A pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca is a journey of a lifetime without any doubt. Though Hajj only comes around once an year and those that are able to go to on this sacred journey are perhaps the luckiest people in the world, the blessings found in the House of Allah (SWT) at Mecca are not limited to only one time of the year. Umrah which can be literally translated to ‘to visit a populated place’, like Hajj is a spiritual journey to the Kaaba but is not obligatory upon Muslims but for those that are able and can perform it, it is highly recommended to them to do so. There are many people that leave for Umrah from the entire world regularly and keeping that in mind, here are some guiding words for these blessed travelers.
Know what you are doing and where are you going. Though the old people present among us today are much knowledgeable about these things, there are many people among the Muslims, especially the young ones who do not have that much understanding of the importance of these Islamic practices and their significance. There probably are people that do not realize that there are some significant differences between Umrah and Hajj even though most of the rituals are the same. It is good to learn about the importance and procedures of performing Umrah from scholars or books before leaving. Also be sure to take the always recommended precautions of making copies of passports of yourself and your family in case of any emergency.
A good companion is a blessing which is why, always make sure that if you are travelling with a group or companions, they are good people. Being among pious people will leave a good mark on your entire trip and these people are more likely to encourage you to make the best and most of your trip such as praying the night prayer at the Kaaba among other things. Quite frankly avoid bad company like the plague when going on a trip especially if you are making a holy pilgrimage.
Visit the barber shop after the Umrah for it is customary to cut ones hair after it. Don’t just take a small piece out though, have it shaved and make sure the barber uses a brand new blade when doing so. For females, it is best to wait until they get back into the hotel room to cut the hair for it is not modest them to do so in the open. Also bring along some cosmetics items that can help you in the land of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW). It is a fact that the atmosphere and the weather of Arabia is very different from most places of the world, so depending on where you are travelling from, make sure to bring some things that can help you protect your body from the changing clime.
Visit the City of the Prophet
Once going to Umrah, it is a blessing to go and visit the city of the Prophet, Medina. There is a lot of history in that land and in that city and many famous sites related to Islamic history are also present there. One can go an visit the site where the battle of Uhud took place and whatever you do, please be sure to visit masjid Quba, the first mosque built by Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and offer two rakat prayer in it.