While most Muslims are preparing to pay for their flights, eight men are riding their bikes to Mecca to perform Hajj.
“This Project has been a plan for eleven years and today is the day”
This is how one of the participants, Maulana Abdul Mukith, described their journey to Mecca.They kicked off from the East London Mosque to Saudi Arabia on their bikes hoping to arrive in time for the annual Hajj. These eight Muslims are cycling all the way starting from the United Kingdom. They will travel through France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy then, Greece. They will continue travel by ship from Greece to Egypt before traveling to Saudi Arabia =due to security reasons. Abdul Wahid, the founder of Hajj Ride, conceptualized the project when he converted to Islam 11 years ago.
Wahid stated that,
“The spirit of Haj has been lost.”
People used to travel for half a year or a year to go to Haj. In the past, some people would have been gone for two years at a time. For them, feeling the spirituality of Hajj through cycling is a way to feel the essence of their ancestor’s journey, and to go back to the old way of traveling. Besides feeling the spirit of Hajj, it’s a chance for them to meet different people and to educate people about their cause!
In addition, these guys are aiming to raise awareness about medical efforts in Syria. Hajj Riders believe that people throughout Europe and further are very respectful of such intentions and efforts when they tell them about it. By doing this, they hope it will spread the nobility of Islam. They will travel for six weeks through eight countries covering over 2,000 miles in order to raise £1m for those affected by the Syrian war. People can donate money to Hajj Ride and the money the group raises will be used for emergency services in Syria.
Currently, the Hajj Riders are in Lichtenstein. On their way to Paris, they have encountered some unwelcome attention when people threw water bottles at them and swore at them. However, Wahid said this is the way things are.
In an age where airplanes and package travel have shrunk the world, these eight Muslims are trying to be in touch with their ancestors and raise awareness for charity.
Would you ride a bike to Mecca??