So….Let’s say you took that next step and you are now officially planning your Umrah trip! OR, you’re not quite there yet but you’re curious to know…from a sister’s perspective how can I prepare?
There are many elements of preparation: The information and knowledge component, spiritual component, practical steps, and “100% must be in place before you can even go” things such as having a visa.
By no means is this list exhaustive, but here are a few tips on how to begin preparing for your journey of a lifetime!
1) If there’s only one book you are able to read before you go, it should be “The Ultimate Guide to Umrah” by: Abu Muneer Ismail Davids. Not only should you read this book once, it is extremely helpful to read it at least twice or more. On the second time around, you can insert tabs to easily locate important sections like how to make intention for Umrah, performing Tawaaf, performing Sa’ee, important supplications like “what to say when you enter the Haram”, how to pray Janaza Salah, and many more. It’s a good idea to take this book with you, and to continue to review it while on your trip and particularly on the plane! One of the most appealing things about this book is that it is written in an informal, easy to understand manner, which makes you feel as though the author is speaking to you through a casual conversation.
It is absolutely essential to familiarize yourself with the Fardh and Sunnah acts of Umrah, because unfortunately, there are a lot of common misconceptions and mistakes that can occur if one does not clearly understand what is permissible and impermissible.
2) “Fortress of the Muslim. Invocations from the Quran and Sunnah” is an excellent book of supplications. It is a good idea to bring other authentic supplication books, as these will come in handy throughout your trip! After all, SO MUCH of Umrah is about supplication.
3) Make a personal Duah/Supplication list. It can be quite overwhelming when you are travelling overseas, trying your best to ensure you remember all of the acts within Umrah and visiting the Ka’bah and most of all getting used to the sheer awe of being in Mecca. So before you leave, physically write down all of the things that you want to make Duah for (for yourself, family, friends, the Ummah). If someone has asked you to remember them in your duas, make sure to write it down so that you actually do remember them! Having a written list of all the things you want to ask the Almighty for is more helpful than you can imagine! It is all about Duah! During Tawaaf, during Sa’ee, between the Adhan and Iqama, along with many other opportunities so be sure to keep that list on you and pull it out as often as you can!
4) A travel journal. If you’ve never done journaling while travelling (or in general), the idea of this might seem foreign or awkward. But there is truly something remarkable about documenting your experience of Umrah, what it felt like, what you saw, what you heard, and the state of your heart. The words you write in those moments will come from within, and no matter how hard you try to recall later, you never can fully describe what the experience was like because our memory often fails us. But the beautiful thing about keeping a journal of your experience is that it serves as a reminder, it brings you back to those moments, and it allows you to constantly relive this life changing experience. And not only that, you can share it with others so that they can get a small taste of what it was like!
….Stay tuned for the next segment of this Imancipation series-practical tips on what to pack for your Umrah Journey!