.)[vi]
During Hajj rituals you will walk a lot. You should walk around Kaaba, walk the distance between Safa and Marva, etc. So, it’s important to have enough strength and be physically in good condition to be able to keep up with this endeavor.
Try to do some exercises and eat healthier food sometime before embarking on your journey to Mecca.
Yes, you need to write a will! Even if you are 25! But don’t worry it doesn’t mean that you won’t come back home. It’s just a way to make sure you have arranged all your worldly concerns properly, and you can start a spiritual journey with light and free soul. Make sure you consult with your lawyer after writing your will and legalize it.
You remember what happened at Mina two years ago, right? Many families were worried about their children, husbands, wives, etc. but they couldn’t reach out to them. So, it is very important to predict a proper way of communication with your hometown. This can be a Saudi Arabia SIM card or even any other SIM Cards that work abroad. You can also ask the hotel staff for their WIFI information.
Have an idea of the actions you need to perform during Hajj. Salam Islam has a complete guide to these rituals: Hajj, The Holy Pilgrimage. You can also buy a booklet or download an ebook about these rituals to have it with you during the journey. Then, understand the reason behind those actions. You can read our Philosophy of Hajj Rituals, to get a better grasp of the reason behind these rituals. This way, you will remember them more easily.
Most of the rituals during Hajj are time-bound. For example, you have only a few hours to perform stoning Jamarat. Also, the process of Ihram and actions in the Arafat need to be done during a certain time. So, you need to work on your time management so that you won’t lose any of those actions.
Hajj is not an easy journey. It is not a summer vacation. It is an Islamic obligation and a life-changing journey. During this time, you will face many difficulties, and sometimes you may find yourself overwhelmed by the amount of interesting yet difficult physical activities or prayers you are required to do.
However, think of it as a chance to be purified and as an opportunity to strengthen your patience. For, every precious reward comes after consistency and patience.
As you are well aware, Muslims are not just of a certain nationality or country. In every country and with every nationality, you can find people who believe in Islam. Hajj is a chance for this huge community to gather together and be unified despite their differences.
So, during your journey, you may encounter people with different colors, languages, outfits, etc. Try to be respectful and modest toward everyone, no matter where they come from or how they look.
During Hajj you might have to join a group. And you will be with them every day of this one month period. You will accompany them in every ritual and action. So, try to prepare yourself for more cooperation and sacrifice. Sometimes you may need your roommate’s help, and in return, he/she may need yours. Try to be nice and generous.
After all, you want to participate in Hajj for a good reason: Self-awareness. This is a journey to find out who we are and why we are here. So, practice on the good in you and try to improve them. Be the best you can be. And prove that you deserve Allah’s invitation.
[i] One of the requirements for Hajj to be obligatory for a Muslim is financial ability – i.e., you have enough money to support yourself and your family on your journey .
[ii] Another requirement for performing Hajj is physical ability- i.e., Hajj is not obligatory for the sick, the old or those who are either unable or would face severe hardship .
[iii] Another requirement for obligatory Hajj is Sirbi ability - i.e., the route is open and safe .
[iv] To buy Ihram you can follow these links:
[v] Make sure about the kinds of medications you are allowed to have with you according to Saudi Arabia’s airport costume.
[vi] Make sure about the rules of Saudi Arabia with regard to carrying food in your packages at the airport.
- Hajj, The Holy Pilgrimage
In the first part of the article, some stress relieving practices were discussed. Here we complete the list with other advises proposed for facing stress in Islam.
Isolation is undoubtedly the worst way to deal with depression, although some have a completely opposite view on this matter. In general, upholding kinship with relatives and visiting them regularly, benefits one from their social and emotional support . And particularly, in the case of having a problem as serious as depression, they will not leave their loved ones alone and will help to find the resources to get him/her treated. That’s why keeping family ties is strongly emphasized and recommended in Islamic teachings .
Gathering frequently with supportive friends can also play a big role in making depression more manageable and relieving stress in Islam. In Islamic resources, trustworthy friends are known to be like one’s eyes and hands, and family and properties of a person; they are rare and invaluable , and they can help a lot to deal with such disorders.
It is stated in Surah Rum that God has created mates for the human beings which are the source of solace and comfort to them (30:21). Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said that after Islam, nothing is more beneficial than a righteous, kind, Muslim wife who brings a smile to the face when looking at her . That is within a lawful (Halal) marriage that both sides receive pure affection and emotional support from each other; respond safely to their sexual urge; help and encourage each other to achieve their goals, promote their social statue and get a better economic situation. Moreover, the researchers suggest that marriage provides the companionship and emotional support needed to help alleviate depression . Hence, many of one’s worries might fade in a successful marriage .
Looking clean and nice is one of the manners of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). It makes one look good, feel good, be confident and attract the company of people and their respect which consequently helps one’s stress to be healed. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) used to put on perfume and always advised others to do so . On the contrary, looking disheveled has always been blamed in Islamic teachings and narrations since it is believed that one should make the most of the blessings of life . The effect of having a clean and nice appearance and smelling good manifests itself in a healthy, joyful individual .
Doing sport and healthy entertainments are highly advised in Islam due to its wonderful benefits on one’s peace and success. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said that a wise person divides his daily schedule to four parts and dedicates one of them to lawful (Halal) and healthy entertainment which comforts heart and mind . Imam Ali (AS) has emphasized the impacts of cheerful moments and the state of being happy on one’s soul and mind, too [11, 12]. However, entertainment should not be confused with useless activities. Doing sports especially horse riding, shooting and swimming are encouraged in Islam [13, 14]. On the contrary, playing marbles, gambling or any kind of activity with the intent of winning money or material goods , and any entertainment which is a waste of time (like sitting in front of the TV all day and doing nothing else) are absolutely forbidden. That is due to the fact that one gains nothing for doing such activities but loses time and energy, and Muslims are warned neither to lose nor to cause damage.
