Hajj FAQ's

Al.Khair is a complete luxury from travel to Saudi Arabia and back home which count us in best Hajj travel agencies in Pakistan

FAQ's

All Hajj related information

The rituals of Hajj are important as they make pilgrims enter a state of spiritual purity referred to as “ihram” which aims to get rid of symbols of materialism. The pilgrim gives up worldly pleasures so as to focus on their inner self instead of their outward appearance. The rituals test pilgrims’ patience as well as tolerance.

English


Urdu

On the 9th Dhul Hijjah before noon the pilgrims come to Arafat which is a barren and plain land. Here they stand in contemplative vigil. They will offer supplications, will repent for sins they have committed, and seek the mercy of Allah. They will listen to the sermon carried out by Islamic scholars. Lasting from noon through sunset, or known as wuquf, it is said to be one of the most important rites of Hajj. The pilgrims will offer noon and also afternoon prayers at Masjid al-Namirah together at noontime. The pilgrim needs to spend the afternoon on Arafat or else the Hajj is regarded as being invalid.

Hajj is the greater Muslim pilgrimage that occurs to Mecca. It happens in the last month of the year. All Muslims need to at least perform Hajj once in their lifetime, if they are able to afford to do so. It is also one of the Five Pillars that Islam has.

There are three forms of Hajj, i.e. Tamattu, Ifraad and Qiran. The following tells you about the Tamattu form of Hajj. This is what the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) encourages people to perform. It consists of:

  • Preparation and Intention – You need to make niyyah or intention before going to perform Hajj.
  • Going into the state of Ihram- Next you will go into the state of Ihram or ritual purity.
  • When you arrive in Makkah, you need to first perform Umrah. You will need to do Tawaf and Sa’i. Tawaf is when the pilgrim walks in circles around the Kaa’bah. This is in an anti-clockwise motion. A single Tawaf consists of seven complete circles. You can even offer voluntary prayers so as to thank Allah (SWT) for reaching safely and to begin this special journey.
  • Safa and Marwa- When you have performed Tawaf, you will need to perform Sa’i. This includes walking and running particularly between the two hills that are of Safa and Marwa.
  • Clip or shave the hair- When Sa’i is completed, the men need to get their hair clipped or shaved. A women will clip her hair which will be to the length of her fingertip. When this is done, the completion of Umrah occurs. You can then leave Ihram till the 8th of Dhul Hijjah.
  • Resting plus praying- When Umrah has been performed, for the rest of the month, you will remain in Makkah to finish the Hajj. You should perform sincere acts of worship at this time. The Hajj will start on the 8th Dhul Hijjah.
  • Re-entering the state of Ihram- The 8th day of Dhul Hijjah will be the start of the days of Hajj. It will be the next stage of the spiritual journey. You need to purify yourself then go into the state of Ihram again.
  • Arrive at Mina- Here you will go to your allocated tent. You need to pray Salah or obligatory prayers. This will encompass Dhuhr, Asr, Maghrib, ‘Isha and Fajar. You need to shorten the four-unit prayers to two units each. This is without combining them. You will stay the night and pray, reading the Qur’an. You will prepare for day two.
  • Day of ‘Arafat- After sunrise you will go to the plains of ‘Arafat. You will recite Istaghfar and make supplications.
  • Arrival in Muzdalifah- After sunset you will leave ‘Arafat and go to Muzdalifah. When you reach Muzdalifah you need to perform Maghrib and ‘Isha Salah. You can collect pebbles from here to perform Rami.
  • Rami and Hady- The 10th of Dhul Hijjah is the Day of Sacrifice. You will perform the Hady and start the first of three days of “stoning the devil” rite.
  • Qurbani and Eid al-Adha- This will be on the 10th of Dhul Hijjah. You will offer Qurbani or sacrifice.
  • Shaving the head- After the Hady you will shave or trim the hair if you are a man. A women will trim her hair that will be by the length of a fingertip. You can leave Ihram now.
  • Tawaf al-Ifadha and Saai’- Now you will go to Makkah where you will perform Tawaf al-Ifadha. Then another circuit of Saai’.
  • Second day or Rami- On the 11th of Dhul Hijjah you will carry out second day of Rami.
  • Spend night in Mina- When the second Rami is done, you will go to your camp in Mina then spend the time in worship.
  • Third day or Rami- On the afternoon of the 12th of Dhul Hijjah will be the final stoning day.

Tawaf al-Wida- This Tawaf will be performed before leaving the boundaries of the Haram.

Mina is a valley that is surrounded by mountains. Pilgrims spend the nights of 8th, 11th and 12th of Dhul Hijjah here. They occasionally can spend the night of the 13th here also. Mina Hajj is even an important symbol for the stoning ritual because it is where the three stone pillars of Jamarat are present.

It is important to stay in Mina because pilgrims spend a full day as well as night within the tents located at Mina. This is knowns as Layali al Tashriq. Pilgrims will read the Holy Quran and offer prayers. They will worship Allah SWT and perform Zikr. They also listen to Islamic lectures.

Muzdalifah consists of an open and level area close to Mecca in the Hejazi region of Saudi Arabia. It is southeast of Mina and on the route present between Mina and Arafat.

The 9th of Dhul Hijjah is spent at Muzdalifah. This will be under the open sky. Here pilgrims will gather pebbles to throw at the pillars of Jamarat.

When at Muzdalifah the pilgrim can pray to Allah SWT. They will ask for blessings and forgiveness. Here they can rest so that they are prepared for the next three days of Hajj.

Before sunrise the pilgrims will leave Muzdalifah for Mina.

The Day of Arafat occurs on the ninth day of Dhul Hijjah. Muslims go to Arafat to pray and supplicate to Allah SWT. The following ayah was also revealed on this day therefore it is even regarded as being important “This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favour upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion.” (Surah al Maa’idah 5:3)

Seven small stones are thrown at Jamarat.

Hajj includes a series of rituals which occur in and around Mecca and are over a period of five to six days.

The Hajj ministry has officially let women to perform the pilgrimage without a male relative or Mehram. This is if they go in a group.

No obligation is present on the Duas that you need to recite during Tawaf. You can read the verses that are from the Holy Quran. You may take the name of Allah. One can recite personal Duas in any language. There are some recommended Duas that you can read while circling around the Holy Kaaba.

Dua for the first turn:

“Allahumma as’aluka bi ismikal ladhi yumshi bihi ‘ala talilil mai kala yumshi bihi ‘ala judadil ardhi; as’aluka bi ismikal ladhi yahtazzu lahu ‘arshuka; wa asaluka bi ismikal ladhi tahtazzu lahu ‘arshuka; wa as’aluka bi ismikal ladhi tahtazzu lahu aqdamu mala’ikatika; wa asaluka bi ismikal ladhi da‘aka bihi Musa min janibit tūril ayman, fastajabta lahu walqayta ‘alayhi muhabbatan minka; wa as’aluka bi ismikal ladhi ghafarta bihi li Muhammadin la taqaddama min dhanbihi wa ma ta’akkhara wa atmamta ‘alayhi ni‘matuka – an tarzuqani khayrad dinya wal akhirah.”

