Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam .

Hajj is not made obligatory on everyone. You have to be, (must be) financially and physically stable( physical part is very important).

You need to built a stamina, or else you will be the one sitting on the side of the road in the heat because you can’t walk a couple of miles

There are four basic requirements of Hajj.

1-To be in the state of ihram: it means that you have to control your anger. No physical relationship with your spouse. Men cannot wear any stitched garment. They wear two pieces of white cloth and have to wear flip flops. On the other hand, females have no restrictions on what to wear. Ofcourse, head covered and modest clothes.

2.On the 9th of Zilhujj ( a Islamic calendar date), you have to be in Arafat.

3. Tawaf Ifada-It is going around the Kaaba seven times.

4. Sai- It is basically going from Safa and Marwa ( both mountains) seven times.

This is Hajj.

Sounds pretty easy, right?

The hard part is dealing with the man-made hurdles.

The key to a smooth Hajj is getting a good agent. I can’t stress enough that an efficient Hajj leader can make all the difference.

On 8th Zilhujj, we embarked for Mina from Mecca ( I know the names of places are not easy to get at first, but you will get a quick hang of it soon). Ideally, you are suppose to pray the 2nd prayer, Dhuhr, in Mina, but we didn’t. Our group was still in Mecca at Dhuhr time. Once our bus came, we were in Mina.

Oh boy! The tents of Mina where a nightmare. They were worse than boot camps. The mattress type of things were right next to each other. Our stuff was our headboard. The bathrooms were utterly disgusting with long lines. No one was cleaning the bathrooms. Now bear in mind, not all Mina tents are like those. If you pay $9000, then you get these low lying creations ( thanks to your witted agent).

It took me one hour to absorb this scenario.

Finally, it was 9th. Time to go to Arafat. Arafat is a ground where you pray till magrib. With what happened at Mina, I was getting ready to be tortured in Arafat. It was a hot day and I knew we would be burning out under the Sun. Buy guess what, other arrangements were made.

We were given tents. Nothing like Mina tents. These tents were a taste of Heaven. Fully air conditioned with a lot of room.

We stayed in the tent and prayed until it was little cooler.

Next we were heading to Muzdalifa. It was an amazing scene. White dots were everywhere. All under the naked sky. We found a spot next to some hajjis and stayed up praying and absorbing the scene around us. In the morning, it was time to head for Mina-walk or wait forever for the buses. We walked! We became like homeless people- scavenging food along the way. Hajj was almost over- a sacrifice was left and haircut ( men shaved their hair, females just cut a strand). Once we got the confirmation of our sacrifice being done, it was hair chopping and Hajj Mubarak ( we also had to do the last tawaf )!

What an amazing journey!

I so wanna come here again!

I so wanna bring my family here!

Please, may/can I go again…pleeeeeeeesae!

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