Communication is undoubtedly a problem during the world’s largest gathering at the Holy Kaabah. Millions of Muslims journey towards the holy city of Makkah to perform Hajj and Umrah. This crowd of pilgrims in Makkah is very diverse, as Muslims travel to this region worldwide. Therefore, communicating with each other or the natives can be challenging because everyone’s language differs.
Most Arabs in Saudi Arabia do not know any other language than Arabic. And even though some pilgrims try to communicate in English with each other, only some know English. Therefore, sign language is the most common language non-Arabic speakers use during Umrah. People and security use sign language to guide the crowds, organise people and warn them about any issues.
Communication Tips for Pilgrims During Umrah
Here are some communication tips for non-Arabic speaking Umrah pilgrims that might be helpful for you.
Stay with the Group
Many people travel to the holy city of Makkah to perform pilgrimage in groups. These are the groups with people from their country, and thus, they speak the same language.
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Therefore, the people who travel in groups perform all their Umrah rituals in groups, too, so they don’t have to face the inconveniences of the language barrier.
So, if you want to avoid miscommunication, plan your Umrah with a group. Stay with your group at all times so you don’t have to worry about communicating with other pilgrims, natives, or security and management.
Use the Sign Language
As mentioned earlier, the primary means of communication among the Arabic and non-Arabic speaking people during Umrah. It is because, for sign language, you don’t need a dictionary to understand the conversation, no matter which language you speak. Sign language is the only way to get guidance if you lose your way or want to know about any specific place.
So, the primary language in the holy city of Makkah during pilgrimage are nods, hand gestures, smiles, and frowns. You don’t have to talk to deliver your message to the people near you. Therefore, you must know that you can only use sign language to communicate with Arabs as a non-Arabic speaker.
Try to Learn Small Arabic Phrases
You will be staying in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for quite some while, and you will be travelling around. It is not common among Arabs to speak any other language. Most of them have yet to learn English, which most people can communicate with worldwide. Therefore, it would help if you learned small Arabic phrases.
You can learn the basic Arabic phrases you might need during your Umrah journey. For example, you can learn Arabic phrases that will make it easier to ask for help or about something’s cost during shopping. There are various ways of understanding these phrases, and if you have time before your Umrah journey, you must utilise it and learn a little bit of Arabic.
Be Patient while Communicating
Pilgrims from all over the world travel to the holy city of Makkah, which explains the diversity of languages you might encounter during your time there. Therefore, communication issues are shared among the pilgrims during this pilgrimage. So, if you have booked Umrah packages from UK and will be travelling soon to perform Umrah, you must be patient during the journey.
The language barrier might sometimes frustrate you, but you cannot lash out at anyone for not understanding what you are trying to say. So, ensure you are patient while delivering your message to other regional pilgrims, security, or management. It is one of the most effective communication tips for non-Arabic speaking Umrah pilgrims.
Try to Find People with the Same Language
If you are not travelling with groups, you will need someone near you who speaks the same language as you. Even though the crowd is enormous during Umrah, and you might not be able to find someone that speaks the same language as you, you can surely try.
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If you have been fortunate enough to find people with the same language, try to perform the Umrah rituals with them. This will help you communicate effectively if you need guidance or help. And if you are there with your family, you must stick together to avoid any inconvenience.
Communication issues are significant problems pilgrims face during Hajj or Umrah. And the ideal solution for these issues is to stick to sign language. You can use different signs to get guidance or help if you are lost or need help. The mentioned-above communication tips for non-Arabic speaking Umrah pilgrims can be helpful for you.
Are you going to Umrah this year? Make sure you choose a reliable Islamic travel agency to help you plan your Umrah journey for a memorable experience. But even though your travel agents will take care of everything, you must overcome the communication issues yourself. So, make sure that you accept the language barrier and be as patient as possible.