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Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Doing Umrah with children - small tips & experience.

I have got round to publishing this post at last, I had been writing up and I am happy to share these tips with you all. Insha'Allah they will be helpful!  

Firstly here is a step by step guide - just print it and keep it with you: 

https://www.slideshare.net/tanveerpadder5/final-umrah-step-by-step

So we had been planning to go for Umrah as a family and finally planned our trip to go ahead. It was Myself, my husband our little 2 and half year old, MIL and uncle who already actually lives in Saudi. We got our visa's sorted which you have to get beforehand and we did this through an agency which are easy to find - there are many around. 

You also have to get the correct vaccinations and without these you actually cannot get the visa! which is probably a good thing..so we got the vaccinations got the visa's booked, our flights to Jeddah sorted and off we were.


Before you perform Umrah you have to be in the state of Ihram even before you arrive in the holy city of Mecca, it has to be done before the boundary line known as Miqaat (You can find out in detail online how to get into Ihram and remain in that state) but for short it's a state of purity men will change into the white cloth that you have probably seen, it wraps around their body's and women can just change into there normal clothing (abaya) and just follow the rulings and make the intention.

Our flight was stopping over in Kuwait so we had decided to get into the state of Ihram once we had landed there and kept all of our clothing and necessities in a hand luggage bag with us. Some people do this on the airplane just before the the boundary line (which is usually announced) but there will be a lot of other people doing this so it's better to do it either earlier on in the flight or before you get on one. We had decided to stop of in Kuwait so we could change into our Ihram easily and in comfort but we ended up having severe delays getting from Kuwait to Jeddah so was in our Ihram state for a pretty long time and super tired by the time we caught our flight - but remained positive because we knew what we had to look forward to.


Once we was in the state of Ihram you cannot do certain things so a certian things are limited (even soap) so make sure to carry non - alcohol containing soap with you. (You can find a list of can's and can't)


We landed in Jeddah airport early in the morning and overall the airport is in a good state and they seem pretty organised, Just be patient and keep snacks for the little one and their favourite toy with you - If you have very small children make sure to take a pushchair the airline can keep this at the front of the airplane for you so you don't have to check it in - as soon as you are getting off they can hand it over, which makes things so much easier with little ones.


We waited for our luggage and the toilets in the airport I have to advise ladies can be very wet! So I would advise wearing a good sandal or trainer overall for the journey, nothing like a fabric shoe or espadrille - and just think comfort! We got something to eat and then had a nap just till after mid day then made our way straight to Mecca by car, (I am guessing a lot of people may travel to Makkah straight away from this point, but we had a place to stay in Jeddah and left some luggage we didn't need and only took some handbags with us and this way we got to nap as we were exhausted, you could do this once you get to your hotel - I would advise get a little bit of rest especially if you have delays like us. The journey was roughly an hour from Jeddah to Makkah and not that bad at all..on the way you should say the Talbiyah for ‘Umrah, saying: “Labbayk Allaahumma ‘Umratan. Labbayka Allaahumma labbayk, labbayka laa shareeka laka labbayk. Inna al-hamda wa’n-ni‘mata laka wa’l-mulk, laa shareeka lak.



(Just print of and refer to the step by step above that I shared if you need reminding of steps, its really helpful)

On Arrival to Mecca you will see the sign and the gates that you enter, the holy historic mountains you pass - the hustle and bustle and we felt at ease but just wanted to make our way to the ka'bah. We got to our hotel dropped of our bags. Be alert that as soon as you see the ka'bah you will want to make dua and some hotels will have a direct view of the ka'bah from the window so just don't open the shutters before you have performed umrah and had the chance to walk down to it directly.


We all walked down and decided after contemplating to take the pushchair with us as we knew her little legs wouldn't be able to walk that much  - we had a lightweight silvercross as its so easy to fold and travel with. - Bad idea though, as you cannot take it in...so my advise would be not to take it! I will explain why.. 



THINGS TO CARRY & TAKE WITH YOU:


- super light string bag (backpack type) for your flip flops.

- Small bottle of water which can be filled with zamzam after.
- Light small Snacks for the little one a spare nappy - Especially if you have babies or toddlers.

(Try not to carry to many things or huge bulging backpacks as you will find it really hard to munovier around)


As soon as we walked up to the Masijid al-haram there were so many many worshippers walking up I felt a rush, I was excited, emotional, calm all at the same time and I was so ready for this experience! We set foot onto the first bit of white marble and that was the realisation for me that we had made it to the most holiest destinations on earth...The whiter than white surrounding represents the purity of the place with so many brothers and sisters from every corner of the world around you, you feel a wind of calm come over you even within the presence of thousands. 


