The Days of Hajj

The Days of Hajj

June 01, 2017 Abu Muneer Ismail Davids


Day No:



Day known as:





Day of Quenching*




Standing at Arafat






Day of Sacrifice

Day of Eid (Eid-ul-Adha)

Greatest day of Hajj

4, 5 & 6

11th, 12th  & 13th


Days of drying of the meat**


* Day of Quenching: This was the day all the animals (used during Hajj) would be given the chance to quench their thirst.

** As there was plenty of meat and no refrigerators at that time, the method of drying the meat in the sun was used, to preserve it from going bad.

Packages vary as to the days they spend in the various places.  

- 6 days – 8th (Mina) until the 13th (Mina)

- 5 days – 8th (Mina) until the 12th (Mina)

- 5 days – 9th (Arafat) until the 13th (Mina)

- 4 days – 9th (Arafat) until the 12th (Mina)

The 5-day package (8th to 12th) is the most common.

All of these packages are acceptable and fulfil the requirements of Hajj.

The 6 days are as the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) performed Hajj.



Most of the pilgrims are transported by bus from one place to another during the Hajj days. These are the government appointed buses. Some groups have private buses.

The various trips by bus can be very short (30 minutes) or very long (up to 12 hours) for the same distance, depending on the traffic, your location and the time you leave. Be patient as there are many delays with the buses.

They also try to restrict the size of cars (only 8-seaters and above are allowed) to enter the Hajj areas during these days. Even though there is a restriction you still find many smaller cars and taxis transporting pilgrims.

The transport cost is included in your package, unless you choose to take a taxi. The transport to and from Makkah on the 10th (to perform Tawaaf-al-Ifadah) is normally at your own cost. So yes, transportation during the Hajj days is the biggest nightmare.



There are special roads for the walking pilgrims. The part from Mina to Makkah is shaded almost all the way, the end part being through a 1.5km tunnel.

By foot is always one of the best modes of transport. There are many pilgrims who walk to Arafat and back. The following table is an illustration of the time it may take to walk, from my experience. This is walking at a normal calm pace.



Approximate time:

Arafat to Muzdalifah:

about 9km (6 miles)

2.5 hours

Muzdalifah to Mina (Jamr’at):

about 6km (4 miles)

2 Hours (due to crowds)

Mina (Jamr’at) to Makkah (Haram):

about 8km (5 miles)

2 hours

Makkah to Arafat

about 22km (14 miles)

5 hours


If you have women, children, elderly pilgrims or luggage with you, then the walking journey may take much longer.

Many pilgrims walk. Some by choice and many not by choice. So be prepared to walk. Therefore you need to conserve your energy and health in the days leading up to Hajj. Many pilgrims choose to walk all the way in the hot sun, even though they are able to go by bus, as they believe that there is more reward in doing so. This is not so, as Allah does not wish to make things difficult for you.

There are times when your bus may break down and you are forced to walk. If this happens, leave your luggage on the bus if possible, and take only water and some dry food items with you. Do not forget your umbrella. For this reason it is very important to have a comfortable pair of slippers. Do not buy a new pair of slippers for Hajj just prior to the Hajj days. Instead, use slippers that your feet are already used to.

Most years we walk from Mina to Makkah on the last day, as it takes only about 2 hours. The bus journey on this day can be extremely long.



In Arafat and Mina the pilgrims are divided into groups (by country) and their locations are pre-allocated. The streets and camps are numbered. So remember your location by noting down the number of your camp.

In Mina most of the accommodation used to be in small tents. Since the major fire in Mina during the Hajj of 1417, the tents have been replaced with fire-proof tents. By 1420 (2000), all the tents in Mina had been replaced. The new tents have air-conditioning, lights, electric plugs, etc., and are very comfortable. There is still some building-type accommodation, but not much. If you are in a building, you will most likely share one very big area (room).

