Leaving Jeddah Airport
The trip to Makkah
Before you leave the terminal for Makkah or Madinah, use the toilet, and refresh your wudhu. You will not see such good toilet facilities again for a while so make the best of them.
Keep some biscuits and a small bottle of water with you on the bus. Once the bus on which you have boarded is filled to capacity, the driver will proceed. This may take a few hours. You will stop at several checkpoints where all the passports will be checked.
The bus driver will take your passport from you and keep them with him. The next time you will see your passport is when you depart for home after Hajj. He will hand it in at the Mutawwifs office where they will give you an ID card. If you are going to Madinah first, the procedure is slightly different.
Jeddah to Madinah
The distance is 424km (265 miles).
Most of the buses are air-conditioned and this journey can take from 4 to 12 hours or longer. The driver will stop at a few places for food and rest. (Do not be surprised if your driver disappears to have a short rest.)
The driver will hand in all the passports at the relevant office in Madinah (different countries, different offices). You will not be provided with an ID card at this stage. Sometimes they issue a temporary card. The cards are normally issued from the Makkah offices.
A representative from the Mutawwifs office will be with you all the time, even if you go by plane.
If you are going by aeroplane:
- You will depart from the Saudi Arabian Airlines terminal.
- The flight is about 45 minutes.
- Once in Madinah, the Mutawwifs office will make the arrangements for you to get to your hotel.
Sometimes (actually most of the time) the bus driver is not familiar with all the locations of the various offices, so you may get lost for a while, while the driver tries to find the right office. Be patient!
If you are a big group, all of the same nationality (all the same passports), then it is much easier, as you need only to stop at one office. However, if there are people of different nationalities (passports) on the bus, the driver may have to stop at many different offices. Alert the driver before you reach Madinah. How will you know? Simple, when the bus or taxi is full, ask the passengers. What's even better, try to organise the passengers prior to them boarding the bus or taxi. Yes, your agent should take care of all this. If he doesn't, remind him, or do it yourself.
Try to remember where the office (for your country) is, as you may need to go there yourself, or direct the taxi or bus to collect your passport. There are no formal addresses as such. There are street names. However, it is best to try and remember the place, by using landmarks (i.e., how far it is from the mosque, what the building next to it is, etc.).
Madinah to Makkah
The distance is 447km (278 miles).
If you plan to use the Muassasah buses, you should make arrangements with them at least a few days beforehand. If you are going to Makkah by bus or by plane (via Jeddah), the procedures are the same. You will not be allowed to hire a private taxi at this stage.
A representative from the Mutawwifs office will be with you all the time, even if you are going by plane.
If you do not have the two unfitted pieces of cloth for your Ihraam (men), you should purchase them in Madinah. Prior to your departure for Makkah, prepare yourself for the state of Ihraam, i.e. ghusl, trim your nails etc. Attire yourself with your Ihraam clothes.
Do not forget to collect your passport prior to leaving Madinah for Makkah. (The authorities at these offices will only give the passport to the bus or taxi driver or to your agent.) The bus or taxi will stop at the meqaat on its way to either Makkah or to the airport.
The meqaat is at Abyar-Ali (Dhul-Hulaifa) which is situated about 10km (6 miles) outside Madinah. (The mosque at this meqaat has showers and good wudhu and toilet facilities.) If you have not put on your Ihraam, you need to do so at this stage and make your niyah for Umrah (Tamattu). Recite the Talbiyah as often as possible.
Before you leave the meqaat for Makkah, use the toilet if required and “refresh” your wudhu. You will not see such good toilet facilities again for a while, so make the best of them. Keep some biscuits and a small bottle of water with you on the bus. This journey can take 6 to 18 hours or longer, depending on what time of the Hajj period it is.
If you are travelling by plane from Madinah, you will need to take a bus from Jeddah airport to Makkah. The Mutawwifs office at Jeddah airport will arrange this for you.
Jeddah to Makkah
You should be in Ihraam.
If you had planned to go to Madinah first and for some reason you are unable to go, and you are now going to Makkah first, than adopt your Ihraam immediately. You are not liable for expiation for violating the meqaat rule, as it was outside your control. Recite the Talbiyah as often as possible
The distance is 72km (45 miles). This journey can take 1 to 8 hours or longer. Most of the buses are air-conditioned, so the journey should be quite pleasant but tiring.
You will stop at the major Hajj checkpoint just before entering Makkah. This could be quick or very long, so be patient. At this checkpoint all your passports will be handed in to the relevant office.
At this checkpoint and at the one in Madinah, a person will count the people on the bus to match it with the number of passports. On many occasions this could take a while as you will notice that they cannot seem to match the numbers. Be prepared to be counted a number of times.
The most common reason for this is when there are children on the bus and they are included in their mother's passport. The quickest solution (if they will listen to you) is to take each passport and call the person's name, after which you will be able to identify who was not called or you may have an extra passport which belongs to another group.
They will provide you with a card in lieu of your passport, sometimes at a later stage. You will need to provide them with a passport-size photo of yourself to be put on the card. Keep it as safe as you would your passport. You need this card to get your passport back and also as a form of identification when changing money.
Remember where the office (for your country) is as you may need to go there yourself, or direct the taxi or bus to collect your passport or obtain assistance. There are no formal addresses as such. There are street names. However, it is best to try and remember the place by using landmarks. (i.e., how far it is from the Haram, what the building next to it is, etc.).