Cyclists start their pilgrimage journey from Skopje to Mecca by bicycle

Wed, 3 Apr 2024 11:20 GMT
Two cyclists from North Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina set off from Skopje, the capital of North Macedonia, on Tuesday 2 April (today) to go on pilgrimage.
Cyclists start their pilgrimage journey from Skopje to Mecca by bicycle

Two cyclists from North Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina set off today from Skopje, the capital of North Macedonia, to go on pilgrimage. It is estimated that the pilgrimage by bicycle will take about 2 months.

Qamuran Hirda, 57, from North Macedonia, and Adem Aljic, 60, from Gracanica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, will pedal to Mecca in a journey called "Skopje to Mekkah 2024".

Hirda, who is also a mountaineer, said in a statement before setting off that although he has been cycling for many years, he has prepared specially for this journey psychologically, physically and financially.

Reminding that they had made similar journeys from the Balkans before, Hirda stated that they also travelled to commemorate the Çanakkale Martyrs.

They will also visit cities such as Çanakkale, Bursa and Konya

Stating that it is difficult to go on pilgrimage by bicycle, Hirda said, "This time it will be a little different. This is my biggest challenge. Approximately 4 thousand kilometres will be travelled. Our route is from Skopje to Bulgaria, then to Türkiye. We will go to Bursa via Çanakkale, then to Konya, and finally to Gaziantep or Adana on the Syrian border of Türkiye."

Emphasising that they would like to complete their entire journey by bicycle but this is not possible due to the war in Syria, Hirda said that they will take a plane from Türkiye to Amman, the capital of Jordan, from where they will continue their journey by bicycle.

The journey will take 2 months

Hirda stated that they planned their bicycle journeys for 2 months and that they wanted to visit different cities and learn about historical buildings and mosques during their travels.

Hirda said that he wanted to enjoy the spring months and said, "Some people ask me, 'Why don't you go by plane, why do you go by bicycle? They cannot understand this, I tell them, 'I see everything in front of me on my bicycle, I enjoy nature, I enjoy everything that Allah has given me. I want to fulfil this religious obligation in this way and enjoy it.

Emphasising that he wanted to convey a message about the environment with this journey, Hirda said, "I am travelling thousands of kilometres on my bicycle to give people a message: 'Don't travel with cars, get away from cars, don't pollute the air'."

"My family supported me and that is very important for me"

Adem Aljic, a doctor from Bosnia and Herzegovina, will accompany Hirda on this journey.

Aljic said that he travelled about 700 kilometres from Bosnia and Herzegovina to Skopje and that he prepared both physically and mentally for this journey.

Aljic, who said that he will also fast during his journey due to the month of Ramadan, said, "We are living the most difficult period since the beginning of history, since the human foot stepped on the soil. Before the end of our life and work life, I and my friend Qamuran and I decided to fulfil the fifth pillar of Islam, the pilgrimage."

Referring to the support of his family, Aljic said, "My family supported me and this is very important for me. I would like to express that it would make no sense to set out for this project and leave someone in pain and poverty, and from this point of view, everything is fine."


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