Hajj is a compulsory ritual in Islam. It is performed during the twelfth and last month of the Islamic year, more accurately, between the 8th and 13th of Dhul-Hijjah. It is reported by Hazrat Abu Huraira that the Prophet Muhammad(ﷺ) said:

“Whoever performs Hajj for Allah’s pleasure and does not have sexual relations with his wife, and does not do evil or sins, then he will return (after Hajj free from all sins) as if he were born anew.”

(Sahih al-Bukhari: 1521)

Hajj Day 1 is called Yaum al-Tarwiyah, the ‘Day of Quenching Thirst.’ This is because, on this day, pilgrims were advised to fill their containers with plenty of water and drink sufficient water to prepare for the lengthy and exhausting journey to Mina from Makkah. Moreover, pilgrims were instructed to ensure their animals were adequately nourished and fit for the long travel.

This article highlights everything you need to know about the first day of Hajj and how to prepare for a smooth and safe journey and stay.

The Importance of Mina in Islam and Hajj

Mina is a valley located about eight kilometers east of the Masjid al-Haram in Makkah. About 20 km2in area, approximately three million pilgrims camp at Mina during Hajj every year. There are 100,000 air-conditioned tents in the valley to accommodate the pilgrims, which is why Mina is also called the ‘Tent City.’

The literal meanings of Mina are ‘to find,’ ‘to undergo a test,’ or ‘to be put to the test.’ With regards to this translation, pilgrims are instructed to spend the night at Mina on the 8th, 11th, 12th, and, if possible, the 13th of Dhul-Hijjah, which is a test of their endurance and dedication to Islam.

In addition, the word Mina also translates to ‘flow’ since it was the site where Muslims, along with the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), sacrificed a hundred camels during Hajjat-ul-Wada (the Farewell Pilgrimage). Following this Sunnah, pilgrims sacrifice animals at Mina on the day of Eid-ul-Adha.

Furthermore, Mina is where the three Jamarat are located – three stone pillars pelted by pilgrims during Hajj in remembrance of Hazrat Ibrahim’s (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ) steadfastness against Shai’taan’s instigations.

Lastly, Mina is also significant in Islam and Hajj because it is where the First Pledge took place, during which 12 Ansar accepted Islam. In the presence of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), the group of men took an oath that they would not associate partners with Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى)‎, would not commit adultery, would not steal, would not kill children, would not be disobedient, and would not make false statements about other Muslim men and women.

Performing Umrah before Hajj

Most pilgrims perform Umrah before leaving for Mina. However, this Umrah can be performed either a few days before Hajj or immediately before beginning Hajj rituals. The instructions for leaving for Mina are slightly different in both cases. Hence we have detailed them below:

Hajj al-Tamattu Hajj al-Qiran or Hajj al-Ifrad.
Perform Umrah and take off Ihram garments.

Take a shower, cut your nails, and trim your hair before entering into Ihram.

Perform Umrah and stay in the state of Ihram.

Only take a shower following the restrictions of Ihram, i.e., dont use scented products, etc.

On the morning of the 8th Dhul-Hijjah, offer two Rakats of Nafal Salah, make a new Niyat (intention) for Hajj, and enter into the state of Ihram.

It is Mustahabb (favorable) to perform this task at Masjid al-Haram.

On the morning of the 8th Dhul-Hijjah, proceed towards Mina.

8th of Dhul-Hijjah: Leaving for Mina

According to the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), pilgrims travel from Makkah to Mina on the 8th of Dhul-Hijjah after sunrise and must reach Mina before Zuhr prayers. It is also Sunnah to recite the ‘Talbiyah’repeatedly during the journey:

لَبَّيْكَ ٱللَّٰهُمَّ لَبَّيْكَ، لَبَّيْكَ لَا شَرِيكَ لَكَ لَبَّيْكَ، إِنَّ ٱلْحَمْدَ وَٱلنِّعْمَةَ لَكَ وَٱلْمُلْكَ لَا شَرِيكَ لَكَ

“Here I am [at your service], O God, here I am. Here I am [at your service]. You have no partners (other gods); here I am. To You alone is all praise and all excellence, and to You is all sovereignty. There is no partner to You.”

This prayer is a conviction that you intend to perform Hajj while offering praises to Allah’s (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى) glory and sovereignty.

Buses

Depending on the Hajj package, government-appointed or private buses transport pilgrims To Mina. You must remain patient and expect delays since there are huge crowds and occasional traffic jams. Moreover, you will have to book a private taxi if you’re traveling without a group.

