Hajj Of A Stranger
It is that time of year again when over Million Muslims make their way from every part of the earth to Mecca. Hajj is an act that every Muslim must complete provided they can afford to and can physically do so. Of the 2 Million Muslims travel to Saudi Arabia to perform hajj, it is the first time, for others it is a familiar trip. There are poor people who have saved their entire lives, rich people who stay in the fanciest of accommodations, middle class who spend moderately but try to be as comfortable as possible, and others who travel not far from their homes in Saudi to perform their duty. All coming together, ideally, for one single purpose, to worship God and fulfill a duty. Of the millions who pray for their own sins to be forgiven and that of their loved ones will be one single man who is praying for my mother, although she is a stranger to him.
After the death of my mother I sold her quilting supplies to a Saudi woman she knew in Jubail. She is not only a quilter but runs a business that involves quilting for others. To come upon my mothers stash was of benefit for her, as my prices were low, I didn’t want to make a fortune, just ensure someone would enjoy using my mothers things. She is a very nice woman and I’ve only met her once before. After she purchased the things she gave me a call and asked if my mother had ever been on hajj. I told her no, although my mother performed Umrah twice she had never made it to hajj. During the last years of her life she was undergoing chemo treatment so she wasn’t able to make the journey. The woman than mentioned a thought she had involving one of my mothers unfinished quilts “I will finish it and raffle it off, from the money raised we can send someone to hajj in her name”.
I thought this was a wonderful idea and it was very sweet of this woman to offer. She did finish up one of the quilts and was going to raffle it for this purpose but when her husband consulted a sheikh he was informed that this wasn’t the best way to raise the money. Many are leery of raffles so I completely understood their not wanting to take part in that. But it didn’t end there, her husband did find a student at a university in Madinah who was able to make the hajj on behalf of my mother. They called to inform of us of that and wanted absolutely no money from us. The family decided it was something they wanted to do on behalf of my mother which touched me greatly.
It wasn’t as if this woman and my mother were the best of buddies. They saw each other at quilt club, chatted quilts and interacted in that fashion. But between the things my mother was going through medically and the distance of the woman in Jubail it wasn’t like they got together for tea or something. So for her and their family to go above and beyond is much appreciated by me and would have been graciously accepted by my mother. Along the way and especially during her illness my mother had received such an out pouring of generosity from many people here in Saudi. From the Drs. who ensured her medical care in a government hospital (usually only for Saudi patients) to the women who helped her raise money by raffling a quilt of hers to help pay for some medical bills and continue some treatment at a private hospital. It touches my heart to see others extending themselves to my mother, even after her death.
I think of this man, a student, a stranger to my mother who is making his way to perform hajj among millions of others in my mothers name. I think of this stranger, one which we’ll probably never meet, praying for my mother in her death. I think of this stranger shoulder to shoulder making his way through crowds of millions to perform an obligation my mother was unable to carry out. A stranger who volunteered his time to go on behalf of a woman he doesn’t even know. I think of him circling the Kabbah as my mother once did for umrah as his prayers pass his lips on behalf of the soul of my mother.
I ask that you to pray for my mother this Hajj season as well as pray for this stranger. Pray that his journey is safe, he returns healthy and that he is blessed for his actions.
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