The FAQs of Hajj & Umrah

The FAQs on Hajj & Umrah

What is Hajj package?

Hajj packages include return airfare from place of origin to Makkah or Madinah. It also includes complete accommodation and transportation in Saudi Arabia and the arrangement of food services during your stay in Makkah, Madinah, Mina, Arafat, and Muzdalifah. If there is any transit stay in Jeddah, is also covered as part of the Hajj Package. Packages may also include visits to holy sites in the two cities, availability of Imams to provide spiritual guidance and group leaders to coordinate the movement from one place to the other. Tour operators also make arrangements for Medical staff in case of emergency.

What is non-shifting Hajj package?

Non-Shifting Hajj packages are when you go directly from your Hotel in Makkah to Mina camp before the day of Arafat and also after 4 days of Hajj in Arafat and Mina, you directly go to your hotel in Makkah or Madinah without having to stay in an apartment building in Aziziyah. Aziziyah is 5 miles from Haram.

Why are Hajj Packages so expensive?

Hajj packages are expensive because 2.3 Million pilgrims are in Saudi Arabia at the same time. This causes the demand to go high compared to the resources available. Hotel rooms are sold 5 times the price they would be sold during the normal days. Similarly, Airline ticket prices also go up during the days of Hajj due to supply and demand factor. These days many tour operators are trying to improve the facilities they offer to the pilgrims and therefore charge a premium for those services e.g. providing VIP accommodation, buffet and onsite prepared food items, convenience to stay on the VIP camps near Jamarat etc. The offering of these facilities jack up the price and make these Hajj packages expensive.

Why is Hajj so Important to Muslims?

Hajj is important to Muslims because it is one of the five pillars of Islam. These pillars are core to Islamic belief. All those who have the ability to afford it financially and manage it physically are mandated to perform it once in a lifetime.

Why Hajj is performed?

Hajj is performed as it is the command of Allah. It has been made mandatory on Muslims to perform it once in a lifetime provided the circumstances permit and the person has the ability to perform it financially and physically. Prophet Muhammad PBUH performed Hajj once in his lifetime and it is commanded that Muslims perform Hajj as he did. Therefore Muslims embark on this journey and follow the footsteps of their beloved Prophet.

When Hajj was made compulsory?

Hajj was made compulsory in the 9th year of AH. It was only made mandatory after the victory of Makkah as it became safe for Muslims to visit Makkah and perform Hajj without any threat from the non-believers of Makkah.

When Hajj is performed?

Hajj is performed between the 8th and the 13th day in the month of Zulhijja which is 12th and the final month of the Islamic calendar. The day of Arafat is on 9th of Zulhijja followed by the day of Eid ul Adha on 10th of Zulhijja.

When can I apply for Hajj Visa?

You can’t apply for Hajj Visas directly and MUST go through an approved and authorized Hajj agent. Hajj visa will be applied by your Hajj tour operator on your behalf. Documents and application are required to be submitted 3 to 4 month before the Hajj. Tour Operator will apply for Hajj visa 2 months prior to Hajj. Hajj Visa is granted as early as one and half month before the Hajj.

When will Hajj be in 2019?

Hajj in 2019 will be on Friday, August 9th, 2019 and will end on August 14th, 2019. The day of Arafat will be on August 10th, 2019.

Can Hajj be performed anytime?

Hajj can only be performed between the 8th and 13th of the last month of Islamic Calendar i.e the month of Zulhijja. The day of Arafat also known as the day of Hajj is on the 9th of Zulhijja.

What Hajj means?

Hajj is one of the five pillars in Islam. These pillars are core to Islamic belief. All those who have the ability to afford it financially and manage it physically are mandated to perform it once in a lifetime.

How Hajj is performed?

