Beating Procrastination Series: Preparing for Hajj
I know you might be thinking that it is a bit too early to talk about Hajj, especially since we are 3 months away, but by the end of this article you'll understand why you precisely do need to start preparing for Hajj now. Normally, people start planning for Hajj around Ramadan time. They feel closer to their deen during Ramadan and look forward for that next big spiritual buzz after Ramadan, the Hajj. Unfortunately, by this time, unless they have enough cash on them, it's very hard for them to make it to Hajj due to the expenses. Furthermore, those last 3 months between Ramadan and Hajj are hectic so that even if they are financially prepared, they barely plan well for Hajj and thus have a less than optimal Hajj experience.
My goal with this article is to inspire one of you who is on reasonable income to start getting ready for Hajj from now both financially, physically and mentally insha'Allah.
Are you ready? Here we go.
1. Take out your calendar and start marking key dates:
Mark when Hajj is forecasted to occur this year, which dates Hajj visas applications open up in your country (you might need to call a few Hajj/Umrah agents to find out), when is the best time to do Hajj shopping, when do Hajj courses take place, etc.
2. Have a Plan/Set Milestones:
Set deadlines by which you want to achieve certain milestones. For example: By Ramadan, I'll be financially ready for Hajj. One month before Hajj, I'll prepare all my Hajj shopping, etc. Make this your "project" of the year.
3. Start Saving Now:
Every dollar counts, so start saving for Hajj today. Calculate how much you need to save up each month to purchase a reasonable priced Hajj package. If your income is not enough, try to think of where in your expenses you can reduce just for this year or look for alternative Hajj packages.
Set up a separate bank account and start depositing 10-20% of your income in this account (or however much you need to save) every month. No matter what happens during the year, try your best not to dip into your savings unless in emergency situations.
4. Start Reading about Hajj:
Al-hamdulillah, Hajj is not a complex ritual, but it'll put you in good standing if you start reading about Hajj early. Don't just read about "how" to do Hajj, but read about the stories behind Hajj: The story of Ibrahim (Peace be upon him) and His son building the Ka'aba, the story of their sacrifice, the story of Hajar and Safa & Marwa, the story of Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and his final Hajj. Read, learn, and get excited!
To get you started, here you can find a translated version of "The Farewell Sermon" delivered by the Prophet (Peace be upon him) on the day of 'Arafah, the ninth day of Dhul-Hijjah, 10 A.H. (632 CE), during his Hajj.
5. Inform family/friends:
Tell your family and friends from now that you're planning to go on Hajj. This public pledge forces you not to give up on your plans. Moreover, this way your family will understand that there may be no vacation trips this year, or you might postpone making that big purchase this year. Getting your friends and family's support is very crucial.
In summary, if you start preparing for Hajj today, inshaAllah with the permission of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala) you'll be going to Hajj by the end of this year. Do not procrastinate, and start preparing for the journey of a lifetime from now.