Saudi Haj Travels
2109/1 Asha Bhil's Tekra,
Opp. Bank Of Baroda, Astodiya Darwaja, Ahmedabad.-380001
Before the FAQ and answers are given, we strongly urge all our pilgrims to acquire good booklets on performing Umra and Haj. Further, they should make every effort to read the parts of Quran where reference is made on Haj.
The Quran clearly states that the months of Haj are well known and that its procedures should be understood by the pilgrims.
We also suggest that you approach your Mosque or Islamic Centres and seek out all the necessary information from there especially on those "Rukns - (aspects)" that apply to you in respect of your particular School of Thoughts-ie.Imam Hanafi; Imam Shafi etc.
WHAT TYPE OF HAJ SHOULD I PERFORM?
There are three types of Haj. As an organiser of Haj Tours, it is not a matter for us to suggest which type of Haj you should perform. Our suggestion is that you consider all three types and choose, with the help of your nearest religious scholar (Aalim) which is best for you given your own particular circumstances.
Haji-e-Tamattu. This is where an Umra is performed performed first and then ehram is adorned with the intention of performing Haj on the night of 7th Zul Hajja. A Hadi//Nahr is offered for the discharge of Ihram.
Haje-e-Qiraan. This is when ehram is adorned for the whole of the Hai period and Umra is performed and you remain in ehram until Haj is over. A Hadi/Nahr is offered for the discharge of ehram.
Haji-e-Ifrad. This is where intention is made only for the Haj and one remains in the ehram until Haj is over. No Hadi/Nahr is offered.
I AM PERFORMING A HAJJ-E-BADAL (PROXY HAJ). WHICH TYPE OF HAJ SHOULD I PERFORM?
It depends entirely on how the issue of Hajj-e-Badal has arisen.
(a) Performing Hajj-e-Badal for a living person, or carrying out an express wish of a deceased person only Hajj Ifrada is performed. This means putting on Ihram, before reaching Miqat, and making Niyyat for Haj only on behalf of either of the above two types of person. (b) Performing Hajj-e-Badal for a deceased relative out of "goodwill". In this instant, Hajj-e-Tamattu is best. Whether the cost is met from the deceased persons legacy or not, this Haj is still classified as a "Nifil" despite the fact at the deceased never performed his/her "Fardh" Haj. Ihram is put on before reaching Miqat with Umra in mind first. The Umra can be made for the person intending the Hajj-e-Badal whilst the Haj itself will be performed for the intended beneficiary.
WHERE SHOULD I CHANGE INTO IHRAM?
From the prescribed Miqat. However, passengers on airliners should be in Ihram before their flight and should perform the Salat and Niyyat for the Ihram once the Pilot announces the impending crossing of Miqat.
Where the airliner is a non-muslim one and the crossing of Miqat is not likely to be announced then you must make Niyyat for your Ihram prior to boarding your flight even though the Miqat may be hours after the takeoff. This is a precautionary measure to overcome the likelihood of you being asleep when the Miqat is crossed and no Niyyat having being made.
WHAT IS THE MINIMUM PERIOD REQUIRED FOR PERFORMING HAJ?
a) On the type of Haj that you intend to perform
b) Your travel schedule
c) The Saudi Air and Land Traffic Control.
Haj-e-Tamattu requires performing Umra First. Hence you will need to allow sufficient time to rest upon arriving in Makka before proceeding with Umra. You will need to take off the Ihram after Umra and put it on again for Haj on the night of 7th Zul Haj.
Haj itself takes 6 days. On the night of 7th Zul Haj you will be transported to Mina for Yom Tarwiah. On the morning of 9th Zul Haj you will be transferred to Arafat for the day and to Muzdalifa that night. On the morning of 10th Zul Haj you will be transferred to Mina again. You will than spend that night and the following two nights as a minimum or three nights as maximum in Mina. On the 12th/13th Zul Haj you will need to performthe Tawaf-e-Wida (departure). In all, the total number of days associated with Haj alone are seven minimum, and eight maximum.
