Every year over 125,000 British pilgrims travel to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj and Umrah pilgrimage. Unfortunately, there is accumulated evidence that these pilgrims experience significant problems and hardships due to ignorance and lack of understanding of the needs of good preparations for the journey.
Mental, spiritual, physical early preparation and awareness of health & safety issues are vital to perform Hajj & Umra in safe and best possible manner. Therefore, prospective pilgrims are strongly urged that they must make efforts to learn about all aspects of performing Hajj and Umrah prior to leaving for Saudi Arabia.
If you are planning for Hajj or Umra, please:-
Make sure you book your Hajj/ Umrah package with a Hajj /Umrah Tour and Travel operator who is Saudi Hajj Ministry approved and ATOL/IATA License holder. Booking packages with non-approved and non ATOL Licensed holders will put you at risk to lose your money or will leave you stranded as they are not authorised to take pilgrims for pilgrimage.
Make all efforts to learn about your rights and the responsibilities of the tour and travel operators according to the UK Legislation Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992 & Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. You can get this information online.
Make sure you take enough money with you to meet the expenses during the Hajj/ Umrah.
Ensure that your passport and visa for Saudi Arabia are in order. Take a photocopy of your passport and keep it with you at all times.
Make sure your return ticket is confirmed. Take out full travel insurance to cover illness, injury and loss of money, baggage and tickets.
Buy your Ihram and learn how to put it on.
Ladies must be accompanied with a Mahram. A Mahram is a male member of your immediate family: a father, a husband, a son or a brother.
Please be aware of the pickpocketers. Don’t put all your money in one place. Always use safety money belt to keep your money and documents with you.
Food is cheap and freely available in Makkah. So, do not take any food with you.
Meningitis vaccine is a mandatory requirement for Saudi government, they will not issue visa unless you provide with meningitis vaccine certificate from your doctor.
You need to protect yourself from the sun, dehydration, exhaustion, foot problems, and respiratory and bronchial illness.
If you are taking medication you should take an adequate supply with you, accompanied by a doctor’s certificate describing the medicine.
While you are in Saudi Arabia, always carry your hotel accommodation address and your muallam’s card with you. In Mina and Arafat, you will be living in tents. Make a note of the number and the direction of tents to avoid getting lost.
Ensure that you carry some food, water and an umbrella, while you move to Mina, Arafat and Muzdalfa during Hajj and also when travelling to Madina from Makkah.
People can get lost and separated from their family or friends. You should make a note of the location of your camp and tent and agree a meeting point with family and friends in case you become separated.
Take your mobile phone with you. It could be very handy and useful to get in touch with your family and friends during Hajj. However, make sure that you put the mobile on silent while you are inside the Haram and make sure that the ringtone of your mobile does not distract others’ prayers.
Performing Hajj is physically demanding and requires a lot of your patience to safeguard yours and others’ safety while you are amongst over 2 million pilgrims around you.
You have to be extra careful particularly at the stoning of the Satans at Mina and circumambulation of the Kabbah. The crowds can be daunting for the elderly or frail during performing rituals of Hajj, they need to take extra care towards the safety and well being of themselves.
In case of any difficulties, you may contact British Hajj Delegation in Makkah / British Consulate in Jeddah for help at the following numbers:
Ph: +966 12 622 5550 Fax: +966 12 622 6249
You may also contact Saudi Hajj Ministry, if you require any help and assistance during your pilgrimage, their contact details are:
Al-Rasifah District, Sumu Building, the 6th floor, Makkah Al-Mukarramah.
Phone: +966 12 5506660, +966 12 5571731