Welcome to my page

Salaam and welcome. I made my pilgrimage in 2012. I wanted to share my experiences and advice - so that those going in future know what to expect, or those who just want to know how I got on!

This blog is a mix of advice and diary excerpts.

Sometimes I was so caught up in the experience I didn't write, other times I was compelled to write. Some pieces will have been written from memory.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Choose your Hajj agent wisely!

I write this in all seriousness. Hajj is one of the biggest experiences of your life. No doubt about it. Hajj is a test.....thats another certainty.

Abu Hurairah (RA) reports that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said
“Whoever performs Hajj for the sake of pleasing Allah and therein utters no word of evil, nor commits any evil deed, shall return from it as free from sin as the day on which his mother gave birth to him”

Hajj has been called a 'jihad' for women. Jihad means 'struggle'. You are there to please Allah and its all about sacrifice. This is NO picnic!

So when you are booking your package choose carefully. Hajj is not cheap - and its not going to ever get cheaper; more Muslims attend every year and the reconstruction of Makkah AND Madinah means less accomodation. Less accomodation means less supply and more demand.

There are reasonable packages out there - but again don't be tempted to save that £500 and go for the cheaper agent. We did this to our detriment.

There are reliable forums out there where plenty of hujjaj are happy to post and share their experiences (good and bad!) of their agents.  Unfortunately my agent being fairly new was past the good old Google search (mistake number one!).

Research is the name of the game.

How many years has your agent ran Hajj packages? Are they reputable? Are they registered with ATOL, are they registered with the Ministry of Hajj in Saudi?

Research the hotels listed in the packages.....Trip Advisor is a great place for reviews though people can be overly negative on there. I reiterate that Hajj is a struggle. A great quote I read on a forum was a brother saying that whether you paid £10,000 or £2,000 every Hajj is a struggle.

I don't want to obliterate my blog by running down my agent - I have used the forum to do that! Its more of a 'I don't want another person to go through what I did'. So I will briefly list a few issues we had.
  • Our agent did not inform us when our flight was. This meant missing the plane and spending three days getting out to Makkah. It caused a lot of stress and cost me £500 in upgrading to Business Class to get on as a standby passenger.
  • The agent only booked the flights the day before and was ABROAD, yes he really wasn't even in the same country as his tour group.
  • Meetings were conducted purely in Arabic, depsite there being non-Arab speakers. It got my goat as I am a revert and wanted full guidance in my own language.
  • The hajj draft for those who missed their flights was not arranged. This resulted in 6 hours of admin work at Jeddah airport after the 'Flight from Hell'.
  • Food organisation was lazy and sloppy. Chicken and rice....every day twice a day!
  • We were told our package included 4 nights in Medinah....we had ONE night. ONE.
  • We were flown back to England a day early
Despite the above and other issues with the agents - I am thankful to Allah for letting me complete my Hajj. And I can say my story is still not as bad as other stories I have heard! Truely there is always someone worse off than yourself!

So - if you are reading this with the intention to make Hajj then please please please do your research....it will take a few extra stresses away from Hajj.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I had no idea getting to hajj was so complicated. I always thought people book a ticket to Saudi and make hajj! Looking forward to reading more :)