What Are The Strict Rules To Follow When Visiting Mecca, Saudi Arabia?

Many people dream of visiting Mecca (the Hajj) as a demonstration of their solidarity and submission to God. Before you plan on a spiritual trip to Mecca, do you know that there are strict rules to follow when visiting Mecca, Saudi Arabia? 

Before you reserve your room, here are the strict rules you must follow when you get there.

Every year, Muslims from all around the world come together to participate in one of the most significant religious events: The Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. This sacred journey is one of the five pillars of Islam and is mandatory for every Muslim who is physically and financially able to make the trip.

photo of people gathered at kaaba mecca saudi arabia
Photo by Konevi on Pexels.com

The Hajj is a journey of spiritual significance and signifies the struggles and devotion to God by Prophet Abraham, also known as Ibrahim in Arabic. He, along with his wife Hagar and son Ishmael, settled in Mecca, which was then a barren desert. Through his unwavering faith in God, the city of Mecca eventually became a vital center for trade and religion.

To participate in The Hajj, one must be a Muslim. Non-Muslims are strictly prohibited from entering Mecca. Men and women from all walks of life, colors, and nations participate in this annual pilgrimage. It is a powerful demonstration of unity among Muslims, providing an opportunity to connect with diverse cultures and languages.

There are several rules and regulations that every pilgrim must follow during The Hajj.

  1. One prerequisite is wearing clothing that is entirely white, called Ihram. The decision to wear white only serves to reflect the equality and unity of all human beings before God, regardless of social status.
  2.  During The Hajj, male pilgrims also need to shave their heads entirely, whereas women should cut a small portion of their hair. The Hajj includes various rituals such as Tawaf, Sa’i, Mina, Arafat, and Muzdalifah. Each of these rituals serves to symbolically reenact the struggles of Prophet Ibrahim and strengthen the pilgrims’ spiritual connection with God.
  3. The Hajj take place in the month of Dhul Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic calendar. The precise dates are determined based on the Islamic lunar calendar, so they vary from year to year. However, The Hajj pilgrimage always takes place during the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah.
  4. The Hajj is a profoundly enriching experience, and thousands of Muslims participate each year. It serves as a reminder of our duty to be diligent in our devotion to God and to strengthen connection with one another. The journey also emphasizes the importance of unity, humility, and equality. It is an unforgettable journey that leaves a lasting impression on the hearts and minds of those who embark on it.
  5. Have you ever wondered how Christians practice their faith in this place of worship? The Saudi Arabian government has made it clear that individuals are allowed to bring their personal Bible for private worship purposes. Simply put, it is not permitted to publicly display or handle the Bible or any non-Islamic objects at any time.Also, Christians are not allowed to practice their faith openly.
  6. Expressing affection is a beautiful way to show care for your loved ones. However, it is ironic that in Mecca, public displays of affection such as hugging, kissing, or holding hands romantically are considered taboo. Recently, the government introduced a new public decency code that explicitly discourages such displays. It is important to be mindful of where you place your hands, as disobeying the PDA rule may result in a fine of $800 (3,000 Riyals).
  7. Regardless the legal status of certain substances (such as cigarettes and shisha) in your country, possession of any narcotic is prohibited by law. The Ministry of Municipal Affairs has also made it clear that lighting barbecues or smoking shisha pipes in public will result in a fine of $27 (100 Riyals). It is important to note that multiple drug offenses can have severe consequences, including the possibility of a capital punishmeWhen visiting Mecca, it is essential to adhere to a strict rule: refrain from utilizing or occupying seats and amenities designated for disabled and elderly individuals. Special provisions are available for pregnant women and those with specific needs. Violating this rule, without a legitimate reason, may result in a fine of $53 (200 Riyals). It is crucial to always remember that the well-being of elders and disabled individuals takes precedence in Mecca. 
  8. Another strict rule to follow when visiting Mecca is that you should never use or take up seats or utilities meant for disabled or elderly people.There are utilities set aside for pregnant ladies, or people with special needs, if caught using them yet you don’t have any conditions, the fine is $53 (200 Riyals). So, always remember that elders and disabled people are the top priority in Mecca.
  9. Mecca strictly upholds Muslim law and expects adherence to local customs. Gender-fluid individuals may not receive fair treatment under Saudi Arabia’s criminal law.
  10. Are you a fan of pork planning to visit Mecca, Saudi Arabia? Mecca, the birthplace of the Islamic religion, strictly adheres to the prohibition of consuming pork. It is advised to wholly embrace this rule, extending it to every aspect of your meals and snacks, avoiding anything pork-flavored. Additionally, it’s important to note that frog meat products are also forbidden.
  11. You understand Mecca is always a busy and crowded place. For that, you might be tempted to cut in the line (maybe because you want to hurry somewhere). What you must know before your visit to Mecca is that the new public decency law permits law enforcers to charge anyone who jumps ahead of somebody a fee of $14 (50 Riyals).
  12. In Mecca, local laws emphasize the importance of modest dressing for both men and women. It is expected that individuals dress appropriately, covering their knees and shoulders when in public. Saudi Arabia welcomes people from diverse cultures and backgrounds, but it is essential to adhere to the local norms. Tight-fitting clothing should be avoided while in the country. Additionally, it is important to note that clothing featuring profane characters, images, or language is considered illegal. Furthermore, it is worth mentioning that the possession of pornographic material, illustrations, or explicit images is strictly prohibited by law. Mecca local laws require that men and women should mind their dressing. Everyone should dress modestly, covering their knees and shoulders when in public.
crowd of praying muslims kneeling and bowing
Photo by Kafeel Ahmed on Pexels.com

