If you are yearning for that life-changing Hajj experience, your preparation should start as soon as possible. In this article, we will be sharing our top seven tips to maximize your journey to Allah’s home in sha Allah.
Make the intention
This may seem obvious, but it is very important. The Messenger of Allah said:
“Actions are according to intentions, and everyone will get what was intended. Whoever migrates with an intention for Allah and His messenger, the migration will be for the sake of Allah and his Messenger. And whoever migrates for worldly gain or to marry a woman, then his migration will be for the sake of whatever he migrated for.” [Sahih Bukhari]
This hadith is great in its benefit and importance, and it has been said that Islam revolves around it – every scholarly book and class begins with this reminder. Scholars have commented that this hadith comprises one-third of knowledge based on the fact that, the actions of man involve his heart, his tongue and his limbs, and hence the intention in the heart is one-third of action. If you make the intention seriously and sincerely, and get everything ready, and then die before performing Hajj, then Allah out of His infinite mercy, would reward you as if you performed it.
Start saving money
Hajj needs money. Lots of it. In fact, Hajj will be one of the most expensive purchases you make in your life so it is best to research it well and start saving now. Look up different packages and choose one that will suit your budget and lifestyle. Hajj is a tiring and busy experience so make provisional decisions on how long you want to go there for; the quality of the hotel you would like to stay in; whether you would like to go as part of a group or not and what extras you would like (some packages include ziyaarah, SIM cards to use there, one set of ihram etc.).
Another factor you must consider is debts. If you have any debts, make sure you settle these first. This could be by either paying it off in full or making an agreement with your debtor which you can uphold even after returning from Hajj in sha Allah. Everyone has their unique struggle, and that struggle makes the Hajj experience even sweeter. Imagine after paying off all your debts, you finally saved enough money for Hajj and are standing in front of the Kaabah making dua. What an amazing feeling this must be!
Start a Hajj savings account or a Hajj fund today if you haven’t already done so. Small daily or monthly savings can go a long way. Even if you deposit $10 a day, you should have enough after two years of saving in sha Allah. May Allah grant us all the ability to visit His home. Ameen.
Establish an optimistic mindset
If we ask you what you see below, what would you say?
One black dot, right? Wrong! Its actually one black dot surrounded by lots of white dots. But you can’t see the white dots, right? That’s exactly how we see our blessings. We just take them for granted and focus on the negatives in our lives. On Hajj (and in life) you will be surrounded by many ‘black dots’ everywhere – your patience will be tested greatly. Just imagine the masses of people in the burning heat! Starting today, create a mentality where you look for the ‘white dot’ in every situation. With this mindset, you will strengthen your resilience and pass any test that Allah brings your way.
Learn and appreciate the history of Makkah and Madinah
The most important advice we can give you is to learn the seerah of the Prophet Muhammad to truly appreciate the beauty of the place you are about to set foot in. This will take time, but it will make your Hajj so much more meaningful and memorable. This will be the difference between an average Hajj and an outstanding Hajj. The 3 best sources that come to mind are:
- Watch the “Umar” Series here. You will visually see Islamic history from the point of view of Umar ibn al Khataab. The series is action-packed, captivating, and reportedly the biggest Arab production ever. It’s 30 episodes (23 hours long) but totally worth every minute!
- Listen to Yasir Qadhi’s seerah on YouTube here. It’s over 100 hours of in depth detailed knowledge, with great connections to modern day society.
- Read a popular Seerah book like “The Sealed Nectar” or “Muhammad” by Martin Lings
Understand the meaning of what you recite
The most essential act of worship any Muslim performs on a daily basis is the salah. This prophetic ritual that we repeat five times a day is a conversation with Allah and is full of beautiful adhkar and wisdom. To truly grasp the benefit of prayer and perform it with an attentive and tranquil heart, we must do our best to understand the literal meaning of what we are reciting, and use this knowledge to connect with the deeper spiritual benefits of why we utter these specific words and phrases in our prayer. Salah is about reflection and pondering. It is about leaving the dunya for Allah. It is about feeling what you are saying, delving into it and being absorbed by the experience of the salah. This can only be done when you truly appreciate and understand what you are saying.
Make salah an experience. Learn the linguistic meaning and beauty behind each word of your daily salah. There are countless resources all over the internet for this.
Start making your will today
You should have your will ready because death can approach you at ANY time, and for this reason, Islam places great emphasis on making a will. By writing a will, you can instruct the correct distribution of your wealth, ensuring your debts are covered, leaving no ambiguity for your family and loved ones. Furthermore, if you decide to leave a charitable bequest, it will count as sadaqah jariyah, allowing your good deeds to benefit you even after your passing. There are many examples of Islamic will templates online.
Resolve any issues with family and friends
Each family has its issues and as a person who intends to go for Hajj, it is your responsibility to tie up any loose ends with family members. Even if you are the one who has been wronged, be the better person by taking the initiative to mend broken bonds. This goes for friends as well as anyone else you may have wronged knowingly or unknowingly. Remember, severing familial bonds is a huge sin in Islam, as the Messenger of Allah said:
“The person who severs the bond of kinship will not enter Paradise.” [Sahih Bukhari]
So take the time to send a message or make a phone call to your relatives, asking for their forgiveness and an end to any feuds that you may have. You will feel lighter as you lift the heavy burden of negativity from your heart.
So, starting today, make the sincere intention and du’a that Allah allows you to be one of the Hujjaj as soon as possible. Whether it happens next year, or sometime in the future, your niyyah and preparation will be rewarded. May Allah grant us all the ability to visit His home. Ameen.