When I was searching for information on Hajj, I came across many books and online articles. Most of the books published are mostly limited to legalities of actions and take much of the material from older books with limited insight to what we experience on ground. Same is the case with most of the online articles, where people share their experience or Hajj diaries. My intention is to write a complete story of Hajj with latest information and tips/tricks that can help people to avoid hustle and make up their minds for what is going to happen on their journey.
Basic mina and Arafat activities and issues have been discussed in respective pages (Mina & Arafat). The directions for maps and countrywise distribution is the most searched keyword/part during Hajj. The government Hajis from Pakistan normally get same locations each year in Mina and Arafat. Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Saudi Scouts organization update these maps on Yearly basis. Zoomed in Map for Mina around Mina-1 Station is given below for year 2017.
The zoomed in image of Arafat camps for Govt. program near Arafat-1 Stations is given below. It is clear from the PDF below that the YELLOW region is the camps for South African countries.
The detailed Mina and Arafat map for 2017 are also available on the Saudi Arabia Scouts website. Hopefully, the location will be updated with respective years’ maps/guidelines in future. The detailed map (PDF) shows the colour codes for countries, the zones/camp no. nomenclature in maps, similar to that given by Haji camp. The details of services including Hospitals, stations and bus stops etc are also given in the maps.
The high resolution maps for Mina and Arafat (2017) may be received via contact section on email.
In Madina Hotels, like in Makkah, Bus representatives place their ads and ask people for ziarat on daily basis. You can either register with them (SR10 per person) or go to Hiace van parking areas in Markaziya and book your own van for Ziarat (if you know names of all locations).
If you are going via bus, make sure you do not waste others time by coming late from Hotel or from Ziarat points. Try to return back to buses by the time provided to avoid hassle.
Do not buy items from tour operators as most of the items are fake and even their stories are fabricated. These items (fake) are also available at comparable lower rates throughout your route.
The date market in the route is comparatively expensive. You can buy dates from dates market in Markaziya. The shopkeepers normally lie about the type and quality, so be careful when dealing with them.
Abayas can be bought from Bangali Market or Abaya market behind Markazia date market. However, do not waste your time in shopping, especially during day time.
The images for renowned Ziarat are given below as per the route of buses. Normally, the Garden of Hazrat Salman Farsi (RadiAllahtaalah Anhu) is shown from bus without stopping. The First stop normally is Masjid-e-Quba, the first mosque build by Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)
The second most visited place is the Jabal-e-Uhud and the resting place of Shuhda-e-Uhud including Hazrat Hamza (RadiAllahtaalah Anhu). Buses normally stop at the parking near Masjid-e-Uhud and the small mount Jabl-e-Rumah (where archers were placed). The graves are not marked and are inside a locked boundary wall but can be seen from glasses.
The Masjid-e-Qiblatain is the mosque where Ayats for change in Qibla were received. Recently, the mosque has been renovated and the old Qibla Mihrab towards Jerusalem is removed.
The Sab’aa Masajid (Seven Mosques) are built at the site of the Battle of Trench (Khandaq). The largest mosque recently renovated is the Al-Fath Mosque on the Sela mountain.
The date farm is the place where a small market for dates is established beside a date farm. You can either buy dates from here or from the Dates market in Markaziya (preferred).
The place where the first Jumma prayers were performed shortly after Hijrah is Masjid-e-Jumma, however, buses normally do not stop here. Masjid Jumma is also known by Masjid Bani Salim and Masjid Aatikah.
The four Masajid named after the Khulfa-e-Rashideen at the locations of their houses are situated inside Markaziya, from gate 6 of Masjid-e-Nabawi along with Masjid-e-Gamama. The Jannat-ul-Baqee is beside Masjid-e-Nabawi (gates 35-36). Kindly do not get inside graves area in Baqee and do not take pictures with graves.
The recently famous Wadi-e-Jin or Wadi-Baida, is located outside the Madina city and the road from Jabl-e-Uhud takes you to the area in 30-40 minutes. If you wish to visit this place, do remember that there is no supernatural phenomenon here, but is good place to visit in mountains.
The time for Rami on 11th to 13th Zilhaj starts after Zawal (start of Zuhr time). For these days, crowd is lesser from Asr time.
Similar to 1st day, use the train (or your pathway) to reach Jamart building and throw seven pebbles each to each Jamara, starting from Jamarah Sughra to Jamarah Kubrah.
The whole day is available for prayers and reciting Quran.
If you have not performed you Tawaf-e-Ziarat, you can move to Haram after Rami.
If you like to eat from your Qurbani meat, you can also visit your Hotel (preferably in day time) for cooking/eating and return to Mina for night.
Rami for 12th Zilhaj is similar to that of 11th
If you like to stay for 13th, make sure you inform your Maktab people in advance.
