COMPLETING THE HAJ ALONE
Fatimah struggles on after her husband dies
FATIMAH Zaharah Ghazali struggled to hold back tears as she spoke about completing her haj alone after her husband died last Saturday due to severe pneumonia.
Mohd Ghazali Abd Rahim, 53, from Taman Pengkalan Harapan in Ipoh, Perak, died at King Fahd Hospital at 7.25pm local time and was buried at the Baqi’ cemetery in Madinah.
“We had planned to do so many things together. Now, I am on my own and cannot even go to the mosque,” Fatimah said at Azhar Al Safa Hotel here yesterday.
Fatimah, 53, a mother of three, hoped to perform her worship as required, with support from her family, Tabung Haji (TH) staff and friends for guidance and assistance.
“InsyaAllah (God willing), my children can persevere through this. They call me a lot, telling me to be calm and not dwell on their father.
“InsyaAllah, there will not be any problem. I can control myself. (But), there are times when the memories come back.”
Recalling their first few days in Madinah, she said they were happy to arrive in the Holy Land, and joked about wanting to die here.
“When I brought him to the clinic he was able to speak, but when he laid down for treatment, he was suddenly short of breath.
“Once, on our way to the hospital, he had no pulse, but was revived with some assistance.
“The doctor said (his condition) was very critical. At the same time that I was sent back to the maktab, he passed away. That is what makes me really sad.
“If I had not gone (back), I would still be able to see him because he was already critical at that time.”
Ustazah Siti Fauziah Dollah Hamdani, who had been counselling Fatimah since her husband’s death, said while in the mourning period, the widow’s movements were restricted.
“She can go to the mosque if accompanied and only for obligatory prayers. However, she cannot wear make-up, bright coloured clothing, or go out shopping and on casual outings.”
Meanwhile, Hasnah Shawal, 73, from Kuala Ketil, Kedah, has taken her blindness in her stride as she performs the haj alongside fellow pilgrims.
When met at Rehab Al-Janadriyah Hotel, Hasnah expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to perform haj this year.
“When we got the notification that I was chosen from TH, we rushed to make preparations. I am so thankful to be here after waiting for so long,” she said.
Present were her brother, Mohd Saad Shawal, 69, and his wife, Manis Sidek, 69.
“I registered for haj a long time ago and collected money little by little, including family inheritance.
“Now that I am here, I am so happy. I do not know what else to say except to thank God,” Hasnah said.
She said going to the Grand Mosque for worship was not difficult as there were people who were ready to help, including her family, TH staff and other pilgrims.
Manis said escorting her sisterin-law for haj was easy as she was not fussy and followed advice and instructions.
“When she (Hasnah) got selected (by TH for haj) it was only for her. After we appealed, we managed to come along as her escorts.
“It is a big responsibility and we accept it. Pray for us to do our best.”
She said the first time they tried to perform umrah, they were pushed by the huge crowd and decided to stop after the first circle around the Kaaba.
“Later that night, we went back and pushed my sister-in-law in a wheelchair on the ground floor and managed to complete it. Alhamdulillah (praise be to God).”
Fatimah Zaharah Ghazali’s husband, Mohd Ghazali Abd Rahim, died in the Holy Land last Saturday.
Hasnah Shawal (left) and her sister-in-law, Manis Sidek.