8,640 km stretch in 280 days: Malappuram man plans to attempt hajj pilgrimage on foot

C Sandeepani

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Malappuram: Shihab from Chottoor near Valanchery here has a rare wish--to complete the hajj pilgrimage on foot.
It may be noted that Mecca is almost 8,640 km away from his house.

His wish sounds bizarre to many and he has been responding them to with a polite smile.

Initially, even his mother and wife found Shihab’s wish strange. But later they decided to support his ambitious pursuit.

The 29-year-old man has been preparing himself for the walk. His objective is to complete the pilgrimage in 2023.

By now he has equipped himself to cover a distance of 7km in an hour. He estimates that he can complete the pilgrimage in 280 days or 8 months.

The route that has been planned by Shihab is interesting. His idea is to enter Pakistan through Wahga Zone(Punjab-Lahore border). From there to Iran-Iraq-Kuwait and then enter Saudi Arabia. After reaching Saudi Arabia he will apply for the hajj.

While looking for the legal formalities which have to comply with the attempt, an official at the ministry of external affairs informed Shihab that none else in the country ever has come up with such a request.

He now has visas for the five countries. Haseeb in Bengaluru helped Shihab to complete the formalities to obtain the visas.

According to Shihab, getting a visa to enter Pakistan was a cumbersome process. During the month of Ramzan, he was in New Delhi to complete the formalities for obtaining a Pakistan visa. He stayed there for 40 days with his brother.

MP ET Muhammed Basheer and MLA Kurukkoli Moideen helped him to clear the formalities. Expat Association Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre too helped him.

Shihab had this novel wish from his childhood. After completing Class 12, he pursued accountancy courses. Later, he worked in Saudi Arabia for six years. During that time, he has done Umrah pilgrimage. After coming from Saudi Arabia, he started a supermarket and got involved in the merchandise.

He is planning to start his hajj pilgrimage walk on June 2. “I will not step back. If there is god’s grace I will be successful in my attempt,” he said.

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