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Part 3 – Practical Tips for Umrah

In Part 1 of this series, I addressed the importance of preparation before the umrah. Part 2 covered the highlights of our journey. I now share some practical tips so you can maximise your time and reap as much reward as possible:

  • Checklist
  • Pace Yourself
  • Eat Healthy
  • Tawaf
  • Communication Tool
  • Patience, Patience, Patience
  • Pray for Acceptance
  • Journal

Checklist – My good friend, mentor and teacher ustaaz Abdul Ghafoor has written a great article on practical tips for umrah and includes a checklist of what to take with you [15] but here are a few practical tips that I hope will compliment that list.

Pace Yourself – Be consistent in performing good deeds and hitting your targets but don’t overwhelm yourself. Expect a dip in energy. Have mercy on yourself in that dip. Don’t throw in the towel. Pick yourself up and keep going [16]. Daytime naps will revitalise your body and boost your energy levels to perform more good deeds. An eye mask will help you to rest easy and sleep better.

Eat Healthy“O humanity! Eat from what is lawful and good…” (Quran 2:168) Quality and quantity of food is essential. Eating healthy, well-balanced nutritional portions to sustain yourself and avoiding junk food and fizzy drinks (or at least keeping these to a minimum) will give your body the right nutrition to perform good deeds and prevent/overcome illness. As one of my coaches advised me “You can have the best car, but you can’t get the best performance from it without giving it the right fuel.” The Jahez app for ordering food to your hotel room can save you valuable time, however it can get really busy and slow on Friday afternoons when many people are ordering at the same time. I found the app worked better in Madinah than Makkah.

Breakfast

Dinner

Tawaf – Due to the construction work and controls set in place by the authorities, I would advise seeking guidance from the guards so that you enter the mataf area (ground floor, near the Ka’bah) and complete your circumambulation (tawaf) in close proximity of the Ka’bah.

Seeing the Ka’bah for the first time can be a very emotional experience, especially after months of preparation, sacrifice and longing to see the Ka’bah. My first tawaf was on the first floor and I was unable to access the ground floor so it’s advisable you make your entrance via the ground floor on your first visit and avail yourself of the opportunity to make tawaf on the ground floor.

Communication Tool – If like me you’re not fluent in Arabic, then the Google translator app is a great tool to download on your smart phone to break the ice with fellow pilgrims, the locals, taxi drivers and even Masjid officials.

On one occasion, I recall losing my place in the queue for the Riadhul-Jannah (Garden of Paradise) as I had to tend to my nephew who was unwell at the time and needed a natural break. We left my 12yr old son to save our place in the queue, along with my phone. Upon my return, my nephew and I were prevented from joining the queue from one of the Masjid officials responsible for managing the crowd as he thought we were jumping the queue. When I tried to explain in my broken Arabic what had happened, my son had the good sense to explain to another official via the translator app, which allowed us to not only re-enter the queue but due to my nephew’s illness we were fast tracked to visit the Riadhul-Jannah!

In the Riadhul-Jannah (Garden of Paradise)

Patience, Patience, Patience – Waiting for transport, delays, traffic, food delivery, and enduring illness can be a challenge in any place. Keep calm, do zikr, don’t lose your cool. All these moments are opportunities to practice patience, remember Allah and refine your character – and believe me Allah, most Generous, the Appreciative will reward you many folds.

I recall our coach from Madinah to Makkah was delayed by over 3 hours but this gave us another opportunity to perform an extra salah in the Prophet’s masjid. An error in the hotel booking system in Madinah meant missing two breakfasts in our hotel but then we were upgraded to a higher standard of breakfast in the hotel next door during the remaining stay in Madinah. People and online systems may let you down but when you are a guest of Allah, the Most High and you respond accordingly He will take care of you and replace your perceived loss with something better.

Pray for Acceptance – When the Prophet Ibrahim and Ismail, peace be upon them both built the Kabah, they asked Allah to accept this from them. “And ˹remember˺ when Abraham raised the foundation of the House with Ishmael, ˹both praying,˺ “Our Lord! Accept ˹this˺ from us. You are indeed the All-Hearing, All-Knowing.” (Quran 2:127) Following the umrah, ask Allah to overlook your shortcomings and pray for acceptance.

Journal – To learn from the many lessons that umrah will give you, improve and grow from this journey and share your reflections so others can benefit – it’s worthwhile to journal your thoughts as you travel, even if it means taking notes on your phone. A travel journal is the best place to jot down your thoughts and feelings, help you achieve your umrah goals to ensure you make the most of your trip. You know your family, friends, and colleagues may ask you for recommendations, so now you become a great resource for them too.

If you got this far and found the article useful, please pray that Allah blesses my family and I with an accepted umrah, helps us grow from this blessed experience and gives us the opportunity to perform umrah again and again until we leave this dunya. Jazakumu Allahu khayr (may Allah reward you with much good)!

References:

[15] Practical tips when preparing for Umrah – Luton Muslims Journal (lutonmuslimjournal.com)

[16] Narrated `Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her), the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him was asked, “What deeds are loved most by Allah?” He said, “The most regular constant deeds even though they may be few.” He added, “Don’t take upon yourselves, except the deeds which are within your ability.” Sahih al-Bukhari

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