20 sec reading: The pilgrimage to Mecca

Abd Mubarak was on his way to Mecca when one night he dreamed that he was in heaven and heard two angels having a conversation.

“How many pilgrims came to the holy city this year?” one of them asked.

“Six hundred thousand”, answered the other.

“And how many of them had their pilgrimage accepted?”

“None of them. However, in Baghdad there is a shoemaker called Ali Mufiq who did not make the pilgrimage, but did have his pilgrimage accepted, and his graces benefited the 600,000 pilgrims”.

When he woke up, Abd Mubarak went to Mufiq’s shoe shop and told him his dream.

“At great cost and much sacrifice, I finally managed to get 350 coins together”, the shoemaker said in tears.

“But then, when I was ready to go to Mecca I discovered that my neighbors were hungry, so I distributed the money among them and gave up my pilgrimage”.

Today’s Question by Aart Hilal

Your writing is enriched by your journeys across the globe. What places on the planet have fascinated you the most? Where do you feel most at home?

I am first and foremost a Pilgrim. When I say this is because to me all wanderings are important since you can extract from anything in life a teaching, something that will make sense to you.

You have to look at life itself is a pilgrimage. Every day is different, every day can have a magic moment, but we don’t see the opportunity, because we think: ‘Oh this is boring I’m just commuting to work.’ But we are all on a pilgrimage whether we like it or not and the target, or goal, the real Santiago, if you like, is death. You must get as much as you can from the journey, because – in the end – the journey is all you have. It doesn’t matter what you accumulate in terms of material wealth, because you are going to die anyway, so why not live? When you realize that you can be brave and that is the first tenant of any spiritual quest – to take risks.