On July 14 eight British Muslim enthusiasts started their journey to Mecca for Hajj. A little bit early, you might think?
Not at all! Because they are actually going to cycle their 4,794 km-route for 6 weeks on bikes from London all the way down to Mecca to join 2 million pilgrims.
The riders are hoping to raise funds for Human Aid.
The target is high – £1 million for medical aid for Syrians. The group is revisiting a Muslim tradition coming from the early days of Islam when people used to travel to Hajj on land.
The fundraisers have a long route ahead: France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, Italy, Greece, Egypt and finally Saudi Arabia.
The money donated will be used to buy the necessary equipment for emergency services in Syria.
Human Aid has previously raised funds in the UK and Malaysia and sent up to 85 ambulances to Syria.
The Hajj Ride leader, Abdul Wahab, who converted to Islam over a decade ago, came up with an idea of the charitable Ride.
‘People say you have to change everything about you when you become Muslim. I had a lot of time to think about how I can merge my lives. I thought I love cycling and I want to go to Hajj, so why don’t we go back to the old way of journeying?’, Wahid told Al Arabiya.
So he put the plan together of how to cycle to Mecca and realised it was doable.
He will be accompanied by other volunteers of Pakistani and Bengali origin.
In addition to the charitable goal, the men will also try to raise awareness of a need of a regular exercise in British Muslim community.