Joyous, heartwarming scenes played out at the Cape Town International Airport on Wednesday afternoon, as families and friends gathered to wish hujjaj well as they depart for Hajj 2019. While around 20 Hujjaj had already left at 1pm, 80 boarded a second flight at 18.20pm on Emirates Airlines. The travel operators Khidmatul Awaam and Al Jeem Foundation were on the sidelines as they assisted hujjaj with ensuring their documentation and luggage are in order.
The atmosphere was palpable as families prepared the hujjaj with long hugs, teary-eyed smiles and sincere duas.
Standing with a solemn expression in the foyer was Shuaib Omardien, alongside his wife Bhadia. Omardien struggled to put his feelings into words.
“Its overwhelming, I cant explain the feeling of standing here and waiting on the airplane to go on this journey. We are wishing to come back better people and to be role models to our society In Shaa Allah,” expressed Omardien.
“We waited five years for this day to come and now its arrived. We are ready to find out what everyone has always told us; we always said we will get there one day to see for ourselves. And now it is our time and we will be making the most of it, In Shaa Allah,” said Bhadia.
As with many Muslims around the world, Sulaiman Valley expressed gratitude at being selected by his Almighty.
“Ive been chosen among the millions of people to go on Hajj. I feel so blessed and delighted to be among them. I want to do my ibaadat at 100, not 90%- 100%!”
Many relatives have wished their family members well and pray that they make the most of the holy journey. The family and friends, which ranged from month old babies to elderly in wheelchairs, were overwhelmed by having to say their final farewells.
A family member, Achmad Staggie, said he is proud to be greeting his brother.
“One of our brothers and his wife are leaving for hajj and we are very grateful that they have been afforded the opportunity and have been chosen from the family.”
Twenty-one year-old Nihaal Karriem said they came to show their aunt and uncle support and wish all hujaaj well.
“We came to wish them well, them and all hujaaj, to make dua that they have a safe journey and that their hajj and all their duas are accepted, In Shaa Allah.”
When questioned about how the family was feeling, Nihaal said they’re experiencing mixed emotions.
“Its bitter-sweet. We are obviously very proud of our aunt and uncle that they have this opportunity to go away, but at the same time it’s quite sad being at this end- staying behind, seeing them go on this development, on this journey that changes not only them but us as a family as well.”
Khidmatul Awaam volunteer Zainab Jabaar explained their role at the airport.
“Today, we have our first group. This morning, we had about 26 hujaaj that left. This afternoon, we had 69 and some hujaaj of Al Jeem. We check the hujaaj in and make sure they have all their stickers are on their bags, that they have all of their documentation and then d make dua. The final greeting happens upstairs before they go to immigration.”
“It is such an honour to be involved and (to be) around the Hujaaj, Alhamdulilah!” expressed Jabaar.
Meanwhile, Sahuc has urged the families of hujjaj to respect the rules of the airport. One of the main problems encountered yesterday was that relatives were entering the check-in points, which created congestion. Sahuc Western Cape chairperson Shaykh Riad Fataar said the check-in points are restricted to hujjaj and Sahuc officials only.
“Families should not enter the check-in counter. Also, we urge families waiting for hujjaj to board to not block the walkway and should respect other travellers inside the airport.”