MAKKAH: They may be deaf-mute, but Kedah couple Ibrahim Ahmad and Azizah Mat Zain did not allow their disability from stopping them to perform the fifth pillar of Islam.
They refused to make themselves a burden to other pilgrims in the Holy Land.
Ibrahim’s roommate, Zainal Abidin Deraman, described the 62-year-old as a person who always put on a smile on his face, and one who emphasises on cleanliness and discipline.
“He is the one who gets the food packs for all of us, instead of the other way round,” he added.
Zainal also shared his experience of taking Ibrahim to perform tawaf for the first time.
“He held on to me tightly as I guided him through the crowd to circle the Kaabah.
“I felt very protective over him, although he is older than me,” said the 54-year-old Kelantanese.
Zainal added when he was with Ibrahim, his ibadah (worship) went smoothly, citing they managed to complete circling the Kaabah seven times in less than 30 minutes.
“And I did not even feel the afternoon heat despite doing the optional tawaf with Ibrahim at about 2pm.”
Zainal said he only had to guide Ibrahim once and from there, his roommate would do things on his own without further assistance.
“Ibrahim has a very good sense of direction and is very independent.”
To a question, Ibrahim said — using sign language — that he had performed the umrah four times since he arrived here. His wife had done it twice.
Azizah, speaking with the help of her sister-in-law Aazinah Ahmad, who acted as her translator, said she had been praying for her daughter to get a place in the university after completing her matriculation course.
Ibrahim and Azizah, who earn their living by tapping rubber, had been saving up for their haj for the past nine years.
As I was listening to Aazinah on what it took for the couple to get here, American activist Marian Wright Edelman’s famous quote kept playing in my head.
Edelman said: “Don’t feel entitled to anything you didn’t sweat and struggle for.”
She was spot on.
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