Below is an extract of the guide I was trying to put together last year.
InshaAllah it will be useful and I can finish it off and then post it properly in our Road to Makkah section.
With the season of Hajj already upon us and with people busy making plans to go, I thought I would share my thoughts on making the trip and inshaAllah pass on some useful practical information.
By no means I am trying to be exhaustive in what I intend to write but, inshaAllah, it will help provide an insight for
those going as well be a means of reference for those intending to go in the future.
There are many people on the board who have been to Hajj and Umrah so please share your own thoughts/opinions/experiences
For the sake of presentation I am splitting this piece into two parts. Part I will deal with issues associated with choosing a Hajj Package and things to look out for whilst Part II will discuss some practical tips which, inshaAllah, will help make life easier when actually performing Hajj.
The fiqh of Hajj is an extensive topic in itself and is completely outside the scope of this endeavour but is obviously
something everyone should be fimiliar with before setting out on the journey.
Comparing Hajj Packages
So Ramadhan is over and with that increased sense of optimism and energy which comes from the month you suddenly say to
yourself this is the year I am going to perform my Hajj. You eagerly make some initial enquiries and pick up leaflets from
different agents but it is information overload and you suddenly realise that you have no idea what they are offering
or how you are going to choose!!
Fret not, the Madina Guide to Hajj Packages is here "Not the same"
The first thing to say is that Hajj packages can be wildly different for a number of reasons which
may not be at all obvious to someone undertaking the journey for the first time.
Nowadays you can choose a basic Hajj package which pretty much gives you accommodation and nothing else to 5 star deluxe
trips which cater for your every whim.
The type of package a person chooses will obvious be governed by factors such as preference, budget etc but the following
is a list of factors which should help in making this choice.1. Price
Price is usually (but not always) a good indication of the quality of a Hajj package.
From the UK in 2010/1431, basic Hajj packages were approximately £2,500 per person (pp) with the 5 star packages passing
£10,000pp. There are numerous reasons why there is such a differential in price (which we will discuss below) but it
is important to note that if one is on a limited budget there are many areas where one can save money and still have
a peaceful and rewarding Hajj.2. Length of stay
This may seem an obvious point but check how long you will actually be away for!!
Standard Hajj packages from the West tend to be around 3 weeks although there are an increasing number which last only for a
fortnight and cater for people who have limited holidays.3. Hotels
This is probably the biggest cost element of any Hajj package especially in the current climate where there is huge
redevelopment work being undertaken around Masjid al Haram and hotels are becoming temporarily scarce.
Deluxe packages will include 4/5 star hotels right next to the Masjids in Makkah and Madinah for the duration of your stay.
Given that at peak times it can take 30 minutes just to get in and out of the Masjid, having a hotel just outside is a
Ask your operator how many minutes walk the hotels are away from the Masjid and try and research their location on the
internet since 'Hajj operator walking time' and 'normal walking time' can vary quite significantly
A growing trend amongst operators at present, due to the lack of accommodation in Makkah, is to have people stay in Aziziah
during the days of Hajj and then moving them to Makkah after when people start leaving and prices fall.
Aziziah is approximately 2-3 miles away from Masjid al Haram but more importantly is on the other side of one of the mountain
ranges which overlook the Kabah.
Depending where you are in Aziziah it can take anything between 30-60 mins (sometimes more) by car/taxi/van to get to the
Masjid because of traffic and brave souls wishing to walk can expect journey times of between 1-2 hours depending again on
location and how fast you can walk!!
Be warned, attending every single prayer in Masjid Al Haram is very difficult if you are staying in Aziziah so if this is
important to you speak with your operator. Unfortunately there are many agents who do not make this point explicit in their
promotional literature so please check!!