There are three types of Hajj: Tamattu, Ifraad, and Qiraan. Hajj Tamattu which is one of the most common Hajj for those doing Hajj from the US, Canada, and the UK, is performed by following below rituals

  1. The first day of Hajj is the 8th of Zulhijja. Pilgrims after performing the morning Salat, wear the Ihram garment and make intention (Niyyah) for Hajj by saying “Labbayk Allahumma Hajj” after which they head for Mina and spend the day and night in the Mina Camp (4.3 miles from Haram Kaaba).
  2. The Second day of Hajj is the day of Arafat also known as the “Day of Hajj” and it is on the 9th of Zulhijja when pilgrims move from their Mina Camp towards the mountain of Arafat. Pilgrims are required to be at Arafat before noon. Pilgrims spend time in the valley of Arafat from noon until sunset in prayers and repentance. Spending time at Arafat is the core of Hajj and without this, the Hajj is not counted as completed. There is also a Hajj Khutbah that takes place in Arafat before the Zuhr Salat and it is mandatory to listen to the Khutbah and pray in congregation with the other pilgrims. According to Hadith, as per prophet Muhammad PBUH, “The day of Arafat is Hajj”. After sunset, the pilgrims move towards a point called Muzdalifah, this location is outside the Arafat valley. It is prophet Muhammad PBUH Sunnah to spend the night in Muzdalifah under the open sky.
    • It was also the practice of Prophet Muhammad PBUH to collect pebbles for Jamarat stoning at Muzdalifah.
    • 7 pebbles should be collected for stoning at each pillar of Jamarat.
    • For the first day of Jamarat, the stoning is only performed at the first Big Pillar of Satan, hence 7 pebbles for the first day however the next 2 to 3 days, stoning will have to be performed at all the three pillars of Jamarat and hence 21 pebbles each for each day of stoning.
    • So at a minimum, you will have to collect 49 pebbles per person, in case the pilgrim will be staying at Mina until the 12th of Zulhijja however 70 pebbles should be collected if the pilgrims will stay at Mina until the 13th of Zilhujja. Staying at Mina until 13th of Zilhujja is optional and depends on your tour package
  3. On the third day of Hajj, after praying the Fajr Salat, pilgrims move in congregation towards Jamarat near Mina and perform the ritual of stoning also known as “Rami”. After this, they head back to the Mina camp to perform “Udhiya” – slaughtering of an animal and shave their head and remove Ihram garments. These days “Udhiya” during Hajj is not physically performed by the pilgrim and is usually done by the Hajj tour operator on your behalf. This completes the mandatory ritual of Hajj.
    • In the evening pilgrims will be taken to Haram Kaaba to perform the “Tawaf-e-Ifada” along with “Saee” at “Safa and Marwa”. After this pilgrims head back to Mina and will spend the night at Mina.
  4. On the fourth day of Hajj i.e 11th Zulhijja, pilgrims stay at Mina camp and perform “Rami” stoning at all the 3 pillars of Jamarat. This can happen anytime during the day and depends on how it is organized by your tour operator.
  5. On the fourth day of Hajj i.e 12th Zulhijja, pilgrims stay at Mina camp and perform “Rami” stoning at all the 3 pillars of Jamarat. This can happen anytime during the day and depends on how it is organized by your tour operator. Those who plan to complete their Hajj on 12th of Zulhijja then are taken to Kaaba Haram to perform the final Tawaf-e-Wada before leaving Makkah.
  6. On the final day of Hajj i.e. the 13th of Zulhijja which is an optional day of stay at Mina, pilgrims stay at Mina camp and perform “Rami” stoning at all the 3 pillars of Jamarat. This can happen anytime during the day before sunset and depends on how it is organized by your tour operator. After completing the stoning, the pilgrims are taken to Kaaba Haram to perform the final Tawaf-e-Wada before leaving Makkah.

The above are the steps or rituals performed during Hajj. It is not complicated and most pilgrims are guided by their travel groups however reading the above would have given you an idea of how the Hajj-e-Tamattu is performed.

Are Hajj and Umrah the same?

Hajj and Umrah are not the same. Umrah is part of Hajj or can be performed independently of Hajj. Hajj can only be performed during the specific days during the last month Islamic Calendar i.e. during the 8th to 13th of Zulhijja. Refer to the above on how to perform Hajj.

Umrah can be performed throughout the year. Umrah is performed by doing intention for Umrah, wearing Ihram garment and doing 7 Circumambulation (Tawaaf) around Kaaba and then finally doing “Saee” across the hills of Safa and Marwa. After which the person performing Umrah will shave or trim the head and remove the Ihram garment to complete the Umrah.