If you want to leave after 12th, leave Mina before Maghrib time (after 12th Zilhaj Rami).
After performing Rami on 12th Zilhaj, either you can walk back to you Hotel (use GPS navigation if available), or return to you camp at Mina-1 (or other place in Mina) and wait for Maktab people to take you back by bus.
Make sure you either know the route or have GPS navigation available in case driver is unaware of route.
Do not take you bags on 11th Zilhaj for Rami, or take very little stuff possible. If you intend to return on 12th Zilhaj on foot, do not take your bags with you if your hotel is in Aziziya. Aziziya is closer to Mina-1 than to Jamart station. Taking larger bags is not recommended due to crowd and possibility of accident.
After returning back to Hotel from Mina, buses remain closed for 2-3 days. You can either rest or use taxi to reach Haram.
Rami, Qurbani and Tawaf-e-Ziarat are performed in sequence or else one has to offer Dam (Qurbani).
After returning from Muzdalifah, if you have enough strength and do not have aged persons or women with you, you can directly go to Mina-3 for Rami at Jamaraat. Avoid starting Rami before sunrise
The best time to go for Rami is an hour before Asr. Normally, there is lesser or no crowd and you can easily perform you Rami and return back to your camp in Mina.
If there is crowd, try to move slowly and carefully. Keep water with you and whenever you get chance, fill you water bottles from dispenser installed on walkway to Jamarat.
DO NOT try to return from the same path you came. DO NOT move in opposite direction or try to run during Rami. Stay away from the train platform gates.
For 10th Zilhaj, Rami is for Jamarah Aqabah/Kubra (Last one) only.
Throw seven pebbles at the pillar for Jamarah Aqabah/Kubra so that the stones strike the pillar and then fall in the area beneath pillar. Do not hit very hard and do not yell/abuse. Also make sure the stones do not hit other pilgrims.
After Rami, move forward on the pathway back to station (if came by train) or to your camp area.
Qurbani and Halaq
If you have opted for Qurbani via proxy/agent, make sure he performs it after your Rami. Normally they are in contact via phone and inform you about qurbani as soon as it is performed.
For government coupon system, time is provided for you qurbani. It may be on 10th or 11th Zilhaj. Wait atleast 3-4 hours after that time for Halaq/Qasr.
If you are performing Qurbani yourself, it is quite straightforward, and you can perform Halaq once your return to Mina.
Normally, non-professional Barbers are available in Mina for Halaq at SR 20-50. You can also get you Halaq from Barber shop on your way to Haram for Tawaf-e-Ziarat at the same rate.
If you are coming from your camp, it’s better to board the train for Mina-3 (Jamarat) Station, and then walk towards the covered path to haram. If you performed Qurabni on second day, it’s even more convenient to move to haram after your second day Rami. It takes around an hour to reach Haram at normal speed. Do not move continuously and take rest and drink water whenever possible.
Taxis are not allowed beyond start of tunnels and 1-2 Km from Jamarat station, also they take SR300-500 for the journey. So, it is better to walk to Haram and back for Tawaf-e-Ziarat.
If you have performed your Rami and Qurbani on day-1, you can go for Tawaf-e-Ziarat at night, after Maghrib or Isha as there is lesser crowd.
Do not rush for your Tawaf-e-Ziarat as due to crowd it may take longer than your routine Tawaf.
If your Qurbani was on second day, Tawaf-e-Ziarat can be performed till on second or third day as well.
After Tawaf, you can perform Sa’ayi to complete your Major rituals for Hajj. If ground and first floor are crowded, you can move to second or roof floor for the same.
After Tawaf (and Sa’ayi), return back to Mina (camp). Make sure you stay for night in Mina/camp.
Immediately after Fajr prayer, people leave mina camp on foot to reach Arafat. The pedestrian is properly marked but it is recommended to keep a map and GPS based app for navigation. There are ample drinking water and Toilet point throughout the road.
Maktab people start calling for groups to leave for Arafat after Fajr. The train station is very crowded and people who offer prayers inside station reach the train in 30-50 minutes.
Keep on moving with your guide towards station. Do not try to get into buses leaving from Mina with other pilgrims to Arafat as they will not open gates.
Depending upon the conditions, it takes 2-4 hours to reach platform to board the train. The train hardly takes 5 minutes to reach Arafat
Another way around is to walk towards Muzdalifah 3 station, and get onto (if you are lucky enough) hired buses (not Maktab buses). They take around SR 25-50 per head. These buses will drop you at Masjid-e-Nimrah. You’ll have to walk your way to Pakistani (Govt.) camp, which is behind Station Arafat-1 (on the opposite side of Masjid-e-Nimrah).
