Hajj Health Awareness (1)
Even as we wind down our Eid celebrations,there are sisters out there busily preparing for the once in a lifetime trip, a pilgrimage to the Holy Sanctuary of Makkah al Mukkarammah, to perform the Haj and fulfil the fifth and last pillar of Islam.
Hajj is no doubt a spiritually uplifting and soul cleansing experience. It is nonetheless a physically strenuous and demanding journey. Hence while we make spiritual and mental preparation to undergo this trip of a lifetime, let us not neglect the physical aspect.
I would like to breakdown the Haj Health Awareness Preparation into two.The first part being the Pre Haj component and the second will cover the Haj season itself. The pre trip health preparation involves not only getting oneself the necessary vaccination but also ensuring one is in a good state of physical health to perform all the necessary acts of worship during the Haj, such as Tawaf, Sai’, spending time at Arafah and Minah and stoning the devil. To this end it is best if at least six months before the trip itself, one starts engaging in some form of physical activity to strengthen and improve your physical stamina. Among the activities suggested are:
Walking: For 20-30 min,3-5 days a week. Gradually increasing duration and frequency.
Muscular strengthening: Do resistance exercises such as clenching the hands together for 6 seconds, repeat 5-6 times.
Cardio strengthening: Stand from sitting, repeat 4 to 5 cycles.
Flexibility: Stretching exercises. This can be done anywhere, anytime, even whilst sitting down watching TV!
Benefits of physical fitness and exercise include:
Improving the function of your heart and lungs
Reducing and relieving stress and anxiety
Building muscular strength
Increasing flexibility of muscles, reducing potential for injury
Maintaining healthy body weight.
Each year around 3 million Muslims from all corners of the world gather in 1 place for just a few days for the sole purpose of seeking Allah’s Blessings & forgiveness. Imagine the infectious diseases the can be picked up if we are negligent of our health and hygiene. Yet, there are ways of preventing these illnesses by practicing proper hygiene, getting immunized, adopting healthy diet and ensuring adequate rest/sleep.
The Saudi Ministry of Health requires that all Hajj and Umrah visitors be vaccinated against Meningococcal Meningitis. This is mandatory. The shot has to be taken a minimun 2 weeks prior to departure and is valid for 3 years.
In addition,the WHO/CDC recommends the following vaccinations for Hajj pilgrims:
In addition, our sisters who are concerned that their menses may affect their Hajj rituals,may be pleased to know it is permissible to delay their menses.They should consult with their respective GP for the best method that suits them.Allah knows best.
InsyaAllah in my next article, I will advise on how to maintain good health while on Hajj.