What are different types of Hajj?

There are 3 different types of Hajj.

Hajj Ifrad: This is called Hajj without umrah. In this type of Hajj, pilgrim enters into Ihram with an intention to perform Hajj.

Hajj Qiran: Umrah and Hajj with a single Ihram. In Haj-e-Qiran, pilgrim enters into the state of Ihram with an intention to perform Umrah and Hajj together. According to some scholars, for this type of Hajj, it is a prerequisite for the pilgrim to bring the sacrificial animal with them.

Hajj Tamattu: In this type of Hajj, Umrah and Hajj are performed with a break in between. The pilgrims enter into the state of Ihram with an intention to perform Umrah, then complete all the rites of Umrah and remove their Ihram garments after performing Umrah. Thereafter, before leaving for Mina on 8th of Zulhijja, the pilgrims enter into the state of Ihram again with an intention to perform Hajj and complete all rites of Hajj. This is the most common Hajj performed by pilgrims from the US, Canada, and the UK.

Hajj Vaccination near me?

Hajj Vaccinations can be taken at any CVS pharmacy near your area. Appointments are not required. The only vaccination required for Hajj and Umrah is Meningitis (ACYW-135 vaccine).

What are the Hajj Visa Requirements from the USA

  1. Provide original passport that is valid for at least 6 months from the date of travel with a minimum of two blank pages for visa endorsement. All passports must be machine-readable.
  2. For Non-US citizens, provide original Green Card, or a copy of advanced parole, or one of the following valid visa endorsed on your passport: A1, A2, TN, J, H1B, H-3, H-4, L-1, F-1, J-1, M-1 and R-1.
  3. Provide two recent passport-size color photographs with a white background. The photograph must be a full-face view where the visa applicant is facing the camera directly. Side or angled views are not acceptable. Print your name on the back of the photographs.
  4. One Visa Application Form per person. A form should be filled-out in INK or printed and signed.
  5. Proof of Relationship – All women & children require Proof of Relationship with their Mahram (Marriage certificate for married couples and Birth Certificate for children under 18 years’ age, indicating names of both parents). A legible copy of the document(s) has to be provided while you will keep the original(s) with you. All Minors (under 18 years of age) who are traveling with one parent must also submit a notarized letter of authorization signed by both the parents or legal guardians.
  6. Proof of Meningitis Shot – Original proof of vaccination against Meningitis (one dose of ACYW-135 vaccine) for all traveling individuals.
  7. Special Requirements – In case you do not have a Muslim name, a certificate is required from the Imam of Masjid indicating that you are a Muslim.
  8. Unaccompanied Female Travelers – For women traveling alone in a group, the following are the requirements:
    1. Must be 45 years of age or older.
    2. Must provide a NOTARIZED letter from Mahram indicating that he has no objection for her to travel for Umrah or Hajj.
    3. Proof of Relationship document required showing a relationship of the woman to the Mahram.

Who is Mahram?

A Mahram is a Father, Husband, Son, Brother, Uncle, Grandfather (Brother or son must be 18 years of age or older).

Can Hajj without Mahram be performed?

Hajj can be performed without Mahram only if the Women is above 45 years or older. For women 45 years or older traveling alone in a group, the following are the additional requirements:

  1. Must provide a NOTARIZED letter from Mahram indicating that he has no objection for her to travel for Umrah or Hajj.
  2. Proof of Relationship document required showing the relationship of the woman to the Mahram.

What is Hajj Origin?

The word Hajj means to make a resolve to visit a holy place. The Origin of Hajj is rooted in the Prophet Ibrahim’s life, PBUH. When prophet Ibrahim and his elder son Ismail built the house of God – the Holy Kaaba on a site chosen by Allah himself, it was built not only with the intention of worshipping as a mosque but the idea was to have believers from around the world to congregate and assemble at this place and then go back to their respective countries carrying with them the message of Oneness of God. This assembly of people was named Hajj. The initiation of Hajj is also described in the Holy Quran as “The first house ever set up for mankind was indeed that at Bakkah, a blessed place, and guidance unto all beings; wherein are clear signs – the place whereon Ibrahim stood; and whosoever enters it finds peace (3: 96-7)”.

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