 Dua for the second turn:

“Allahumma inni ilayka faqirun wa inni kha’ifun mustajirun, fa la tughayyir jismi wa la tubaddil ismi; Sa’iluka faqiruka miskinuka bi babika; fa tasaddaq ‘alayha bil jannah; Allahumma, al-baytu baytuk, wal haramu haramuk, wal ‘abdu ‘abduk, wa hadha maqamul ‘a’idhu bikal mustajiru bika minan nar, fa a‘tiqni wa walidayya wa ahlii wa wuldi, ikhwaniyal mu’minin minan nar, ya jawadu ya karim.”

Dua for the third turn:

“Allahumma adkhilniyil jannah wa ajirni minan nar bi rahmatika, wa ‘afiniy minas suqmi wa awsi‘ ‘alayya minar rizqil halal, wadra’ ‘anni sharra fasaqatil jinni wal insi, wa sharra fasaqatil ‘arab wal ‘ajam; Ya dhal manni wat tawli; ya dhal jūdi wal karam; inna ‘amali dha‘ifun fa dha‘ifhu li; wa taqabbilhu minni; innaka antas sami‘ul ‘alim.”

Dua for the fourth turn:

“Ya Allahu, ya waliyyal ‘afiyah wa khaliqal ‘afiyah wa raziqal ‘afiyah wal mun‘imu bil ‘afiyah wal mutafaddilu bil ‘afiyah ‘alayya wa ‘ala jami‘i khalqika, ya Rahmanad dinya wal akhirah wa Rahimahuma, salli ‘ala Muhammadin wa Al-I Muhammad war-zuqnal ‘afiyah wa tamamal ‘afiyah wa shural ‘afiyah fid dinya wal akhirah. Ya arhamar rahimin.”

Dua for the fifth turn:

“Allahumma atina fid dunya hasanatan wa fil akhirati hasanatan wa qina ‘adhaban nar.”

Dua for the sixth turn:

“Allahummal baytu baytuka, wal ‘abdu ‘abduka, wa hadha maqamul ‘a’idhi bika minan nar. Allahumma min qablikar rūhu wal faraju wal ‘afiyah. Allahumma inna ‘amali dha‘ifun, fa dha‘ifhu li; waghfir li mat-tala‘ta ‘alayhi minni wa khafiya ‘ala khalqika; astajiru billahi minan nar.”

Dua for the seventh turn:

“Allahumma ‘indi afwajan min dhunūb wa afwajan min khataya; wa ‘indaka afwajun min rahmatin wa afwajun min maghfirati; ya manis-tajaba li-abghadhi khalqihi idh qala andhirni ila yawmi yub‘athūna, istajib li. Allahumma qanni‘ni bima razaq-tani, wa barik li fima ataytani.”

Sa’i tends to be the ritualistic walking that occurs between the two mountains that are of Safa and Marwa.

It is Sunnah for pilgrims to recite

“Inna s-safa wa l-marwata min sha’a’iri llah(i)”. It means that indeed, Safa and Marwa are from the signs of Allah. After this, pilgrims would have to recite the following Dua – “Abda’u bima bad’allahu bihi”. This Dua says, I begin with that which Allah has begun with.

The supplications are needed to be recited once prior to Saee. They should not be at the start of each lap. It is thought that Dua is accepted much during Saee.

HAJJ with KHAIR

One of the five pillars of Islam is performing pilgrimage i.e Hajj. All able-bodied Muslimas are required to perform Hajj once in their lifetime as it is seen as a way to wipe clean all their past sins and deepen their faith. 

The Holy Prophet Muhammad was born in Mecca and it is considered one of the two holiest cities for Muslims. It is where the Kaaba is located. One must visit Mecca to perform a pilgrimage as it is a city of immense spiritual significance. 

Medina is one of the two holiest cities for Muslims. It is where Muslims from all around the world travel to perform the pilgrimage. The Masjid e Nadwi is an important site for Muslims to visit as it is the first mosque that the Prophet Muhammad constructed and is also where he is buried. 

The Kaaba was built by Prophet Ibrahim and Islmail as a place of monotheistic worship. Muslims from all around the world visit the Kaaba to perform pilgrimage, which is one of the 5 pillars of Islam. The Kaaba was once filled with statues and became a center of polytheistic worship by local tribes but that changed after the conquest of Mecca. When Muslims pray they face the direction of the Kaaba. 

 

When performing pilgrimage, the visit to Mina, a valley located 5 km from Mecca is visited.  At Mina, Muslims are required to throw 49 stones over three days at the three pillars of Jamarat. This is a representation of Prophet Ibrahim stoning the devil and rejecting his temptation. 

Mount Arafat is located about 20 km from the city of Mecca and you must visit this site when performing the Pilgrimage. Muslims are instructed to visit Mount Arafat at dawn while trekking and remain there until nightfall. This has spiritual significance as is known to bring you salvation and spiritual renewal. 

The night at Muzdalifah is a part of the pilgrimage that Muslims perform. After gathering at Mount Arafat, pilgrims are required to spend a night at Muzdalifah. By staying under the open night sky, Muslims are asked to seek repentance and contemplate equality.

Al.Khair Hajj Group has been actively engaged in the Hajj and Umrah business since 1992, accumulating over three decades of experience in the realms of travel and religious tourism. The company was formally established as a private limited company in 2004.

In simple terms, choosing whether to travel to Medina before or after the Hajj depends on a few important factors. An important consideration is the airport experience when arriving without being in the state of Ihram. This experience is quite similar to regular international travel, although the visa procedures, paperwork, and transfer processes are distinct from any typical international arrivals.

Before Hajj: If you’re not wearing the special Hajj clothes called Ihram, many people find it easier to arrive at Medina Airport. The paperwork is less, and you don’t have to travel in the state of Ihram. After landing, it’s quicker to get through immigration and collect your luggage. Plus, it’s often easier to arrange private pickups from Medina Airport, even though it may cost a bit more.

After Hajj: On the other hand, if you arrive at Jeddah Hajj Terminal, you might face more challenges. There’s more paperwork, and you’ll need to travel for about 2 hours to reach Mecca. After arriving, you might have to wait at the terminal for 2 to 3 hours after immigration and getting your luggage. Private transportation options can be tricky to manage in Jeddah, and they can be quite expensive.

So, the decision often depends on the Hajj package that fits your schedule and flight connections for the specific date you choose. Sometimes, people are okay with longer connecting flights, as arriving in Medina without Ihram allows for a few days of relaxation before the physically demanding part of the journey in Mecca, which includes performing Umrah.

In the end, the decision should revolve around your individual preferences and circumstances to ensure a hassle-free and comfortable Hajj journey. A package that aligns with your needs and those of your family is often suggested by an SPO at Al.Khair.

Makkah is divided into two Azizia areas: North and South. Al.Khair’s Azizia Accommodations are located in South/Junoob Azizia, which is closer to Mina and often referred to as the downtown area of Makkah. This part of the city boasts numerous well-known brand stores and renowned eateries.

The Azizia Area in Makkah is approximately 6-8 kilometers from the Haram, the Grand Mosque in Makkah. The journey from Azizia to the Haram typically takes around 15-20 minutes.

 

Accommodations provided by Al.Khair:

  • Option 1: A furnished apartment tower located next to the Municipality Office in Azizia, about 9 kilometers from the Haram.
  • Option 2: The Rafahya Hotel in the Starbucks Towers, located on the main road in Aziziaya, around 7 kilometers from the Haram.

