On January 15th 2017, Islamic Help staff and volunteers from the UK and Jordan set off on the fourth trip carried out as part of our pioneering Umrah for Orphans programme.
With them on the convoy of coaches that departed from Amman, Jordan, for the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah were 300 orphans and huffaz girls, plus 50 widows, from the Palestinian refugee community in Jordan. Shortly after their departures, another IH team accompanied 40 disabled children on to an aircraft to make the same journey and unite with their colleagues and peers in Saudi Arabia for the blessed pilgrimage.
This latest stage of our Umrah for Orphans programme will see more than 250 Palestinian orphans and the 40 disabled children along with 50 huffaz (those who have memorised the Qur’an) girls and 50 widows from the orphans’ families on Umrah.
It means that since we launched this unique initiative, more than 1,000 Palestinian orphans have experienced the journey of their young lives, a journey that has Insha’Allah strengthened their faith and made them aware of their part in the Ummah.
In early 2015, we took our first party of Palestinian orphans from Jordan to Makkah and in January 2016, the generosity of our supporters allowed us to take more than 650 Palestinian orphans on Umrah. That was followed by another smaller party going on Umrah in April. Each trip is part of the psycho-social support we provide in our global orphans sponsorship programme. For the children, it is the first time they have ventured out of Jordan, the country of their birth but where they are still classified as refugees.
Entering Haram Shareef, performing Tawaf around the Ka’aba and going to Madinah to pray in Masjidun Nabi, the mosque of our blessed Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him), has proved an emotional and life-changing experience for the orphans who might otherwise never have this glorious opportunity to journey to the heart of Islam.
All that has only been possible thanks to the tremendous generosity and support of our donors. You can experience the joy and emotion of the 2015 and 2016 Umrah for Orphans journeys by watching the videos here.
Islamic Help will be regularly updating our website and social media with the orphans’ journey as part of the 2017 programme. You can follow their progress here or on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.
Muhammed and Abdul Rahman
Among those taking part in the January 2017 Umrah for Orphans are brothers Muhammed (left in photo) and Abdul Rahman (right). Abdul Rahman was only 7 years old when his father was electrocuted and he witnessed his father’s last breath. Their mother was expecting Ra’faa, who is now 3 years old, at the time.
The boys had dreamed of going to the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah but with the family surviving on the equivalent of just £30 after rent, it had been just a dream. Now it has become a reality.
Muhammed has cerebral palsy as did his younger sister, Tamara. The two children were part of Islamic Help’s orphan sponsorship programme but last year Tamara passed away. Having lost the sister he regarded as his closest companion, Muhammed’s education suffered and he lost focus, saying he could not contemplate living without her. His vigour for life has been reawakened though by this opportunity to go to the holiest place on Earth for Umrah, which he said he would perform for his late sister.