We all have seen in a competition that a cyclist cycling hundreds of kilometers to complete their milestone and make new records. They travel from one part of country to another covering hundreds of kilometers for many days. But you have never heard of a person who travel just to complete his religious obligation.
A Tunisian cyclist named Sara Haba travelled to Saudi Arabia for pilgrimage from her home country Tunisia in 53 days. Would you imagine that she took 53 days of cycling just to fulfil his dream to travel Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj.
Her passion and solid determination helped her to travel such a long distance by bicycle. She just wants to visit the Holiest city of Muslims. She travelled across desert into Egypt and Sudan for weeks, mostly by herself, and documented her journey using the hashtag #cyclingtomecca.
It is not easy being a women to travel like this and especially on the bicycle. It feels really scary when thought to travel such a long distance even if you are male. But this girl showed us that nothing is impossible. She showed the world that impossible and possible is only present in our minds. We can attain whatever we want if we put all our efforts towards our aims.
Haba named her bike Merzouga, which can be translated roughly to “grace with blessing” in Maghrebi Arabic. She said: “I was afraid to be stopped at any point. I didn’t know if my body will follow my will and accept all what I was imposing to it,” she wrote on Instagram.
Haba was worried that she wouldn’t be allowed to enter the sacred city as she was travelling by herself, but she didn’t let the fear stop her. Under Saudi law, any woman under the age of 45 who wants to undergo the religious pilgrimage of hajj to Mecca needs a visa and must travel with a mahram, a male “guardian” who is generally expected to be a blood relation.
She added: “In Saudi Arabia, distance and the difficulty were really small in comparison with what I went through, I was tensed before reaching Mecca as I really didn’t know if I would be allowed to enter the city, cycling by myself.”
The physically demanding route had her long-distance biking for up to eight hours a day, and she didn’t have a team with her so when her bike broke down in the desert she had to repair it by herself.
Though Sara travelled alone, when her story went viral online, many people met her on her journey. She was happy to see different people of different basis, caste and colour. She was welcomed by everyone she met in the way.
After 16 days on the road she arrived in Port Sudan, where she met a woman who had travelled 200km to see her. In another heart-warming moment, people on the road presented the cyclist with watermelon and dates.Thousands of people followed her journey online, and wrote supportive messages on her Instagram, whilst others asked her to carry their prayers.
In response, she thanked them by saying this: “A special special special thanks to each person who has crossed my way, smiled to me, shown me the way, filled my bottles with water, offered me a fruit or a jabana, shared their house with me, presented me to their family and friends, cycled with me even for 10km, cried with me and make me part of their lives.I didn’t expect anything of all what happened.I kept making duas for all of you, holding the list of names tightly on my hands, while turning and turning in the crowd. But it will never be enough. Hope that life will give me the opportunity to give this back to the universe. I won’t have made it without each one of you. You made it guys.
This is the spirit that we all Muslims need in our lives. Never afraid of problems, calamities and sufferings because they are just a part of your journey. The lesson we learn from this story is that we should try to fight difficulties with patience and tolerance and we should make our religion, our first priority.
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