Al.Khair’s Azizia accommodations are strategically located, significantly enhancing the overall experience of staying in Azizia. The availability of multiple exit routes ensures timely arrival at the Haram by avoiding traffic. Positioned at the main Jamia University Junction, there’s easy access to taxis, Careem, Uber, and Makkah Bus services, available around the clock. Additionally, the dedicated Haram Prayer Shuttle service runs until the 4th of Zilhajj and resumes after the 14th of Zilhajj, providing a convenient and stress-free pilgrimage experience.

Notable Landmarks and Conveniences:

  • The Al.Khair’s Rafahya Hotel features the only 24/7 Starbucks in Makkah within the premises.
  • Kudos is located right next to the Al.Khair’s’s Rafahya Hotel.
  • KFC is situated opposite the Al.Khair’s Rafahya hotel.
  • The Al.Khair’s Rafahya Hotel is positioned at the Main Jamia University Signal.
  • Al Baik Azizia is just 1.5 kilometers away.
  • The Mobily Azizia Main Outlet is conveniently located only 100 meters from the accommodations.
  • The significant Jamarat Second Floor Bus Terminal is situated at a distance of 500 meters.
  • The Khalid Bridge, connecting Azizia and Mina through a tunnel, is conveniently situated near Al.Khair’s Rafahya Hotel Starbucks Tower. Hajj pilgrims can easily walk to and from Al.Khair’s Azizia Accommodations to the Mina camps with just a 25-30 minute walk.
  • The Souq Salaam Mall of Azizia is conveniently located just 300 meters away.

Embark on Your Ideal Hajj Journey with Al.Khair Hajj Group 🌟

Hajj packages are typically categorized into two main subcategories: shifting (fix Azizia) packages and non-shifting (fix Makkah hotel) packages. Within these categories, pilgrims are presented with a diverse array of options to suit their varying budgets, preferences, and specific requirements. These choices encompass factors such as the type of accommodation, budget constraints, room preferences, hotel star ratings, service quality, and proximity to the Haram. Pilgrims carefully select from these options based on their individual preferences, financial considerations, and any recommendations they may have received. Additionally, further categorization occurs based on Maktab categories, which are tailored to specific Mashair Hajj days.

It’s great to hear about the offerings of Al.Khair Hajj Group for the Hajj journey. Both shifting and non-shifting packages cater to different preferences and budgets of the pilgrims. Here’s a brief overview of the two categories:

  1. Shifting Packages (Fix Azizia Packages):
    • These packages offer accommodations in various areas of the Makkah region, including Azizia, Shoqia, Kakia, etc, and more.
    • In Shiftin Packages, the accommodations are situated over 2 kilometers from the Holy Mosque, providing a range of choices. Azizia is recognized as the central or downtown area, approximately 6-9 kilometers away from the Makkah Haram.
    • Recent developments have led to the availability of excellent furnished apartment buildings and hotels in these areas, making shifting packages more versatile.
    • Pilgrims opting for shifting packages need to use transportation like taxis and shuttle services to reach the Haram for prayers, managing their timing accordingly.
    • During the peak days from the 5th to the 14th of Zilhajj, all pre-paid shuttle services are closed, and only taxis and cabs are available, which may result in additional / higher transportation costs for the pilgrims.
  2. Non-Shifting Packages (Fix Makkah Packages):
    • These packages are designed for those seeking a seamless and uninterrupted Hajj experience.
    • In Non-Shifting Packages, they provide accommodations in Makkah’s hotels and options conveniently located near the Holy Mosque. These properties are often positioned within close proximity to the Haram and other prominent landmarks such as Makkah Tower, Clock Tower Complex (Abraj Al Bait Hotels), Jabal-e-Umar Hotels, all within walking distance or at a maximum of 2 kilometers, ensuring a non-shifting experience for guests.
    • These accommodations ensure pilgrims enjoy unparalleled services and comfort, with effortless access to the Haram throughout their pilgrimage.

 

During Hajj 2023 (1444H), no other private Hajj group offered a combination of dedicated apartment accommodations and a luxurious hotel in Azizia. The Azizia hotel provided by Al.Khair was exclusively reserved for Al.Khair’s hujjaj, and this became a highlight of the pilgrimage experience. Feedback from the pilgrims who stayed there emphasized the privacy, home-like atmosphere, and a sense of being part of a close-knit family – a unique aspect that set Al.Khair apart from other groups. The management and operations were also highly commendable, contributing to a smooth and well-organized journey.

Pilgrims from various countries, including the USA, Canada, England, Dubai, UAE, Qatar, and others, expressed their appreciation for the exclusivity of the hotel and Al.Khair’s presence, making their experience stand out.

“Get ready for Hajj 2024 (1445H)! ✨ Al.Khair Hajj Group is fully committed to maintaining this exceptional offering, Insha Allah, by providing a dedicated hotel in Azizia, The Rafahya Hotel Starbuck Tower and a dedicated executive apartment building tower in Azizia Makkah. Your Hajj experience is our priority! 🕋✨”

But that’s not all! 🌍 We also provide Non-Shifting Makkah packages, featuring top-tier luxury hotels just steps away from the Haram. Enjoy delicious continental half-board meals, with breakfast and dinner included throughout your hotel stay. 🍽️🌙

Al.Khair is dedicated to making your Hajj experience truly exceptional, year after year.

Staying in Azizia during Hajj is not merely a budget-friendly choice; it embodies a thoughtful and comprehensive concept that enhances your pilgrimage journey in multiple ways. Azizia offers a range of benefits, as explained below:

