MAKKAH: Pilgrims must be prepared, resolved and patient in facing Masyair, the most challenging phase of the haj starting tomorrow.
Tabung Haji (TH) director of operations (guidance) Tengku Aziz Raja Abdullah said aside from these key traits, it was also imperative for pilgrims to be armed with the required knowledge so they could perform the rituals correctly.
"Haj is not like going for a tour or holiday. There are the rules and these must not be taken lightly lest Allah takes what we do on our haj lightly, too.
"TH has given every single pilgrim a checklist during the haj courses they have attended. Pilgrims must refer to the checklist diligently on the do's and don'ts during Masyair.
"If there is any uncertainty as to whether a particular ritual has been executed properly - for example, whether the required number of pebbles have been thrown at the 'jamarat' or pillars - please refer to one of our religious guides before departing Mina for Makkah.
"It is very important to resolve all issues and ensure everything is done correctly before leaving," he told Malaysian media at TH headquarters Abraj Al-Janadriyah.
Masyair refers to the massive movement of pilgrims - close to three million from around the world - from Makkah to Arafah for wukuf, onwards to Muzdalifah overnight to pick up pebbles, and then to Mina for the stoning ritual.
Of the number, 30,200 pilgrims are from Malaysia.
Pilgrims will stay in tents overnight in Arafah and around three nights in Mina.
Tengku Aziz advised pilgrims not to bring too many things with them to their tents, and not to preoccupy themselves with the items they brought as time was precious and must be fully utilised.
In Arafah, he pointed out, it was important for pilgrims to have a list of what they hoped to achieve during wukuf.
"Have a list of doa. It can be in Arabic or translated versions. Some people feel more comfortable to recite doa in a language they are more fluent in and that is acceptable.
"Pilgrims who understand the enormity of wukuf will not indulge in time wasting activities such as idle chatter.
"Wukuf in Arafah is important in haj. TH's efforts in preparing the pilgrims through courses, forums and ceramah is to ensure that when they come to Arafah as well as Muzdalifah and Mina they do what is required properly. We cannot stress this enough."
Wukuf, which means standing or the act of being present, in Arafah represents the pinnacle of haj and is a most auspicious day in Islam.
It is said that during wukuf or the Day of Arafah, which starts after zohor on the 9th of Zulhijjah (Aug 20), the skies will open up and Allah will accept sincere prayers and repentance.
Pilgrims will thus spend their time in Arafah deep in supplication, praying for blessings for themselves and loved ones, and for their sins to be forgiven.
He said pilgrims should also pray they would not face challenges they could not cope with. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd