Umrah and Hajj are two obligations done by millions of Muslims every year. In the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah, millions from around the world come to pray in the two holiest mosques in the Islamic world. The huge crowd can sometimes lead to a lot of pushing and shoving, especially during Tawaaf (circling around the Kaaba), Saa’ee (running between Safah and Marwah mountains) among other times. Thousands are performing the same rituals at the same time which can sometimes cause problems. This is specially the case, during Ramadan and other busy season like Easter. Below are some tips to keep yourself and your loved ones safe during these times.
- Avoid crowded times for rituals. During Umrah, there are several times of the day when lesser people are performing the rituals in the Masjid-al-Haraam. You can ask your guide of get information of these times at the time of booking the Umrah packages.
- If you are travelling with your family, make sure to keep everyone close by. The strongest of the pack must lead. If there are two or more men in the group, encircle the women and children during Tawaaf and other obligations.
- All members of the group must be aware of the location and name of the hotel. You can also print names and keep them in the clothes of little children and elderly so that the authorities can contact you in case of emergency. Hotel business cards can be a handy way out.
- Women and men have separate praying areas in both holy mosques. Make sure you have decided upon a common meeting point after you are done with the prayers.
- There are multiple entry points at both holy mosques. Make sure you are aware of the nearest entry/exit point.
- Due to the expansion of the Haram, there is construction going on in and around Mataf area. Please keep a special thought out, so that children do not go close to that area.
- There are security guards all across the holy mosques. Make sure accompanied children know they should call them in case they are lost.
- Cooperate with the security guards at all times and follow instructions set forth by the authorities.
- Keep copies of your original documents with you at all times. There are several belts available in the market which can securely keep the originals. Documents of children should be kept with the parents. In case you lose your tickets, transfer or hotel vouchers, don’t worry. You can call your agent always to get another copy.
When you are buying Umrah packages, you can get detailed safety instructions from your company or from the guide/local representative. Listen carefully to those tips which will ensure you have a safe and memorable journey.