  • Cost-Effective Yet Enhanced Experience: While Azizia’s apartments provide a budget-friendly option, Al.Khair’s accommodations, particularly the executive apartment building, deliver a significantly upgraded experience compared to standard buildings.
  • Affordable & Unique Accomodation Options: Al.Khair distinguishes itself as the sole Hajj group company to offer fully furnished apartment buildings in Azizia, alongside their dedicated Azizia hotel. This thoughtful provision ensures a seamless and enriching Hajj experience.
  • Quality, Experience, and Convenience: Opting for Al.Khair’s hotel in Azizia doesn’t mean sacrificing quality, experience, or the crucial element of convenience during your stay.
  • Family-Centric Amenities: Al.Khair caters to families by providing family rooms in both the apartment buildings and the hotel. This ensures that you and your loved ones enjoy a comfortable and unparalleled experience at a reasonable price.
  • Peer-Recommended Choice: During Hajj 2023, many fellow hujjaj have shared their positive experiences and recommendations for staying in Al.Khair’s Azizia hotel from the 5th to the 14th of Zil Hajj. This recommendation holds true irrespective of cost considerations when compared to hotels near the Haram.
  • Part of a Well-Organized Team: The decision to stay in Azizia aligns with Al.Khair’s overarching vision of providing dedicated service during Hajj. By choosing Azizia accommodations, you become part of a well-organized team focused on enhancing your pilgrimage experience.
  • Community and Support: Aziza fosters a sense of community among fellow pilgrims, creating a supportive and family-like atmosphere. You can share your Hajj experiences, receive guidance, and help one another along the way.
  • Spiritual Guidance: Al.Khair provides religious education, interactive sessions, and consultations with scholars in Aziza. This enriches your spiritual journey and helps you better understand the significance of the rituals you’ll perform.
  • Proximity to Key Hajj Locations: Aziza accommodations are strategically located, offering proximity to essential Hajj sites like Jamarat. This simplifies the logistics of the stoning rituals and other rites.
  • Last-Minute Shopping: For last-minute shopping during Hajj Mashair days, essentials such as disposable chattai for Muzdalifa, unscented soap, quick energy bars, vitamins for added energy, and backpack items as recommended by Al.Khair are readily available.
  • All Inclusive Concept, Full-Board Meals and Evening Snacks: Al.Khair’s inclusive dining experience boasts a wide array of culinary delights, presenting a diverse menu of meal options. From traditional Pakistani dishes to continental cuisine, you’ll find an extensive selection to choose from. Relish the freshness of live pizzas, live pastas, and live BBQ, all readily available in one convenient location. Additionally, treat yourself to a variety of traditional desserts and explore the green corner for a nourishing dining adventure.
  • Mina Access: You can conveniently access Mina via the Khalid Bridge within just 30 minutes, starting from Al.Khair’s dedicated Azizia hotel and the exclusive executive apartment azizia building, even when transportation is restricted, specifically on 10th, 11th and 12th zil hajj.
  • Cultural Connection: Staying in Aziza offers a unique cultural experience, allowing you to interact with pilgrims from various backgrounds, creating a truly enriching journey.
  • Family-Like Ambiance: Al.Khair offers dedicated properties in Aziza, which further enhances the family-like ambiance. This environment encourages bonding with fellow hujjaj and a sense of unity.
  • Post-Hajj Shopping Convenience: After your Hajj journey, you’ll discover that nearby shops provide an excellent opportunity for post-Hajj shopping. This allows you to choose meaningful gifts and Hajj souvenirs from a diverse selection, including dates, Janamaz (prayer rugs), Zamzam water, gold pieces, Tasbeeh (prayer beads), and an array of other items.

What’s more, this post-Hajj shopping experience offers a price advantage, a wide variety of options, and a hassle-free environment with less rush compared to the limited options and high prices near the Haram.

  • Minimized Transportation Hassles During Mashair Days: Staying in Aziza minimizes the need for lengthy commutes, reducing transportation-related stress and allowing you to focus more on your spiritual journey.
  • Minimized Transportation During Mashair Days: Our main aim is to make travel easier during the important Mashair days. If you choose Azizia as your central location, you won’t need to take long and tiring trips. This smart plan reduces the worries about transportation, which is especially important during Hajj when roads can be blocked, and it’s crucial to have places within walking distance.
  • Access to Azizia Accomodation, Flexibility and Comfort: Our main focus is to make your Hajj experience as comfortable as possible. When you make Azizia your home base, you can easily go back to your Al.Khair Azizia hotel to keep your belongings safe, freshen up, and then return to Mina. We aim to provide flexibility and convenience for our valued pilgrims. Azizia is strategically located near important landmarks like the Jamarat bus station, Khalid Bridge, and the Mina tunnel. You can also wait in your room during the Qurbani process, adding to your convenience.
  • Congregational Prayers: Prayer area arrangements ensure congregational prayers (jamaat) for both men and women.
  • 24/7 Support: Al.Khair provides round-the-clock assistance to address any issues or questions you may have during your stay in Aziza.

In summary, staying in Azizia during Hajj is a holistic choice that balances affordability with quality, convenience, and overall enriching benefits. This choice aligns with Al.Khair’s vision of dedicated service during Hajj and ensures a seamless experience, even amidst the challenges of restrictions and blockades. It’s a testament to being part of a well-organized team that prioritizes your needs while offering top-notch accommodations and services.

Muhammad Faisal, a pilgrim from the USA, shared his insights on staying in Azizia during Hajj, highlighting the benefits, and included a feedback comment:

“I am glad that, despite my initial intention of performing the shortest Hajj, I decided to stay in Madinah for 2 days. I chose to stay in a Makkah hotel from 4th to 6th Zil Hajj, and from the 6th Zil Hajj, I opted for the Al.Khair’s Hotel in Azizia, the Rafahya Hotel in the Starbucks Tower. This decision was recommended to me by Muhammed Affan Zeeshan, CEO of Al.Khair Hajj Group.

Though my first preference and the recommendations of friends and family who had previously performed Hajj with Dar El Salaam USA suggested staying only in Makkah hotels, I did not have any budget constraints. However, I am immensely thankful for the CEO’s recommendation and the numerous benefits of staying in the Azizia hotel. I am now convinced that the location and accommodation were up to the mark, and the services were exceptional. The availability was like a convoy with full control, and the all-inclusive concept made the experience even better.

The religious guidance I received was invaluable, and I learned a lot about the smaller, significant aspects of Hajj. I also had the pleasure of meeting many friends and had an unmatchable experience. I wholeheartedly recommend Al.Khair’s Rafahya Hotel in Azizia, Makkah, located in the Starbucks Coffee Tower.

There is a common misconception among many other group organizers that Azizia means a cheaper, less desirable option, and you would be farther from the Haram. However, not any more, one must understand the need of the hour. Our primary purpose and agenda during Mashair days do not solely revolve around Haram prayers. Instead, it’s about the movements within the Mashair, Hajj rituals, and, most importantly, preparing for the Mashair Hajj rituals.”

Al.Khair’s Azizia Hotel, the Rafahya Hotel Starbucks Tower is conveniently located within a walking distance of approximately 500 meters from the Jamarat Azizia Bus Station / Jamarat Escalators for Second Floor of Jamarat.

Al.Khair’s Azizia Executive Furnished Apartment Building is conveniently situated just 900 meters from the Jamarat Azizia Bus Station / Jamarat Escalators for Second Floor of Jamarat.

Al.Khair Hajj Group chose the locations of our Azizia accommodations very carefully. One of the things Al.Khair Hajj Group considered was making it easy for you to reach the Jamarat bus station and escalators. You only have to walk to this station or point twice during your nine-day stay in Azizia, which includes the five days of Hajj.

Al.Khair Hajj Group’s accommodations are in a good spot that’s convenient for daily activities, traffic flow to the Haram, and getting taxis or other transportation. On the 10th and 11th days of Zil Hajj, when you need to go to the Jamarat escalators or the Jamarat bus station, it’s a short walk. For older folks and kids, Al.Khair Hajj Group has handy carts and air-conditioned vans (subject to approvals) to help you cover this short distance of a few hundred meters.

New pilgrims often have a question: “How do we get from Al.Khair’s Azizia place to the Haram for our daily prayers?” Well, Al.Khair Hajj Group has made it simple. They’ve set up a special bus service just for this, and you can find the schedule on boards and screens. Here’s how it works: All the buses take you to a certain point. From there, you switch to buses that go right to the Haram through a tunnel. This is how you get there and back. The bus service goes until the 4th of Zil Hajj and then starts up again after the 14th of Zil Hajj. This follows the local rules, so you can easily reach the Haram for your daily prayers.

Now, if you don’t want to take the bus, you have other choices. You can get to the Haram by taxi, Careem, Uber, or even Makkah’s public transport. There’s an app you can use to manage this. When you hop in a taxi, just tell the driver to drop you under the Ajyad tunnel, which is a well-known spot above the tunnel gate called Abdul Aziz of Haram. Taxi prices can vary, and you can usually negotiate. On average, it might cost around SAR50 to SAR100 each way. But during the busiest Hajj days (the 10th, 11th, and 12th of Zil Hajj), some taxi drivers might charge SAR50 to SAR100 per person for those days.

