Aswk,this post is intended to give an insight to how our hajj 2012 with khaddim ul hujjaj. Everyone has there own experiences however this is what I experienced.
Mashallah we were given our passports with hajj visa and draught. We were also given id cards with photos for Saudis, emergency contacts etc more importantly sim cards. We were given a full individual itinerary of travel, programme and schedule. This was done in person so it had the personal touch to it.
We travelled on Turkish airlines, in my opinion one of the best airlines i have travelled with. From here to Istanbul their economy is some airlines business class. Big leather seats with ample leg room.
We waited approx three hours in Istanbul, the airport is expensive burger from burger king cost us £9 while a large fries cost us £5 and a scoop of their ice cream is £4, anyways there is a Masjid, mashaallah for brothers there are cubicles where you can comfortably get changed into your ihram if you wish (I did as the plane got barley space to turn around).
Transferring is pretty simple as all is signposted in English, we boarded our second flight from Istanbul to Jeddah, I was a little uncomfortable as to the destination of the flight as there were only around 40 ppl, out of which only one other person had a ihram on. Mashallah Turkish airlines understand the concept of gaining duaas, they supply each passenger with a mussallah, draw string bag, small stoning bag, a mosque cap, a pair of warm socks and most importantly of all no scented alcohol free soap all of this fits into a small nice bag. Alhamdulillah we arrived a full 20mins before arrival time. This was one the bit I was dreading the ‘hajj terminal’ esp with a two year old, after hearing the experiences of other I was expecting to spend at least 12-15hrs here.
When we got off the plane, we were separated into two groups. We had about 6 people in our group we were taken to the hajj terminal while the other group were taken to the other terminal. The bus parked up outside the building, we waited until some room was made for us in the terminal, only then were we allowed to get off the bus. Our vaccination certificates were checked, whilst this was happening we realised that the other person in ihram was also with Khaddim ul hujjaj. We were let out into the passport control area very quickly I would say it took us 10min, it wasn’t busy at all, it took all of 20min to get through the passport control and baggage collection, matter of fact according to the Saudis we should have come out earlier, the next bit was important as hajj draught was exchanged for stickers, some brothers on another flight did not have this so they had to wait for a while to buy this, it took a while as the person responsible for our stickers had to be located, but once he came he apologised and rushed us through, the Saudis during hajj time like children they gave him sweets and gifts to keep him happy.
Alhamdulillah we were out of the airport within the hour, however we had to now find transport, at this point we knew we had five persons in our group, I was told in order to get on a coach you need at least 44ppl. Everyone that arrives will get to makkah so if you don’t mind the wait sit down and wait your turn you will eventually come. Alhamdulillah as we were speaking to some Arabs, 5 more members of Khaddim ul hujjaj tour turn up there are now 10ppl in total, as we are sitting there all other groups are rushing around trying to seek transportation for their hujjaj, masha Allah there was a brother from another group who suggested we speak to the main Arab responsible for transportation, as we approached him he asked us how many were travelling we said 10, he told us to get our things and move towards the buses. We were the first one on the plastic waiting area, what followed behind was another 2 groups. The combination of which totalled 47/48ppl. Before you board the bus you are requested to leave your passport at the front.
Once aboard the bus, we realised that on the way to our hotel we had to visit 3 different mualim offices, our mualim office number was 33. Alhamdulillah you do not realise time when you are not expecting anything, it took us almost 3hrs to get transport however it felt like instant transport. Mashallah Throughout our journey Yusuf hakim was intouch and advising us as to what we should do and making checks on where we were. The journey to makkah took about 2hrs, on entry to makkah we were given some boxes, these contained zam zam , fruit juice and some biscuits. After visiting the various mualim offices we visited ours, this is where you know you are being looked after in comparison to the other two groups, their mualim only gave them a band in exchange of their passports however our mualim also gave the bands for our passports however he also gave us individual boxes which had various cakes biscuits drinks and cold zum zum.
Upon reaching makkah we visited al firdaus hotel on Ibrahim khalil street, this is where the other group were staying, we had to identify our suitcases so that they are not accidently/mistakenly placed in the wrong hotel, our mualim made sure that the bus dropped us off at the right hotel with the right luggage. Alhamdulillah our journey so far had been made easy for us,
I failed to mention that as we had our son mashaallah the arabs treated him very well by giving him gifts sweets and at one point they abandoned their work stations to greet him.
I will continue the rest…..at the moment need to do some work