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Of proud mothers and proud sons at Haj

Hayat Khan, left, with her aged mother and other relatives in Mina on Wednesday. (AN photo by Siraj Wahab)

By Siraj Wahab | 25 Oct 2012

The deep lines etched on Mahe Zarina’s radiant face speaks volumes about her life of eight summers. But being 81 has not dimmed her passion for performing the pilgrimage.

Flanked by her 40-year-old son, Sikandar Hayat, and two grandsons, she is happy at having arrived in Mina for a journey about which she dreamed all her life.

“It is thanks to Allah and my son that I finally managed to come here,” she told Arab News.

“I am very happy. Who wouldn’t be?”
As she spoke excitedly about the pilgrimage, her son felt a lump in his throat.

“I consider myself to be the most fortunate son. She is everything to me. And I always wanted to bring her here and perform the pilgrimage with her. Allah has answered my prayers. There is no shade better than the shade of a mother,” said Hayat, a Pathan from Mardan in Pakistan.

Umme Faisal’s excitement was writ large on her cheerful face. Her son, Faisal Shabbir, from Karachi, Pakistan, did not interrupt her as she spoke of her experience in Makkah.

“The first time I cast my eye on the Holy Kaaba, I nearly fainted. All your life you dream about something, and when it suddenly manifests itself right before your eyes, you don’t know how to respond. You can’t calibrate your response at such moments. That is exactly what happened to me,” she said.

Umme Faisal is thankful to Allah and her son for making her dream come true.

“Of course, my son and my children are in my prayers here. Then I am praying for Pakistan’s well being. Our enemies have grown in number and they seem hell-bent on destroying our country. Our prayers will defeat the plans of our enemies,” she said.

Such is the impact of the pilgrimage that Umme Faisal says she forgets what exactly to pray for. “It becomes difficult to remember everything. I am just enjoying my presence here. Let us hope we are able to perform all the rituals the way our Prophet (peace be upon him) has instructed us to perform,” she said.

The women at Haj are adept at striking up spontaneous conversations with their co-religionists from other countries. At times, in the absence of a common language, they communicate through gestures. They laugh and cry and sympathize and hug each other.

They spread cheer and are clearly overwhelmed by the extent of the event.

“We heard that there are more than a billion followers of our religion, but we never realized that they came from so many countries and so many cultures,” said Khairunnisa Azimi from Karachi in Pakistan. “I am simply amazed and a.m. very happy that I belong to a religion which has worldwide acceptance.” Her young son, Imran Khan, nodded his in agreement with his mother.

Azimi felt confident in her son’s presence. “This pilgrimage is not easy. But if your young and able son is by your side, then everything seems doable and easy. That is exactly how I feel,” she added.


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