Makkah, 9 Dzulhijjah 1435/3 October 2014 (MINA) – A French Muslim revert, after driving and covering more than 7000 km with his wife to perform Umrah, has been welcomed in the holy city to perform hajj as a special guest of the Saudi King.
“When I heard the adhan for the first time, I was shaken by an inexplicable experience, and listened attentively to the voice, leading eventually to the righteous path,” Alexander, who reverted to Islam and adopted the name Hamza, that it was a call for prayer (adhan) that changed his life.
“After this incident, I continued my passionate search for the true religion that led me to embrace Islam,” he said, Onislam quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting, Friday.
Starting his new life as a Muslim, Hamza wanted to fulfill his dream to perform Umrah, setting out on a journey by land and crossed 7,000 km from Morocco to Mauritania, and then Burkina Faso, reaching Niger.
“I visited the Saudi Embassy in Niger to get an Umrah visa. They informed me that the visa should be issued in advance through an agent. Embassy officials, however, promised to help me,” he said.
Awaiting visa for a long time in Niger, the Muslim couple prayed to Allah to fulfill their dream to visit Makkah and the Grand Mosque.
“We prayed to God every day for our dream to come true and we had full confidence that the Almighty would help us to pray at the Grand Mosque in Makkah,” he said.
With no light of hope, they decided to return to France when they received a call that they were selected to perform hajj this year as special guests of King Abdullah.
“We packed everything and took a taxi to the airport. While we were on the way, we received a call from the Saudi Embassy in Niger saying that we have been selected as one of 1,000 guest pilgrims of King Abdullah to perform Haj this year. I could not believe my ears,” he added.
Arriving Makkah, Hamza forgot all the fatigue of his journey, praying and cryig before Ka`bah.
“All our difficulties and problems faded away when we saw the House of God. I cried and cried standing in front of the Ka`bah and thanked Allah and King Abdullah for giving me this great opportunity,” he added.
Hamza intends to study Islamic law to gain more knowledge about the religion and spread its message among others.
Muslims from around the world pour to Makkah every year to perform hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam.
Hajj consists of several ceremonies, 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 is officially expected to fall between October 2 and 7, with the climax falling on October 3 when the faithful descend the Mount `Arafat. (T/P008/P3)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)