Reviewed November 2023
This Hajj season will anticipate thousands of pilgrims flocking to Medinah to perform the holy rituals. It is noteworthy that this year, the Saudi Arabian government has allocated a quota of 1 million Hajj slots intended for both international and local pilgrims.
With the Hajj season 2024 coming closer, here are some essential things pilgrims should prepare before embarking on the Hajj pilgrimage.
Table of Contents
Prepare religious supplies
Besides Ihram clothes, essential religious supplies pilgrims should remember to bring along include a portable Koran, a prayer mat, and a seven-bead counter. General Muslim travel packs can be bought online and should contain all the supplies necessary to help pilgrims along their spiritual journey.
Seek advice from a Hajji and health official
Prepare a list of your questions and concerns and make an appointment to speak with a person who has already performed Hajj. Very often, they can provide you with practical tips that can’t be found in regular guidebooks. They will also be able to give you a first-person account of how to navigate and move along with the crowds and keep your cool among the vast masses.
Additionally, consult a health official or a physician in order to learn the best practices for performing the rites of Hajj during a pandemic. Familiarize yourself with the social distancing and mask-wearing protocols of the Hajj and be sure to properly observe them and keep yourself and others safe.
You can also refer to our dedicated article for more details.
Be mindful of weather conditions
It is expected that there will be fluctuations and extremities in the weather, so pilgrims do need to take care and be mindful of the temperatures. Even in mid-November, the temperatures would be relatively warm, and it may reach as high as fifteen degrees Celsius in the day and dip to as low as the high twenties in the evenings.
During the day, adequate sun protection is necessary to prevent heat strokes, fainting spells and other ailments caused by the heat. Wide-brimmed sun hats and umbrellas can protect from the harsh sunrays. Some also opt to bring a small handheld fan or a mini battery-powered fan to cool down and a towel to wipe off sweat. Sunglasses and sunscreen also come in handy.
Likewise, be prepared for cooler weather at night and pack some thicker clothing for the later hours.
It is important to keep hydrated during this journey, and a refillable water bottle is a must. Pilgrims can drink the Zamzam water from the well of Zamzam in Mecca.
Prepare essential medication and required vaccinations
The official health requirements for the next season’s Hajj pilgrims in Saudi Arabia have not been released yet. The following information pertains to observations made in 2023, and it may not be relevant for Hajj in 2024.
The last date to complete the vaccinations required for Hajj 2023 is 10 days before the Hajj season begins. This year, Hajj commenced on 26 June, which means pilgrims had to be fully inoculated by 16 June.
Pilgrims visiting the Kingdom for Hajj must take two COVID-19 shots and one booster jab. The following vaccines are the vaccines approved by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah Saudi Arabia:
- Pfizer/BioNTech. 2 doses
- Oxford/AstraZeneca: 2 doses
- Janssen. 2 doses
- Moderna. 2 doses
- Sinopharm. 2 doses
- Sinovac. 2 doses
- Covaxin. 2 doses
- Sputnik V. 2 doses
- Nuvaxovid. 2 doses
- Covovax. 2 doses
Apart from the COVID-19 vaccines, pilgrims will also have to be vaccinated against yellow fever, meningitis, polio, and seasonal influenza. For more information on these vaccines, check out our dedicated article below.
Finally, ensure that you have a necessary supply of prescription medication, as well as other essential medicines for common ailments such as coughs, stomach upsets, allergies and muscle aches.
For more information on vaccines, check out our dedicated article.
Be physically prepared
Pilgrims will have to walk miles under the hot sun during the day and battle with cold desert airs at night. Many find it useful to watch their diet, exercise and get in shape in preparation for the pilgrimage. Walking frequently in the weeks leading up to the journey can also help build endurance and stamina. Some prospective pilgrims choose to give up caffeine in preparation for the Hajj.
Pack energy bars, glucose packet drinks, and the like, as these snacks will also come in handy during the strenuous journey when a boost in endurance is needed.
Proper sanitation and hygiene during the journey are essential. Bring along disinfectant, and hand sanitiser and wash your hands as often as you can. Some choose to wear masks, especially in crowded areas. Disposable wipes and tissues should also be used instead of handkerchiefs. Bring along a few rolls of toilet paper and extra plastic bags and ziploc bags just in case.
Invest in a pair of practical and comfortable shoes. This is very important as you will be on your feet for the better part of this five-day pilgrimage.
Obey the health and safety protocols
Social distancing in mosques and other areas no longer applies. But to the extent possible, wear masks and use sanitizers to keep yourself safe.