Recovering addicts thank Saudi minister for hajj trip

Muslim pilgrims pray around the holy Ka'bah at the Grand Mosque, during the annual hajj pilgrimage in Makkah, September 27, 2014. (Reuters)

A number of former drug addicts recently thanked Interior Minister Prince Muhammad bin Naif for giving them a chance to perform hajj at his expense, saying that the pilgrimage represents a fresh start. 

One of the recovering drug addicts, while recounting his story, said he suffered immensely when he was on drugs; he felt depressed and suicidal all the time. When he was committed to al-Amal Hospital, he started to feel better and appreciative of the efforts exerted by the hospital staff to help him kick the drug habit permanently.

“I’ve been clean for quite some time now. I’m planning to complete my high school and college. I’ll be more than happy to offer my services as an advice-giver to drug addicts and help them recover from addiction for good,” he said.

‘Back on the path’

Another member of the group, who gave his first name as Fahad, said, “by performing hajj, I will be able to get back on the path of righteousness and start a new life, a clean one, so to speak. Today, I feel closer to Allah and no longer am in the dark.

Another member said he got hooked on drugs when he was 12 years old. “It all started with a hashish cigarette and that led me to more serious drugs till I became a complete addict, and that cost me, my government position. I hit rock bottom after I got fired and started stealing things from people in order to keep up a constant supply of drugs. I was committed to Al-Amal Hospital ten years ago and it took me a long time before I gave up drugs.”

Yousif al-Yousif, who is responsible for the hajj delegation of former drug addicts, said most recovering drug addicts are engaged in Dawah activities and missions to help people on drugs give up the habit. Some of them work for Al-Amal Hospital in the Eastern Province, which treats drug addicts.

He added that the Interior Minister’s campaign has so far helped 140 pilgrims perform hajj over the past few years. Only those who stay off drugs for six months after recovery are given a chance to perform hajj.

 

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette, Oct. 6, 2014.

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