MAKKAH, 19 December 2007 — “I cannot believe that I am here in Makkah, near the Grand Mosque performing Haj,” said Amina Abu Al-Maati bursting into tears.
Al-Maati is one of 120 pilgrims who were prevented from entering the Kingdom because their visas were counterfeit. The problem was, however, resolved later with the cooperation of Saudi and Egyptian authorities.
Al-Maati comes from the Egyptian countryside and sold all her belongings in order to finance her Haj. “We were given counterfeit visas, but fortunately the Saudi and Egyptian authorities sorted out the problem,” she said.
Al-Maati continued: “This was my dream, to come and perform Haj. I sold the only land that I owned and gave 30,000 Egyptian pounds to my daughter to make arrangements for my Haj journey. We did not know the visa was counterfeit until we got to the airport.”
She told Arab News that when she arrived in Makkah, she prayed God and thanked Him for giving her this opportunity. “Since I arrived, I have been staying in the Holy Mosque. I did not come here to rest in the hotel,” she said.
Al-Maati, who is past 60 and whose face is full of wrinkles, said that she would be fully happy only after she gets the chance to visit Madinah and pray at the Prophet’s Mosque. “I will not feel sorry for selling the land or spending this money on Haj. I hope that God will give me a house in heaven instead,” she said.
The old woman ended the conversation by warning everyone against getting involved with fraudulent tour operators who will take their money and destroy their dreams.