We got to the gates to which is the main entrance into the actual ka'bah and the masjid and - Now explained - you are actually not allowed to take the push chair inside. The security will not allow it and they are extremely strict and will not let things just pass, so we asked if we could leave it outside as we saw a couple others lined up he said it was up to us so thats what we did. However your pushchair will be swept away by the cleaners - i'm not lying - they will...so just leave it at the hotel.. 

POINTER: You can hire a wheelchair which they have ready and available for kids and adults in need to complete your worship. I would recommend this if you have more that one child with you and cannot carry them..Even if you have one child and don't have another adult with you..to take turns in carrying. Just remember you will be walking alot.


Make sure to have your lightweight string backpack ready for your flip-flops as there is no place to leave them here and they will get thrown in the bin by the cleaners here as they come by and sweep up everything on the floor.. 


The little one was fully awake and pretty calm and we decided to let her walk in with us to experience this really special moment. On entrance we walked down the marble steps slowly and I kept my eyes down to the ground so the I wasn't to catch a glimpse of the ka'bah until I was totally ready. 


As soon as I looked up there it was the ka'bah, I felt a gush of emotion, so much so that I felt tears coming through and at the same time I felt the most calm I had felt in a long time. Amongst all these worshippers with the same goal from all different backgrounds we stood there just looking up and making Dua and it is a truly amazing feeling and you will be thankful for this moment..

nothing else mattered at this point and you forget anything you have ever worried about and anything you do have to worry about will come out in Dua..Allow yourself to submit fully, devote yourself to this moment and Allah's love. This is the time that you can ask for anything your heart needs and be thankful for everything you perhaps didn't beforehand think about.

We set of to start our tawaf which is going round the Ka'bah 7 times in total, as you go round with joy and devotion you say out loudly supplements that you can learn and also you will hear other saying out loud as you go round. We started on the outer circle but went in a little more slowly - it is very squashed and as you get closer to the ka'bah it is literally mm space the husband carried the little one round as it is impossible for a child to walk round with so many people - you can take a wheel chair and go up onto one of the floors but we really wanted to experience it this way. 

Pointer:
Remember be patient when doing tawaf you may be pushed, there may be squashing going on but you must remain calm - your deeds good or bad are multiplied 100'000 times here and this test of your patience and behaviour really matters. Be kind and just remember why you are here and what our Prophet (PBUH) considered good character.

Once we had finished the tawaf you just feel super liberated it's like nothing I had experienced, we had a drink of zam zam water which is available, you will see signs for Zam zam water all around. we the set of to do safaa & marwa which you must complete in order to complete your umrah you walk (parts men run) up and down Mount Safa and Mount Marwa they're not actual mountains now..but you will get the sense. (Refer to the guide I linked to get all the information you need) in the midst of our walk up we had to hire a wheel chair (which was easy to get) as my MIL wasn't feeling to well I think she just got a bit too hot but was absolutely fine after, she held the little one on her lap which was much easier as my husbands arms were getting really tired and there was no way her little legs could walk -  my husbands uncle pushed them up and down. I can still remember I actually felt amazing..I just couldn't believe I was here and I wanted to take in every moment..and the little one found her dad doing the short run that the men have to do rather entertaining and joined in a couple of times..and even started reminding him..


On completion of our Umrah we stood there took it all in and we all had huge smiles on our face, the little was was fully awake and we had gone through a big purifying experience and defiantly a life changing one..We stayed in Makkah for 4 days and prayed every Salah in front of the ka'bah the most blessed feeling I have ever felt in my life - I still yearn for that feeling may Allah make it easy for us. I even got to touch the ka'bah - you can smell the ka'bah even from a far the beautiful scent it gives off - I think it was on the third day, we left the little one with here nanny and got through the crowds..I cried.., I stood there for what felt like a long time in my mind but was less than a couple of minutes if not just one and made Dua from my heart. Your heart and soul which is the thing that needs nourishing most, and this is what coming here does. 


If you're going to do Umrah then Insha'Allah it is accepted for you may your Dua's be heard.

I can do another post on Makkah and the experience of the city and my days there and of madinah on another post Insha'Allah, if you would all like!





Yasmin x











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