French pilgrim performs hajj as Saudi king's guest

Alexander, who adopted the name Hamza, was originally going to Makkah to perform Umrah

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A young French man crossed 7,000 km by road with a wish to travel to Makkah to perform Umrah but Allah’s decision was to enable him to perform not only Umrah but also hajj as a guest of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.

Alexander, who reverted to Islam and adopted the name Hamza, told the Saudi Press Agency that it was a call for prayer (adhan) that made all the difference in his life.

“When I heard the adhan for the first time, I was shaken by an inexplicable experience and listened attentively to the voice, leading eventually to the righteous path. After this incident, I continued my passionate search for the true religion that led me to embrace Islam,” he said.

Hamza said he decided to set out for Makkah to perform Umrah.

“So, accompanied by my wife, I traveled 7,000 km by road, starting from Morocco and reached Niger after crossing Mauritania and Burkina Faso. In Niamey, capital of Niger, I visited the Saudi Embassy and applied for an Umrah visa but came to know that I had to go through some procedures for this,” he said.

“After waiting for some time, I engaged in prayers to fulfill my dream and making some efforts for visa, my wife and I decided desperately to go back to France. When we were on our way to the airport, I received a call from the embassy informing that I was chosen as the king’s guest to perform hajj,” he added.

Hamza, who quit his job in France and plans to devote to the study of the Shariah, also shared his delight over the realization of the spiritual journey since converting to Islam.

“All my fatigue and physical and mental strain caused by the long and arduous journey vanished when I saw the Holy Kaaba and I could not control my emotions, and so we cried in joy,” he said.

This story was first published in the Saudi Gazette on Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014.

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