Staying Healthy on Hajj and Umrah

Posted: 16 Muharram 1423, 31 March 2002

Title: Staying Health on Hajj & Umrah
Authors: Abdul Hakim Luqman and Aletha Luqman
Publisher: Medsurg Coatesville
Pages: 35

The authors are a husband and wife team. He is a medical doctor. She is a nurse. Both are American Muslims who went for Hajj in 1421 AH. There they found themselves helping fellow pilgrims who needed medical attention. As they dispensed care and advice to them, they realized a much larger audience could benefit from their advice if they put it in writing. This monograph is a result of that thought. It has the noble purpose of helping the pilgrims "maximize their time in Allah's House worshipping Him and not nursing their illness or injury."

It contains articles on preparation and precautions followed by 27 notes listing special considerations for items ranging from arthritis to back pain to diabetes to hypertension to yeast infection, etc. These are followed by 15 useful checklists.

The medical advice is sound and useful both for healthy people as well as those suffering from a known condition. However it should be noted that the advice offered is for an American who is traveling for the first time to a Middle-Eastern or Asian country.

Occasionally the write-up is unnecessarily alarming. For example consider this observation. "Many obstacles exist on the ground from trash to plastic bottles, broken sidewalks, aluminum cans, and spilled water, especially in wudu and bathroom area." Also this advice: "Use labeled can companies. Watch for drive offs when female enters cab first. Mahram should enter cab first and exit the cab last." This paints a gloomy and far-fetched picture of a land where crime rate compared to the US is close to zero. Similarly many people would question the validity and wisdom of such advice: "Avoid street and roadside vendor food that is not packaged. These products have a higher risk of food poisoning." We do not know whether the authors have any hard data to back this claim or are they simply working from a hunch.

If such deficiencies are removed this could turn into a useful book that could be recommended to the would be pilgrims from North America.

By Khalid Baig