Serving pilgrims for generations in Makkah

Sunday 14 October 2012

JEDDAH: Makkah people consider receiving pilgrims and providing services a duty with relationships spanning several generations.

Many Makkah residents recall how pilgrims were served in the past and how it compares to the present.

Arab News talked to number of Makkah residents who lived in two different eras. They described how their families prepared for the Haj season for months before it started.

Sheikh Saleh Siddique Koshak said most families in Makkah considered serving pilgrims a duty.

“Pilgrims in the past sometimes arrived in Makkah in Rajab and Shaban and stayed there three months before Haj,” Koshak said. “This required Makkah residents to dedicate their time to look after their guests.”

He said: “My family hosted pilgrims in our house for months without feeling annoyed or tired.

We treated them as family members and sometimes cried when they left. We gave them gifts to remember us when they were home,” he said.

Osama Sheikh Jamalullail said his family used to host pilgrims in their house for six months. “We cooked their food and we never ate or slept before them. We made sure they were comfortable in our house,” he added.

“We did this for free. We only wanted the reward from Allah unlike what’s happening nowadays,” he said.

He said everything was based on brotherhood and teachings of Islam and pilgrims always held people of Makkah as their role model.

“This good treatment sometimes ended in having family relations. It was a reason also for many pilgrims to stay back and live the rest of their lives in Makkah,” said Jamalullail.

Kahalil Farsi said his father used to take pilgrims to the Grand Mosque to perform Umrah and teach them the right ways of Haj and Umrah. He taught them words to use in dua (supplication) when making Tawaf and pray behind Makam Ibrahim.
Pilgrims and Makkah residents used to have special relations because they needed each other,” he said. “They needed us to guide and help them during Haj while we thought of it as a religious and humanitarian obligation,” he added.
Saeed Hussain said he was born in a family that took care of pilgrims. His father taught him to pitch tents for pilgrims, receive them and serve food to them.

Categories: Arab World, Asia, Saudi Arabia

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