I did not think I’d be going for Hajj this year. I made the intention last year, but due to unexpected financial constraints, I found myself in Ramadan without any money to go for Hajj. This year, I had no intention or expectation to go for Hajj.
One night in Ramadan, some friends told me they were organizing a competition in which six winners would get to go to Hajj for free as guests of Saudi Arabia. I’d never won a competition in my life so I did not get too excited. That night was an odd night during the last ten nights and I had a dream that I would be going for Hajj for free this year! I woke up very excited and immediately got my hands on a copy of the competition form and started researching the answers.
Soon my wife and I had found all of the answers, filled in the forms and submitted it anxiously waiting for the announcement of the winners. Two nights before the winners were announced, I had a dream that a specific friend of mine organized for me to go for Hajj for free. That friend was the one announcing the winners on radio so I sat next to my receiver expecting to win the competition.
As each winner was announced, my heart began to sink. Soon all six winners were announced and I was not one of them. I felt a deep emptiness inside of me, and did not sleep well that night due to the sadness that had engulfed me. I had not been for Hajj before and had not been to Saudi Arabia since 2006. My heart yearned to return to the holy lands and by that time, I had already been reciting the talbiyah for a few days. The thought also kept lingering in my head, “What did that dream mean then?”
The next morning, I awoke to find a message on Facebook from the same brother in my dream telling me to phone him urgently. I immediately phoned him and he asked me if I had been for Hajj before. When I replied in the negative, he said he would try to organize something for me. As it turned out that besides the six competition winners, the Saudi Arabian government was also taking six chosen guests from South Africa and I had been chosen!
Soon afterward, I found myself leaving for a two week, all expenses paid, five star Hajj package, even though I did not possess the money to afford even an Umrah trip. It was then that I understood something I had heard many times in my life, “It is not those who possess the money but those who Allah chooses who go for Hajj”
It would turn out to be an amazing two weeks and I would learn many things from my experiences in the holy lands of Islam, which I will reflect on in the next few articles, insha’Allah.