Your travel schedule is pivotal to the number of days. In addition, you must make allowance for slippage in that schedule for un-expected situation to arise such as delays in flights, delays in Immigration control and internal transportation and delays in handling of your passport by the allocated "Mutawwif" or Moassasa.
You may be planning to visit Madina Munawwara too which has an impact on your travel plan. Flexibility in the schedule is crucial again given the likelihood of delays as specified above. Travelling to Madina by road and to Jeddah takes three times as longer compared to non-Haj season. Hence, an intended visit to Madina for only "one day" effectively will mean "three days".
The Saudi Government enforces travel restrictions during Haj Season. There is a last day for all overseas flights to land at Jeddah. There is also a last date of travel to Madina by land and for travel by air. There is a last date for travel to Makka by land and the earliest date for pilgrims to leave Saudi Arabia.
The summary of all the above effectively ties down the pilgrim to a minimum of ten days to enter Saudi Arabia and to leave irrespective of whether you intend to visit Madina or not.
THE WARNING TO THOSE INTENDING TO ENTER AND LEAVE WITHIN A SPECIFIC PERIOD IS TO ENSURE THAT THEIR AIRLINER HAS SCHEDULED ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE DATES TO COINCIDE WITH YOUR TRAVEL PLAN AND THAT YOU HAVE A CONFIRMED SEAT ON IT.
SO HOW LATE CAN I GO AND HOW SOON CAN I LEAVE?
You can time your arrival into Jeddah to coincide with the last date for Haj flights to land at Jeddah and the first date, after Haj, for flights to leave. Usually about ten days within which you can perform your Haj but no likelihood of visiting Madina.
HOW MANY QURBANI (NAHR - DHABIHA - OR SACRIFICES) DO I HAVE TO OFFER?
You must offer one sacrifice as a compensation of release from your Ihram if performing Hajj-e-Tamattu or Qiran.
IS THIS QURBANI NOT SAME AS ONE OFFERED ON EID-UL-AZHA?
No. This sacrifice, when performing Haj, is for the release of Ihram and must be carried out immediately after stoning of the first Jamaraat on 10th Zul Hajj. You can then cut/shave your hair and be free from your Ihraam (in that order under the school of thought of Imam Abu Hanifa).
SO WHAT ARE THOSE EXTRA SACRIFICES THAT PEOPLE MAKE IN MAKKA?
A number of reasons. The sacrifice may well be a higher penalty (Damm) being offered in compensation of a major breach of the Ihraam or Haj procedures. It could also be an extra sacrifice for Eid-ul-Azha offered whilst on Hajj instead of at your own home country. It could be an extra sacrifice offered for our Prophet Mohammad (SAW) or on behalf of other relatives or for friends who may have made such specific request. It is crucial to know that your sacrifice-Nahr-Dhabiha whatever you wish to call it, is for the release of your Ihraam and not connected at all to your normal sacrifices you may be offering in your home country on Eid-ul-Azha. The meat of such sacrifice is allowed for your consumption but not that of the penalty or Damm-which should be donated to the needy and poor.
HOW DO I KNOW WHETHER I NEED TO PAY A DAMM (PENALTY)?
Only you know- apart from Allah Subhanahu Wa Taala, whether or not you have breached one or some of the processes of Haj that invokes payment of a Damm. The best way of ensuring that you observe the conditions of Hajj is to acquaint yourself with all the "Rukns" or conditions before leaving home for your Pilgrimage. Be in the company of those who are experienced or have performed their Haj before or attend talks given by travelling Ullamas (scholars) in most of the good Haj groups.
DOES MENSTRUATION AFFECT THE HAJ?
There are some aspects of the Haj that cannot be performed if a Hajja has her monthly period but can carry on with Haj. She must not enter into the Harmein and must not perform Tawaaf. Consult your Aalim (scholar) on further detail.
WHAT IF THE PERIOD STARTS WHILST INSIDE THE HARMEIN OR PERFORMING TAWAAF?
Stop the Tawaaf and leave the Harmein. Consult your Aalim (scholars) on further detail. However, if it occurs while performing Sai than the Sai should be completed after which the Hajja must leave the Haram.
HOW MUCH MONEY DO I NEED TO TAKE WITH ME?
