Past Pilgrims

Lamyaa Hanchaoui

Lamya’s ongoing struggles with her health made her life ‘hell’ in her own words. Diagnosed with PMDD, depression and fatigue at a young age, her symptoms made it very hard to live a normal life. With your support, she was able to participate in the Umrah Fund Programme, which helped her to feel better about herself and hopeful for the future. Lamya was 22 years old when she was diagnosed with a severe form of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). The condition meant that she had very unpleasant symptoms that took over her life on a monthly basis. Indeed, the disorder affected her life so deeply that at one point she even considered drastic measures that would leave her infertile to alleviate her symptoms. Being tested with her health at such a young age was very difficult for Lamya, who was also suffering from depression and chronic fatigue. Her combined health problems left her feeling like she didn’t have the will to live. However, despite her struggles, she raised thousands of pounds for Yemeni refugees and campaigns for causes close to her heart, such as mental health and the situation in Palestine.

How your support helped Lamya

Lamya was chosen to participate in the Umrah Fund Programme which was a very positive and enriching experience that helped to strengthen her faith and mental wellbeing. As part of the programme, she participated in various activities which included one-to-one counselling sessions, keeping a daily diary to record thoughts and emotions as well as attending group naseeha sessions with other pilgrims in her group. Since returning from Umrah, Lamya feels stronger and more optimistic about coping with her health issues and is very thankful for the support she has received from Pilgrim.

Check out some of our recent articles

Peter Abdur Rahman

My name is Abdul Rahman Peter, I'm 40 years old man and went a very long journey which brings me closer to understanding, how things are. There is still much to learn therefore Allah gave me the chance to explore more. I can divide my life for 5 periods where lessons slowly shape themselves, and purification takes place. First 20 years I suffered from several illnesses and traumatic experiences in my childhood, due to this I became mentally ill, suffered from anger problems and rebelled against God. I lived with 15 years of depression and anxiety, and then 10 years of heavy labour work for little or no money, I then got married and after 10 years of marriage when I accepted Islam my wife left me and took my two kids. At the age of 33, I wasted all possible ways for understanding what life is trying to tell me and load I carried become too heavy to lift. I started exploring spirituality. I have been and lived, pray with each environment for about 1.5 years each. It was Buddhism, Christianity, Hare Krishna, and now Islam. I have slept on streets, park benches and on sofas of different peoples front room. I am now going to Umrah, I made dua for this every week for years.

Arif Rahman

We’re currently writing up our Pilgrim journeys, which will be available to view in the coming weeks. Thank you for your continuous support for our Umrah Fund.

Rumel Ahmed

We’re currently writing up our Pilgrim journeys, which will be available to view in the coming weeks. Thank you for your continuous support for our Umrah Fund.

Shah Imran Ali

We’re currently writing up our Pilgrim journeys, which will be available to view in the coming weeks. Thank you for your continuous support for our Umrah Fund.

Hadija Kidza

Hadija’s life irrevocably changed when her teenage son was brutally murdered in 2017.  She was extremely close to her son and suffered a heart attack and deep emotional trauma following his death. Here’s how your support helped Hadija strengthen her faith and come to terms with her loss. Hadija’s son Abdul was sitting on a wall talking to a friend when he was gunned down without warning. He died from his injuries and was just 19 years old. The news was a huge shock to Hadija and her family; Abdul was a promising young man who was training to be a pilot. Despite his age, he was financially supporting his family both in the UK and Uganda and was a key pillar of strength for everyone. Following Abdul’s death, Hadija had a heart attack and developed other health problems due to the trauma of losing her son. However, with four other children (three of which are dependent upon her), Hadija needed to keep going, and with Allah’s (swt) help she completed her degree whilst taking care of her family. Through her trials, Hadija started practising her faith more which gave her inner strength and helped her to be patient with her loss. How you helped Hadija Hadija was accepted on to the Umrah Fund Programme as part of the Grieving Mothers programme which proved to be a very positive and uplifting experience for her. The various aspects of the UFP – from counselling sessions, daily journaling and group workshops – helped Hadija to understand her emotions better and develop the courage to change things within her control. Since returning, Hadija feels more confident as a person and more positive about the future. She feels her connection with Allah (swt) is deeper and has greater reliance upon Him now more than ever before. In her own words: “I feel that due to the positivism derived from this journey, it will harness new opportunities due to how I conduct my daily affairs with tawakkul.”

