Hajj is a journey of a lifetime, and like every journey, it’s different for everyone depending on their physical strength. Because the Hajj pilgrimage can be a difficult undertaking for even the fittest individual, preparation is key. Looking back, I wished I had done things a bit differently when I went to do hajj several years ago with my ‘elderly parents.’
The tips I will be sharing are all based on my experience and I can tell you that despite everyone’s best efforts, there will arise, uncontrollable situations for which you have to put your trust in Allah and be patient. Hajj is an indescribable experience that is supposed to be a challenging. I just wish I was a little bit more prepared for my parent’s sake. So if you’re going to perform hajj with elderly parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents or whoever else, here a few tips you might want to consider to make things go a bit smoother inshaAllah.
Remember that one of the great lessons of Hajj is patience, Allah says in the Qur’an “Indeed, Allah is with the patient” (Surat Al- Baqarah 153)
When packing always remember to pack light, especially for the 5 days of hajj. This means you should probably leave that dslr camera and your stack of hajj books. Study the hajj rituals before leaving for the pilgrimage. Write some the rituals in a small notebook along with all your dua’s. Keep your husn-Muslim (Fortress of the Muslim) and mushaf pocket size, so they can fit into a small bag or pouch.
1. There are many ways to keep all your belongings as light and compact as possible. A runner fanny pouch like this one (link), is a great choice to buy for your parents, grandparents or whoever else you are going with. Always have a little cash handy as well as important medical information, hotel address and phone numbers in their pouch (just in case they get lost).
2. Carry a bag yourself, and be sure to pack some of your important belongings such as high protein snacks and maybe even an flash light (for Muzdalifah). Also keep a plastic bag in there for your shoes when going to the Haram inshaa Allah.
3. Medicine: Be organized especially for the 5 days of hajj. Prepare all their pills in one of these travel containers (link) inshaa Allah. Include all their supplements as well as prescription medicine. Be sure to take a small first aid kit as well Antibiotics and Surgical masks
4. This one may sound a little strange (especially if this is your first hajj) but save yourself the heart ache and take advantage of tracking devices, especially if one of the elders you are going with is known to just walk off (like my dad lol). Giving them a GPS tracker like this one (link) can really help keep you sane, knowing that you can just track them. You can also leave a GPS tracker inside your tent, so you can easily find your way back. Because the GPS trackers work with smartphones only, it does mean you will have to also get an external battery pack (link) just in case.
5. Women can generally wear whatever they like, so let’s talk fabrics 😉 . Stay away from synthetic fabrics like polyester or viscose/rayon and stick to natural fabrics like cotton that is not only breathable but is also better at soaking up moisture from the skin. Wear super comfortable shoes because you will be walking a lot. On the last day of hajj when everyone goes to the farewell tawaaf, you will most likely not find taxis. Even if you manage to find one, the traffic is so unbearable that you might decide to walk it. I recommend Crocs style shoes/sandals as they are very comfortable and light.
6. As for men, especially those with thunder thighs, you may want to suggest preventative measures like using Vaseline to prevent thighs from abrasively rubbing together as this can cause discomfort. There might be over the counter medication for this but if you forget, don’t worry, because the doctors at Mina are all too familiar with this problem and will prescribe you a cream if it turns into a rash or the discomfort becomes a tad bit much.
I pray Allaah accepts your hajj, and if you found these tips useful, please do share it with anyone you know who may be traveling with elders. Jazakumallah Khairan.
Photo credit: Mohammed Tawsif Salam
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