There are maps installed throughout Arafat that guide you towards your countries’ Camp area.
If your reach Arafat via train, you’ll be close to the camp area. Pakistan mission people at station will guide you towards your camp, if you do not have the map for the same.
Each camp has its own Toilet facility, separate for men and women.
It is recommended to get free from Toilet an hour before Zuhr time.
Once, Zuhr time has started, you can listen to Khutbah on Radio (FM Channel).
The prayer is performed in camps, so offer your Zuhr prayer (Hanafi) and then it’s time to indulge in Dua and Toba.
It is recommended to get your prayer rug and water bottle and make your stay in open sky outside the camps and leave the camps for female pilgrims. You can get shade under trees though.
A lot of eating and drinking stuff is distributed in Arafat. Try not to waste your time in collecting that stuff unless necessary. Remember, these 4-5 hours are the only hours you’ll get in your Wuqoof Arafat, so make better use of the time you get in asking for forgiveness.
After Asr Prayer (if not performed combined with zuhr), there is an increase in crowd at Toilets. So, manage your timings accordingly. Try to eat as minimum as possible for stay in Arafat and Muzdalifah.
Around 20-30 minutes before maghrib, people start gathering at station and Arafat boundaries. Make sure you do not cross Arafat boundary before Maghrib.
Depending upon the situation, either move for station-1 to reach Muzdalifah immediately, or wait 1-2 hours to rest and let the crowd subside. It is easier if you wait as the Toilets are empty in camps after 1-2 hours in Arafat.
If you want to walk towards Muzdalifah, leave immediately after Maghrib to reach in time to get space in Muzdalifah.
When going by train, get to the Arafat-1 Station, moving slowly depending upon the crowd. The train will drop you at Muzdalifah 1 Station. When you come out of the station, boards will be there guiding towards your Maktab.
In case you do not have map, or you do not find your designated area, you can stay at any location in Muzdalifah. However, make sure to walk as far as you can and as near to a Toilet as possible.
Also make sure that you do not stay in the path or close walking area.
Offer your Maghrib and Isha prayers in Muzdalifah and if possible get some sleep.
Collect your stones (better collect extra stones) from Muzdalifah, to be used in Rami. Do not pick bigger stones though.
In case you have females and aged people in group and you cannot find any space (Muzdalifah-1 is almost full with people with no space to even sit, when all pilgrims have arrived), try to get back to station or stay inside the station and wait for the trains to move from Muzdalifah-1 to Muzdalifah-3, so that you can make your stay near your (Mina) Camp (which is actually inside Muzdalifah boundary).
The trains from Arafat normally stop after 1-2 pm at night and then movement towards Mina is started. Do not try to reach Mina directly as trains will not stop/open at Mina before 1-2 pm.
Try to be as calm as possible. Do not get into fights with others over space as every one is tired and fatigued. If you find yourself blocking the path, move to other location if possible. Try to accommodate others within the space wherever possible.
After offering Fajr prayer at Muzdalifah (1 or 3) and Subh Sadiq, either get to your camp for rest, or move towards Jamarat for Rami.
The departure for Mina is normally scheduled on 7th Zilhaj after Asr prayers.
The Muallim people provide with cards for identification, Camp number, and meal coupons one day before departure.
The buses for Haram are closed three days before 8th The only means of travel are taxis. If you have small/large group, taxis are available on all streets/roads. Normal fare for this period from Azizya is SR 100-200 (one-way).
If you can afford the fare, it is recommended to Wear your Ahram from Haram, and return well in time before departure of buses. Normally people make Niyah+Talbeeh when buses start to move.
Try to pack minimum possible items in small bag/backpack. One extra Ahram, One normal dress, Quran, umbrella, Water bottles, extra slippers, eye glasses, some stuff to eat, prayer rug, small backpack for Arafat, and bags for pebbles are enough for Mina stay. If you forget anything, you can come to Azizya (for short duration) to collect extra items.
Once you reach Mina and enter the camp, do not push others or rush to your camp. One camp has beds for 30+ persons with around 1.5 ft width per bed. If possible, try to occupy corner bed or settle for any bed available.
Prayers are offered inside each tent. Beddings are folded for the same. Offer Salat with the group that you are comfortable with, as there are multiple Jamaats per tent. Do not argue others over Qasr or normal prayers.
Sometimes, there is some issue with cooling system. Register your complaint with Muallim people, with Hajj mission politely. They will resolve the issue ASAP.
Try to get map of Mina camps, Arafat, and Muzdaliffah stay camps from staff. Following is the map for Pakistani Camps in Mina (for 2015).
Mina map (2015) with Qurban Gah location
Try to maintain discipline during serving of food. There are shops available outside camps for all the things, in case you do not get food due to some issue.
