Home Consulate A young Indonesian cycles 5,000 km on his pilgrimage to the Three Holy Mosques

A young Indonesian cycles 5,000 km on his pilgrimage to the Three Holy Mosques

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By Hassan Cheruppa

Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH — For Muhammad Fauzan, the spiritual Hajj journey of a lifetime was an arduous bicycle journey of almost 5,000 kilometers between Indonesia and Saudi Arabia, taking more than seven and a half months.

The young Indonesian traveled from Magelang, Central Java on November 4, 2021 and performed Umrah after reaching Makkah last week. He will join other pilgrims from Indonesia, the most populous Muslim nation, which is sending the largest contingent of 100,051 pilgrims for the upcoming Hajj. So far, about 21,000 Indonesian pilgrims have arrived in Medina.

“My intention is to perform Hajj and visit the Three Holy Mosques of Islam – the Grand Mosque in Mecca, the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina and the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. After performing Hajj, I have intend to continue my cycling trip to Palestine to visit Aqsa Mosque and also visit other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states,” he said.

In an interview with Saudi Gazette, Fauzan said his cycling pilgrimage is the best example of how Almighty God makes things possible that ordinary people think are impossible.

“Everyone told me that it was impossible for you to accomplish this difficult mission, but now I can show them that God made it possible for me. My message is also that we can make anything we think impossible possible if we have the good will and sincere supplication to God coupled with hard work to achieve the goal,” he said.

Fauzan, who holds a master’s degree and knows Arabic well, said he thought it was the best way to perform Hajj without long years of waiting.

“Normally, Indonesians have to wait around 40 years to perform Hajj after registering. saving money on my teaching salary,” Fauzan said.

Fauzan works as a teacher of religion and Quran memorization after earning his bachelor’s degree in Arabic language and Islamic studies from Makassar University in South Sulawisi province, eastern Indonesia.

“My main intention is to perform Hajj and pray for living relatives as well as family and loved ones.” Fauzan has a wife and two children – a son and a daughter, born after he left for the trip of a lifetime.

Speaking about his travel experiences, Fauzan said he left his hometown after attending the graduation ceremony after earning a master’s degree in personal status affairs from the Islamic University of Malang.

The trip started with savings amounting to 10 million Indonesian rupiah (2,567 SR). He also earned some extra money to cover his travel expenses by selling traditional herbal medicines he brought from Indonesia, in addition to doing tastings at mosques along his route from Magelang.

“My first destination was Jakarta, which is almost 500 km from my hometown. I traveled from Jakarta to Bandan, from where I took a ferry to the island of Sumatra, and after crossing the province of Jambi, I reached the island of Batang, then I took the ferry to reach Singapore,” he said.

Despite the boredom and fatigue of the journey, Fauzan observed fasting during the month of Ramadan and used to break his fast at mosques along his routes in Singapore and Malaysia. He joined Eid Al-Fitr celebrations in Malaysia.

Fauzan also remembers the warm welcome he received at the Indonesian embassies in Singapore and Malaysia. “During the reception in Kuala Lumpur, Indonesian Ambassador to Malaysia Hermono accompanied me on a bicycle to express his solidarity with the mission,” he said.

Fauzan said his trip was mostly in the jungle and he encountered several animals, mostly monkeys. “I kept no weapon with me to defend myself, only the courage to accomplish my mission with the conviction that “where there is a will, there is a way”. The weather was a bit harsh and exposed to rain in some areas and I rested and slept most of the time during the day after erecting a tent by the roadside,” he said. .

He noted that the trip was mostly at night. He prepared tea and light food in the tent and used to buy lunch from restaurants.

Fauzan said he was expecting the permit to perform the Hajj soon. The Indonesian Hajj Mission in Jeddah has started the necessary procedures in this regard. The 28-year-old enthusiast said he would soon cycle to Medina to visit the Prophet’s Mosque and greet the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him).

Referring to his plan after the Hajj, Fauzan said the priority after the Hajj was to visit Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest shrine in Islam. “I also plan to visit GCC states outside of Palestine before returning to Jakarta,” he said.

Fauzan recounted the difficulties he faced in obtaining permission to travel to Myanmar after cycling a long way through Thailand.

“All my attempts to get an entry visa to Myanmar were in vain and so I was forced to stop the cycling trip to Thailand after cycling nearly 4,000 km and so I took the flight from Bangkok to Riyadh on May 26.”

Upon his arrival in Riyadh, he was received by Indonesian Ambassador Abdul Aziz Ahmad and Deputy Chief of Mission and Chargé d’Affaires Arief Hidayat.

He took a week to reach Makkah from Riyadh, cycling nearly 900 km and from there cycling to Jeddah and visited the Consulate General of Indonesia where he was welcomed by Indonesian Consul General Eko Hartono and other consulate officials.