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In the Name of God بسم الله


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  1. Assalam alaykom! I am trying to gather some information regarding Umrah logistics when travelling from the USA. I have already gone for Hajj, alHamdolillah and am trying to arrange for a short trip to Makkah only for Umrah. For Hajj, of course, you have to go in a group so all logistics are arranged through them. But for Umrah, I would like to go individually (meaning, not with a caravan / group) and stay at a hotel that is right in front of the haram. (My parents recently stayed at Al Safwah - Royal Orchid? and it was super convenient for them.) Does anyone here have any experience travelling for Umrah on their own and can give any advice? I am a frequent traveller within the US, and so booking hotels, airfare etc is a piece of cake for me. It's the out of country part that has me a bit scared. :) Specifically, I am looking for the following information: 1) I know I have to get Umrah visa through a traveler agent. I went for hajj with Mohajerin, but cannot find any contact info (a U.S. phone #) to ask about their Umrah visa services. Any recommendations for a reliable agent who can get me visas? 2) How much should I expect to pay for processing fees for the Umrah visa (which is free) and what should I expect the travel agent to include in their services assuming I purchase airfare and book my own hotels? (P.S. Will be flying into Jeddah from Dubai to go to Makkah.) 3) What website or other method do you recommend I use to book hotel accomodations? My stay will be for 4-5 days in Mecca only, after which I will fly out of Saudi Arabia from Jeddah. I am thinking of staying at either Hilton Towers or Safwah Royal Orchid (sp?) as they are both really, really, really close to the Haram, but please feel free to recommend another hotel. The hotel must be within 0-3 minutes of walking distance (lol). 4) I am slightly confused about the Meqat situation: Flying in from Jeddah, is my Meqat Masjid Johfa even for Umrah? (My Marja is Ayatollah Sistani.) If Johfa is not my Meqat, then what is? (I am travelling from the US to Jeddah via Dubai) 5) What is the best way to reach the Meqat and then to Makkah and how much should I expect to pay for the fare? Please keep in mind I will be travelling with a disabled adult, so I'm looking for medium-fast to fastest route while not hurting my bank account TOO much. If you've read through this entire post, may Allah bless you and if you're posting a reply to me with helpful information or even with contact info of someone whom I can talk to, may Allah bless you 100x more!!!
  2. I've been reading the translation by Ali Quli Qara'i and personally I've found it soooo easy to understand and so moving. I had always used to read Shakir's translation, and despite having spoken English all my life, it always took me a bit to try and understand what Shakir's translation was trying to state because I would get lost in the archaic words sometimes. (I have a terrible habit of changing "Thou" to "you" etc while reading and would always get caught in the words because I would be trying to figure out pronouns!!!) Ali Quli's translation is much easier for me, personally, because not only can I see what sentence of the translation is associated with word, I can use my limited Arabic knowledge to extract an even deeper understanding of the ayah. I'm now in the search of an audio cd or mp3 of his translations so that I can listen to it on the go. If someone knows where I can find them, that would be much appreciated! P.S. To answer the original question -- the foreword of the publication of the Quran states that the translation relies heavily on the Ahlul-Bayt's (as) ahadeeth and history. But it also mentions that it uses acceptable sunni sources as well.
  3. (salam) AlHamdolillah, I'm getting ready for Hajj this year insha'Allah, except I really have no idea what kind of dresses women wear for hajj. I wear a loose-fitting mantou and a headscarf for everyday purposes; so can I wear the same for hajj? Do women have to wear white? In some hajj videos I have seen women wearing chador, but I don't know where to find out the actual dress code. Btw, I am a muqallid of Ayatollah Sistani. How many dresses will I need? When can I wear my regular clothes vs when do I have to wear special clothes? We will be landing at Jeddah first then going to the Holy Medina then from there to the Holy Mecca. Also, if a lady from here has gone for hajj and wouldn't mind me PM-ing them with lots of questions regarding various things, I would appreciate it. (salam)
  4. (salam), I'm planning on going to hajj with my family and I wanted to get recommendations for different caravans. If you've had a good experience with an agency/caravan RECENTLY (within the last two-three years) and/or know someone who went with a caravan recently, could you please let me know the name and a website where I can find information. I know there is another thread for that, but it wasn't organized, so hopefully this one will be. I know there are a couple of hajj group rating websites: http://www.hajjbuddy.com http://www.hajjratings.com Both of these provide ratings for various groups and hotels/accommodations. But I don't see any Shi'a groups rated. I would appreciate all your help! May Allah give us all the opportunity to go for Hajj, insha Allah. (wasalam)
  5. (salam) Masha Allah. I respect all of you guys' suggestions and opinions. I especially liked what keys2paradise's said regarding the D word coming up and putting that upfront as well. It would be horrible if the guy agreed simply because he wanted to get married to her (like the brother was saying) and then making her life miserable by bringing it up all the time - every single time he did something that the girl did not agree with. So it's a really good idea to mention that if he agrees to the condition, then he should also agree to not use it against me. The thing is, I've seen how terrible it is for a girl (my own family member) to go through a divorce period and the guy not giving her a divorce simply because he has all the rights. He was the one in the fault and did all sorts of haraam stuff and yet he was the one spreading horrible rumors about her and making her life miserable. So I will not get married without having this condition set in my nikahnama. If he does not accept, I really cannot marry him. This is a right that was given to us women, and I intend to take advantage of it. And actually, I'm being backed up by both my parents as well as my uncles and aunts so, I know I'm not making a wrong decision. Bas, insha Allah, may the guy see this as an action of personal protection and not as a way of "taking away control from the man." lol If anyone has any other tips regarding how they approached the issue, I would still love to hear some more. Jazak Allah
  6. (salam) I recently got engaged and am going to get married insha Allah by the end of this year. Before I get married though, I'd like to ask the guy if he will agree to also give me the right to divorce him. I'm not sure of how to broach the topic though, since I expect to get a reaction kind of like "why are you already thinking of divorce before even marriage" but I know it's my right, and if he doesn't agree to it, I don't want to get married to him. That being said, if any of you gals/guys have experience with this, could you give me some tips or share your stories on how you approached this issue? I also wanted to know if someone had a copy of the new nikahnama by Ayatollah Sistani with the conditions written on it. If I have something in my hand at the time of the discussion with him, I would feel more comfortable. Is this new nikahnama only for Indians or is it now used by all the mosques? (I live in the States, btw.) Because then at least I can also say that this is the nikahnama that's being used now and if not me, then some other girl might ask him for that right, too. I wasn't sure if I should put this in the sister's forum or not (or in any other forum), but if it needs to be placed somewhere else, I'd appreciate the guidance. Jazak Allah. (salam)
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