One of the psychological impacts of giving charity is the joy that the donor will experience in his/her heart. Acts of charity and helping others might happen in several forms, like watering a plant, teaching, helping deaf (without nagging and complaining) to communicate with others and being tolerant towards people . In Surah Baqara, it is said that those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah, will be surely rewarded by their Lord. Moreover, they will not fear, nor will they grieve (2:262).
- A. Javadi Amoli, “Mafatih al-hayat”, p. 216.
- what does islam say about maintaining family ties
- M. al-Kulaynī, “Al-Kafi”, vol. 2, p. 248.
- Shaykh Tusi, “Tahdhib al-ahkam fi sharh al-muqni'a”. vol. 7, p. 278, T. 4.
- Frech, A. and Williams, K., 2007. Depression and the psychological benefits of entering marriage. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 48(2), pp.149-163.
- stress in life
- M. al-Kulaynī, “Al-Kafi”, vol. 6, p. 510.
- A. Javadi Amoli, “Mafatih al-hayat”, p. 164.
- H. F. Tabarsi, “Makarim al-akhlaq”, p. 42.
- Shaykh Sadouq, “Ma'ani l-akhbar”, p. 334.
- “Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim”, T. 3992.
- “Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim”, T. 3993.
- Al Suyuti, “Jami al-saghir”, vol. 1, p. 38.
- Al Suyuti, “Jami al-saghir”, vol. 1, p. 627.
- Ibn Babawayh, “Al-Khisal”, p. 331.
- A. Javadi Amoli, “Mafatih al-hayat”, p. 547.
Many of us experience situations in our daily life when we get oppressed by other people, or we witness an act of injustice. We might prefer to keep silent to prevent the probable consequences, not realizing that this may keep us away from immediate harm, but it will be followed by greater consequences and damages later on.
One may ask how keeping silent against oppression and injustice will harm us later on? And what would have happened if Imam Hussain (AS) paid allegiance to Yazid, instead of putting himself and his family in such a horrible situation?
This article tries to explain the importance of standing against oppression and injustice by learning lessons from Imam Hussain (AS)’s uprising.
As we know, Imam Hassan (AS) remained silent and signed a peace treaty with the ruler of his time, Muawiaya. The main reason was that although Muawiaya had started to bring some changes in some of the rules of Islam, he still preserved his Islamic attitudes in public. Therefore, being in peace with him did not lead to so much damage to religion. But his son Yazid had no intention even to present an Islamic behavior in the Islamic society. Yet, Muawiaya chose him as the ruler after himself.
If Imam Hussain (AS) kept silence and paid allegiance to Yazid, it would have meant that he approved of his behavior. As a result, all the rulings and laws of Islam that the Prophet (PBUH&HP) had suffered to teach people for a more prosperous life would gradually disappear over time.
As Yazid forced Imam Hussain (AS) to pay allegiance to him, he notified his reasons for which he could not accept Yazid’s ruling over the Islamic society. The most important reason was that he was not behaving as a Muslim and had stood up against Allah’s orders.
It is clearly mentioned in the Quran that it is prohibited for Muslims to accept the ruling of a non-Muslim or a non-believer:
“O! You who have faith! Do not take those who take your religion in derision and play, from among those who were given the Book before you, and the infidels, as friends, and be wary of Allah, should you be faithful.” (5: 57)
However, Imam Hussain (AS) did not mean to start a war, and therefore, he took his family and left Medina for Mecca. Yazid knew that Imam had a significant impact on Muslims’ decisions and was afraid that Imam’s decision would spread among the Muslims and lead to their uprising against him. Thus, he sent his people to bring the Imam (AS) and to take his allegiance.
Imam left Medina for Kufah and then to Karbala. He was surrounded by the massive army of Yazid and had to choose. Should he have paid allegiance by force and teach a lesson to people that all he did to stand against oppression and injustice was wrong? Or should he have done what he did?
Based on his ideology and belief, and the teachings of the Prophet (PBUH&HP) that he had grown up with, Imam Hussain (AS) chose never to surrender against the injustice acts of Yazid. He, therefore, did not give up his duty to stand against injustice and along with his companions and sons, defended his household until they were all martyred.
The beauty and magnificence of his free spirit and his uprising started to spread throughout the world after his martyrdom.
He reached his goal to conserve the true religion of Islam and the pathway to prosperity by unveiling the real character and aims of those who desired to rule over the nation.
After the event of Karbala, his message on ‘standing against injustice and being free-spirited’ spread all over the world. He became a symbol for all those who care about their spirit, don’t want to accept oppression, tyranny, and injustice for the sake of their benefits in the short life of this world; people like Gandhi, the great leader of India.
From Imam Hussain's (AS) lifestyle, we learn that neglecting some mistakes may bring significant harm to society and, consequently, to our lives. Therefore, we should be wise and realize in our daily life to speak justice where oppression is taking place. That might be in our relations with our family members, our colleagues, or on a larger scale with those in power.
“Prophets and Imams (PBUT) are vivid examples and leaders that true believers should practically follow and not just worship. The example of Imam Hussain (AS) teaches us the lesson of standing against tyranny and injustice, the movement of honorable believers who preferred martyrdom to humiliation, and who have shown us what it means not to surrender.”