Worldwide Coronavirus Cases Cross 32.88 Million, Death Toll at 992,953    Asian Shares Rise    Saudi Press: Saudi Arabia to Host 1st International Conference on Giftedness and Creativity    Weather Forecast for Monday    G20 Leaders' Summit to be held virtually on Nov. 21-22    Kerala's Diaspora Bond to be marketed in Gulf    'Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Women Peace and Security Initiative' new name for women's program    GDA launches 10th Technical Committee on Digitalization    Stena gives Volvo bus batteries a second life    15 Saudi prisoners to be released by Houthis: Coalition    Facelift turns Al-Khobar's vegetable market into an incredible colossal ‘Piece of Painting'    HRH Crown Prince Sends Cable of Condolence to Ukrainian President Following Military Aircraft Crash    Heavy clashes breaks out between Azerbaijan and Armenia    Global ETEC meet to be held virtually in October 2020    Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques Affairs, Hajj Ministry Discuss First Phase of Performing Umrah    Dr. Alattas proves instrumental in changing Kingdom's stereotypical image    Saudi Aramco: World's First Blue Ammonia Shipment Opens New Route to Sustainable Future    Over 1.6 million unskilled workers in major sectors    Pepsi Deccan Knights lifts CSG T10 Boom Cup    Joint Forces Command of the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen: Interception, Destruction of Bomb-Laden UAV Launched by Terrorist, Iran-Backed Houthi Militia Toward the Kingdom    Sen. Graham: Barrett confirmation hearing set to start Oct. 12    We must open our eyes to the weaknesses this pandemic has laid bare: Wilmes    Caribbean leaders call for united front against COVID-19 pandemic    Russia Reports 7,867 New Coronavirus Cases, Highest since June 20    Engineers produce a fisheye lens that's completely flat The single piece of glass produces crisp panoramic images.    Saudi Study on Hereditary Causes of Serious Coronavirus' Cases, Published in Recognized World Class Science Magazine    Saudi Al-Ahli Qualifies for the Quarter Finals of AFC Championships 2020    Hind Alfahhad's 'Sharshaf' wins $500,000 film production grant    S. P. Bala, legendary Indian singer, dead at 74    Former Australia batsman Dean Jones dies aged 59    CSG Sixes Saudi National Day event set    Saudi Arabia Achieves Significant Progress in International Indicators of Business Environment and Competitiveness    Coronavirus-hit Al Hilal out of AFCCL on a technicality    National Day/ Saudi Arabia Marks 90th National Day with Massive Air Show    Happy National Day 90    Roma given defeat by Serie A for using ineligible player    Bahrain Bourse Rises    AlUla Date Festival to Launch Next Month    Every work has its fruits, so choose wisely    Wydad appeal over CAF 2019 Champions' final dismissed by CAS    Saudi Youths Transfer Saudi Arabia's Culture via Animation Production    Saudi Scholarship Program to Promote Football Talents, abroad, Co-sign Accord with Spanish Real Sociedad    Saudi Films' Festival virtual Events Continued    Mediation center contributes to 22% decrease in divorces    Eid Al-Adha Prayer Performed at the Grand Holy Mosque    Pilgrims Perform Dhuhr and Asr Prayers in Arafat Holy Site    Senior Scholars Council Issues Decision No. 246 Regarding Attendance of Friday Prayer and Prayers at Mosques in a Case of Spread of Epidemic or Fear of its Spread    Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Addresses Citizens and Muslims on Eid Al-Fitr    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

Azra Aly, South African pilgrim: ‘The beginning of the rest of my life'
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 01 - 08 - 2020

MAKKAH — Azra Aly, a South African pilgrim performing Hajj 2020, sums up her strong feelings about the profound spiritual journey: "This could very well be the beginning of the rest of my life."
Azra, 38, works as an English language teacher in Jeddah and has been living in Saudi Arabia for the past six years.
Azra's late grandfather, Qassim Ali, was a well-respected Imam. She was born nine years after his passing but had constantly heard inspirational stories about him, his character and his dedication to his community. She looked up to him, despite not having had the chance to see him, and wondered why her father did not live by the same set of values and principles as he did.
Azra and her siblings had a tumultuous experience at home, with her parents being separated when she was only nine years of age. She would often find herself asking Allah why this was happening. She would apologize for doing so and then ask again, and the process would repeat itself.
Reminiscing, Azra says: "In 2011, after a heated argument with my family — out of nowhere and completely randomly — I boldly proclaimed to my mother that I would leave them and go to the desert."
In January 2014, after a series of unexpected events occurred in Azra's life, she received a call to teach at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah. It was at that moment that she thought back to when she proclaimed that she would leave her family and go to the desert, and it was at that moment that she found the answer to the question she kept asking Allah.
After moving to Saudi Arabia, she learned how to perform Umrah and had undertaken the minor Islamic pilgrimage 18 times since. Throughout this experience, she kept her grandfather in the back of her mind and in her soul, almost like a mental and spiritual compass.
What was most remarkable to Azra about her grandfather, was the story of his passing. He had passed away in 1973 in sujood while leading the Asr prayer on a Friday.
"His death sent ripples across the Muslim community as people recounted the details repeatedly to each other, and their children, and grandchildren over the decades."
Her grandfather had changed her life and she needed that refuge. When the announcement came for Hajj 2020, she remembered how a relative once told her that Hajj had changed his life. She applied and Azra was accepted.
"I was in disbelief! Elated! Maybe He (Allah) has not abandoned me. Maybe He's been waiting to help me fix whatever is broken, Azra said.
"I don't know what to expect from here, but what I do know is that I want redemption, clarity and peace. I feel terrified for some reason but at the same time, this could very well be the beginning of the rest of my life."

Clic here to read the story from its source.