Hajj Step-by-Step: A Practical Guide

To assist with your sacred journey to Makkah, this Hajj guide offers useful advice for lodging, transportation and personal safety, as well as other practical Hajj information.


Patience is one of the best Hajj tips to remember. You will be among a multitude of other pilgrims. Try to remain calm and seek less-crowded areas. You also will have a more tranquil trip if you know what to expect and how to navigate the pilgrimage.

Walk, Bus or Train on Your Muslim Pilgrimage

One of the most convenient ways to complete the Hajj steps is aboard the Al-Mashaaer Al-Mugaddassah Metro. Known as the “Hajj Metro,” the rail service has modern air-conditioned trains that transport pilgrims between the holy sites of Makkah, Mina, Mount Arafat and Muzdalifah. Speed is a big plus. In mere minutes you can complete a journey that takes hours on foot.

Given congestion along the Hajj route, walking can actually be faster and more convenient than bus travel. Buses offer relative comfort, but they can break down or get stuck in traffic for hours on end. Walking requires more exertion but can enhance your spiritual experience – with the sacred ground beneath your feet and fellow pilgrims at your side.

What to Expect in Mina

The first stop after your initial Holy Kaaba rite, Mina serves as a base for much of your journey. The sight of white tents stretching to the horizon can be both impressive and imposing. While not luxurious, communal tents provide sufficient amenities for comfortable stays. Air conditioning staves off the desert heat. Electricity powers fluorescent lights and wall outlets for charging mobile devices.

Tents are grouped into camps according to country. Each camp has a kitchen, washing facilities and bathrooms (bring your own toilet paper). Breakfast is often a boxed meal of bread, fruit and pastries. You can expect a dinner of rice and meat. Beverages and snacks are available at the kitchen throughout the day. In case you forget where your tent is or become lost along the sprawling network of paths, your badge is color-coded for your country and has your camp’s number on it.

Evening Under the Stars in Muzdalifah

After Hajj steps in Arafat, you will spend the night on the hardscrabble plain of Muzdalifah. This is one of the best-known and least-comfortable parts of the journey for many. Rather than a sleeping bag, it’s a good idea to buy a cheap sleeping mat in Makkah. An inflatable pillow will also be useful.

While all pilgrims spend a night under open skies, not all spots in Muzdalifah are equal. Some travelers gather in cramped areas by roads, where fume-spewing buses pass by throughout the night. Others are in spaces where travel organizers have erected wooden privacy walls and set up soft mattresses with sheets, blankets and pillows. A good organizer will even provide the pebbles needed for the upcoming Stoning of the Devil ritual.

Safety During the Stoning of the Devil

Exercise caution while performing the Stoning of the Devil ritual in Mina. In years past, the rush of pilgrims performing the rite has led to stampedes. The government of Saudi Arabia has since instituted stronger safety measures, but it’s still a good idea to be mindful of crowd issues as you approach the site at Jamarat Bridge. Extreme weather is also a concern. Daytime temperatures can climb to 106°F (41°C) under an unrelenting sun. You should bring an umbrella for shade and plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

After the Pilgrimage

After performing the Farewell Tawaf at the Grand Mosque, you are free to explore. Many pilgrims visit Madinah, home to the final resting place of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). A VIP bus service can take you from Makkah to Madinah in five hours. If you’re looking for Hajj souvenirs for loved ones back home, there are a variety of shops along the streets by the famed Prophet’s Mosque.

As you prepare to depart for home, it’s a perfect time to reflect on the pilgrimage, your stronger relationship with Allah and the deeper understanding of Makkah’s heritage you will carry with you on your journey through life.

How to prepare for a Hajj pilgrimage

Wondering how to get to Makkah and what to bring? Enjoy a smooth trip with essential Hajj tips to help with booking, packing and budgeting for your sacred pilgrimage.


From important rituals and spiritual preparation to package pitfalls and financial considerations, here’s what you need to know before setting off on your Makkah travels.

Overall Planning for a Pilgrimage to Makkah

Your once-in-a-lifetime journey requires physical, spiritual and practical preparation. While modern transportation makes Hajj accessible to pilgrims of all fitness levels, it can still be an arduous trip. Start a workout regimen that includes walking and strength-building exercises at least a month before you leave. Add more fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods to your diet. If necessary, consult your physician to get approval for travel. Your paperwork needs to be in order, so pay attention to visa requirements. It’s a good idea to make a will before you leave.

Spiritual preparation is equally important. To attain the needed state of purity, you must repent sins, redress wrongs and reconcile unsettled issues with people in your life. Practice patience, avoid conflict and refrain from sin as you strengthen your relationship with Allah. Learn your prayers by heart and study the Hajj rituals you will soon perform.

Booking a Trip to Makkah

Don’t trust just any Hajj organizer you find online. Book with an agency authorized by Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah. For protection against fraud, pay with a credit card instead of a debit card or bank transfer. Get as many details as you can about the Hajj package, such as Makkah hotel names and the number of people who will share a room. Inquire about included meals, in-country transportation and the distances between locations on the itinerary. As Muzdalifah has limited facilities and can get crowded, it’s a good idea to get specifics about your night under the stars.