Rumel Kamaly

Rumel lost his only son in a tragic accident whilst on a family holiday. But he turned his grief into something positive and set up a charity in his son’s name. In helping others, he forgot that he too needed help in overcoming his trauma.  With your support, he went on Umrah which gave him the opportunity to truly reflect on his loss. Rumel’s son had been enjoying a family holiday with his parents when he accidentally drowned in a pool on the day they were due to return to the UK. He was just 16 months old and his only son.  The sudden and unexpected loss of his son was a shock to Rumel and his wife, but they showed great courage in the face of such a huge test. Rumel set up a charity called the Aydin Foundation in memory of his son who loved books and water. The charity has undertaken many projects to help provide education and clean water to people in need across the world. However, despite the good work that Rumel is undoubtedly doing, there is a worry that he is focusing all his energy into the charity and has not given himself the time and space to heal from the trauma of losing his son.  How your support helped Rumel  When Rumel was selected to join the Umrah Fund Programme, he found it to be a very emotionally charged and beneficial experience with ample opportunities for self-reflection.  With the support of the Pilgrim team, he realised that the pragmatic way he responds to situations after his son died is a coping mechanism to fill the void left by him. So Rumel was taught specific coping strategies that he can use instead which will help him better deal with his loss. “I feel content. Prior to going on Umrah, I felt like everything needed to be buried. After doing Umrah and letting my emotions out, I feel content. I accept what Allah (swt) has done as He is the best of planners.”

Abu-Afzal Miah

When Afzal’s wife miscarried their fourth child in a row, he went totally silent. Unable to open up about his pain, he remained a pillar of love and strength for his wife who struggled to come to terms with the trauma she had repeatedly suffered.  Your support opened up new possibilities for Afzal to heal and take charge of his life again.  Afzal went quiet when he was told that their baby had no heartbeat at his wife’s 5 month scan. He just held his wife who cried in disbelief at the devastating news they had just lost their fourth child. This time they had been cautiously optimistic about the pregnancy, as it had progressed further than the others. Afzal doted on his wife and did everything he possibly could to ensure her comfort and wellbeing at all times. And when they lost their child again, he was there for her day and night as she struggled to accept their unbearable loss.  Despite the pain of losing multiple children at the young age of 29, Afzal is a true example of a loving, compassionate and understanding husband who shows maturity beyond his years. He remains strong in his wife’s presence and has been her biggest supporter throughout their ordeal. However, Afzal has not spoken about his pain or emotions to anyone. His wife is worried that by harbouring his true feelings, he may not have accepted the trauma of what he has been through and is in need of deeper healing.  How your support helped Afzal Afzal was accepted on to the Umrah Fund Programme, which proved to be a very beneficial and rewarding experience for him. Prior to joining the programme, Afzal wasn’t sure if he had a good connection with Allah (swt) and felt there was room for improvement in terms of performing his salah more regularly.  Since returning, Afzal feels his connection with Allah (swt) is stronger and prays his salah consistently now. He’s also grown in confidence and has learned that it’s not too late to make positive changes in his life. “I have learned that it is not too late to make changes in my life. I can change the way I approach and deal with situations and challenges in day to day life.”

Sochna Begum

We’re currently writing up our Pilgrim journeys, which will be available to view in the coming weeks. Thank you for your continuous support for our Umrah Fund.

Najma Rehman

When Najma’s husband passed away, she was left with her only daughter, her only hope. But her daughter cut all ties with her, abandoning her despite her poor health. Living alone, the only support she has is carers who come to look after her.  Your support helped Najma fulfil a lifelong dream of performing Umrah and gave her hope to accept the hardships in her life. Najma worked as a maid in Saudi Arabia. She fell hands to terrible circumstances at the hands of employers who did not treat her well. Though so close to the holy lands, she was never able to make a journey due to strict working conditions and a lack of holidays and social time. Najma came to the UK after getting married. Shortly after, Allah (swt) blessed her with one daughter who was to be her only child. After some time, her husband passed away and the only family Najma was left with was their daughter. However, she cut ties with her after lengthly disagreements and abuse, in the end Najma was left to live alone.  Najma’s health started to deteriorate and she underwent an operation to replace her knee. She also suffered a fall, which required treatment for her shoulder and hand. Due to her ill health and living alone, she requires carers to help look after her and is currently awaiting surgery for her second knee replacement.  At almost 60 years of age, Najma has been through some very testing times over the years. Despite her health problems, Najma yearned to visit the House of Allah as she never had the opportunity to go with her husband. With no other family in the UK, it seemed her dream would never be fulfilled.   

How you helped Najma Alhamdulillah, with your support, Najma was finally able to fulfil her lifelong dream of performing Umrah, which seemed impossible given her health issues and lack of family members who could take her.   Najma was selected to journey as part of the Grieving Mothers programme. Which was designed to support mothers who had suffered loss, abandonment and severe trauma. The trip was a very emotional but positive experience for Najma and she is very grateful for having the opportunity to visit Allah’s (swt) House through the Pilgrim Umrah Fund Programme.  

