PHILADELPHIA – A few days before hajj starts, a group of forty-eight local Muslims from Philadelphia, US, have embarked on their journey, on Tuesday, to the holy city of Makkah to perform annual hajj.
“It’s very much a spiritual journey.”
The group are traveling with the Al-Mu’adhdhan Hajj Group, and they represent one of the largest contingents ever to travel with the organization.
“This is the largest group we’ve had in eight years,” said Mikhalil Ghani, founder of the Al-Mu’adhdhan Hajj Group.
“I can’t say exactly why. Each of us has a calling. It’s a requirement for all Muslims.”
The group will visit Makkah, Madinah, and Mina as they perform their hajj rituals.
“The group you go over with, you may not know them well when you’re leaving but by the end of the trip, it’s a bond that’s unbreakable,” said Suswell.
“[And] it’s a struggle when you’re over there because there is a lot of physical exertion, a lot of walking. To have so many people support each other to go through the rituals, it’s a blessing.”
Beginning their lifetime journey, many of those in the journey were overjoyed.
“I’m overwhelmed. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I feel blessed that Allah has chosen me out of billions of people,” said Samuel Hill Jr., a first-time Hajj pilgrim.
“I’ll be praying for all these beautiful believers. I’ll be praying for my family [and] asking Allah for his mercy and forgiveness. It goes on and on and on.”
Sabrin Abdullah, another first-time Hajj pilgrim who converted to Islam in 1976, said Allah provided her with the funds to make Hajj.
She encouraged fellow believers to remain faithful even if it does not seem feasible to make the trip, estimated by Masjidullah Imam Abdul-Halim Hassan to cost up to $10,000.
“I feel honored. I feel that Allah has answered my prayer and invited me to the best house, the only house,” said Abdullah.
“Before I pray to my Lord, I am begging his forgiveness for my life and praying he will give me the opportunity to come back and share my experience. For those in doubt whether they should make the intention because they are looking at their bank account, don’t look at your bank account. Look at your book and remember Allah’s words do come true.”