Indian volunteers win hearts during Haj
By Rizwan Khatik - Sun Nov 13, 4:28 am
HOLY SITES: As a volunteer coordinator and trainer from King Abdulaziz University, I was impressed with the services offered to pilgrims by various Indian expatriate organizations in Mina during this year’s Haj.
Hundreds of sick pilgrims were taken to the Jamarat with wheelchairs to perform their rituals. The volunteers also helped many lost pilgrims get back to their camps using maps provided by the Ministry of Haj and the Indian Haj Mission.
Dr. Ima Kashim of Abuja, Nigeria, who was performing her seventh Haj, praised the Indian volunteers.
“The volunteers were really dedicated. They did not even get the chance to celebrate Eid with their families. They were always ready to help old, sick and tired Hajis perform their rituals and get back to their tents,” she said to me.
Kashim, who is a revert to Islam from Christianity, said the Islamic values of unity and solidarity were reflected in the 24-hour services rendered by these volunteers.
Akhthar Begum, a pilgrim from Rajasthan, India, said she was helped after wandering for several hours trying to find her way back to her camp.
“I experienced the mercy of Allah in the form of the selfless service of this young volunteer who helped me by carrying my heavy backpack on his shoulders all the way to my room with a smile on his face.”
A Pakistani pilgrim, who was taken to his tent by a volunteer, said he will pray to Allah that other people “from my part of the world watch and learn from these volunteers serving Allah’s guests”.
A Sudanese Haji was also impressed with the hard work of the volunteers, who received no monetary payment but only expected reward from Almighty Allah.
Ahmad Ba Majboor, the leader of the scout team from King Saud University, was astonished to find a university professor working as a volunteer at 2.30 one morning.
“This sort of service is disappearing from our society. Your presence here in Mina as a volunteer is a real inspiration to all of us,” he told me.
K.P. Muhammad Kutty and Ahamad Palayat, the office bearers of the Saudi chapter of the Kerala Muslim Cultural Center (KMCC), said their volunteers served 40,000 free food packets to Indian Hajis during their stay in Mina.
The Haj conveners P.V. Abdul Rahiman and Jamal Vattapoyil, said that nearly 200 lost Hajis were guided from Muzdalifa to their destinations.
Umar Arippambra, the volunteer captain, said he was pleased with the performance of the volunteers. About 265 pilgrims were taken to medical service centers and hospitals.
As a coordinator and trainer of KMCC volunteers, I feel very satisfied with the work we carried out this Haj. As taught to us by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the closest to Allah are those who help others.
The Indian consulate and the Kingdom’s Haj authorities gave us considerable support.
Thanks must also go to Fayiz Ahmad Kidwai, the Indian consul general, for his support and efforts during this year’s Haj.
More than 3,500 volunteers from different parts of the Kingdom served pilgrims in Mina.
The Indian Fraternity Forum deployed 1,000 volunteers. The Jeddah Haj Welfare Forum, a body representing nearly 20 organizations, sent 500 volunteers, while a further 500 were deployed from other organizations.
Next year, Insha’Allah, we plan to offer even better services for pilgrims on Dhul Hijja 10 in Muzdalifa and Mina, in consultation with the Ministry of Haj, the Indian Haj Mission and the Saudi Scouts.