I had been dreaming and planning to go to Hajj for some time but the usual issues of modern life had proven to be obstacles. I had made my intention once again in 2015 and it seemed that the same old obstacles had reared their heads again and by the time the coast had become clear I could not find any Hajj Travel group that was still accepting applications from pilgrims. Alhamdulillah I came across Sara Travel and they were not only still accepting applications but they also had several packages one of which was the perfect fit for my schedule. The price for our package was also unbelievably reasonable! The application process was very straight forward including making the necessary payments.
Even at the very last moment when I decided to make a change to our Aziziyah accommodation, the representatives at Sara International were most willing to make the change for us.
Preparation for the Hajj by Sara was very informative and they took us through the step by step of the Hajj and what to expect so that nothing came as a surprise. The in person seminar in New York as well as the constant emails and online educational videos definitely put us in the proper perspective as to what the Hajj was all about. The abundant materials we were given all proved to be most useful.
In Medina, Mecca and Mina, all the preparation, instructions and advice we had been given proved to be very useful and I can personally admit that one of such advice kept this particular pilgrim safe and healthy throughout the entire Hajj. The lodging and feeding arranged by Sara at every stage of the Hajj far exceeded what I had anticipated for such a complex endeavor.
I remain highly impressed by the young local guides recruited by Sara International that helped us at every step of our Hajj. Even with the language barrier they always went out of their way to arrange transportation and give useful advice to pilgrims regarding how to navigate around the destinations during the Hajj.
I will also make special mention of two Imams that even though were not my group leaders always went out of their way to see to the welfare of any of the pilgrims.
Imam Taha guided us through our first visit to the Kaaba, his patience with each of the pilgrims and our transportation crew was very evident. At Arafat, he gave a very comprehensive and inspiring dua and he took it upon himself to counsel the pilgrims and spray us with cooling water as we waited for quite some time for our transportation to Muzdalifah.
On a very busy night on our way from Mecca to Mina with several road blockages and difficult to find transportation we were faced with a long trip on foot back to Mina. Imam Tamer Osman however arranged transportation for us and several other pilgrims even though he was not our group leader and this pilgrim volunteered and had the experience of a lifetime travelling in a pick up truck with other very happy pilgrims that were filled with gratitude.
May Almighty Allah accept the duas of members of Sara International and all those who went out of their way to give us a truly meaningful Hajj in the year 2015 and Insha Allah if we do not meet again on another Hajj, may Almighty Allah allow us to meet in Jannah.
Brother Mustapha Ajani.
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