Life Skills: Want to Go to Hajj? Here is How
Life Skill Series: Saving your money for your Deen.
As Muslims who are able, are obliged to perform the 5th pillar of Islam, the hajj. Millions of Muslims from around the world will be the guests of Allah during 8-13 Dzulhija. Some pilgrims began to arrive a month before and mostly go to Madinah to do worship in Nabawi mosque. In a time when many people are happy because it is the time to meet His call, there are also more people who cannot leave as they have to wait their turn to go, due to many pilgrims in their countries who intend to perform the pilgrimage. Or, they have not signed up yet because of insufficient savings or have signed but not yet paid, and so on.
Hajj costs progressively increase depending on e.g. rate of inflation, local government or Saudi Arabia regulations which determine the fees. As Muslims, we would have to support our savings for hajj regardless of the price. There are many hajj packages from regular packages to those that have exclusive facilities. In order to achieve our pilgrimage intentions more quickly, indeed, we have to be very diligent to manage our incomes such as to avoid unnecessary spending/expenses and to be more disciplined in setting aside savings for pilgrimage. It is important to record every dollar spent, so that you can better calculate your average monthly expenses. It is necessary as early as possible to determine your ability to save for hajj budget. If you have not started to set aside savings for hajj, it is better that you start from now. Because hajj is not only a spiritual worship journey but it is also a physical worship task. It would be better if we go to pilgrimage when we are still strong, able to walk on our own and able to jostle with millions of people in the hot sun.
Recently, in some countries, more and more banks offer hajj savings with low initial deposits and provide an overview of the calculation of payments per month and cater to their customers’ ability to pay the financing. Hence, we can estimate how much money should be set aside in order to do pilgrimage.
Approximately how much money do we need? If our income is not high, is it enough to perform hajj? Yes, inshaa Allah.
As an illustration, the cost of pilgrimage from USA in 2013 is at least US$ 5,500. You are planning to go hajj in 2018 or in 5 years time. Assume that inflation is about 2% per year then, in 2018 the estimated cost of pilgrimage is US$ 6,072. If we intend to save our monthly income, then the funds that we have to set asides (assuming inflation) is US$ 6,072/60 month or US$ 101 per month or US$ 3.36 per day!
Of course, this is only a rough calculation. Many factors can influence our monthly savings. For example, if we save in a bank, then the bank request an initial deposits of, lets say US$ 500, then the total payment will be the rest of the hajj fees. Taking account also the cost of living in Saudi such as food if your hajj package does not include meals. In Makkah, Madinah, and Jeddah the price of food is inexpensive. You can spend SR 30 (US$ 8) per day for 3 times meals (or US$ 112 for 14 days). Or you can share with other pilgrimage in the group and buy raw meals then cook together, as there is a supermarket near the Al-Haram mosque where can be reached by walk. This is much cheaper and healthier to survive.
How about souvenirs to bring home? If you want to provide gifts for your family, relatives, or colleagues, there are so many options souvenir from cheap to expensive one. The price of headscarf, sajadah (rug), small toys, jewelry imitation, tasbih (beads), keychain, mugs, fridge magnet is around SR 3-15 (US$ 1-4) each.
Finally, now you can calculate how much money that you have to save for your hajj. Only US$ 3-5 per day is nothing right? So? What are you waiting for? Start saving for your hajj from now.