Muslims perform Etikaaf during the last 10 days of Ramadan due to its religious importance. It is a dream of each and every Muslim to perform Etikaaf in Masjid al Haram (Makkah). During Etikaaf, they are not allowed to go out of the mosque without very important needs like going to washrooms and having meals. Today, we are going to share with you a set of guidelines which you should follow while performing Etikaaf in Masjid al Haram (Makkah). Also Read: Procedure to Apply for Etikaaf in Masjid al Nabawi (Madina)
Packing Essentials: 3 to 4 set of clothes is enough since the Etikaaf will be lasting for 9 to 10 days, and depending on how regularly you need to shower too. For the ladies, it is best to carry extra hijab and abaya with you just in case. Although it is very hot in Makkah, the nights can get chilly if your clothes are really thin. Try wearing cotton as it is best suited for both day and night.
- Pack your hand wipes, oud, deodorant, tissue, comb, extra pair of glasses, tooth brush and toothpaste.
- Charger for your cell phone, but be sure not to be on your phone during Etikaaf.
- Prayer mat
- Sleeping equipment such as blankets, inflatable pillows etc.[irp]
Where should you sleep? People in Etikaaf are usually on the first floor of the Masjid Al Haram as it is not as crowded as the ground floor. You can enter through gate no.44 and it will take you straight up by the stairs. You will find separate areas for men and women. The best thing about this is that the area for ablution will be located right behind you; hence you will not have to go to the bathroom in order to do wudu. Also right out of the gate no.84, are the female bathrooms as well as the restaurants.
Where should you pray? Although the air conditioned halls may seem like the best place to sleep, they tend to get over crowded during the Taraweeh time and the time prior to Iftar (breaking the fast). It is best to have a sleeping bag which can be stuffed with all your stuff for safety and in order to be carried easily to a prayer spot. In terms of location, look for some place cool, but not preferably air conditioned, as these areas will be less crowded allowing you to actually pray comfortably instead of being squashed in the air conditioned halls. You can also get a spectacular view of the Holy Kaaba from some of the cabins. Try going for someplace close to the King Abdul Aziz Gate.
Where to eat and what to eat? Iftar will not be a problem as it is served. If you are outside, there are small packs which are distributed through official channels. These packs have dates, juice, water, croissant etc. this will be enough to last you until the end of Taraweeh. If you are inside then you will surely get something as many people and officials are distributing iftar for the worshippers.
- For suhoor and dinner, you can go to the Hilton towers located right across from you. There are some fast food outlets where you can purchase your food from.
- Pizza’s of Eight – this is a pizza place located there and has short waiting time along with also having a separate cue for the families. Their pizza sizes are also larger than usual, which is a good thing.
- Al Tazaj – best-tasting chicken broast, but only the strong willed can stand in the long queues for this delicious chicken.
- House of Donuts – this place has coffee for only SAR 3. This can help you in staying awake for prayer, or generally if you like coffee. Plus there are donuts!!!
- There are Shawarma shops located outside the tower; you can also get rice and rotisserie chicken. Be on the lookout for hygiene though as you do not want to get sick.
- Even dates and Zam Zam will be sufficient for you.
A guide to surviving the crowds on Friday and the Odd Nights: Avoid the rush hours, which will include the time right before or after prayer. Find a nice place to pray well before hand.
Make a bathroom schedule which would be designed so that you can go the bathroom without losing your prayer spot.
The bathrooms can also be extremely crowded however it will be inevitable with a limited number of washrooms and a lot of worshippers.
On Fridays do not under any circumstances leave the mosque prior to the Friday prayers. This is due to the fact that you will not be allowed back into the mosque. Be sure to enter a cabin by 8 am if you want to have any place to pray at all. The prayer will start at 1 pm so you can only imagine how crowded it will become. It is estimated there are 1 million people. Also on the 29th night during the Khatamul Quran or the finishing of the Quran, you will not be allowed to enter the mosque if you leave for any reason whatsoever. The rows for the prayers can extend to more than 10 km away from the mosque on the roads.[irp]
Must to-do’s when you are there
Perform the Tawaf in the morning. You will see some of the most beautiful sights in the world. Though most people think the best time is the night time, however, the early morning is the best place. It is truly a sight to be seen. Try it and you will be recommending it to everyone.
You should understand what is actually being recited during the Tahajjud and Taraweeh every day. This is exactly where your translation of the Holy Quran and the prayers or Dua. You should read the translation either before or after the actual recitation to understand what was being recited. But be sure to actually read the translation if you do not understand the Arabic language, as reciting without understanding does not feel complete.
Be sure to help other people and not cause any other person any pain. Do not fight over the spots or places and give yours up for anybody in need. Be on your best behavior because you are in the house of Allah and the center point of the entire Islamic world. Be thankful for the opportunity and pray for the Ummah. Build a connection with the creator.