The Texan Muslim was all set to go this year until the coronavirus pandemic forced Saudi Arabia to effectively cancel the hajj for international pilgrims.
“SubhanAllah I was planning to go to hajj last year but, due to some circumstances, I was unable to,” she told AboutIslam.net.
“I was upset but thought, no problem, I will just go next year, or so I thought. What are the odds? I would have never imagined something such as a pandemic would hinder me from going.”
Just like many others had anticipated it, the Saudi hajj decision was not an entirely unexpected situation for the Muslim mother-of-two.
“I was initially starting to see the high probability of cancellation, but as any potential hajji, I was still convincing myself a miracle would happen and I would still be able to go. When someone raised a suggestion of quotas of hajjis from some countries, I held my hopes high just to hit ground zero,” Saad added.
But the decision hit her hard, as she got overwhelmed with grief for being deprived of this highly spiritual journey, for the second year in a row.
“I was in denial I guess. I didn’t want to believe it would be cancelled for me 2 years in a row :(” Saad said.
“But when reality set in, it was very tough. I was very sad and tried to fathom why, but Allah has a plan for us to go when it is the right time. That is the hard reality that we must accept.
“I try to direct my thoughts more optimistically, when I am really down, that I will now get the reward for two hajj trips instead of one when this pandemic is hopefully over.”
The hajj cancellation had some negative financial impacts on Saad and her husband, with the hajj company maintaining it would not accept refunding requests after May 2020, more than 6 weeks before the official hajj cancellation.
“This hit me and my husband really hard. We had to pay our hajj expenses as early as March 2020. In May 2020, the hajj company decided it was no longer entertaining any refund requests, then in June the hajj was cancelled per the Saudi government decision,” Saad told AboutIslam.