Things To Do Before Leaving for Umrah
Travelling to Saudi Arabia to perform the holy manasik of Umrah is a spiritual journey that requires both mental and physical preparation on the Muslim’s part. After you’ve booked your Umrah package and before you set off on this journey, it would be prudent to sit down and make all the necessary preparations for the trip.
The UmrahMe team has compiled a list of useful tips that will help you get ready for Umrah and leave your home with complete ease of mind, enabling you to focus fully on the journey ahead:
- Learn the rules of Ihram and Umrah
Before anything else, it is essential to learn the correct rules of Umrah and all the steps and rituals involved, including Ihram, Tawaf and Sa’i. Simple as they may be, an error of judgment may lead to violations that would require a fidya (penalty). For example, perfume is not allowed after Ihram, even in the form of soap, and men are not allowed any head coverings.
For your convenience, we have prepared a step-by-step guide on Umrah and its rituals, including all Mustahabb and forbidden actions.
- Determine all the miqat points on your route. Ihram is done at the miqat points identified by the Prophet (peace be upon him). Make sure you know the miqat point you should visit beforehand to ensure you are in a state of Ihram when arriving in Makkah. For example, all direct flights to Jeddah Airport cross the miqat before landing, therefore you must be in the state of Ihram before you board the plane.
- Re-familiarize yourself with the rules of congregational prayers and other religious acts.
During Umrah, you may be required to perform congregational prayers or even funeral prayers. It is essential that you familiarize yourself with all the steps and rules to ensure achieving the maximum benefits and thawab (reward) during your time in Makkah. <br/> It would also be helpful to learn rulings related to Muslim travelers, such as how to perform Tayammum (dry ablution for when you have no access to water), or how to pray Qasr (shortening of the five daily prayers).
- Make sure you have all the necessary travel documents.
It is crucial that you prepare all your travel documents and pack them in a clear folder well in advance. These include: your passport, ID card, airline ticket, hotel booking receipt, travel/transport vouchers, vaccination certificate, passport size photos, and health insurance certificate (if any). Women must also carry a document or certificate proving their relationship to their spouse or any other mahram travelling with them.
- Make sure you take all the required vaccinations and medical precautions.
Before travelling, make sure to acquire all the necessary vaccinations – in addition to the required Meningococcal Meningitis vaccine – against infectious diseases such as typhoid fever and the flu, and schedule an examination with your general physician to check for any underlying conditions. It would also be prudent to pack a first-aid kit and a few essential medications in anticipation of any unforeseen events.
- Prepare a checklist for everything you need to pack before travelling.
It is easy to forget to pack an item, no matter how well-prepared you feel you are. For that reason, it’s always helpful to prepare a list of the items you need to take with you on your trip, including: your Ihram clothes – fresh towels – slippers – toiletries – scissors – a prayer mat – a small copy of the Holy Qu’ran – etc.
- Exchange currency before travelling.
A lot of travelers will be exchanging currency at the airport or the hotel lobby, resulting in long queues that can easily be avoided by taking care of the exchange prior to departure, saving you valuable time and effort that would be better spent praying by the Holy House.
- Keep a decent amount of cash with you.
Make sure to carry a decent amount of cash and change with you at all times, to buy souvenirs and dates and meals that may not be covered by the package, and to pay charity (sadaqah) or penalty fees (fidya) in case of violating the rules of Ihram or missing any required acts.
- Look up information on both Makkah and Madinah.
Despite our best attempts to ensure that our packages are comprehensive and cater to your full requirements, they may include some locations that you wish to visit that are not part of the inclusions. For that reason, we recommend reading up on Makkah and Madinah so as to gather some knowledge about the areas and important sites before you go there; this would give you the flexibility to move around at your own pace.
- Activate your roaming/data plan from your telecom service provider.
If you do not wish to purchase a Saudi SIM card, an alternative way to keep in touch with your loved ones back home would be to activate your roaming or data plan on your phone. Most telecommunications service providers offer a variety of packages that would fit the requirements of each individual traveler.