Missing Makkah: A Personal Plan for Dhul Hijjah

Year after year, we hear the excellent advice of what we should do if we are not going for Hajj. We all know about not clipping our nails and hair, the fasting of the first nine days of Dhul Hijjah, being charitable, making dua, and so on. While these are all excellent actions to take – essentials really – they may become repetitive and uninspiring, because they are so routine by now. If this is how you feel about Dhul Hijjah, try to do something different this year: do I’tikaaf. Continue reading

Missing Makkah: Special advice for former Hujjaj this season

Every former Hajji has their own unique story. Tales of the days they were blessed to spend on this sacred journey, so beloved that even the struggles and discomfort they faced are not enough to discourage them from wanting to return. At this time of year, that yearning grows stronger. So, what can they do about this? Continue reading

The Journey of a Lifetime

I feel for those who leave their kids behind to undertake this trip. It’s heart-breaking…but it’s a necessary pain. It teaches us that, no matter how strong our attachments to the people we have in this life, we have to leave at some point. We have to meet our Creator. The same goes for attachments to material possessions and status. Continue reading

As the days of Hajj draw to a close…

As I sat there, I was moved by watching my fellow hujjaajj. I reflected on how we were all brought together for this trip: Allah had specifically picked each and every one of us to be His guests at these holy sites in this year. I thought about the bonds had grown between us, and how united we’d been. And soon, this would all end. We’d go back to our own lives at home and our Hajj would fade into history as fond memories – flashes of a past experience that we would so dearly love to hold onto, but wouldn’t be able to, since life would move on, and time would erode the highs of our spiritual peak. Continue reading

Makkan Memories…and the future of me

Hajj collage

I think of how my own life has changed in these six years.

When we got back, the desire to “live my Hajj” meant staying highly spiritual: worshipping a lot; being beautiful in character; and just living a good, clean life.

Six years later, my feeling is that that’s not what it means to live our Hajj. At least not for me. Maybe because I’ve failed miserably by my own initial definition. Continue reading

Leaving for Hajj soon? Download these tipsheets

With this year’s Hajj fast approaching, those who are going can find it hectic getting logistical stuff sorted out, making the social arrangements for departure (the greetings etc before leaving), and – most importantly – their own personal mental and spiritual preparation.

What follows is a compilation of tips and lessons extracted from my own Hajj experience – which I hope will be of benefit to those making the journey of a lifetime this year. Continue reading