Read and understand the various etiquettes to be observed and rites to be performed during your blessed stay in the Haramain. This information is available in any standard textbook on Hajj and Umrah. Our advice to you is to follow only one standard text and to use another one for reference.
Commence your “homework” in Ramadhaan as it will give you an ample opportunity for revision and in addition you will get multiple blessings for this Ibaadaat being performed in the holy month of Ramadhaan.
If you do not understand anything, watin-p do not hesitate to ask any of the learned Ulemaa. At the same time, jot down your query for future reference.
Hajj & Umrah Tutorials
Attend all Hajj classes in your locality. During these lessons do not be shy to ask any questions, no matter how trivial or petty they may appear to be. Do not be surprised if even the Ulemaa are unable to answer immediately, as they may defer answering you till the following Majlis. Also, this website all those present at that Majlis will benefit, one way or another, from your queries.
Do not hold a private audience with the Aalim after the Majlis because your colleagues will not stand to benefit from your private query.
Important Dates to Take Note of
Over the years the following dates have been pursued by the Saudi authorities in issuing visas, nadiya last date of entry into Saudi Arabia and last date of travel within the kingdom. Note that these dates are according to the Islamic date prevailing in Saudi Arabia and not necessarily the same as the one in your country, hence make the necessary adjustments when planning travel(!)
1. Last day for visa application is 25th of Zil Qadh.
2. Last day for pilgrims to arrive in Saudi Arabia by land is end of Zil Qadh (assume 29th!).
3. Last day for pilgrims to arrive in Saudi Arabia by air or sea at Jeddah ports using specific highways is 4th of Zil Hajj.
4. Last day for pilgrims to arrive in Saudi Arabia by sea at other ports is end of Zil Qadh.
5. Last day for pilgrims to arrive in sho Madinah by air is end of Zil Qadh.
6. Last day of travel by pilgrims from Jeddah to Madinah by car is 26th of Zil Qadh.
7. Last day of travel by pilgrims from Jeddah to Madinah by air is end of Zil Qadh.
8. Last day of travel by pilgrims from Madinah to Makkah by car is 5th of Zil Hajj.
9. Last day of travel by pilgrims from Madinah to Jeddah by air is 6th of Zil Hajj.
10. The validity of visas for those pilgrims who come by air expires between end of Zil Hajj and 10th of Muharram.
New Visa Rules
These have been revised as from 1422 AH (2001) and are set out below as a general reference, as there are slight variations from country to country. Visas will no longer be issued until accommodation and transportation have been paid for in advance as described below.
1. You should make your bookings through an appointed travel agent in your locality who is officially representing a Saudi-based travel agent or affiliated with Saudi Ministry of Hajj travel agency.
2. Your local agent will advise and book for you your flight, transport within Saudi Arabia and accommodation arrangements for Makkah and Madinah, the payment of which shall be done to him prior to your departure.
3. Your local travel agent will then inform the Saudi embassy of your details, proof of payment and itinerary.
4. He will in turn be issued with your visa, (usually within two weeks), forbixindia once the embassy is satisfied with all the documentation provided by you.
5. Your local agent will then furnish you with names, telephone numbers and addresses of your contact persons in Makkah and Madinah.
6. Amongst the documentation required for visa approval are the following:
• Proof of Mahram accompanying unmarried adult female.
• Valid international immunisation certificate. (This schedule varies from country to country).
• Proof of money being taken.
• Proof of your status as a Muslim, especially if you have a “non-Muslim” sounding name. (Usually a letter from your local Muslim society is sufficient).
• Birth certificates of children if accompanying you.
• Marriage certificate for married females.
7. Umrah visas may not be issued more than once in any given Islamic year.
8. When visas are issued to families, all dependants must enter and leave the kingdom together.
Before 2001, you could look around, (both in Makkah and Madinah), for accommodation on arrival there. This is not the case now as outlined above.
Hotels/apartments/boarding houses of varying categories are found in the vicinity of both the Haramain – the nearer to the Haram, the more expensive the establishment. The rates also vary according to supply and demand at certain times of the year, depending on whether the season is low, mid, high or peak.
Inquiries About Prepaid Accommodation
When making bookings, inquire from your travel agent of the various facilities at your choice of hotel/apartment, its rating, proximity to the Haram in terms of walking time, whether the building is situated on an incline or in a hilly area, (especially for Makkah), whether there are any stairs to climb to get to the ground floor of the establishment, (again especially for Makkah), whether the individual rooms have an attached bathroom/shower/toilet, a fan, an air-conditioner, a telephone or a bar fridge, whether the front-desk staff speak English/Urdu, whether a cooking facility with utensils is available in the room or on the same floor, whether laundry facility available in or near the establishment, whether house-keeping facilities are regular, what type of food is served, how many elevators are there, on which floor will you be housed, how many rooms per floor are there, how many people will share a room, whether men and women will be separate, who will represent the agent during Hajj, whether you will be moved to Azizya prior to Hajj, will the rooms be available during the Days of Hajj, will the rooms be available after Hajj, etc.