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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, 16 December 2012

Mina - what do you need?

So Mina is 5 days long. If you are like me - then the temptation is to pack the kitchen sink....oh yes. I have been known to take a large suitcase for a weekend away.

I have to admit - I thought I was bad until the lady 2 beds down from me opened her case (yes she took a case to Mina!) and revealed, a hotplate, teapot, cups AND saucers. I laughed til I cried. Thankfully she saw the funny side of my laughter.

We were told the night before: take very little.

Oh the panic that caused me.

But lets be rational ladies: this is how much space you will have in a tent:
I kid you not. Space is a premium bought only by the rich. Chances are if you are reading my blog and making your research you are not in that minority!
Please for the sake of your tent mates keep it to a minimum. I was hemmed in by bags and bags of crap that were not opened. Why? Because there are no power points for hotplates. You want hot water off to the kitchen you go - every camp is assigned one. Or you can buy a cup of tea/coffee from people selling such things in the camp.  I was also hemmed in by my own over packing! Guilty as charged!
So from my own experience I have compiled a list of what you need for Mina/Muzdalifah.
1) A sleeping bag for Muzdalifah: this is the bulkiest item you will need. I would say its not actually essential. Truth be told - you won't sleep much at Muzdalifah, I did - but then I sleep anywhere! I would find out from your guide whether you will complete the sunnah and stay til fajr. Me and a few others from our group did but the agent left at 2am - which is permissable for the elderly, and ill.
2) A medical kit. I thanked God for this when I stupidly twisted/sprained my foot in Arafat. i would like to say I did it on the mount...but no....it was me falling on my face outside the loos and having to be be helped up by several brothers....and yes I was embarrassed! I was able to strap my foot up which was needed as I had to walk 12 hours the following day. In my kit I put a few extras in such as pain killers, paracetamol, and antiseptic spray. The antiseptic spray was a great idea - you will get cuts and abrasions on your feet - and I recommend the spray for after using the loos etc.  Pop sudocrem in - I promise if you chafe then this will sort you out asap.
3) Flip flops for the loos. Seriously just bring them.
4) One plain abaya. You can wash this and it will dry in about 10 minutes in the heat.
5) A housedress (long sleeved). A lot of time will be spent chilling in the tent - a housedress is a comfy and modest solution. Also u can get away wearing it to the showers by popping a khimar over it.
6) Khimar. Buy it out there. The one I bought in the Uk was cotton and was horrifically heavy and hot. The nasty cheapy one I got in Jeddah was very very comfortable and everyone....and I mean everyone wears them out there
7) 5 pairs of knickers....lol. I don't need to explain this ;-)
8) 1 outfit for under the abaya. I personally wore leggings and a vest top. Light and comfy and cover my legs. These again can be washed easily and dried easily.
9) Soap (unscented). Bring regular shampoo and conditioner as on Eid day after you have completed your tawaaf and sa'ee you can wash in normal scented shampoos. This can also double up to clean your clothes.
For Arafat and Muzdalifah, you need your sleeping bag, a Quran/ duaa book. I would take the first aid kit and thats it really. You will be fed, and trust me you won't shower either at Arafat or Muzdalifah.



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