The scientific guide to: The Hajj

Skyways|April 2020

The scientific guide to: The Hajj
The Hajj is an annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia – the holiest place on earth for Muslims. This year, it runs from 28 July to 2 August. More than two million pilgrims are expected to congregate, making it one of the largest gatherings of humans in the world…
Saleyha Ahsan

How physically fit do you need to be?

To really embrace the journey and help you complete Hajj safely, preparation is key. Spend as much time on physical preparation as you do on spiritual preparation. The former will support the latter. As soon as you know you are going on Hajj, start spending time on your feet. Being ‘walking fit’ is important. Take the stairs instead of the lift, walk to work – or at least some of the way – and do the school run on foot. But don’t worry; there’s no need to embark on marathon-like training.

What about people with pre-existing medical conditions?

Dr Imran Zia, an emergency medicine consultant from London, who has worked as a Hajj doctor for 11 years and advises for the British Council of Hajj, recommends those with existing health problems carry a document detailing their hospital, consultant, contact information, the name of their conditions, any medication they take, and their medical aid numbers.

Do I need to wear any special clothing?

Having the right footwear for long days, walking in hot, dusty terrain, is essential. Sensible walking shoes with socks are a good place to start. Some people opt for rugged terrain sandals, which also work. The important thing is to buy them in advance and break them in. Don’t wait until you are in Mecca to take them out of the box. You are just inviting blisters!


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April 2020