8th Dhul Hijjah: Going from Mecca to Mina
Pilgrims will enter the state of ihram and make the intention for hajj:
Labbayk Allahuma hajjan.
(Oh Allah here I am performing hajj.)
All the pilgrims set off for Mina on buses, cars or foot. From here on, pilgrims are to shorten their prayers according to the rules of travel. Pilgrims should also start reciting the talbiyah as often as possible, for the entire duration of the hajj.
Remember, pack lite! We took a carry-on each for the trip. Women might want to pack a few outfits because clothes get very dirty. If you don’t have enough room to pack a change of clothes for each day, I would say don’t worry about it but do pack an Eid outfit. After all this will be the most significant Eid al Adha of your life! For me, having performed hajj was a big reason to celebrate. But that’s just me. It’s important to note that space will be very limited in the tents in Mina. Pack sensibly. And don’t forget your medicines. Some women like to take mehndi with them too, to apply before Eid.
Since everyone starts off on the same day, the roads become completely blocked with traffic, and it can take the entire day to cover the distance of about 8km/5m.
The accommodations in Mina comprises of fire-proof tents that have electricity. Men and women are separate.
I think some of the more expensive groups from the USA have tents that are directly across the road from the Jamrat building. Get settled in your tent and devote as much time to prayer and supplication as possible. You will also develop camaraderie with all your tent buddies. That is an important part of this experience. You’ll learn a lot from all the different people. Try to really be there for each other.
Public bathrooms are few and far between. We did have our own bathrooms in our tent, and they were very well maintained. The toilets also had shower heads in case someone wanted to shower (which most people did at some point or the other). There isn’t a lot of room to wash clothes there, and where to dry them would also pose a difficulty. But I did see a few people wash some of their things.
Possibly you will be quite crowded in the tent. Your neighbor’s stuff might slide on to your sofa bed or they might be used to sleeping a little ‘freely.’ People will be stepping over (or on) you to get in or out of the tent. Try to bear with it. These things are totally insignificant. Just focus on why you are there. And if you are having trouble getting past how annoying your neighbor is, or how the AC isn’t working, then please step outside and look at the people camped on the streets. If that doesn’t help to put everything in perspective, then nothing will.
If you have accommodations in a tent, then please try to be respectful of the people who are camped outside and don’t step on their belongings when you go out. Conditions are very tough out there.