The luckiest black cat in Madinah, now living happily in Canada

Zamzam took four different airplanes on the trip to his new home — Canada.
Updated 06 September 2018
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The luckiest black cat in Madinah, now living happily in Canada

  • The black kitten was being abandoned by the mother and rejected by her siblings
  • Don and Amany Trim named the abandoned kitten Zamzam

MADINAH: An abandoned and sick black cat near Madinah that couldn’t walk became one of the world’s luckiest cats when a Canadian couple, Don and Amany Trim, met her suddenly this Hajj and took her with them to Canada.

The story of Zamzam — the name they gave the cat — started on Don and Amany’s first day in Madinah when a married couple from Poland, Ozkan and Beata, found a very young black Shirazi kitten and two other much larger ones, along with a mother cat, outside the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

The black kitten was being abandoned by the mother and rejected by her siblings. Beata felt sorry for the kitten, took her in her arms into the hotel, and sent her husband to buy some milk, Amany told Arab News.

“Because Beata and Ozkan were leaving the next day, they asked for our help in treating the kitten,” said Don. “My wife secured a syringe from the hotel clinic in order to feed milk to the starving kitten, hoping to save her life. 

Amany added: “We fell in love with the kitten from the first minute we laid eyes on her. We were told by people in Madinah that the kitten was a Madinah cat and  should stay in Madinah. We vowed that we would find her a home before we left the city. When we were unsuccessful in this, we felt that Allah had put her in our arms to care for her. 

“We asked whether it would be possible for us to take her back to Canada, completely unaware of the difficulty in doing so. Sheikh Fawaz had introduced us to one of his friends, Abd Alaziz Msnd Alghnamy, and when he heard of our desire to adopt the kitten, he agreed, thanks to Allah, to provide help. He spent the last two days of our stay in Madinah taking us to all the places necessary to prepare the way for Zamzam to return to Canada with us. 

“Having three cats of his own, he first suggested taking Zamzam to his vet, Dr. Ahmed Fathy Abdalaal, in the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture. We wanted him to assess the kitten’s health and determine how likely she was to survive the trip to Canada. The doctor was so kind as he prescribed medicine for her and prepared the paperwork necessary to obtain a passport for the kitten.”

After that, said Amany, part of the paperwork entailed giving the kitten a name. “After much thought, we decided on the name Zamzam. Zamzam is a miracle water, and we felt that it was Allah’s miracle that the kitten was placed in our path. We contacted the Saudi airlines and airport to find out all the requirements to take Zamzam back with us, and finished all her health and passport papers. 

“At the airport, Mohaned Abas Mahroqe and Khalid Khan prepared the paperwork to transport Zamzam on board four different airplanes on our trip back to Canada. No one believed that what we were doing would be possible, but we believed that with Allah’s help everything is possible.

“Our trip from Madinah to Winnipeg was stressful for us and Zamzam. The last hurdle was our final trip from Minneapolis in the US to Winnipeg in Canada. Delta Airlines has a policy that animals less than 10 weeks old cannot be transported in the cabins of their planes; Zamzam was only five weeks old. When the agent heard our story, he relented and gave permission for us to take Zamzam on board.”

“Thanks be to Allah,” Don said. “Today, Zamzam has been examined by our vet and given a suitable diet. She is enjoying her new environment in Canada and, insha’Allah, will have a long life. We cannot give enough thanks to the king of Saudi Arabia and all those responsible for the Hajj program for making my wife and I comfortable and welcome during the Hajj program. 

“Zamzam will be a constant reminder of our stay in Saudi Arabia. As a convert, I come away with a deepened commitment to Islam, a closer relationship with Allah, and an inner peace. Amany and I hope that one day we will be able to spend Ramadan in Saudi Arabia so that we can renew friendships with the many brothers that treated us so well.”