There is no answer to this question as it can be compared to "How long is a piece of string?". If you are travelling with a group where all aspects of your pilgrimage is covered for in terms of expenditures and there is no likelihood of your spending money on large scale shopping then there should be no need for you to carry large amount of money except for an emergency contingency such as offering a sacrifice for breach of hajj condition, loss of your airline ticket resulting in payment for a new ticket or for burial if someone dies.
SHOULD I TAKE CASH OR TRAVELLERS CHEQUES?
Both if possible; especially if you intend to carry a large amount. Depending on your length of stay especially in Makka and as your passport is taken away by the Mutawwif, you may not be issued with an official Identification. Although there are money exchangers every few yards and open almost 18 hours a day, they will definitely not cash your traveller cheques Banks will on condition that you have your official identification on you. Therefore, it is prudent to carry cash only if your visit is of short duration as your ID will not be issued in that period.
HOW DO I PROTECT MY PERSONAL POSSESSION/VALUABLES?
Do you need to take such valuables with you in the first place? If you do, than check with your Haj Group Leader whether he can arrange for the safekeeping of your possession. Most hotels have a safe deposit box or hotel safe which is offered for you to keep your valuables. You must find out the terms and conditions for such safe keeping as the group leaders will not take any responsibility for such facility provided by the hotels.
CAN I PERFORM HAJ IF I AM IN DEBT?
Consult your Aalim; better still a Mufti if he is available for advice. We take the view that the conditions of Haj are clear and that you should clear your debts prior to leaving home for Haj.
I AM BUYING MY HOUSE THORUGH A MORTGAGE OR A BANK LOAN. CAN I PERFORM MY HAJ WITH THAT MORTGAGE OUTSTANDING?
Consult your Aalim or a Mufti for advice. We take the view that if this is your only financial commitment and that you bought the house because of compelling reason and that you also have a small saving which is sufficient for you to cover the expense of Haj than you should consider performing the Haj. Wallah-ul-Aalam.
CAN I TAKE OUT INSURANCE COVER FOR THE JOURNEY?
Consult your Aalim or a Mufti if he is available for advice. We, as your Haj Tour Organisers, do not accept any form of liability for whatever eventuality whilst travelling with us. Under the new Umra Regulations, the Saudi Government has passed the responsibility of your welfare and health to registered contractors. These contractors are insisting that you acquire sufficient and satisfactory insurance cover.
THE CONDITIONS OF HAJ APPLY TO ME. HOWEVER, I HAVE NO MEHRIM WITH WHOM I CAN TRAVEL. PLEASE ADVISE.
One of the crystal clear condition of Haj, for you as a woman, is that you must travel in the company of your Mehrim. The Saudi Government insists on that condition except where there is a group of women sufficiently large to provide seclusion throughout the journey. Some large tour operators and some "not so honest" operators take individual woman with them. We reserve our comment on such practise. We actively discourage such practise and do not take individual woman without a mehrim in our tour.
IF I AM TAKEN ILL WHO WILL TAKE CARE OF ME?
People do fall ill. Most of the illness is preventable. However, in case of minor or serious illness, we will do our best to assist in seeking medical attention. However, we cannot and do not provide personal service. In fact no other group does. We will advise and assist should you be taken seriously ill and need hospitalisation within the given limits of our ability and within reason. We urge you to seriously consider this point and be prepared to meet such eventuality should it arise. One way to ensure is to have another member of your family with you on the journey. Same applies should there be a death during the journey. We will do everything, within our limit, to see through the process of hospital admission, mortuary, medical and bureaucratic clearance and the burial within the location of the death.
CAN I MAKE A TRIP TO OTHER CITIES WHILST IN SAUDI ARABIA FOR MY HAJ?
The Haj Visa is strictly for performing Haj. You are not at liberty at all to move anywhere else beyond the boundary of Makkah and Madinah. The port of Jeddah is only for the purpose for the transit.
Many people are misguided in believing that the official identity issued by the Moassasa is a permit to undertake journeys outside the two Holy cities. The official I.D. is a formal receipt issued to you because your passport is retained by the Moassasa.