LONDON: A British Muslim intending to perform Hajj this year is using Twitter to inspire pilgrims and help those with anxiety disorders.
Laila Begum Ali, an NHS business planning manager and coach, began learning about how to perform the Hajj in Ramadan this year, in preparation for the pilgrimage that Muslims should do at least once in their lifetime.
Ali told Arab News that he has begun posting practical tips about the Hajj and any new information he has learned about performing the rituals and the history behind them on Twitter, in a bid to teach and support aspiring pilgrims. As a way to share your newly gained knowledge.
The response was overwhelming and she was followed in large numbers on Twitter by people who found her suggestions inspiring and inspiring.
Once Saudi Arabia announced that the Hajj would be open to one million foreign pilgrims in April, Ali decided that it would take an “organised, productive and proactive” approach to preparing for the pilgrimage.
“I was listening to religious scholars or Google every day on YouTube videos about Hajj rituals, preparing myself for Hajj.
“I started buying my Hajj outfits, booked my (meningitis) vaccinations, and followed the guidance issued by Saudi Arabia. And from then on my Hajj tweets started getting popular.
“I didn’t know how much I didn’t know. Then I realized I needed to take responsibility and learn about different types of Hajj, rules and history. I read how Prophet Muhammad performed his Hajj and more I learned, the more I tweeted.
“Very quickly people were tagging me, commenting on my tweets, or complimenting me on my knowledge. That’s how it began – I was sharing what I was learning, as I progressed,” Ali explains.
She said she condensed the information she learned to fit a limit of 280 characters for each tweet and used bullet points to highlight key points.
“I tried to be as simple and efficient as possible with bullet points and made them engaging,” Ali said.
Ali said she shares tips on broader issues related to Hajj – how British pilgrims can cope with the scorching heat in the Kingdom at this time of year (at least 40 degrees), the importance of buying a Saudi SIM card upon arrival. About, and the religious significance of the water of Zamzam.
“It became an obsession. Every day I was learning, I was tweeting,” Ali said.
He said that people started asking him about issues he was battling with, such as how to deal with claustrophobia and other anxiety disorders during Hajj.
As someone who has suffered from anxiety in the past and has learned to deal with it, Ali says she loves helping people face their fears.
She has extensive experience helping her local community, working with youth, people with special needs, the elderly, people with psychological issues, and caregivers.
“I think I’m very attracted to people who are weak, need help, have problems, and who aren’t really confident. I love coaching and helping people. And I think I was managing without realizing the concerns of the people.
“And when people say ‘I’m going to Hajj but I have claustrophobia,’ I’ll talk to them about how they can manage it.
“So I was coaching people in public without really realizing it. And people started giving me a warm up and giving me feedback about how the tips were helping.
“I found myself beneficial to the people I was teaching or coaching,” Ali said.
The manager said she found a new social community among the people she interacts with on Twitter.
“We all had a common goal of performing Hajj this year and fulfilling the fifth pillar of Islam. It was a great feeling and I felt like I was a part of this pilgrimage community,” Ali said.
Although she applied to perform Hajj this year and was selected from among the applicants for a new draw system that British pilgrims are using for the first time, Ali will not undertake the pilgrimage because the duration and dates of the package offered suit her. Wasn’t. commitments
However, he is looking forward to performing Hajj next year. She said: “I haven’t stopped thinking about Hajj, it’s still on my mind. I feel like I’ve just started my journey with the intention of going, and learning all about it.” I feel like I am going for Hajj next year and will apply next year.
“I want to go to Hajj and thank God for the countless beautiful things He has given me.”