Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 16th 2014 Contents B4
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, October 16, 2014
Millions of devout Muslims from around the world
have just completed the Islamic pilgrimage called
Hajj. The Hajj is an annual pilgrimage to Mecca,
and it is compulsory for Muslims to do it at least
once in their lifetime, once they are physically able
and financially capable.
Many Muslims say the Hajj is a life-changing expe-
rience, like the civil-rights leader Malcolm X, who
said doing the Hajj in March 1964 made him change
his views on whites and racism.
In T&T, former chairman of the San Juan/Laventille
Regional Corporation, Nafeesa Mohammed believes
doing the Hajj has had a major impact on her life.
Mohammed performed Hajj, not once but twice---in
2010 and 2012.
Mohammed said when she was growing up, she
heard stories about the Hajj from her aunt and other
members of the family.
"I really became more aware of the rites of the Hajj
when my mother was performing her own Hajj in
1994. Just as she had completed the most sacred rites
of the Hajj, my father got a heart attack here in
Trinidad and died. We had to bury my father while
my mother was in Makkah in Saudi Arabia."
Another couple, Hajji Shazad and Hajjin Fariza
Khan also feel the Hajj has been a transformative life
The Khans of Orange Field Road, Carapichaima,
performed Hajj in 2010.
Shazad Khan explained that having the intention
of performing Hajj is the main factor for Muslims:
"Each Muslim is supposed to practise the correct
teachings of Islam and with that comes humility and
genuine forgiveness in your heart. You must make
that intention to perform the Hajj and proceed on
the journey by submitting to the will of Allah and
constantly declaring that you are there at the service
of the Lord.
In terms of special requirements before performing
the Hajj, Mohammed explained that there are certain
matters that prospective pilgrims would try to fulfill.
"Hajj is compulsory only if you have the means to
do it. It s a once-in-a-lifetime experience and you
are not supposed to borrow money to go to perform
Hajj," Shazad said.
"Your personal, family and financial affairs should
be organised before leaving for Hajj. Provisions must
be made for your dependents prior to departing from
Mohammed described her first Hajj experience as
the most beautiful as she was able to perform the
Hajj along with her husband, Reza Abasali.
"I was also able to retrace the movements of my
mother at the time of my father s death as he suc-
Shazad Khan and his wife Fariza who performed the Hajj in 2010.
Hajj, a life-changing event for Muslims
cumbed during the most intense time of
the Hajj rituals. This brought great comfort
and peace to me because being near the
Kaaba makes me understand much more
about life and death and our purpose in this
"Spending more than a week in the City
of Madinah was also the most beautiful part
of my Hajj experience because I was so close
to the tomb of the Prophet Muhammad
(PBUH). This is such a sweet smelling and
beautiful place. My heart was at peace being
so near to our beloved Prophet Muhammad
(PBUH)," Mohammed said.
"My whole life has centred around a strug-
gle here in T&T for the preservation of
certain aspects of our religious and cultural
heritage. I am a traditional moderate Muslim
and I was able to witness that the majority
of Muslims from around the world are just
like us who have no hesitation in showing
such abundant love and respect for Prophet
Mohammed said since her first Hajj expe-
rience her life has changed dramatically, "I
actually started wearing hijab full-time when
I made my first downpayment for the Hajj.
By that time, my Islamic consciousness was
growing by leaps and bounds. I am still the
same person but I view life differently.
"We attach ourselves to things that are
ephemeral and I am more aware of our real
purpose in this life. When we leave this
world, it is only our deeds that follow us.
So striving to do as much good in this life
is my mission. I was brought up by my par-
ents who instilled in us that service to com-
munity is service to God. So this has been
an easy path for me.
"I live a normal life but there is much
more God consciousness. I am not fanatical
or dogmatic at all! My heart and soul have
been touched in a profound way since Hajj
and I am able to express feelings of love
with great ease and comfort."
While there, Khan said he was able to
perform Umrah Hajj on behalf of his children
---Fadil, who passed away suddenly earlier
this year, daughter Suranah and mother,
Imamam Baksh-Khan, who is also deceased.
This, Khan said is a lesser pilgrimage.
The best part of his experience was on
the day of Arafat, "this is where Prophet
Muhammad (PBUH) dis his last sermon. I
prayed all day there, making dua and asking
for forgiveness. Being there was like a sea
of white, representing purity. The millions
of people were all dressed in white. It was
a breathtaking scene."
Shazad Khan s wife Fariza said her cher-
ished moment was finally viewing the Holy
Ka aba. The Ka aba is an ancient stone struc-
ture that was built and re-built by prophets
as a house of worship. The Ka aba is con-
sidered the centre of the Muslim world, and
is a unifying focal point for Islamic worship.
Fariza said, "It was just an awesome and
fulfilling experience all round. It really hum-
bles you and makes you closer to God."
Nafeesa Mohammed and her
husband at the Hajj.
Pilgrims at Mecca doing tawaf at the Ka'aba. This is the scene from the Hajj that
most Westerners are familiar with.
HOW THE HAJJ WORKS
Pilgrims usually arrive in Jeddah,
Saudi Arabia, the major port city
nearest to Makkah. From there they
travel with their Hajj group to
Makkah. As they approach Makkah,
they stop at one of the designated
areas to shower and change
clothing, entering into a state of
devotion and purity for the
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