Hajj is a journey of a lifetime for any Muslim and completes the fifth pillar of Islam. There are an increasing number of parents who are performing Hajj with their families or whilst expecting a child; however, to make Hajj a truly positive and spiritual experience when going with the kids, it is important to take note of a few things.
Many people are worried about taking their children to Hajj with them as the pilgrimage requires immense physical, spiritual, and emotional preparation. Those who do decide to take their children should benefit from finding the best ways to prepare themselves and their kids and place their trust in Allah. Almighty Allah (glorified and exalted be He) says to us in the Holy Qur’an:
“If anyone thinks that Allah cannot support him in this life and in the Hereafter, let him turn completely to (his Creator in) heaven, and sever (his dependence on anyone else). He will then see that this plan eliminates anything that bothers him” [Quran chapter 22, verse 15].
So leave your trust with Allah, do not worry, and take heed of some essential tips to aid you in making your Hajj journey a little easier when going with the family.
Top tips for going on Hajj with your family:
1. Teach your children about the Hajj
If your children are old enough you could explain to them the significance of the Hajj and what it entails and let them know about the spiritual journey they will be undertaking to get them motivated and excited inshallah.
2 . Light cotton clothing for kids
Prepare for very hot conditions and ensure your children wear clothing or ihram that is lightweight and loose. Remember to pack extra change of clothes for the kids and an over-garment for yourselves when you are performing Hajj with the kids.
3. Keep hydrated
Stack up on bottles of water and fluids for your children as you have to ensure that you and the family are well-hydrated. There are particular parts of Hajj such as in Mina when you may spend time in tents and will need a lot more fluids to avoid dehydration.
4. Bring your sunscreen
It may sound rather obvious but children need sunscreen protection and there are many sunscreens which are suitable for kids to protect them from the heat. It is important to bring one and use it on your children to protect against sunburn as you will often be in uncovered space.
5. Make arrangements for necessary immunizations
Your children should be immunized if they haven’t already done so before going to Hajj. This will ensure that they are protected against meningitis, yellow fever, and other diseases, depending on what is requested by the Saudi government in any particular year.
6. Remember the cough syrup!
There are medicines and basic first-aid kits which are available for free in medical units, which are set up all over the Hajj area; however, you may prefer to bring your own cough syrup or any other prescription medication you will need.
7. Make dua with the kids at Mount Arafat
Many pilgrims spend the whole day in supplication and Salah in Mount Arafat; therefore, it may help to alternate care with you and your spouse to ensure that you can make dua effectively. It is also a perfect time to encourage your children to make dua if they are old enough.
8. Prepare for cold nights in Muzdalifah
Muzdalifah can be quite cold, so prepare by bringing a blanket and something warm in your bag for you and the kids, as it is especially chilly in the cold seasons.
9. Find out from your Hajj guide/organiser about facilities for kids
It would be beneficial to discuss with your Hajj organisers about the facilities available for children whilst going to Hajj such as baby changing areas, places to feed babies if you are nursing, wheelchair facilities if they get tired etc. This will ensure that you know what your package facilities are so that you do not have to worry later.
10. Keep the kids busy whilst on the roads
You may find that the kids may get restless whilst on the roads especially when you are travelling for long. Keep the kids busy by arranging some things for them such as drawing and colouring if they are young or travel games. In addition to keep in the spirit of Hajj why not get them to learn some short suras on the way.
11. Bring a travel pillow for children
Children get tired rather easily especially in hot climates and they tend to feel more irritable especially if they are young. If they do feel sleepy it may help to bring a small cushion or travel pillows to keep them comfortable whilst travelling for long hours.
Last but not least have a wonderful, spiritual, and enlightening journey to Hajj and may Allah (glorified and exalted be He) make it easy for all parents who are commencing on this beautiful journey of a lifetime.
“Our Lord! And make us submissive unto You and of our offspring a nation submissive unto You, and show us our Manasik (all the ceremonies of pilgrimage – Hajj and Umrah) and accept our repentance. Truly, You are the One Who accepts repentance, the Most Merciful” [Quran chapter 2, verse 128].
About the Author:
Tasnim Nazeer is a Freelance Journalist and Financial Reporter for Business Media Group’s Global Islamic Finance Magazine. She has written for a variety of print and online publications including CNN International, The Huffington Post and The Muslim News amongst many others and is the author of her first children’s book ‘Allah’s Gifts published by Greenbird Books. She was shortlisted for the Asian Women of Achievement 2012, The Muslim Writers Awards Young Journalist of the Year Shortlist 2011 and is listed as Top 40 under 40 in MB Muslima an American based Magazine. Other accolades include receiving the Universal Peace Federation Ambassador for World Peace Award in promoting interfaith relations. For more information visit her website on http://tasnimnazeer.com