Spiritual and Practical Preparations

Hajj TV broadcast in the UK

Hajj TV broadcast in the UK, 2013.

Hajj Information in the Digital Age

In the digital age pilgrims can in theory begin their journey better prepared and better orientated to the Hajj than any previous generation.  As well as traditional guide books in modern and online formats, there are live satellite television broadcasts every year from Makkah.

However, some pilgrims can still feel anxious about travelling to a foreign country and performing a complex set of rituals.  They ask “How will I do this? Are we allowed to do that?”. Good advice from ‘ulama’ (religious scholars) suggests there is a need to balance correct performance and maintaining spirituality.

Mualim means the teacher. … Their job was to teach you how to perform Hajj, so you didn’t need to bring some person or take some person with you to teach you, although there will be some books available that will teach you how to perform Hajj, not only that they will lead you in some of the rituals.

Hajj Guide, North of England

Books, Family and Seminars

Contemporary Hajj guidebook, al-Hidaayah travel and bookshop, Birmingham, 2014.

Contemporary Hajj guidebook, al-Hidaayah travel and bookshop,
Birmingham, 2014.

In an online survey of more than 200 British Muslims, Islamic books were cited as the most important source of information overall (45%).

This was followed by friends and family who had already performed the pilgrimage (25%).

55% of tour operators provided practical orientation in the form of a seminar before departure.

I knew the basics. … But I didn’t know what specifically you pray, etc, so those things… you know, I bought lots of books and I read lots and I packed tonnes.

Hajja 2005, Midlands

Forgiveness, Debts and Making Wills

Facilities for Hajj pilgrims at Manchester Airport, 2013.

Facilities for Hajj pilgrims at Manchester Airport, 2013.

Over 90% of the survey sample sought forgiveness from others before departing for Hajj which is in essence a journey of spiritual purification.

60% settled debts (especially small ones).

But only one-third made a will in case they did not return.

N.B. Less than 10% of the sample found it difficult to get time off from work to make what is usually a 2-4 week trip.

In the diary he [my dad] wrote that, “Before I went to Hajj I went to people I had wronged, and I went to their houses, and I sought their forgiveness for what I had done.” And that really stuck in my mind.

Hajji 2002, South of England