Pilgrims from all nationalities took part in Saudi National Day

Updated 24 min 25 sec ago
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Pilgrims from all nationalities took part in Saudi National Day

  • A number of pilgrims from various nationalities participated in a national initiative, organized by the Hadiya Association, in the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah
  • This is the first time that pilgrims, who have now finished their rituals and will leave on Sept. 25, have celebrated this special day with all of the people of Saudi Arabia

MAKKAH: Pilgrims from all nationalities took part in the celebrations to mark the 88th Saudi National Day, paying thanks to the Saudi government for the services provided to the two Holy Mosques.

After Saudi Arabia announced the success of this year’s Hajj season, the Umrah season kicked off. It also began to receive pilgrims from all nationalities, all of whom stressed that they cannot forget Saudi Arabia’s support in granting them their rights and helping them throughout their economic hardships.

“Every year I come to Saudi Arabia for Umrah. I am used to performing Umrah every year, but this year is special because it coincides with the National Saudi Day,” said Hamdi Abul-Enein, from Egypt, adding: “For the first time in my life I see the Saudi people celebrating their National Day, reflecting the cohesion between the citizens and their leadership. This is not surprising because we know the core of Saudi people are keen on the security and stability of the country.”

Hamdi added: “In Egypt, we share the joys of the Saudi people. For decades, there have been strong ties between Egyptians and our Saudi brothers. Sincere ties based on the Islamic religion joins us. Congratulations to Saudi Arabia and its citizens.”

Ali Al-Saradi, a pilgrim from Yemen, said: “I roamed the streets of Makkah and Medinah, and found people celebrating the national day. We admire the unity and loyalty of our Saudi brothers to their leadership. I am keen on sharing these celebrations with my Saudi brothers. In Yemen, we are happy for the Saudi citizens’ happiness. We consider them as our brothers and therefore we are happy for their joys and are sad for their sadness.”

Kuwaiti pilgrim, Abdullah Al-Ajami said: “This occasion is not only celebrated by the Saudi people, but also by all those who love this country. I can confirm that the rulers of this country are very generous and put all efforts to serve the two holy mosques. So it is no surprise to see so many nationalities celebrating the National Saudi Day.”

“The Saudi leadership and people stood with their Kuwaiti brothers during the brutal invasion; they opened their hearts before their homes. They were the first to work for the liberation of our country, and this is what strengthened the blood ties between us for decades. I ask God to perpetuate their joys,” he added.

The Hadiya Association involved pilgrims and visitors in celebrating the 88th National Day Festival.

A number of pilgrims from various nationalities participated in a national initiative, organized by the Hadiya Association, held during a reception and farewell for pilgrims, in the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah.

The Association distributed Saudi flags and gifts to the pilgrims. They received traditional Saudi hospitality and were given a presentation on the National Project, conducted in sign language in order to engage deaf people in the celebrations for the first time. The presentation, which was part of the Association’s project entitled “Nourishment of the Soul”, was conducted in 67 languages with the participation of both volunteers and multi-national students currently on scholarships in Saudi universities.

The Director General of the Association, Sheikh Mansoor Al Amer, expressed his joy seeing the pilgrims enthusiasm and willingness to engage in the celebrations for Saudi National Day, which commemorates the unification of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and expresses appreciation of the services provided by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques during their spiritual journey in Makkah, Madinah, and Al Mashaaer Al Mugaddassah.

This is the first time that pilgrims, who have now finished their rituals and will leave on Sept. 25, have celebrated this special day with all of the people of Saudi Arabia, in what has widely been seen as a practical application of the Kingdom’s new 2030 vision.

Sheikh Al Amer added that a number of volunteers from different fields were cooperating with the association. They have circulated a clip on social media showing the Saudi national anthem being translated into sign language. The anthem was produced in association with Saleh Bin Hamood Al Nefaie, a sign language translator for the Friday sermon, which is regularly broadcasted from the Holy Mosque in Makkah and aired on the Qur’an Channel.