A group of eight British Muslim men have started cycling to Mecca to perform the hajj at the end of this month. Rather than taking an easy and comfortable air travel, like the rest of us, these men have chosen to cycle their way to hajj some 3,500 km on land in Europe, across three mountains, and some sea travels thrown in too.
photo credit: facebook.com/HajjRide
Their Driving Forces
For these men to commit to such grueling travel, something must be driving their motivations to do so.
According to the group leader, Abdul Wahid, the main reason is to raise money for charity. The charity is to help the Syrian civilians by buying them ambulances and medical equipments and supplies. They target to raise 1 million pounds for the charity which they work with, Human-Aid.org.
The second reason is to feel the tough physical and mental journeys to hajj, as experienced by their forefathers. Where in days of our fathers and forefathers, it could take a six months journey by ship to Saudi and another six months to make it back, the long, arduous journeys are often a time for the pilgrims to review and renew their commitments to their faiths.
Paying It Forward
According to Abdul Wahid, also known as Don Whyte, the real reason for his charity drive is to repay the acts of kindness of Syrian refugees he encountered when doing charity work for them in 2014 in Turkey. At one point, as a charity worker, he ran out of food to eat, and was offered food and shelter to rest in the makeshift homes of one refugee family. He was offered figs and tea for food and drinks, which took up gladly. Only later, after a translator arrived, he learnt that the food was to feed the refugee and his family for an entire week. Yet, the refugee offered it to a stranger instead.
As a result, Abdul Wahid always remembered that refugee’s act of kindness and generosity. While he couldn’t repay back to that particular man, his charity drive to provide ambulances, medical devices and medical supplies to the Syrian civilians inside Syria is part of his effort to pay back that refugee’s generosity.
The Cycling Trip
Their cycling tour will cover parts of France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy and Greece. From Greece they will take a flight to Egypt before cycling all the way to Medinah, Saudi Arabia. From Medinah, they will have to take a bus to Mecca, as the Saudi law restricts private transportation during the Hajj period.
While they acknowledged that their cycling trip to hajj is not the first one ever done by anyone, as previously one man from China had cycled all his way to hajj and in 2014, a group of Malaysian bikers had rode their motorbikes from Malaysia to Mecca, this is certainly a first for Britain.
The group documents their journey on YouTube. They are now on their 12th day of their journey, according to their Vlog.
About The Charity
Human Aid UK is a UK-based charity organization with a a 100% donations policy. They have charity causes in the UK and in the troubled hot spots around the world. To donate for this cause, visit their website here.