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From parking lot to Mecca: A parking attendant and a blind masseuse's path to hajj

Jakarta Globe - June 13, 2024

Agung Dharma Putra, Didik Fibrianto, Jakarta – For many Muslims, the Hajj pilgrimage is a profound obligation, an act of faith and devotion that transcends worldly challenges. Despite economic hardships and physical limitations, Salamun's and Kasiyo Joyowiono's resilience and sacrifice overcome the challenges to fulfill this sacred duty.

Salamun's Path to Hajj

Salamun, a parking attendant in Jombang Regency, Surabaya, found his calling to Hajj in 2005. Determined to go to the Holy Land of Mecca, he started a dedicated savings plan by depositing daily earnings ranging from Rp 10,000 (61 cents) to Rp 50,000 into a specially crafted piggy bank.

"In 2005, after my tahajjud (midnight) prayers, I began saving with a firm intention. I remember placing Rp 50,000 into the piggy bank, committing myself to Hajj and regular savings," shared Salamun, a member of the Surabaya Hajj embarkation.

Over the years, he diligently accumulated funds, often supplemented by unexpected gifts or larger donations. By 2011, Salamun joyfully broke open his wooden piggy bank to find Rp 25 million – sufficient to register for Hajj.

Since 2022, the Indonesian government has subsidized Hajj costs with financial benefits from Hajj funds, amounting to Rp 41 million per pilgrim. This year, more than 240,000 Indonesians will go on their sacred journey.

To ensure his wife Sukarti could join him, Salamun worked tirelessly, braving sun and rain as he managed parking and sold beverages at his post. Despite financial pressures and the need to borrow from the Hajj Guidance Group (KBIH), Salamun remained steadfast.

"After 13 years of waiting, Sukarti and I received the call from Allah to become His guests in the holy land. I'm overjoyed to embark on this journey together with her," said Salamun, expressing gratitude for the opportunity despite the uncertainty of his daily earnings.

With more than 5 million Indonesians queuing for Hajj, the waiting time can extend up to 30 years, with the shortest regular wait being up to 15 years.

Kasiyo Joyowiono's Journey as a Blind Pilgrim

In Bali, Kasiyo Joyowiono, a retired civil servant and blind since infancy, undertook his Hajj journey with determination and gratitude. Despite his disability, Kasiyo worked as a civil servant and later as a masseur, saving diligently since 2009 to finance his Hajj pilgrimage.

"In 2013, I applied for Hajj. After retiring, I started offering massage services. I've been doing massages for a long time. Since retirement, I've saved up from my earnings for Hajj," shared Kasiyo, reflecting on his journey.

Through his massage services, Kasiyo set aside amounts ranging from Rp 30,000 to Rp 40,000 per session, earning between Rp 40,000 and Rp 60,000 per client. By 2024, he had accumulated enough to fulfill his Hajj obligations, overcoming physical challenges through daily physical training and unwavering faith.

Muslim pilgrims are flocking to Mecca for this week's Hajj pilgrimage, now returning to its grand scale after recent restrictions.

Saudi officials reported over 1.5 million foreign pilgrims have arrived, mainly by air, from across the globe by Tuesday. More are expected, ready to join when the pilgrimage commences on Friday.

This year's numbers are anticipated to surpass 2023 levels, nearing pre-pandemic figures of over 1.8 million pilgrims. The Hajj, one of Islam's Five Pillars, is obligatory for physically and financially capable Muslims at least once in their lives. It offers pilgrims a profound opportunity to strengthen faith, seek forgiveness, and start afresh.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/lifestyle/from-parking-lot-to-mecca-a-parking-attendant-and-a-blind-masseuses-path-to-haj