Pilgrim’s progress: Moroccan completes 4-year cycle epic for Hajj

Ghulam Yassin started his journey in January 2017. (Photo/Social media)
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Updated 30 July 2020

Pilgrim’s progress: Moroccan completes 4-year cycle epic for Hajj

JEDDAH: A young Moroccan has finally arrived in time for Hajj in the Kingdom after a 4-year journey across 28 countries by foot and bicycle.
In a video shared widely on social media, Ghulam Yassin said he arrived in Saudi Arabia about seven months ago after years spent walking and cycling. He started his journey in January 2017.
“I spent four years traveling on foot just to reach Makkah so that I can perform Hajj,” said Yassin.
Saudi media personality Abdulrahman Al-Mutairi traveled to Abha, where the Moroccan traveler is staying, to welcome him and share his story.
“We came all the way from Qassim to meet you. You are our guest and the guest of every home in the Kingdom. We are so happy to have you,” said Al-Mutairi.
He was moved by Yassin’s goal and wanted to ease his travels. He placed his 26 kg backpack and bicycle in the back of a car and drove to see where Yassin sleeps.
Yassin sleeps in a portable tent filled with his personal belongings and cooking utensils.
He was planning to perform Hajj this year but had to postpone his goal because of the pandemic. He decided to stay in Abha because of its cool climate and natural beauty.
“The Kingdom limited the number of pilgrims this year to protect our health,” Yassin said. “So I decided to come to the south and enjoy my time because the weather is beautiful. I wasn’t expecting the area to be this beautiful,” he added.
“I walked from Makkah to Madinah on foot, following the journey of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The pandemic reached the Kingdom by the time I reached Madinah,” he said.
“I experienced warm hospitality every day in the Kingdom,” said the Moroccan.
Al-Mutairi and his group wanted to make sure Yassin stayed in comfort and surprised him with the offer of a well-stocked caravan.
The group made him Arabic coffee and sang traditional songs celebrating his stay in the Kingdom. Yassin documented the celebration and thanked his hosts.
A member of Al-Mutairi’s group joined the celebration and said: “The reason we came to Abha so fast was because we were touched by your story. I, too, want to gift you something. We will take care of your Hajj expenses for next year.”
Yassin was overwhelmed with emotion and cried with joy.
The traveler called his mother and told her about the surprise for next year. “I have wonderful news for you. My Saudi friends will take care of your Hajj journey next year,” he said, adding that she has never visited Makkah before.
Al-Mutairi and his group were overjoyed to make Yassin and his family’s Hajj wish come true.


Fahad Al-Azzam, assistant deputy minister for empowerment at the Saudi Ministry of Health

Updated 14 August 2020

Fahad Al-Azzam, assistant deputy minister for empowerment at the Saudi Ministry of Health

Fahad Al-Azzam has been the assistant deputy minister for empowerment at the Ministry of Health since September 2019.
He has also been the general manager for enterprise at the ministry’s project management office since July 2016, where he developed and implemented a standard set of project management processes and models, and built the framework and updated it to account for developments and best practices.
It was announced on Monday that Al-Azzam’s role as assistant deputy minister for empowerment has been extended for another year.
Al-Azzam obtained a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran, in 2007. He studied abroad in the US, obtaining a master’s degree in engineering and technology management from the University of Bridgeport, Connecticut, in 2014.
Prior to his current position, Al-Azzam worked as a cooperative trainee at the Saudi Electricity Co. between May and October 2006.
At the Advanced Electronics Co., he worked as an assistant field service engineer between July 2007 and May 2009, and technical support and field service engineer between May 2009 and December 2010.
At the Saudi Food and Drug Authority, he worked as senior electrical engineer at their radiation safety department between January 2011 and February 2015.
He developed a safety program for exporting and importing electronics devices to and from Saudi Arabia and worked at controlling the risk resulting from the use of radiation-emitting devices. He also worked there as a project manager at their project management office between February 2015 and July 2016.