But booking Makkah travel isn’t just about logistics and physical comforts. Read online reviews to find agencies that can cater to your spiritual needs as well. Consider group dynamics to make sure your companions have like-minded spirits.

Packing for Your Muslim Pilgrimage

As you could be away from home for weeks, begin with a complete packing list. Three sets of Ihram clothing are advisable, as you’re almost guaranteed to get them dirty while outdoors. Bring two types of footwear — durable waterproof slippers for bathroom visits during the pilgrimage, and comfortable shoes for long walks. A pocket Quran will come in handy, as will a pocket prayer mat when you find yourself on the go at Salah time. Consider downloading the sacred text to your phone, along with a guide to Hajj rituals.

You’ll want a small backpack for incidentals on your trip to Mina. An umbrella will shade you from the desert sun. Remember that toiletries should be scent free. Search online for halal-friendly travel kits that include sunscreen, conditioning shampoo, unscented soap and lip balm.

Considering Hajj Costs

During the journey, pilgrims must be debt free with enough savings to provide for dependents at home. While the pilgrimage is affordable for most locals, those living outside of Saudi Arabia can expect the total cost to range from US$3,000 to US$10,000 per person. You will use cash for many of the day-to-day expenses. See if you can exchange money at home so you’ll have at least 500 Saudi riyals (US$130) when you arrive. To get cash while in the Kingdom, you’ll find an ample number of banks, currency exchanges and ATMs in and around Jeddah, Makkah and Madinah.

As Saudi Arabia can be an expensive country, make a budget and consider what costs you will incur. If your mobile plan doesn’t have international coverage, a local SIM card (about US$100) allows you to stay in touch while away from home. Does your Hajj package include dining at local restaurants? You will also want to budget money for sadaqah (charitable giving) and the Eid al-Adha ritual; the obligatory animal sacrifice costs between US$80 and US$150.

From upscale boutiques to bustling open-air markets, Saudi Arabia has some of the world’s most memorable shopping opportunities. Make a list of people you wish to buy Hajj souvenirs for, and plan how much you intend to spend on each.

But the best Hajj preparation tip is also the simplest: Open your heart to the wonders that await.

Discover the 5 key benefits of Hajj

Are you considering performing Hajj? Here are some major benefits of Hajj for you and your family.

Islam involves daily acts of worship such as prayer, weekly acts such as Friday prayers, and annual acts such as fasting over Ramadan. The Hajj pilgrimage is a once-in-a-lifetime act of worship. It brings great spiritual benefits to the pilgrim and his or her family.



The Hajj helps you learn patience and self-restraint


A pillar of Islam

Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam, required of all Muslim adults who are physically and financially able to make the journey. Those who perform the Hajj, known as Hajjis, may be treated with renewed respect in their communities. They may also gain self-esteem for having paid this respect to Allah.

Learn patience, self-restraint and endurance

However you make the Hajj journey, it will probably involve long and tiring travel. The rituals themselves may be strenuous, particularly during Makkah’s hot summers and amid crowds of other pilgrims. With good planning and high-quality accommodation, you can avoid some hardships. However, one of the benefits of Hajj is to learn patience and to stay strong even when experiencing temptation or tiredness.

A spiritual and historical travel experience

Before, during and after Hajj, you can visit places where historical and religiously significant events took place. For example, you can pay your respects at the cemetery of Jannat Al Mu’alla, where some of the Prophet (PBUH)’s ancestors were buried. Museums in Makkah include the Kiswa Factory, where the Kaaba cover is crafted each year, and the Exhibition of 2 Holy Mosques Architecture about the Grand Mosque in Makkah and Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah.

Strengthen the unity of Muslims

Hajj cleanses the soul, bringing purity, hope and renewal. By strengthening individual faith, it also strengthens the unity of all followers of Islam. Ihram clothing minimizes differences between Muslims of different nationalities and social classes. The Hajj, by bringing together so many Muslims in one place at one time, enhances communication and strengthens shared identity.

Discover Saudi Arabia

As well as visiting Makkah, pilgrims can discover some of Saudi Arabia’s other important cities and destinations. In the port city of Jeddah on the Red Sea, you can explore the old town, Al Balad, and walk along the Corniche next to sandy beaches and the sea. East of Makkah in the Sarawat Mountains, the resort town of Taif is popular for its cooler weather and greenery. After the Hajj or Umrah, pilgrims often travel to Saudi Arabia’s second holiest city, Madinah, to pray in The Prophet’s Mosque.

Booking Hajj or Umrah

As the Hajj is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and can be strenuous, it is important to stay in a comfortable hotel. When booking your Hajj trip, consider staying at one of these 5-star hotels in Makkah, located in Abraj Al Bait within walking distance of the Haram.



The Hajj brings together followers of Islam from around the world

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