JEDDAH – Taking care of three young kids and a son with a cerebral palsy, hajj used to be a far-fetched dream for Azif Asyrafi, a teacher from Kuala Selangor.
But thanks to her faithful former students, the dream has finally come true.
“Allah certainly works in mysterious ways,” she said, wiping away tears, New Straits Times reported.
Asyrafi received an offer from Tabung Haji to perform hajj this year with her husband and eldest daughter.
She was about to turn down the offer, to take care of her kids, when she got an unexpected visit and offer from four of her former students to take care of her family while she is in hajj.
“To my surprise, the four girls told me they would take care of him as they are on their university semester break,” she said.
“It’s okay, let us take care of your children.”
“They refused to accept payment, saying it was the least they could do for my help and guidance all these years. I was really shocked and touched. Never did I imagine that I would be given ease of passage for the haj this way.”
The four are now taking turns to stay at Azlina’s home.
“They cook and entertain the kids, even change my son’s diapers. They send me photos every day. The food they cook for my children look more delicious than mine and all the children look so happy. I am truly blessed.”
Malaysia is a Muslim-majority country where Islam is professed by 19.5 million citizens or 61.3% of the total population, according to 2013 estimates.
Hajj is a demonstration of the solidarity of the Muslim people, and their submission to God. In Arabic, the word Hajj means “to intend a journey”, which connotes both the outward act of a journey and the inward act of intentions.
The pilgrimage occurs from the 8th to 12th (or in some cases 13th) of Dhu al-Hijjah, the 12th and last month of the Hijri Calendar.
Because the Islamic calendar is lunar and the Hijri year is about eleven days shorter than the Gregorian year, the Gregorian date of Hajj changes from year to year.