One thing that really surprised me was how many people I had spoken to who had not studied ahead of time. Once you sign up with your group you are given resources to read and refer to while you are performing your Hajj. Read this in advance and read anything you can get your hands on. This is a big trip and if you were going to any other trip, you would be all over the researching and building an itinerary. The one benefit of going in a group is that you don’t have to plan your transportation accommodation or food so use that to your advantage and study what your steps are for when you are performing the Hajj. You won’t remember everything and though the group leader will have lectures every day on what to expect the next day, it is always beneficial to know what to expect and use these lectures as refreshers. There were many people who were hearing what they would be doing for the very first time during these lectures and simply were not as mentally prepared as those who had done some reading and researching ahead of time. Again, something that I cannot stress enough!
If reading many books isn’t your thing, watch vlogs and YouTube videos. My favourite online hajj resource was recommended by a few of my friends and I would listen to this on my commutes and drives as well. Although you may be listening to many different leaders and reading from a variety of books, keep in mind that everyone’s programs are a little different and that the details will vary from group to group. The main rites are always the same and learning what you will do and why you will do them so will bring much more value and benefit to your Hajj.
I listened to lectures, watched YouTube videos and did a bit of high-level reading. Below are some resources I found very helpful.
- The Story of Hajj: Behind the Rituals – Karim AbuZaid
- Sacred Learning Lectures – Shaykh Husain Abdul Sattar
- Hajj Seminar YouTube videos – Shaykh Omar Suleiman
- How to Perform Hajj, Umrah, & Ziyarah – by Shaykh Saleem Dhorat
At a minimum – digest these over the next few months as you prepare for your trip. They take time but I tried to listen to the lectures during my commute and watch the videos during Ramadan and the few weeks leading to our departure.