Call for haj after two-year delay due to Covid-19
KOTA KINABALU - The path to perform haj for a couple has been delayed for the past two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but it has not dampened their spirit of continuing their intention to set foot on the holy land of Makkah this year.
A call from Tabung Haji took them by surprise as Bisno Sari, 59, and his wife, Norhayati Abdullah, 52, did not expect that they still had the opportunity to perform haj.
Bisno said they were set to perform their haj in 2020 but it was delayed during the pandemic.
"Previously we took the course face-to-face, but after being postponed for two years, we had gone through an online course in preparation for the pilgrimage.
"I had received an offer to perform haj previously but I refused as I want to be able to perform it with my wife and alhamdulillah in 2020 we received a call and although delayed, this time we were both able to go together," he said when he was met at the Tabung Haji building, here, on Monday.
Bisno, who hailed from Beaufort, said there might be changes and concerns about performing haj due to the pandemic.
"We are worried about infections during the haj, but I hope everything will go smoothly and we always will have face masks on to avoid infections while there," he said.
Meanwhile, another pilgrim, Abdul Rahim Wahid, 32, said he received the call to perform haj about two weeks ago.
"It's a bit sudden in terms of preparing for a medical checkup and all, however I have prepared myself to perform haj for a long time.
"I have understood the knowledge regarding haj and I keep revising to ensure I don’t forget. Other than that, I have also learned through Youtube and done other research," he said.
As a younger pilgrim, Abdul Rahim admitted the experience was new for him as he had never set foot in the Holy Land, not even for umrah.
"Insyaallah, Allah will facilitate our journey and Saudi Arabia is ready to accept pilgrims this time, the only difference is that after Covid-19 there would be a change in standard operating procedures (SOPs).
"I will be positive that it is Allah's will and I will answer his call, what I want is a mabroor (accepted) haj," he said.
The first group of pilgrims from Sabah comprising 142 pilgrims will depart for Kuala Lumpur on Monday.