Walking

Although transportation is available, many pilgrims choose to travel from Makkah to Mina on foot to recreate the historical experience of Hajj. The journey starts from the pedestrian tunnels built between the hills of Safa and Marwa and takes you directly to the Jamarat. These tunnels protect from the sun and heat, and refreshments, benches, toilets, and medical facilities are available along the way.

Once you reach Mina, your camp might be a few kilometers away, requiring further walking. So, opt to travel on foot only if:

  • you are physically fit and habitual of walking for long hours; the distance is about 8 kilometers (5-6 miles) to the camps
  • walking will not compromise other rituals of your Hajj
  • you are well aware of the directions / are accompanied by an experienced guide/group
  • you are accompanied by your husband/mahram (for women)

Staying at Mina

Pilgrims stay at Mina for a full day and part of the next day, i.e., the 9th of Dhul-Hijjah.

Since Mina is a valley with tents, the entire landscape looks the same. Although streets and camps are numbered and pre-allocated according to different countries, pinpoint some distinctive landmarks after locating your camp so you can find your way back easily.

Moreover, males and females usually stay in separate tents.

What To Do During Your Stay

After settling down in your tent, you will offer Zuhr, Asr, Maghrib, and Isha prayers in Qasr form, i.e., shortened prayers since you are traveling. This applies to all pilgrims, irrespective of whether they are residents of Makkah or not.

During your stay, you should spend most of your time making dua, reciting the Holy Quran, attending informative and religious lectures, and resting to prepare for the strenuous journey ahead. In addition, you should seek forgiveness for your sins.

Camps

The comfort of your tent depends on your Hajj package. Some tents are very crowded, so make sure to discuss these issues with your agent to avoid any inconveniences during your pilgrimage.

Sleeping

This is where your inflatable air mattress/sleeping bag/straw Hajji mat will come in handy. However, some tents in Mina are carpeted as well.

Meals

Food is usually provided in Hajj packages for an additional price. Check with your agent whether you will be given pre-packed meals in boxes or freshly cooked food served directly to you. Moreover, there are many shops to buy food from at Mina, and you will also have access to refreshment areas that offer coffee and tea.

Medical Facilities

Basic medical facilities and mobile clinics are available for pilgrims at Mina. In addition, there is a hospital south of Mina opposite Masjid al-Khayf and another near the old slaughterhouse.

Toilets, Washing, and Wudhu Area

All camps feature shower and toilet facilities which operate 24 hours a day. Moreover, Wudhu facilities are provided next to the toilets.

Communication Facilities

Mina has public telephones that use phone cards available in various denominations. You can also buy a mobile phone card with a minimum balance of 100 Riyals.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the steps of Hajj on Day 1?

Pilgrims follow these steps on the first day of Hajj, also known as Yaum al-Tarwiyah, i.e., the 8th of Dhul-Hijjah:

  1. Reach Mina before Zuhr prayers (recite Talbiyah frequently during the journey)
  2. Locate your camp and settle in your tent
  3. Offer Zuhr, Asr, Maghrib, and Isha prayers at Mina
  4. Stay Overnight

Why is Mina important in Hajj?

Mina is a significant religious landmark where pilgrims are instructed to spend the nights of the 8th, 11th, and 12th of Dhul-Hijjah at Mina during Hajj. Moreover, Mina is also the site of the three pillars of Jamarat that are stoned during Hajj.

What happens at Mina during Hajj?

Once pilgrims arrive at Mina, they set up camp and prepare to spend the night. Zuhr, Asr, Maghrib, and Isha prayers are offered at Mina, and the night is spent praying, reciting the Quran, making dua, and resting.

Should you do Hajj or Umrah first?

There is nothing wrong with doing Umrah before Hajj. Pilgrims wear Ihram for both Umrah and Hajj, so they can perform Umrah first and then make intentions for Hajj.

Is it compulsory to walk to Mina from Makkah?

No. The distance between Makkah and Mina is 16.7 km, i.e., about 3 and a half hours on foot. Due to large crowds, this distance and time is usually prolonged. Since Hajj involves a lot of physical exertion, it is recommended that pilgrims take buses to travel between sites to preserve their energy.

Conclusion

The valley of Mina holds a religiously important place in Islam. Pilgrims spend the first day of Hajj traveling to Mina from Makkah and spend the night making dua and remembering Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى). It is a beautiful spiritual experience that strengthens the bond between a pilgrim and his Creator.

We hope this article will guide you about your journey to Mina and what to expect during the first day of Hajj.