It seems like it’s umrah season again for us Muslims and for a lot of first-timers, it’s normal to be nervous and wrecked-up over going to the Holy Land of Makkah and Madinah and finally see where everything took place thousands of years ago. If it’s your first time flying out to the centre of Saudi Arabia, here are a few things you should keep in mind :
1) ARABS ARE RUDE – REAL OR NOT REAL?
If there’s any popular rumor about the Arabs, it’s that they are rude and not mannerful at all. A rumor is a rumor and people talk. When I was in Makkah and Madinah, I was wonderfully treated by everyone around me. I was never shouted at or told off over something I did or did not do and that’s something I’m very happy with. I went by the rules, kept a polite face and stayed calm. What have we learned here? Go by the rules. If they say don’t sit somewhere, then don’t sit there. If you’re not allowed to carry sharp things with you, don’t carry sharp things with you. Umrah is one of the most intense times in Makkah, you have thousands and thousands of people coming from all around the world with one common interest. If you go by the order, things will stay in order.
2) STAY PREPARED
There’s one thing you have to keep embedded in your mind, anything can happen in Makkah. So, always keep your mind on alert and watch your surroundings. Always have another pair of slippers in your hotel room, you might lose the ones you’re already wearing at the mosque. Always have a small praying mat with you, you might have to pray by the streets. Always wear gloves, you might get in contact with a non mahram. Always wear socks, your legs might show while you’re praying. Wear double layers, it might get cold. Bring a bright coloured bag for your shoes, you can’t wear them during your tawaf. You never know what’s going to happen when it’s going to happen so think of every possibility that you want to avoid and avoid it.
3) BE AN EARLY BIRD
The Grand Mosque in Makkah is packed all the time. If you want to pray in the Grand Mosque, you can’t do it if you’re on time. You have to be there at least 30 minutes before the adhan. It might already be crowded by then too, but at least you can squeeze in a little bit. There are male and female guards watching every gateway and hallway so don’t try praying by the wall or praying by the escalator, it’s not going to work. It’s not wrong, sure but they’re trying to make things easy for everyone. If a person begins to pray outside the designated area, another person will join in the fun then everyone else will. So, don’t be on time, be an early bird. If you can’t find your way around the mosque, easy. Just follow everyone else. The mosque is a full circle, you’ll find your way somehow.
I know what you’re thinking. This is a time to be holy, you’ll finally be sitting in front of the kaabah, enjoy the greatness of the religion and bask in the greatness of Allah. But remember not to take things too seriously and extremely. This is a time for you to relax, it’s a vacation just like any other vacation you’ve had in Morocco or France or Japan. It’s a vacation from your worldly activities. It’s a vacation from your work and your debts. It’s a time for you to push away all your worldly worries and truly focus on what matters, Allah. Go shopping, eat some good food, enjoy the culture, enjoy your time. Praise Allah for the nice clothes and the yummy (YUMMY) Arab food, Allah will reward you for those things too.
5) REMEMBER WHY YOU’RE GOING
Before you begin your journey, always remember why you’re going. Keep a list of your goals for your trip and stick to it. Understand why you’re going and set your heart onto making your life better for yourself. This isn’t for Allah alone, this is for you. Going on this trip will not benefit Allah, it will only benefit you. So, be sure to know why and how you’re going to benefit from this trip, know what you want to do and why you want to do it. Educate yourself on the religion, do taubah and set your heart on the greater good. If you’ve never really prayed before, maybe use this wonderful chance to actually pray. If you’ve never fasted before, use this trip to fast and enjoy it. If you have a lot of horrible mistakes that you still haven’t repent from, use this to repent from everything and anything you might have done or not done. Remember, this trip is for the greater good, for the betterment for yourself. Don’t let it go to waste.
So, that’s all from me. I hope these tips can help you prepare for your trip to the Holy Land, whether mentally, emotionally or physically. It’s all about the heart. Remember that this is a huge thing for any Muslim in the world so be good to yourself and make sure to have a jolly good time!
Have you gone for Umrah? How was your experience? Are there any tips you want to share? Comment down below, I would love to hear from you!
Talk again soon,