Usually, between the 10th and 12th of Zil Hajj, most pilgrims (hujjaj) make a single visit to the Haram for Tawaf-e-Ziarat. If you’ve opted for Al.Khair’s one-way bus service to the Haram’s Bus Terminal on the 10th or 11th Zil Hajj (subject to availability, and this service is not included in the package cost), you will only need to cover the expense of a one-way taxi ride back to your Azizia accommodation. To be on the safe side, it’s a good idea to budget around USD$100 per person for potential taxi expenses from the 5th to the 13th of Zil Hajj. Also, it’s always prudent to have some extra cash on hand.

None of the Hajj packages offered by Al.Khair includes Qurbani. It’s important to understand that there are three types of Qurbani.

  1. Hajj Qurbani. Dum Qurbani.            3. Eid Qurbani.

None of these types of Qurbani is included in the packages. However, Al.Khair offers assistance and provides Hajj Qurbani services at an additional cost upon the request of the Hujjaj. Qurbani is a crucial part of Hajj rituals and is compulsory for Hajj-e-Qiran and Hajj-e-Tamattu, but not for Hajj Ifrat.

After Muzdalifah, the sequence of rituals comprises the Rami on the first day, followed by Qurbani, a haircut, removal of Ihram, and concluding with the Tawaf-e-Vida. On the 10th of Zil Hajj, the Qurbani is conducted. Hujjaj who have chosen Al.Khair’s Qurbani service are recommended to complete the Rami on the first day by 11 am or earlier. This is because the standard duration for the Qurbani process is approximately 6 hours, subject to Qurbani terms and conditions. Nevertheless, Hujjaj have the flexibility to make independent arrangements for Hajj Qurbani from a reputable source. If the Rami on the first day is completed after 4 pm, the Qurbani is rescheduled for the 11th of Zil Hajj.

Al.Khair also provides assistance for Dum Qurbani, which is a precautionary measure against any misconduct during the state of Ihram. Requests for Dum Qurbani start after the 14th of Zil Hajj and should be completed within a week in the Makkah region, as Dum Qurbani must be performed within Makkah Regional Limits.

The last type, Eid Qurbani, is something that Hujjaj can arrange in their home countries, and Al.Khair does not entertain or assist with it.

Tawaf-e-Ziarat: Tawaf-e-Ziarat, also known as the “Tawaf of Ifadah,” is a crucial obligation (one of Faraiz) for all Hajj pilgrims. This significant ritual occurs on the 10th, 11th, or even the 12th of Zil Hajj, before sunset. After returning from Muzdalifah, many pilgrims follow a specific sequence of rites, including symbolic stoning of the devil (Rami) on the first day, offering Hajj Qurbani (animal sacrifice), getting a haircut, and removing the Ihram. Following these steps, pilgrims perform Tawaf-e-Ziarat, which can be done while wearing regular clothing. After Tawaf-e-Ziarat, it’s customary for pilgrims to engage in Sa’i, the ritual walks between Safa and Marwah.

Tawaf-e-Wida: Tawaf-e-Vida, known as the Farewell Tawaf as well, is conducted as pilgrims prepare to depart from Makkah, marking the conclusion of their Hajj pilgrimage. This Tawaf takes place after all other Hajj rituals have been fulfilled. Unlike other specific days, there is no set day for Tawaf-e-Wida; it can be performed during the pilgrim’s final visit to the Kaaba before leaving Makkah.

Upon your arrival at your hotel or accommodation in Makkah, here is a straightforward guide for your first Umrah experience with Al.Khair, outlining the steps you need to follow.

  1. Ihram and Arrival: When you arrive in Makkah, you need to be in the state of Ihram, whether you’re coming from Medina or Jeddah. This is done before crossing the Miqat zone.
  2. Accommodation: You’ll be taken to your first accommodation in Makkah, which could be a hotel near the Haram or Azizia, depending on your package.
  3. Luggage: Your luggage may take around 5 to 6 hours to reach your room. During this time, rest, have a snack, or make up for any missed prayers.
  4. Umrah Timing: Al-Khair suggests doing your first Umrah after the Eisha prayer, around 9 pm. At this time, the Haram is less crowded, and there are shorter prayer lines. To complete Umrah, you’ll need to do Tawaf and Sa’i.
  5. Guidance: Al-Khair organizes small groups with guides for the first Umrah. Follow their guidance announced during the welcome speech upon your arrival. Rushing through Umrah is not recommended.
  6. Return to Accommodation: If you’re in Azizia and want to return to your accommodation, note the location and landmarks to guide the taxi driver. Have a map and important contact numbers on hand, including your group coordinator’s number for assistance.

This makes your first Umrah experience smoother and more fulfilling.

The key distinctions for Category A camps in Mina, with additional details:

  • Proximity: Closest to Jamarat, within 800 meters.
  • Air Conditioning: Each camp typically has one split air conditioner. Camp walls are made of temporary gypsum material.
  • Accommodations: Equipped with sofa mattresses and sofa beds that can be converted into mattresses. These have a standard size of 54cm width. Larger beds may be available, subject to availability and additional charges.
  • Occupancy: Generally, very few single camps in Mina. Multiple important camps are often merged into one large hall. This results in an average of 14 to 16 Hujjaj per camp. When three camps are merged, this can accommodate 48 Hujjaj on average per camp/hall. If two camps are merged, it accommodates 32 Hujjaj on average.
  • Toilets: The availability of extra toilets in Mina depends on permission and varies. On average, there is around 1 toilet per 30 to 35 Hujjaj as of 2023. These approvals are subject to last-minute changes and are not guaranteed.
  • Meals: Meals are provided buffet-style. Buffets are set up at corners or dedicated areas, offering a variety of food choices, along with unlimited soft drinks, water, and juices.
  • Comfort: Category A camps are known for providing the highest level of comfort and amenities for Hujjaj during their stay in Mina, as per Saudi Arabian Mashair services for Pakistani Hujjaj.
  • Customized / Personalized A+ Category Upgrade: Hujjaj can have a personalized upgrade to the A+ or Royal category in Mina by discussing it with their SPOs at Al.Khair. This tailored upgrade could include a private camp, proper beds, larger sofa beds, a private living area, personal toilets, a dedicated butler, private transportation with GMC, and other fancy services. However, the permission / availability of these upgrades and any associated costs depend on what’s available. This customized A+ or Royal category upgrade offers a higher level of comfort and luxury, providing a special and individualized experience for Hujjaj during their time in Mina.

