MAKKAH – Serving and caring for Muslims coming to hajj from across the world, women working in Tawafah are continuing their ancestors’ profession, dating back to more than eight centuries.
“I have worked in the National Tawafah Establishment of South Asia for years, and we feel that it’s a profession of honor,” Nojood Jmal Aleel told Arab News
“It’s a job that’s affiliated with the human spirit, because it deals with diversity of nationalities in which pilgrims and worshippers are seeking only mercy and forgiveness,” she said.
“Our families brought us up to respect the Tawafah profession. Moreover, it’s fundamental to pilgrims’ visit to Makkah as it helps them complete their journey without trepidation,” she added.
“We work on a specific schedule, and we’re notified about the time the pilgrim arrives to facilitate receiving him. We closely follow the stages of his journey, getting a visa, (taking care of any) requests he asks for, until he feels reassured that he’ll perform the holy rituals to the fullest.”
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, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon them.
Every able-bodied adult Muslim who can financially afford the trip must perform hajj at least once in a lifetime.
Hajj is officially expected to fall this year between August 30 and September 4, with the climax falling on August 31 when the faithful descend the Mount `Arafat.
Aleel’s profession has been handed down from one generation to another over the past centuries.
Mutawafs have to speak multiple languages to be able to meet the needs of pilgrims from various countries.
“My father… taught me that this profession is holy,” Mutawafa Asia Matar said.
“He always encouraged me to take care of pilgrims because they’re guests of God.”
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