JEDDAH – Mohammad Al-Fateh Othman was an infant sitting in his mother’s arms when a Sudanese plane crashed 15 years ago.
Now a 17-year-old boy, Othman was in his mother’s arms when the Sudanese Airways plane traveling from Port Sudan to Khartoum crashed in July 2003. Everyone on the plane died except him. He was found by a worker near a tree.
Various businessmen and influential people financed his treatment leading to his recovery. They also covered his educational expenses until he became a student of information technology in Egypt.
This year, he has come to the Kingdom to perform Hajj – the most sacred ritual in Islam – on the invitation by Prince Sultan Bin Salman, head of the Saudi Commission for Tourism. He was ecstatic upon hearing the news.
“I was over the moon when I received the invitation. I never had the chance to come to Saudi Arabia before and I can’t think of a better reason than to perform Hajj,” Othman was quoted as saying in Saudi Gazette.
“Don’t get me wrong I travelled to many places. People often assume that I have a phobia of planes because of the crash but I love being on airplanes and I don’t remember the crash. I was barely two years old,” he added.
Othman’s father retold the day he lost his wife and was close to losing his son as well.
Othman has a sister, named Lina, who was only a few years old at the time of the crash.
About half a million Muslim pilgrims have arrived in Makkah and Madinah for Hajj this year, pouring in from around the world to perform the life-time journey.
Muslims from around the world pour into Makkah every year to perform Hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam.
Hajj consists of several rituals, which are meant to symbolise the essential concepts of the Islamic faith, and to commemorate the trials of Prophet Ibraham (PBUH) and his family.
Every able-bodied adult Muslim who can financially afford the trip must perform hajj at least once in a lifetime.
Hajj is officially expected to fall this year between Sunday, 19th of August 2018 and will continue till Friday, 24th of August 2018.