 

Certainly, here are the main features for Category B camps in Mina, along with additional details:

  • Proximity: Situated at a decent distance from Jamarat, approximately 2 kilometers away.
  • Air Conditioning: Typically, each camp shares one air conditioner for every two camps. The outer camp walls are constructed from temporary gypsum material, while the inside sections are made from camp curtain material.
  • Accommodations: These camps come equipped with sofa mattresses and sofa beds that can be converted into mattresses. The mattresses have a standard size of approximately 47cm in width.
  • Occupancy: Generally, there are very few single camps in Mina. Instead, multiple camps, often composed of 3 to 6 camps, are merged into one large hall. This arrangement accommodates an average of 18 to 19 Hujjaj per camp. When three camps are merged, this can accommodate at least 18 x 3 = 54 Hujjaj on average per camp/hall. If 4 camps are merged, it accommodates an average of 18 x 4 = 72 Hujjaj, and this pattern continues.
  • Toilets: There are no special or additional toilet facilities in this category. Hujjaj use government or Kidana toilets located nearby, which are shared by all groups.
  • Meals: Meals are served buffet-style, with buffets set up at corners or dedicated areas, providing a limited variety of meal choices, along with limited soft drinks and water during meal hours.
  • Comfort: Category B camps offer a decent level of comfort and can accommodate a larger number of people. They are considered the second-best category in terms of amenities and services for Hujjaj during their stay in Mina, according to the services provided by Saudi Arabian Mashair for Pakistani Hujjaj.

 

 

Certainly, here are the main features for Category C camps in Mina, along with additional details:

  • Proximity: These camps are located at a decent distance from Jamarat, approximately 6 kilometers away.
  • Air Conditioning: There is no air conditioning facility available. However, standard Mina water coolers are provided according to basic standards. The outer camp walls are constructed from temporary gypsum material, while the inside sections are made from camp curtain material.
  • Accommodations: These camps are equipped with mattresses. The mattresses have a standard size of approximately 40cm to 45cm in width.
  • Occupancy: Typically, there are very few single camps in Mina. Instead, multiple camps, often composed of 4 to 8 camps, are merged into one large hall. This arrangement accommodates an average of 20 Hujjaj per camp. When four camps are merged, this can accommodate at least 80 Hujjaj on average per camp/hall. If 6 camps are merged, it accommodates an average of 120 Hujjaj, and this pattern continues.
  • Toilets: There are no special or additional toilet facilities in this category. Hujjaj use government or Kidana toilets located nearby, which are shared by all groups.
  • Meals: Meals are provided as packed meals per person or as 2-person sharing combos with a fixed menu. Along with the meal, one bottle of water and one tea are provided in the morning.
  • Comfort: Category C camps offer a compact level of comfort and can accommodate a larger number of Hujjaj during their stay in Mina, as per the services provided by Saudi Arabian Mashair for Pakistani Hujjaj.

 

Certainly, here are the main features for Category D camps in Mina, along with additional details:

  • Proximity: These camps are situated at a considerable distance, sometimes bordering or even outside the old Mina region.
  • Air Conditioning: There is no air conditioning facility available. However, standard Mina water coolers are provided according to basic standards. The camps are constructed with general curtain camp material, not gypsum.
  • Accommodations: These camps are equipped with thin mattresses, and standard size mattresses are provided by the Muallim or local companies.
  • Occupancy: Typically, there are very few single or double camps in Mina. Instead, multiple camps, often consisting of 8 to 12 camps, are merged into one large hall. This arrangement accommodates an average of 22 to 24 Hujjaj per camp, totaling over 150 Hujjaj per set of 8 merged camps in a hall, and this pattern continues accordingly.
  • Toilets: There are no special or additional toilet facilities in this category. Hujjaj use government or Kidana toilets located nearby, which are shared by all groups.
  • Meals: Meals are provided as packed meals per person or as 2-person sharing combos with a fixed menu. Along with the meal, one bottle of water and one tea are provided in the morning.
  • Comfort: Category D camps offer a basic standard level of comfort and can accommodate a larger number of Hujjaj during their stay in Mina, as per the services provided by Saudi Arabian Mashair for Pakistani Hujjaj.

In a Hajj pilgrimage, “Mashair” refers to the important holy places that pilgrims visit. These places include Mina, Arafat, and Muzdalifah. During this journey, pilgrims spend at least five (05) days in these locations:

  1. Mina: Pilgrims stay in Mina on the 8th, 10th, 11th, and 12th days of Dhul-Hijjah for the symbolic stoning of the devil (Rami al-Jamarat). The 13th day of Dhul-Hijjah is optional for this ritual.
  2. Arafat: On the 9th day of Dhul-Hijjah, pilgrims come to Arafat for a big day of praying and talking to God during the “waqoof-e-Arafat” time, which starts at noon and goes until sunset. It’s a very important moment during Hajj, often called “Hajj Day.”
  3. Muzdalifah: After leaving Arafat, pilgrims spend the night in Muzdalifah on the 9th night of Dhul-Hijjah, which falls between the 9th and 10th of Dhul-Hijjah. This night is spent by the roadside with very limited facilities. They collect between minimum 49 or maximum 70 pebbles during this time for a special ritual.

On this night, they combine their Maghrib (evening) and Isha (night) prayers. The Maghrib prayer is offered, which they didn’t do in Arafat. Then they wait until the Fajr (dawn) prayers, perform the Fajr prayer, and engage in a “waqoof” (standing in devotion) after the Fajr prayer as a part of their special act of worship.

These days in the Mashair are a crucial part of the Hajj journey, with specific rituals and prayers performed at each location.

Summary of the process of going to Mina for Hajj with Al.Khair using bullet points:

  • Hajj commences on the 8th of Dhul-Hijjah as all pilgrims move to Mina. Later in the evening, Al.Khair’s Hujjaj have a scheduled journey from Mina to Arafat. The exact itinerary is communicated based on transportation guidelines and permissions..
  • Pilgrims wear the ihram for Hajj on the morning of the 8th from their respective accommodations, without the need to go to the Haram for Hajj ihram.
  • Al.Khair provides dedicated buses for group transportation during the Mashair Days on a seat-to-seat basis. Category A offers luxury, the latest model buses.
  • Coordinators and bus guides (murshids) assist pilgrims during transportation and in Mashair days.
  • Mina has organized camps with walls and subdivisions made from gypsum material, resembling permanent structures.
  • Al.Khair coordinators guide hujjaj to their assigned camps/rooms in Mina.
  • Buffet areas in Mina offer unlimited water bottles, juices, and cola drinks, but this is available in Category A only.
  • Mina’s camps are divided into categories: A, B, C, and D.
  • A-category camps have split air conditioning, with an average of 13-16 hujjaj per camp (usually multiple camps are merged, since single stand-alone camps are limited or used in A+ Category Customized upgrades).
  • Private toilets are allocated at an average of one toilet for every 35 hujjaj as per last year facts.
  • Al.Khair may provide extra facilities based on individual preferences in Category A, subject to local permissions and extra charges.
  • Al.Khair offers dedicated buffet meals and snacks between lunch and dinner in Mina, a unique service concept.

This summary outlines the arrangements and services provided by Al.Khair for hujjaj during their stay in Mina for Hajj.

Mina plays a crucial role in the annual Hajj pilgrimage. It is the site where a significant ritual, known as the “Stoning of the Devil,” takes place. During this rite, pilgrims cast stones at three pillars, symbolizing the temptation of Prophet Ibrahim by Satan. The Stoning of the Devil occurs on the 10th, 11th, and 12th of Dhul-Hijjah, referred to as the days of Tashreeq. Pilgrims typically stay in Mina tents on the 8th, 10th, 11th, and 12th of Dhul-Hijjah, with the 13th being optional.

Mina is densely populated with numerous camps. Pakistani Hujjaj (South Asian pilgrims) have their accommodations in Mina categorized into four groups: A, B, C, and D, based on the level of facilities and services provided.

