MAKKAH – Riding his bike for thousands of miles through the Asian continent, a Chinese Muslim has finally reached the holy city of Makkah to fulfill his life-time dream of performing hajj.
The Chinese rider, Mohammad, left his home in China’s northwestern district of Xinjiang, and cycled around 8,150km before arriving in the western Saudi city of Taif, where he was accorded a special welcome by the local cycling club, Gulf News reported on Sunday, August 21.
“We were the first cycling club in Saudi Arabia to welcome the Chinese rider and we look forward to other clubs reaching out to him and introducing him to their cities,” Nayef Al Rawas, the head of the Taif club said.
Following a brief stay in Taif, Mohammad, was accompanied by members of the Taif cycling club to Makkah, Saudi news site Sabq reported.
A big number of pilgrims have already arrived in Saudi Arabia for hajj, the world’s largest annual gathering.
Muslims from around the world pour into Makkah every year to perform hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam.
Hajj consists of several rituals, which are meant to symbolize the essential concepts of the Islamic faith, and to commemorate the trials of Prophet Abraham and his family.
Every able-bodied adult Muslim who can financially afford the trip must perform hajj at least once in a lifetime.
Hajj starts on the eighth day of the lunar month of Dhul Hijjah, which falls this year on September 9.
The Chinese pilgrim is not the first Muslim to take the challenge to arrive Makkah with a different method than traditional transportations.
In 2012, 47-year-old Bosnian Muslim Senad Hadzic reached the holy city of Makkah to perform hajj.
During his journey, the Muslim man walked for nearly 3,600 miles (5,900 km) on foot from his Bosnian village to the holy city of Makkah.
In May 2014, a group of Malaysians rode their bicycles from Kuala Lumpur to Madinah.
The 12 men left from the Malaysian capital and made their way on eight motorbikes and a small van across 12 countries with stops in 53 cities.
On Saturday, China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) said that 14,500 Chinese Muslims would perform Haj this year.
A total of 11,000 Chinese pilgrims have already arrived in Makkah via 37 charter flights, Xinhua News Agency said.