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Oklahoma Muslims Ready for Hajj

Preparing for the spiritual hajj journey, Mohammed and Becky Atiyeh, a Muslim couple from Oklahoma, are excited to join millions of Muslims in prayers in Makkah, in a life-time trip that enhances unity with their Muslim roots, The Oklahoman reported on Saturday, October 29.     

“Seeing the massive 3 million people doing the same thing, it's breathtaking,” Mohammed Atiyeh said. 

Mohammed, a native Palestinian, is the owner of five IHOP restaurants in the Oklahoma City metro area. 

Though being born to a Muslim family, he did not consider himself very religious. 

But in recent years, he felt compelled to take the Hajj pilgrimage to connect to his Islamic roots. 

His wife, Becky, converted to Islam about 11 years ago. 

The couple said they are most excited to interact and pray with the many other Muslims making the journey. 

“I'm looking forward to the tranquility,” Becky said 

“I know that sounds crazy with all the people,” she added, smiling. 

Muslims from around the world pour into Makkah every year to perform hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam. 

Hajj consists of several ceremonies, which are meant to symbolize the essential concepts of the Islamic faith, and to commemorate the trials of Prophet Abraham and his family. 

Every able-bodied adult Muslim who can financially afford the trip must perform hajj at least once in a lifetime. 

Hajj will climax this year on November 5 when the faithful descend the Mount `Arafat. 

Get Ready 

Embarking on their first journey to Makkah, the Atiyehs will join several million Muslims from all around the world in the holy city. 

Mohammed Atiyeh said he is well aware of the spiritual significance of the trip. 

“Everything we do in Mecca, it is for God,” he said. 

Speaking about hajj preparations, Imad Enchassi, the Islamic Society's imam, gave the couple, and other would-be pilgrims, tips about hajj preparations at a recent Hajj workshop at the Islamic Society's mosque. 

Patience was the most important tip given to pilgrims who will be gathering with millions of Muslims from around the world. 

“You are going to be shoved. You are going to be pulled. Don't forget the rewards of the Hajj,” Enchassi said. 

The life-time journey is a symbol of unity for Muslims because all Muslim prayers, wherever they are performed, are oriented in the direction of the Kaaba. 

Doing so, Muslims were racing for the biggest prize of Allah’s forgiveness. 

“If you go to the Hajj with the right intentions, you will come back a different person,” Enchassi said. 

Though there are no official figures, America is believed to be home to nearly eight million Muslims. 

Muslims in Oklahoma are estimated at 30,000, less than one percent of the state's 3.7 million population, according to CAIR.

source : http://abna.ir
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