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Last century's 'Kuwait to Makkah' - A journey of faith through history
August 16, 2018, 3:40 pm

Until the mid-1920s, pilgrims hopped on camels and braved a hard journey from Kuwait to Makkah that lasted at least three months. Most of the Kuwaiti pilgrimage expeditions that were traveled on hundreds of camels, headed to Madinah first before making their way to Makkah, while some headed to Makkah directly. In his book 'Crafts, Professions and Old Business Activities in Kuwait', Kuwaiti heritage expert Mohammed Abdulhadi Jamal said that Kuwaiti pilgrimage expeditions regularly passed through many areas on their way to Makkah, namely Al-Hafar, Al-Nasafa Rataouiya, and Umm Al-Jumajem.

Jamal added that some of the convoys to Medina stayed between 10 days to two weeks to visit the Prophet's Mohammad Mosque and tomb, as well as some historical mosques.

"Most Kuwaiti expeditions left early in the month of 'Dhu Al-Qa'da' and returned late 'Moharram'. Each expedition consisted of about 50-60 camels bought or rented by the owner of the expedition, who also rented between 20 and 30 Bedouin camel leaders," Jamal remarked.

"The cost of the Hajj was 150 rupees paid by the pilgrim to the owner that was not inclusive of food," he said. He noted that the expeditions began their daily journey after dawn prayer until midday, as they stopped to rest and eat some food, while the camels grazed near water wells.

When the expedition stopped at the end of the day, tents were set up and then every group or family prepared their food after Maghreb prayer before the journey continued at dawn the next day all the way to the final destination. He explained that some pilgrims when they arrived in Makkah and Madina, stayed in their tents, while others, especially the well-to-do lived in private houses equipped for pilgrims for a fee ranging from 50-80 riyals per house for the whole period of Hajj. It was customary in Kuwait to accompany pilgrims when they left at the American Hospital in Qibla," he noted.

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