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5 inspiring stories of Hajj: From saving money for years to walking for months

There are certain people in the world who go to great lengths to fulfil their dream of performing Hajj

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The journey to perform Hajj is exhilarating and uplifting on it’s own, but when it’s combined with other pleasant factors and events, it becomes an inspirational for others around the world. This year, we heard about the Chinese Muslim who cycled to Makkah taking him 4 months to do so to perform Hajj. Here are 5 other such stories from previous years of which no doubt there are many others:

1) 8 brothers vie to serve their mother to perform Hajj 2014

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In a world of materialistic pursuits, a mother of eight performed hajj in 2014 was said to be very fortunate to have sons like her. Others may say the sons are very fortunate to be able to take their mother to hajj.

Inspired by the teachings of the Qur’ān and the Sunnah of taking care of elderly parents, all eight sons competed with each other to take good care of their 70-year-old mother, Aysha, to make her pilgrimage as comfortable as possible.

They all wanted to win her satisfaction and love and were ready to go to any length to do that even if they had to enter into endless arguments over who owned the right to perform hajj rituals on her behalf.

Eventually, Mustafa Al-Faisal, the youngest son came up with a solution that worked well for all of them: He suggested that they will do it by taking turns. Each day two of them pushed her wheel chair and attended to her needs. By doing so, all of them enjoyed a chance to please their mother fulfilling her long-time wish to perform hajj.

Moussa, the eldest brother told Arab News:

During the past 20 years we have been saving money to perform Haj with our mother.

2) 105-year-old saved money for 15 years to finally perform Hajj 2015

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After saving money for almost 15 years, Noor Mohammed, a 105-year-old Pakistani pilgrim, finally made it to Makkah to perform Hajj in 2015. He told Al-Hayat newspaper:

My repeated failures to perform Hajj did not deter me. I continued my struggle to save money and embark on the journey of the lifetime.

“The Hajj costs were increasing year after year. Every time I tried to collect enough money, I would fail because of the difficult financial conditions of my family.”

Mohammed said he was only able to save the Hajj money at this old age.

When I crossed 100, I was able to save the required amount of money to accomplish my life-long dream.

He said when he arrived in Saudi Arabia for the first time, he discovered Hajj was not as difficult as he used to think.

Mohammed said his friends, who are all dead now, used to speak to him about hardships and difficulties during the Hajj.

“The facilities I have seen have obliterated the old distorted picture I used to have about the Hajj.”

Mohammed said Hajj had become easy, especially for the old people like him:

It is now easy to move between the holy sites. It is also easy to perform the rites. This is contrary to the picture I have conjured about the Hajj for many years.

3) Ugandan fish seller woman saves money for 10 years to make it to Hajj 2015

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A woman from Uganda saved money for 10 years to be able to afford to pay for making pilgrimage in Makkah, Saudi Arabia in 2015, by working in her modest smoked fish business. 58-year-old Kasifah Nankumba told Anadoly Agency before going for Hajj:

I can’t wait to get to Makkah and see Mount Arafat and drink Zamzam water. The sheikhs have briefed us on what to expect. I’m so excited. I’m afraid I might faint.

For the last decade, Kasifah had been saving small increments of money from her modest smoked fish business, which she has run for the last 28 years in Kalerwe market near Kampala.

In 2006, Kasifah recalled, while sitting in the market, she suddenly felt compelled to perform the pilgrimage.

“But, I didn’t have a penny to my name, so I pushed the thought aside,” she said.

Nevertheless, shortly afterward, she got in touch with a man known for helping Muslim pilgrims travel to Makkah.

The man, known as Haji Musa, introduced her to the manager of the Mityana Hijja and Umrah Tour Agency, who advised her to start saving. With her modest savings, they began buying U.S. dollars for her, for which they provide her with receipts.

On June 15, 2015, she remembers getting a call from the Hijja office manager, who told her: “Hajjati Kasifah, the money you saved is now enough for the Hijja [pilgrimage].”

“I was at the market at the time, sitting on the ground,” Kasifah said. “He said my name four times, but I was too shocked to speak.”

Extremely overjoyed, she declared:

When I return from Makkah, God willing, I’ll stay home and continue with my ibadah [prayer]; I’m not coming back to just sit on the ground and sell fish.

4) The Bosnian Muslim who walked 5,700km through 7 countries to perform Hajj 2012

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A Bosnian Muslim pilgrim who left last December, 2011 on pilgrimage to Makkah for 2012 by foot told AFP that he arrived after passing through seven countries including war-torn Syria.

Senad Hadzic, 47, said:

I arrived Saturday in Makkah. I am not tired, these are the best days of my life.

He said he had covered some 5,700 kilometres (3,540 miles) in 314 days of walking through Bosnia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Syria and Jordan to the Muslim holy city in south-western Saudi Arabia, with a backpack weighing 20 kilos (44 pounds).

He charted his progress on his Facebook page, where he posted a picture apparently of an entry/exit card for foreigners issued by the Syrian interior ministry.

“I passed through Syria in April. I walked some 500 kilometres in 11 days. I went through Aleppo and Damascus and passed dozens of check-points held by pro-government and rebel forces alike, but I was never detained,

At a check-point held by (President Bashar) al-Assad’s forces the soldier ordered me to empty my backpack…When I showed them my Quran and explained I was making the pilgrimage on foot, they let me go.

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On his Facebook page, he said God had shown him the way in dreams, including to go through Syria instead of Iraq.

During the pilgrimage, Hadzic faced temperatures ranging from minus 35 Celsius in Bulgaria to plus 44 Celsius in Jordan.

He said he had to wait in Istanbul for several weeks to get permission to cross the Bosphorus Bridge on foot and two months at the border between Jordan and Saudi Arabia to obtain an entry visa.

5) Walk of life: Pakistani man travelled 6,387 km on foot to perform Hajj 2013

Pakistani walk hajj

Muslims fly, drive or sail from across the world to perform the hajj in Makkah, a Pakistani man made the trip in a far more traditional manner; travelling on foot from Pakistan to Islam’s holiest city in Saudi Arabia.

Kharlzada Kasrat Rai, 37, began his trip from Karachi on June 7, 2013, travelling 6,387 kilometers (3,968 miles) through Iran, Iraq and Jordan on foot.

He arrived in Makkah to a hero’s welcome.

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Kasrat Rai was received by Saudi government officials and a representative of the holy Ka’aba’s imam in addition to members of Makkah’s Pakistani community and supporters from various Muslim countries.

The two-time holder of the World Record for Peace Walks told Al Arabiya News that the aim behind his almost three-month journey was to deliver a “message of peace” to the world and to “condemn terrorism at all levels.

I want peace in the world, equality, and a union of the Muslim Ummah like the European Union.

Kasrat Rai told Al Arabiya News that although he faced unexpected “problems” during his latest journey to Makkah, which he described as “risky,” he still felt secure and was able to arrive in the city safe and sound.

He said that the people he encountered along the way were “friendly” and gave him support., adding that in Makkah he was provided with accommodation. Kasrat Rai explained that he was preparing to begin the journey to Mina, roughly eight kilometers (five miles) away from Makkah, as per the rituals of hajj, which officially starts on Sunday.

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