Hajj 2022 – All you need to know about this soulful journey
Hajj is the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, for people worldwide who follow Islam. The five pillars of Islam are Shahadah (oath to God), Salat (prayer), Zakat (donation to charity), Sawm (Ramadan fasting), and Hajj (to undertake a journey). It is a mandatory religious duty that every Muslim must carry out at least once during their lifetime. After a gap of 2 years, due to the pandemic, Hajj 2022 will be open for global Muslims.
When is Hajj 2022 scheduled?
Hajj is carried out in the last month of the Islamic calendar, Dhul-Hijjah. The rites are performed over 5 -6 days and usually are from the 8th day to the 12th or 13th day of Dhul-Hijjah.
Hajj 2022 will begin on the 8th day of Dhul-Hijjah 1443 or Thursday, 7th July 2022, and end on the 13th day of Dhul-Hijjah 1443 or Tuesday, 12th July 2022.
What are the Hajj 2022 guidelines?
After 2 years of the pandemic, Hajj is open again to the world this year. However, the Hajj committee has laid certain guidelines to be followed by the pilgrims to ensure the safety of everyone.
- The pilgrims are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Saudi Ministry of Health recommends vaccines against seasonal influenza before travelling to the Kingdom.
- Wearing masks and following social distancing are strongly recommended.
- Pilgrims who follow a treatment plan are recommended to plan and carry their medicines as suggested by the experts.
- Abide by the instructions inside the Holy Mosque of Makkah and Mashaer (holy sites).
- A medical supply kit should be kept handy in case of emergency cold, diarrhea, or skin allergy breakout. Ensure that the medicines you carry along are authorized by the Saudi Food & Drug Authority.
- Carry multiple copies of important documents like passports, vaccination certificates, etc.
- Carry your pilgrim identity card and the pilgrim residence card at all times.
- People travelling in groups are advised to stay close to the group from the beginning to the end of the journey.
- To safeguard from the harsh sun, carry an umbrella.
- Follow an exercise routine to prepare for Hajj rituals. Pilgrims who have serious or chronic ailments are advised to avoid over-exertion.
How can you apply for Hajj 2022?
The Hajj application form is available at every Saudi Consulate office. It is however recommended to apply through a licensed travel agent to help you through the process. The travel agent will take care of your travel, stay, and other necessary details of your Hajj journey.
What are the documents required for a Hajj visa?
Hajj visas are issued from Mid-Shawwal to 25th Dhual-Qa’dah every year and are free. The documents required for the visa process are:
- A passport with a validity of at least 6 months having at least two blank pages that are adjacent to each other
- Two recent passport size color photographs with white background. The photograph should be a full-face view in which the individual is facing directly at the camera.
- A completed application form, filled with black ink or printed. The form should be signed and stamped by the authorized travel agency.
- The Mehram is required to provide details about his spouse and children or any relative he is travelling with. He is required to provide copies of his marriage certificate or birth certificate as well.
- Women are required to travel with Mehram and submit proof of kinship with the application forms.
- Women above 45 years of age can travel without a Mehram with a group provided she submits a notarized letter of no objection from her Mehram authorizing her travel with the named group.
- A non-refundable round-trip ticket with confirmed reservations.
- Proof of complete vaccination against COVID-19
- A certificate of vaccination against meningitis, and ACYW135. Infants and children (up to 15 years of age) should provide proof of vaccination against polio as well. The certificate of vaccination should not be older than 3 years and not less than 10 days before entering the Kingdom.
- Two certified checks or cashier checks payable to ‘Unified Agents Office’ in Jeddah for services (guides, Zamzam water agents, tent accommodation in Mina & Arafat as well as transportation costs). The name of the pilgrim, passport number, and date & place of issue should be mentioned on the checks. The pilgrim can choose to pay one check covering both the fees too. Children between the ages of 7 to 15 should pay only half the amount. Children below the age of 7 years are not required to pay. Find the correct charges for every country with the Saudi Consulate.
- Foreign nationals should submit documented proof of legal residence status.
- Islamic certificate notarized by an Islamic Center should be provided by applicable who have converted to Islam.
- All applicants below 18 years of age should be accompanied by their families.
