RABAT – From Meknes to Makkah – A 58-year-old Moroccan Muslim has challenged himself to make his Hajj pilgrimage journey this year by bicycle.
“After a long experience in cycling, I thought ‘Why not experience a new travel outside Morocco?’ The first thing that I thought about is travelling for Hajj; bearing in mind that I’ve previously travelled for hajj by car in 1988,” the professional cyclist, Mohammed Rbouhate, told Morocco World News.
The courageous cyclist will pass through eight Muslim countries: Morocco, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, Sudan, and KSA, as well as crossing the Red Sea.
Rbouhate started his cycling career at the age of 16. Throughout these years he has cycled for thousands of kilometers across countless Moroccan cities.
“My family weren’t accepting the idea that I will be away for months. They were worried about the problems I may face during my travel, as well as the danger on roads,” he explained.
“On the contrary I am not worried at all, because I believe deeply that Allah will protect me since I am doing all of this for the sake of his forgiveness.”
The professional cyclist started his journey on April 1, 2018. After a long ride across Africa, he arrived now in Sudan. “It took me one month to study and explore the road infrastructures, topography and weather of the countries I’ve passed through,” he informed.
Along his journey, Rbouhate faced various obstacles, from torrential rain to dry desert heat. He is still cycling through very rural areas, enduring the desert and temperatures that exceed 50 degrees Celsius, which sometimes led him to postpone his travel.
The total distance he will pedal from Morocco to KSA exceeds 30,000 km. Speaking about what this trip represents for himself, Rbouhate expressed: “This journey is my life-changing experience which will test my determination and passion. It’s not supposed to be easy. I am always thinking about this Qur’anic verse as my principle throughout the journey: “And whoever relies upon Allah, then he is sufficient for him. Indeed, Allah will accomplish his purpose” (Surat At-Talaq 65:3).
“A Journey for Peace” is the slogan Rbhouhate chose to accompany him during his entire journey. This slogan reflects his desire to spread peace and tolerance in every country he passes by.
“I called it a journey for peace because everyone aspires to live in peace, and I am always wishing to spread it in all Muslim countries,” he said. “In addition to this, peace was the approach of our prophet, therefore, we should all follow this approach.”