Uzair Ahmed

Salaheddine asked Allah to prove Islam was real.

After losing family members in the Grenfell Tower fire, Salaheddine faced several questions around his faith.

Hadija was shocked when the Pilgrim team entered her home, she thought it was further bad news.

After losing her son to murderers, Hadija kept going through one verse from the Quran. It was this same verse that she read on her surprise card.

Salaheddine asked Allah to prove Islam was real.

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Our Partners

Al Isharah

The first-ever Umrah catered for Deaf Muslims was organised by Al Isharah in April 2010. This was the first of its kind for the Deaf Muslim community across the UK. The group was welcomed by the mayor of Mecca and the Saudi based Deaf group. Al Isharah has been working to provide Deaf friendly umrah trips and hope to provide more in the coming future.   The first-ever Umrah catered for Deaf Muslims was organised by Al Isharah in April 2010. This was the first of its kind for the Deaf Muslim community across the UK. The group was welcomed by the mayor of Mecca and the Saudi based Deaf group. Al Isharah has been working to provide Deaf friendly umrah trips and hope to provide more in the coming future.     The first-ever Umrah catered for Deaf Muslims was organised by Al Isharah in April 2010. This was the first of its kind for the Deaf Muslim community across the UK. The group was welcomed by the mayor of Mecca and the Saudi based Deaf group. Al Isharah has been working to provide Deaf friendly umrah trips and hope to provide more in the coming future.   The first-ever Umrah catered for Deaf Muslims was organised by Al Isharah in April 2010. This was the first of its kind for the Deaf Muslim community across the UK. The group was welcomed by the mayor of Mecca and the Saudi based Deaf group. Al Isharah has been working to provide Deaf friendly umrah trips and hope to provide more in the coming future. The first-ever Umrah catered for Deaf Muslims was organised by Al Isharah in April 2010. This was the first of its kind for the Deaf Muslim community across the UK. The group was welcomed by the mayor of Mecca and the Saudi based Deaf group. Al Isharah has been working to provide Deaf friendly umrah trips and hope to provide more in the coming future. The first-ever Umrah catered for Deaf Muslims was organised by Al Isharah in April 2010. This was the first of its kind for the Deaf Muslim community across the UK. The group was welcomed by the mayor of Mecca and the Saudi based Deaf group. Al Isharah has been working to provide Deaf friendly umrah trips and hope to provide more in the coming future.   The first-ever Umrah catered for Deaf Muslims was organised by Al Isharah in April 2010. This was the first of its kind for the Deaf Muslim community across the UK. The group was welcomed by the mayor of Mecca and the Saudi based Deaf group. Al Isharah has been working to provide Deaf friendly umrah trips and hope to provide more in the coming future.   The first-ever Umrah catered for Deaf Muslims was organised by Al Isharah in April 2010. This was the first of its kind for the Deaf Muslim community across the UK. The group was welcomed by the mayor of Mecca and the Saudi based Deaf group. Al Isharah has been working to provide Deaf friendly umrah trips and hope to provide more in the coming future.   The first-ever Umrah catered for Deaf Muslims was organised by Al Isharah in April 2010. This was the first of its kind for the Deaf Muslim community across the UK. The group was welcomed by the mayor of Mecca and the Saudi based Deaf group. Al Isharah has been working to provide Deaf friendly umrah trips and hope to provide more in the coming future.   The first-ever Umrah catered for Deaf Muslims was organised by Al Isharah in April 2010. This was the first of its kind for the Deaf Muslim community across the UK. The group was welcomed by the mayor of Mecca and the Saudi based Deaf group. Al Isharah has been working to provide Deaf friendly umrah trips and hope to provide more in the coming future.  

Muhsen

We’re partnered with Muhsen to support Umrah journeys for individuals with special needs and their carers.

Sunnah Experience

After losing family members in the Grenfell Tower fire, Salaheddine faced several questions around his faith.

Ramadan Tent Project

After losing family members in the Grenfell Tower fire, Salaheddine faced several questions around his faith.

Tazkiyah Tours

After losing family members in the Grenfell Tower fire, Salaheddine faced several questions around his faith.

Yaseen Youth

After losing family members in the Grenfell Tower fire, Salaheddine faced several questions around his faith.

How it Works

Nominations

Embark on the most important journey of your life.

Panel and Trustee Review

Visit the world’s most holiest sites.

Pilgrim Selection

Visit the world’s most holiest sites.

In Person Surprises

Visit the world’s most holiest sites.