RIYADH: Pakistan’s legendary bowler Shoaib Akhtar, England’s leg spinner Adil Rashid and former Indian actress Sana Khan shared snippets of their emotional Hajj journey on social media.
Akhtar, one of the fastest bowlers in world cricket who used to dominate the opposition batter with his sheer pace, said that the Saudi authorities had invited him to perform “honorary Hajj.”
“Going for honorary Hajj as a state guest of Saudi Arabia. I will also be addressing the Hajj Conference attended by leaders of the Muslim world in Makkah,” the cricketer-turned-commentator tweeted, showing pictures of himself in Ihram clothing.
In another tweet, he posted a photo with the caption: “At the Grand Hajj Symposium 2022 representing Pakistan in the Holy land of Makkah Mukarramah.”
The Pakistani cricket star also expressed gratitude to the Saudi Embassy in Islamabad for this honor.
In a series of tweets documenting his “beautiful journey from Makkah to Madinah,” he shared videos from the two holy cities, including a unique view of the Holy Kaaba from the top of the Makkah Clock Tower, the Haramain High-Speed Railway Station in Makkah, the Quba Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah.
Akhtar, who retired from international cricket after the 2011 World Cup, became popular for his aggressive pace attack during his career. His fans called him the “Rawalpindi Express” since he bowled at 100 miles per hour at least twice during his heyday, making him the fastest bowler.
Cricketer Rashid, meanwhile, has skipped England’s series against India to embark on the Hajj pilgrimage
Rashid said earlier this year that he had “reached the right time in his life” to make the pilgrimage to Makkah.
He was granted leave by the England and Wales Cricket Board and his club Yorkshire to perform Hajj and is expected to return in mid-July before England’s white-ball series against South Africa.
“I’ve been wanting to do it for a little while, but I’ve found it pretty difficult with the timings,” Rashid told ESPNcricinfo. “This year, I felt as though it was something that I had to do and something I wanted to do as well.”
He added: “I spoke to the ECB and to Yorkshire about it, and they were very understanding and encouraging, like: ‘Yes, you do what you’ve got to do and then come back when you can.’ Me and the missus are going and I’ll be there for a couple of weeks.
“It’s a massive moment: Each faith has got their own different thing, but for Islam and being a Muslim, this is one of the biggest ones. It’s a big thing for my faith and for myself. I knew that I needed to do it while I’m young, strong, and healthy. This is something that I really committed to myself that I would do.”
Congratulating Rashid and wishing him the best for his lifetime journey, England Cricket, the official Twitter account of the England cricket team, tweeted: “Hajj Mubarak, Rash. We all wish Adil well as he makes The Hajj pilgrimage to Makkah.”
Khan, a former Indian actress who quit the world of entertainment for religious reasons saying she wants to serve humanity, shared a video montage upon reaching Saudi Arabia for her first Hajj with her husband, Anas Saiyad.
Taking to Instagram, Khan was seen smiling and posing with Saiyad after she arrived in Makkah.
In the clip, both don Ihram clothing to begin their Hajj journey. A part of her caption reads: “Can’t wait to experience the most beautiful journey of my life of Hajj with my husband.”
In another post, she wrote: “I don’t have words to express my feelings. May the Almighty Allah accept our Hajj and make it easy.
“This whole vibe of coming to Allah’s house is so fulfilling. May Allah make it easy for everyone who are here performing their Umrah and Hajj,” she posted.
On Thursday, she tweeted: “Leaving for Mina today for Hajj. If I have hurt someone consciously or unconsciously, please forgive me, for God sake. I say it from the bottom of my heart to kindly forgive me. The Almighty Allah be kind to you.