Friday , October 19 2018

20th century’s ‘Kuwait to Makkah’ … A journey of faith through history

Pilgrims paid 150 rupees to caravan owner

KUWAIT CITY, Aug 16, (KUNA): Until the mid- 1920s, pilgrims hopped on camels and braved a hard journey from Kuwait to Makkah that lasted at least three months. Most of the Kuwaiti pilgrimage expeditions, with hundreds of camels, were headed to Madinah first and then to Makkah, while some headed to Makkah directly. In his book “Crafts, Professions and Old Business Activities in Kuwait,” Kuwaiti heritage expert Mohammed Abdulhadi Jamal said that Kuwaiti pilgrimage expeditions were passing through many areas on their way to Makkah, namely Al-Hafar, Al-Nasafa Rataouiya, and Umm Al-Jumajem. Jamal said that some of the convoys to Madinah stayed between 10 days to two weeks to visit the Prophet’s Mohammad Mosque and tomb, as well as some historical mosques.

Most of Kuwaiti expeditions were leaving early in the month of ‘Dhu Al-Qa’da’ and return in late ‘Moharram’.

Each expedition consists of about 50-60 camels bought or rented by the owner of the expedition, who also rents between 20 and 30 Bedouin camel leaders, Jamal pointed out. “The cost of the Hajj was 150 rupees paid by the pilgrim to the owner, not including food,” he said. He further noted that the expeditions begin their daily journey after dawn prayer until midday, as they stop to rest and eat some food, while the camels graze, near water wells.

When the expedition stops at the end of the day, tents were set up and then every group or family begins to prepare their food after Maghreb prayer, before the journey continues at dawn the next day all the way to the final destination.

He explained that some pilgrims, when they arrived in Makkah and Madinah, stayed in their tents, while others, especially the well-to-do, lived in private houses equipped for pilgrims for a fee ranging from 50-80 riyals per house for the whole period of Hajj. “It was customary in Kuwait to accompany pilgrims when they left at the American Hospital in Qibla,” he noted.

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