Where to Stay in Mecca

Jumeirah Makkah

Jabal Omar Jumeirah, Makkah is a 5-star hotel in Makkah, just 820 ft from Masjid Al Haram and 6.2 mi from Hira Cave. The hotel offers free WiFi, a fitness center, and air-conditioned rooms with private bathrooms. Family rooms are available too.

All rooms have a flat-screen TV, kettle, and some have terraces with city views. The hotel provides bed linen and towels. Breakfast is served daily, with buffet, American, and vegetarian options. Their restaurant offers Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Moroccan cuisine. They can also accommodate vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free requests. Check availability at Jumeirah Makkah.

Jabal Omar Hyatt Regency Makkah

Jabal Omar Hyatt Regency Makkah is a hotel located in the heart of the holy city of Makkah. It’s just a one-minute walk to Al-Masjid Al-Haram. Guests can enjoy free WiFi throughout the hotel.

The hotel has 19 floors and 656 guestrooms, including 25 suites. The rooms range in size from 38 to 190 square yards. All rooms have modern furnishings and the latest amenities.

Jabal Omar Hyatt Regency Makkah offers a variety of dining options. There’s The Oasis, an all-day dining restaurant; Al Forno, an Italian restaurant; Tea Lounge, the lobby lounge; and Al Tekkeya, a Grab and Go market. The hotel also provides 24-hour in-room dining service for added convenience. Check availability at Jabal Omar Hyatt Regency Makkah.

Makarem Ajyad Makkah Hotel

The Makarem Ajyad Makkah Hotel is conveniently located on Ajyad Street, just a short walk from the Haram and King Abdul Aziz Gate. It serves Hajj, Umrah, and Ramadan pilgrims, as well as leisure and business travelers. The property is also close to the Clock Tower and offers easy access to the Haram, highways, and airports. Amenities include a large lobby, Starbucks outlet, gift shops, library, room service, valet service, barber shop, and free WiFi. Check availability at Makarem Ajyad Makkah Hotel.

Final Thoughts

Don’t let the strict regulations for visiting Mecca, Saudi Arabia deter you from fulfilling your dream. While they may appear stringent, rest assured that things will improve once you’re there. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by these rules, here’s a guide on managing stress and ensuring a smoother experience.

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