Hajj: Things to Watch Out
The list below is based on my Hajj experience that I want to share with you. Hope it’s useful.
- Women: dress modestly – ‘Modest’ means according to the Islamic dress codes. I have seen so many people, apparently from my own people, wear dresses as if they want to go to the party!! They wear colourful tight dresses exposing parts of their body. Yes, I’ve seen this for so many times, especially when they’re about to go back to Indonesia. I know this is sort of cultural things… but please… leave a GOOD impression to the people in Saudi Arabia. Revealing your arms or armpit is not acceptable, because people over there dress modestly. They wear abaya to cover their whole bodies. I can assure you that, if you wear that kind of dress you will get so many attentions from men! Though these men would mostly be smiling while they’re staring at you, they would think you’re a “bad” person… which is the same level as a prostitute!! If you insist on wearing that dress, then perhaps you need an abaya just to cover your body until you get into the plane.
- Don’t be too ignorant – Familiarise yourself with the location of your hotel or tent. There is a greater chance of you getting lost or separated from your group members, particularly in Mina. Keep all important phone numbers with you, so you can contact them if you need help. Due to many deadly incidents happened in Mina, Indonesian government sets up a number of health posts in several spots there. It’s worth knowing where the posts are located, in case something happens.
- Keep your valuables safe – Yap. Don’t leave your money in the hotel. One of my father’s pilgrims lost his money there. If your hotel has a safe box, then put them there. Don’t bring them around too, even if you go to the holliest place on the planet, Masjidil Haram. There were so many people had their money stollen while they’re in the Mosque… even if you put them on your breast!! The thieves know it well! So just be careful of that. I think the safest way is to bring a traveller cheque.
- Behave! – Saudi Arabia is not the same as Indonesia. Therefore you can’t just behave as if you’re in your own country. For women, don’t be too nice. No, seriously don’t joke around. Don’t make a joke or laugh with the men of other nations that you don’t know. I know you’re trying to be nice. But they would interpret it differently, they would think you like them! I’ve heard a case where an Indonesian female pilgrim was followed by an Arab man to her hotel… seriously, it’s scary! Don’t be too ‘genit’ hehehe. Keep it low .
- Follow the rules – Sometimes our government informs us not to go in certain places due to safety reasons. For example, during last year’s Hajj, the government told us to stay in the tent on particular schedules/times to avoid a deadly accident near the Jumarat. Some groups of people were too stubborn to follow that simple rule. As a result, many pilgrims were died in a Mina’s stampede last year. Remember that nearly 3 million people are staying in the same place! Don’t risk your life. Hajj is not about following Prophet’s sunnah, it’s about following all the compulsory and recommended acts (rukun & wajib Haji). Therefore, going to Jamarat on certain times that are regarded as “Sunnah Rasul” does not make your Hajj any better than other people.
- Taxi: Be aware – This is just a precaution. In most cases, you won’t be taking any cabs because your travel agency handles the transportation for you. But something might happen, right? Maybe you’re lost or in an emergency situation that requires you to take a taxi. If you’re a woman, I suggest you to be accompanied by at least one man. Don’t ever ever travel with the taxi alone, especially in Mekkah! Here’s a simple rule: a woman SHOULD enter the vehicle AFTER her man does it and leave the taxi BEFORE he does it. I’m not trying to scare you. But this is the exact rule that my mom and dad remind me everytime we’re about to take a taxi in Mekkah. Remember though, the cost of travelling with taxi during Hajj is 5 or more times higher than the usual days.
- Protect your health – Always bring a bottle of water to avoid dehydration, consume vitamins, and wear a mask everytime you go out. Ask somebody to do the stoning for you if you’re not able to do it.
Whether you’re stuck on a traffic jam for 10 hours, walk for many hours until your foot hurt, or be in a dirtiest toilet, just remember that you are there to fulfill your duty to Allah SWT.