In the context of the Hajj pilgrimage, a “Maktab number” in Mina refers to the specific office or location where Hujjaj (pilgrims) are registered and organized during their stay in Mina. Each group or Hujjaj party is assigned a unique Maktab number, and this number is used for administrative and organizational purposes to help manage the movement and activities of pilgrims in Mina. It ensures that Hujjaj are grouped together and provided with the necessary guidance and services during their time in Mina.

Maktab numbers are allocated region-wise, with different series for pilgrims from South Asia, Europe, Africa, and other regions. These numbers help in organizing and managing Hujjaj based on their origin.

It’s important to note that Maktab numbers do not specify the category of services provided. The categorization of services, such as A, B, C, or D, is separate and is based on the level of amenities and facilities offered.

In some cases, the Maktab number may not necessarily dictate the level of service quality, as the Saudi authorities may make adjustments and sub-divisions within a Maktab to better accommodate Hujjaj from a specific category. For example, in 2023, all A-category Hujjaj had a Maktab 1 number, but they were further divided into sub-divisions like 1/1, 1/2, 1/3, 1/4, and 1/5 to identify specific locations within the camp area dedicated to A-category pilgrims.

The choice of a specific Maktab or its number matters less if Hujjaj have a good understanding of the service categories (A, B, C, D) and make their selection accordingly. The past experience and the dedication of the team, both from the Al.Khair’s team and the local Muallim team, play a crucial role in providing high-quality services, regardless of the Maktab number. For instance, Al.Khair’s Hujjaj in Category A were located in Maktab 2 in the years 2018, 2019, and 2022 and received awards for their service quality. In 2023, Al.Khair selected Maktab 1, sub 1/4 and again received recognition for providing outstanding services and comfort to their Hujjaj. The understanding of dynamics and dedication from the teams is what sets them apart and enables them to offer top-tier services.

Arafat day is a crucial part of the Hajj, occurring on the 9th of Dhul-Hijjah. Pilgrims remain in Arafat until sunset of the 9th of Dhul-Hijjah. To fulfill the non-compensatable time main ritual of the Hajj, known as “waqoof-e-Arafat,” it’s preferrable for pilgrims to arrive in Arafat early in the morning of the 9th of Dhul-Hijjah or, at the latest, before noon.

For Category A, buses typically commence their journey at 4 am, right after Fajr prayers and before sunrise. However, this timing can vary based on local regulations and traffic conditions.

In Categories B, C, and D, the journey from Mina to Arafat starts on the late evening of the 8th of Dhul-Hijjah, following dinner and usually beginning after 11 pm. The purpose is to ensure that all pilgrims reach the Arafat camps well in advance of the Fajr prayers. This early arrival allows them to rest before and after Fajr, preparing for their worship starting at noon. Buses are conveniently parked near the Arafat camps. Moving during the night offers certain advantages, such as reduced traffic and additional time to reach Arafat. In Category A, the possibility of departing after Fajr depends on local conditions and permissions.

Arafat day is a crucial part of the Hajj, occurring on the 9th of Dhul-Hijjah. Pilgrims remain in Arafat until sunset of the 9th of Dhul-Hijjah. To fulfill the non-compensatable time main ritual of the Hajj, known as “waqoof-e-Arafat,” it’s preferrable for pilgrims to arrive in Arafat early in the morning of the 9th of Dhul-Hijjah or, at the latest, before noon.

For Category A, buses typically commence their journey at 4 am, right after Fajr prayers and before sunrise. However, this timing can vary based on local regulations and traffic conditions.

In Categories B, C, and D, the journey from Mina to Arafat starts on the late evening of the 8th of Dhul-Hijjah, following dinner and usually beginning after 11 pm. The purpose is to ensure that all pilgrims reach the Arafat camps well in advance of the Fajr prayers. This early arrival allows them to rest before and after Fajr, preparing for their worship starting at noon. Buses are conveniently parked near the Arafat camps. Moving during the night offers certain advantages, such as reduced traffic and additional time to reach Arafat. In Category A, the possibility of departing after Fajr depends on local conditions and permissions.

Category A Camps in Arafat offer the following features and services:

Waqoof-e-Arafat: The main Hajj ritual is the “waqoof-e-Arafat,” which takes place on the 9th of Dhul-Hijjah. The most crucial and non-compensatable time period during waqoof-e-Arafat is from noon to sunset.

Arafat Accommodation: In Arafat, large air-conditioned marquees are provided. Category A camps in Arafat have sofa beds, although these are typically used for seating due to limited space. Each big marquee accommodates 300 to 400 Hujjaj or more.

Arafat Meals: Meals in Arafat are served buffet-style. You’ll have an early light breakfast and lunch in Arafat. The weather can be very hot, so it’s advisable to keep your meals light, allowing you to focus on your main acts of worship and prayers in Arafat. Water, drinks, snacks, and tea are available in Arafat.

Arafat Toilets: Category A camps provide some tiled washrooms prepared by the local authorities on top of government Kidana toilets. However, the stay period in Arafat is very limited, and the toilets are generally temporary constructions.

Arafat Movement: Pilgrims begin moving from Arafat camps at least half an hour before sunset. They head toward the buses to make the most of the remaining daylight. Buses are usually parked within a 10 minutes walking distance and must stay within the defined Arafat zone until sunset. The final rituals (Waqoof) and prayers are done near the buses.

In Category A, Al.Khair provides high-quality, brand-new buses with seat-to-seat transportation for all Hujajj. These luxury buses are equipped with ambient lighting, toilets, cold water, drinks, and additional carpets for use in Muzdalifa.

 

 

Category B Camps in Arafat offer the following features and services:

Waqoof-e-Arafat: The central Hajj ritual, “waqoof-e-Arafat,” takes place on the 9th of Dhul-Hijjah. The most crucial and non-compensatable time period during waqoof-e-Arafat is from noon to sunset.

Arafat Accommodation: In Arafat, you’ll find large, low-height air-conditioned marquees. Category B camps in Arafat provide small sofa beds or mattresses, although these are primarily used for seating due to limited space. Each big marquee accommodates 400 to 500 Hujjaj or more.

Arafat Meals: Meals in Arafat are served buffet-style with limited choices. Pilgrims receive an early light breakfast and lunch in Arafat. Given the hot weather, it’s advisable to keep your meals light, allowing you to concentrate on your main acts of worship and prayers in Arafat. Water and drinks are available with meals in Arafat.

Arafat Toilets: Category B camps do not offer extra toilets; instead, they utilize government Kidana toilets. However, the stay period in Arafat is very limited, and the toilets are typically temporary structures.

Arafat Movement: Pilgrims start leaving Arafat camps at least half an hour before sunset. They walk to the nearby buses to make the most of the daylight. Buses are usually parked within a 15-minute walk and are required to stay within the designated Arafat zone until sunset. The final rituals and prayers are performed near the buses.

In Category B, Al.Khair offers high-quality, relatively new buses with seat-to-seat transportation for all Hujajj. These buses come with amenities like cold water, drinks, and additional carpets for use in Muzdalifa.

 

Category C & D Camps in Arafat offer the following features and services:

Waqoof-e-Arafat: The central Hajj ritual, “waqoof-e-Arafat,” takes place on the 9th of Dhul-Hijjah. The most crucial and non-compensatable time period during waqoof-e-Arafat is from noon to sunset.

