80-yr-old Saudi cleric performs 60 Hajjs
An 80-year-old Saudi cleric has performed the annual Hajj pilgrimage to holy city of Mecca 60 times, an act that could enlist his name in the Guinness World Record book for performing the most number of Hajjs.
Jeddah: An 80-year-old Saudi cleric has performed the annual Hajj pilgrimage to holy city of Mecca 60 times, an act that could enlist his name in the Guinness World Record book for performing the most number of Hajjs.
Sheikh Jabran Yahya Solaiman Al-Malki, the imam (prayer leader) of a mosque in Jazan province in the southwest of Saudi Arabia, performed the Hajj for the first time with his father in 1954, the Saudi Gazette reported today.
Malki recalled that his first Hajj was an "exhausting experience" which he will never forget. "The resources were very little and transport was poor."
He said the journey from Jazan to Mecca took him and his father two weeks to complete.
Malki said at that time there were no paved roads, the cars were old and smoky, there was not enough water, food or toilets in the holy sites.
"The number of pilgrims was about 250,000. We used to live in tents...We had to cross on foot the long distances between Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifah," he said.
"At 80 with 60 Hajjs, the imam could well be on his way to setting a Guinness world record," the paper said.
The Hajj pilgrimage is one of the five pillars of Islam that should be performed at least once in lifetime by every Muslim who is financially and physically capable. This year, the pilgrimage starts today and ends on October 18.
Malki said he had performed Hajj for himself, his parents, relatives and a number of his sons who died young.
"There is no comparison between the Hajj services today and those of the past when resources were scant," he said.
Last year a total of 3.2 million faithful, including 1.75 million foreigners from 190 countries, performed the pilgrimage to Mecca, Islam`s holiest site.