For 8th Zilhaj, there is no set ritual. Try to get accustomed to maps, locations and train station (for govt. pilgrims, its Mina 1). If tickets are valid for the day and you have enough strength, try to get to Station Mina 3 to visit Jamarat and Masjid Kheef via train.
It is better to get some rest, however, if you like to pray at night, make sure you keep strength for the Arafat day/night (9th Zilhaj).
Forget everything about luxuries of your routine life. Try to make most out of your stay at Mina.
Note: Mina 1/extended Mina area is actually Muzdaliffah area, however, there are rulings that allow stay in this area for Mina period.
Before leaving for the Masjid-e-Nabawi, it’s recommended to perform Gusl, wear your best suit and apply perfume.
Try to keep as polite as possible throughout your stay in Madina. Do not yell, speak loudly in the mosque, especially when going for Roza-e-Rasool (SallAllahu Alaihi Wasallam) and Riaz-ul-Jannah.
For entry, if it’s prayer time, get into the mosque from nearest gate and sit at the place available as far (inside) as possible. If entering from gate 1-6, make sure to sit behind the Imam’s position (marked on pillars) otherwise your prayers will be invalid. The Imam’s position is marked by the biggest White dome on roof (near Green dome).
After 20-25 minutes of Jamaat, the Gate towards Roza-e-Rasool (Bab-as-Salam) is opened for men. It is closed around 15-25 minutes before next prayer.
Ziarat Roza-e-Rasool (SallAllahu Alaihi Wasallam)
The entrance for the Roza-e-Rasool (SallAllahu Alaihi Wasallam) is from Bab-us-Salam. Immediately after prayers, the gate is very crowded, which subsides after 15-20 minutes.
Start moving as you get space. There are four Safs inside, two on each side of the pillars. The path for Rizaz-ul-Jannah is on left and is closed for entry from this side.
Depending upon the timings, you’ll get chance to get directly in the adjacent saf of the Muwajaha Sharif, or from two safs gap. In either case, keep on moving forward reciting Durood Sharif and Salam. Avoid raising hands like in Dua. First you’ll face Muwajaha Sharif marked in Green as Rasool Allah(SallAllahu Alaihi Wasallam). Keep sliding to the right, facing name plate reading Hazrat Abu Bakar (RadiAllah ta’alah Anhu) and then Hazrat Umar (RadiAllah ta’alah Anhu). Keep offering your Salam and then move towards the exit gate, Bab-ul-Baqee.
In case of heavy crowd, do not try to push others and if you get pushed by other, do not argue or pay attention.
After leaving from Bab-ul-Baqee, you can offer your prayers but do not stop on the gate. If you wish to offer Salam again, you can come back to Bab-us-Salam and repeat the process.
The area between Minbar-e-Rasool (SallAllahu Alaihi Wasallam) and Roza-e-Rasool (SallAllahu Alaihi Wasallam) is called Riaz-ul-Jannah. The colour of carpets in this area is green for identification.
Riaz-ul-Jannah is opened for females after Fajr,Zuhr and Isha. For males, it is opened all day except for the prayers time closure. The Suitable time for males is also after Zuhr and Isha when there is a proper controlled movement of pilgrims inside the area by the security personnel.
The Gates beside Bab-us-Salam are opened 30-45 minutes after Zuhr and Isha. Do not run inside the mosque. Keep calm and enter the gates till there is first blockade. Wait for around 10-15 minutes for people already inside Riaz-ul-Jannah to perform their Prayers. There are 3-4 blockades from entry point to the Riaz-ul-Jannah. Each takes 10-15 minutes. Do not stand on the edges and do not yell here. Keep reciting quran or durood sharif, till the next barrier is opened. In maximum 30 minutes you will be inside Green carpet area.
If possible get to the Pillars (especially Istiwana Ayesha R.A) but do not push others for this. The names of pillars are written in green on top of pillars. Complete your prayers wherever you get space. After prayers, if there are people waiting for their turn, give them space and leave from front to offer Salam at Roza-e-Rasool (SallAllahu Alaihi Wasallam) and leave from Bab-ul-Baqee.
For females, country-wise groups are moved to riaz-ul-Jannah and for ziarat Roza-e-Rasool (SallAllahu Alaihi Wasallam). Do not rush-in and avoid running and crying inside mosque. Whenever possible take aged pilgrims with you.
Suffah Platform & Bab-e-Jibreel
When coming out of Gate Bab-ul-Baqee, on the left side is a room where cleaning staff keeps its stuff. On the left of that room is Bab-e-Jibreel, which is the entrance towards Quba-Suffah and back side ofRoza-e-Rasool (SallAllahu Alaihi Wasallam), which also leads to Riaz-ul-Jannah from back. The same is also accessible from back side of the Original mosque area from the extension.