In Arafat the accommodation is normally a big, wide open tent. Some tents have fans or desert coolers (device that uses water and air to blow cool air), and other tents have nothing. The men and women are normally in separate tents/rooms in Arafat and Mina. Once again it depends on your Hajj package, which determines what type of accommodation and food you will receive.

Arafat day and the days in Mina are normally very hot, so you will need some sort of cooling device. Check all these things with your agent. Knowing what you're getting will help reduce any anxieties and prevent arguments during Hajj.

In Muzdalifah, well...wait and see. Normally there is no accommodation provided for the night in Muzdalifah.



What about sleeping arrangements? Well what can we say other than: “You will never again complain about your mattress at home.”

You will notice many pilgrims sleeping and staying in the streets, and under the bridges and in the tunnels. The more amazing ones are the ones that stay on top of the mountains in Mina.

Some of the tents in Mina provide some carpet, but this is where your inflatable air mattress takes on a new meaning. If you do not have a mattress, then the straw Hajji mat is a must.

The night sleep in Muzdalifah is one of the highlights of the trip. Your bed is the pavement, the street or just anywhere where you can find a place. You will sleep, even with all the lights, noise, traffic and smells. Many pilgrims felt that they will not be able to sleep, but within minutes they would be fast asleep like babies... A night to remember!


Some tips

If you were unhappy with your accommodation in Makkah, your tent in Mina will certainly make you appreciate it. If you were unhappy with your accommodation in Mina, the night stay in Muzdalifah will certainly make you appreciate it. If you were unhappy with the air-conditioner in Mina or Makkah, the day in your big tent in Arafat will most certainly make you think again. There is a lesson in all of this!

Assuming that you have a choice, do not choose a tent near the toilets or any cooking area. Also, areas near the entrances are always busy. Try to choose a tent near the middle or back of the camp

If you are accommodated in a big tent in Mina, choose a sleeping area closer to the rear of the tent. Also try to find a spot in the back or side that is 'away' from Qiblah, so that your spot is not in the front row, but the back row for salah. The front and middle areas are normally used for eating, salah and lectures, which mean you constantly, have to move your bags.

There tend to be “fights” for positions and space in the tents in Mina. So, as soon as you enter the tent for the first time, throw open you’re mat on the selected area and sit or lay down on it. Ignore the arguments around you and just “stick” to your spot. However, don’t take a big space.

If you have your spouse with you on Hajj, you may wish to choose the corner of the tent where you can be on the one side and your partner on the other side of the tent’s partition. This facilitates for easy communication and easier sharing of food.

In Arafat, it is normally a large canopy-type tent. Also try to choose a quiet position that will allow you some privacy. Be early and avoid the crowds for wudhu and for taking a shower, especially in the morning for Fajr. The queues can get very long at the bathrooms and tempers start fraying. Try to avoid the bathrooms about 20 minutes before salah or immediately after a meal.

Set your alarm (especially for Fajr) at least one hour earlier to avoid the rush at the bathrooms in the morning. Also use the showers and bathrooms at times, when everybody is sleeping, eating or listening to a lecture. Pack your small bag in a way that you can possibly use it as a pillow. During the winter months, Muzdalifah can be very cold. Though it is only one night, a small blanket or sleeping bag is very useful.

The days of Hajj are certainly an education for many, in many ways!


The Boundaries

The rites of Hajj clearly stipulate the place and time where one should be during the days of Hajj. It is therefore of the utmost importance that you are within the specified boundaries.

The boundary of each area is clearly marked by huge signposts. The signs indicate the start and end of each area (i.e. Arafat begins here; Mina ends here). The signposts are as big as advertising boards, and are in different colours for each location (Mina = green; Muzdalifah = purple; Arafat = yellow).

Ensure that you are in the boundaries; Arafat on the 9th, Muzdalifah after that, Mina on the 10th, 11th, 12th and possibly the 13th. There are many pilgrims and groups who are wrongly located outside these boundaries, so be aware.