Arafat Accommodation: In Arafat, you’ll find large, low-height basic standard old-style fabric tents with standing fans or air coolers. Category C & D camps in Arafat provide mattresses or mats, although these are primarily used for seating due to limited space. Each hall or large compound accommodates 600 to 700 Hujjaj or more.

Arafat Meals: Meals in Arafat are served in packs with a single fixed menu. Pilgrims receive an early light breakfast and lunch in Arafat. Given the hot weather, it’s advisable to keep your meals light, allowing you to concentrate on your main acts of worship and prayers in Arafat. Water is available with meals in Arafat.

Arafat Toilets: Category C & D camps do not offer extra toilets; they use government Kidana toilets. However, the stay period in Arafat is very limited, and the toilets are typically temporary structures.

Arafat Movement: Pilgrims in Arafat leave for buses parked nearby before sunset, where they complete their rituals. Some Hajj groups offer shared transport in Categories C & D, while others may recommend walking to Muzdalifah. Remember to check with your Muallim or refer to your package for guidance.

Certainly, here’s a clearer and more organized presentation of the Muzdalifah experience during Hajj with Al.Khair:

Leaving Arafat for Muzdalifah:

  • Pilgrims depart from Arafat to Muzdalifah right after the Maghrib (sunset) time.
  • Maghrib and Isha prayers are combined in Muzdalifah as per Hajj rituals.
  • Al.Khair provides dedicated buses on a seat-to-seat basis, reducing travel time to approximately 3-4 hours due to traffic congestion (may take up to 8 hours).

Muzdalifah Stay Guidelines:

  • Muzdalifah is an open area with parking lots and some small rocky mountains. Many buses are parked, and there can be bus smoke.
  • Public toilets are available but often have long queues and may not meet cleanliness standards.
  • Pilgrims stay under the open sky, combining Maghrib and Isha prayers, collecting stones for the Jamarat ritual, and resting until Fajr.
  • Fajr prayers and the Waqoof (standing in devotion) are performed after Fajr.

Accommodation Arrangements:

  • Staying on the roadside or near buses and parking areas.
  • Category A and B pilgrims are provided with carpets, sleeping bags, and disposable light sleeping bags by Al.Khair.
  • Other pilgrims can bring their own disposable mats.
  • For those who can’t sit on the ground, it is recommended to bring a light wheelchair, portable chair, or stool.
  • Category A pilgrims can also bring additional comfort items, but they need to consider the responsibility of carrying these items during the journey.

It’s essential to be mentally prepared for this unique and challenging experience. After spending two days in the state of ihram following their journey from Mina and Arafat, pilgrims may find staying on the roadside with small rocks and buses moving around to be unsettling. However, by discussing their expectations with Al.Khair representatives or SPOs, or seeking advice from those who have experienced Muzdalifah before, pilgrims can better prepare themselves and approach the experience with an open mind, ready to embrace any minor challenges.

Snacks in Muzdalifah:

  • Pilgrims receive snack boxes from Muallim or may find them stored on the buses.
  • Al.Khair also provides light snacks, sandwiches, and water onboard the buses.
  • Toilets are limited, so pilgrims are advised to keep their meals light.
  • Consider carrying items like biscuits, energy bars, and necessary vitamins for convenience.
  • Ensure your phone is fully charged or carry backup batteries, as charging ports may not be available.
  • Note that Muzdalifah is a temporary setup, and there’s no specific location allocation for each group’s buses. Pre-arrangement for any supplies is not possible.
  • Exercise caution when buying food from vendors in Muzdalifah due to hygiene and toilet availability concerns.

Movement Out of Muzdalifah:

  • Buses depart after Fajr prayers and park at a distance.
  • Buses return later in the morning to pick up pilgrims, a process that may take a few hours.
  • Murshids and coordinators will facilitate bus boarding.
  • Walking is discouraged due to congestion, especially for elderly, ladies, and children.
  • Al.Khair’s strategy is to transfer pilgrims from Muzdalifah to Azizia accommodation to avoid congestion in Mina, especially on the first day when all pilgrims head to the Jamarat.
  • This strategy ensures a smoother Rami (stoning of the pillars) for Day 1 with reduced rush and congestion at Azizia’s Jamarat Second Floor bus station.

Please note that Jamarat service on the second floor can be unpredictable due to rush and bus availability, without prior notice, and without responsibility

Handling of Pakistani Passports during the entire Hajj journey / trip involves unique international travel procedures:

  • Hajj pilgrims (Hujjaj) may notice that Saudi authorities handle passports of different nationalities differently. Our focused and below guidelines and procedures are based on Pakistani Machine Readable Passport with Valid Hajj Visa Only.
  • Upon arrival in Saudi Arabia as a Hajj passenger, you’ll encounter a distinct process. This includes receiving polio drops and a warm welcome from immigration officials, creating a sense of Saudi hospitality and the special “Ya Hajji” feeling.
  • Luggage handling is notably organized, with efficient porters ensuring the swift movement of your belongings. It’s advisable to ensure to labelled your bags with Al.Khair Luggage Cards. After immigration and collecting your luggage, a Saudi team will identify you based on your Maktab number and group name (like Al.Khair). They will prepare the necessary documents and collect your passport, which they will safeguard.
  • Some pilgrims might refer to the experiences of their relatives or friends who have held onto their passports during Hajj and have traveled with different groups.
  • However, it’s crucial to understand that Al.Khair or any other group does not set the condition to hold and submit passports to the relevant department in Medina and Makkah (Mecca). These are local guidelines and mandatory conditions set by Saudi authorities for Hajj visas.
  • If any other group or individual passenger holds Pakistani passports and does not submit them to the relevant department, specifically for Hajj visas, it is considered illegal and may lead to issues during Hajj or in the future when records are retrieved.
  • Since passport handling is unique and tends to take time, be mentally prepared for a journey that would typically take 1.5 hours, like the one from Jeddah to Makkah (Mecca) after luggage counters. During Hajj, it can take 4 to 5 hours.
  • Whether you arrive in Medina or Jeddah, your passport remains under the custody of a designated authority or driver. They will issue a receipt against your passport and ensure its submission to the relevant departments.
  • Depending on your Hajj plan, the Al.Khair team will manage the transfer of your passport to train stations, buses for travel between Medina and Makkah (Mecca), or airports.
  • Concerns about valuable visas, such as long-term visas for countries like the USA and the UK, have been raised. Although passport loss during transit is rare, it’s not impossible.
  • Saudi authorities are generally efficient and responsible when it comes to handling passports. It’s advisable to keep a complete scan of each page of your passport as a record, which can be handy.
  • Around a decade ago, dedicated new Hajj passports were issued to each passenger, but this is no longer the case. It’s crucial to follow Saudi procedures, and avoiding passport submission to the authorities is not recommended. Passports are scanned at various points, and your movements are tracked by local authorities, ensuring compliance with legal requirements.

In summary, the handling of Pakistani passports during Hajj follows specific Saudi guidelines and is a legal requirement for the pilgrimage. It’s important to adhere to these guidelines to ensure a smooth and trouble-free Hajj experience. Nonetheless, maintaining a scanned copy of your passport and complying with necessary procedures will contribute to a smooth Hajj experience.