- Passport authorities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia reserve the right to return (at his/ her own expense) any pilgrim who has incomplete, wrong or false information about their residence.
What are the general guidelines for Hajj pilgrims?
Hajj pilgrims are expected to follow a certain set of common guidelines to ensure a smooth entry and stay in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The guidelines are as follows:
- Vaccination certificates should be displayed for inspection by the Saudi Authorities at the port of entry.
- No food products should be carried in the Kingdom.
- The last day to enter the Kingdom for Hajj is 4 Dhu’l-Hijjah of each year.
- The pilgrims are required to submit their passports to the Unified Agents Office representatives to complete all the travel formalities to Mecca and Medina.
- If the pilgrim loses the passport, the same should be reported to the office appointed to them. Applicants should obtain a report from the Unified Agents Office stating the loss of a passport.
- The pilgrims are required to leave the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia after Hajj before the 10th day of Muharram each year.
- The pilgrims should abide by and respect the Kingdom’s Islamic laws and regulations.
- Drug trafficking is strictly prohibited in the Kingdom and violators may be prosecuted and subjected to severe punishments including death penalty.
- Political, religious and sectarian gatherings are strictly prohibited.
What are the packages for Hajj 2022?
It is advised by the Hajj committee to enroll for Hajj through a licensed travel partner. Most of the travel partners design packages for Hajj as per your budget and requirements.
Most of the packages to Hajj include airline tickets, food, transport, and accommodation.
What are the Hajj rituals?
The Hajj is a display of solidarity and submission to ‘God.’ This journey is completed with a set of guidelines and rituals. There are 7 major steps of Hajj rituals.
It is a spiritual state which is initiated at the designated Miqats and is considered the starting point of the journey. In this state, the pilgrims are required to abstain from certain actions. The males are required to drape in two seamless pieces of cloth, one around the waist and another around the left shoulder, and fastened at the right side. The females are required to wear a simple dress that abides by the conditions of Islamic public dressing. The hands and faces of females remain uncovered during the Hajj journey.
The devotees are expected to refrain from cutting nails, shaving, using perfumes, damaging plants, hurting animals, and so on.
The ritual of Tawaf is conducted after donning the Ihram. In Tawaf, the pilgrims walk seven times around the Kabaa. Each circuit begins by kissing or touching the black stone. After completion of Tawaf, two Rakaat prayers are performed and the pilgrims also drink water from Zamzam.
The first day of Hajj begins at Mina where pilgrims offer their prayers of that day. The next day is also called the ‘day of Hajj’ and the pilgrims arrive at Arafat before noon. Arafat is barren land where devotees stand in submission, repent and attempt to atone for their sins, seek mercy from Allah and listen to sermons.
The pilgrims should leave Arafat after sunset without offering the evening prayers for Muzdalifah. This is a place between Mecca and Arafat. The evening and night prayers are offered here and pilgrims spend their night in Muzdalifah and collect pebbles for the next day’s ‘stoning the devil’ ritual.
On the third day, the pilgrims move from Muzdalifah back to Mina after the morning prayers.
At Mina, the pilgrims throw 7 stones from sunrise to sunset at Jamrat al-Aqabah, the largest of three pillars. After the stoning, traditional animal sacrifice is undertaken as a symbolic representation of Ibrahim’s readiness to sacrifice his son to ensure food for poor people.
Hair Cutting and trimming:
After sacrificing an animal, all male pilgrims shave their heads and female pilgrims trim their hair. This is done on the day of Eid al-Adha.
On the same day or the following day, devotees visit the holy mosque of Mecca and this is known as the Tawaf Al-Ifadah, and the night is spent at Mina. On the fourth day from noon to sunset, the pilgrims again throw stones at each of the three pillars at Mina. On the fifth day, the same process is repeated. Pilgrims may visit Mecca before sunset but if they continue to stay at Mina, they need to repeat the stoning before leaving for Mecca on the fifth day.
Before leaving Mecca, pilgrims perform a final farewell called Tawaf Al-Wadaa in which they circle the Kabaa seven times counterclockwise and attempt to touch or kiss the Kabaa.
Revel in this soulful journey to Hajj and experience spirituality, purity, and unity in one glorious place.