A Bosnian Muslim pilgrim who left last December on
pilgrimage to Mecca by foot told AFP on Monday that he has arrived after
passing through seven countries including war-torn Syria.
“I arrived Saturday in Mecca. I am not tired, these are the best days of
my life,” Senad Hadzic, 47, said when reached by phone on a Saudi mobile
He said he had covered some 5,700 kilometres in 314 days of walking
through Bosnia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Syria and Jordan to the Muslim
holy city in south-western Saudi Arabia, with a backpack weighing 20
He charted his progress on his Facebook page, where he posted a picture
apparently of an entry/exit card for foreigners issued by the Syrian
“I passed through Syria in April. I walked some 500 kilometres in 11
days. I went through Aleppo and Damascus and passed dozens of
check-points held by pro-government and rebel forces alike, but I was
never detained,” Hadzic said.
“At a check-point held by (President Bashar) al-Assad’s forces the
soldier ordered me to empty my backpack … When I showed them my Koran
and explained I was making the pilgrimage on foot, they let me go,” he
“I walked in the name of Allah, for Islam, for Bosnia-Hercegovina, for
my parents and my sister,” he added.
On his Facebook page he said God had shown him the way in dreams,
including to go through Syria instead of Iraq.
During the pilgrimage, Hadzic faced temperatures ranging from minus 35
Celsius (minus 31 Fahrenheit) in Bulgaria to plus 44 Celsius (111
Fahrenheit) in Jordan.
He said he had to wait in Istanbul for several weeks to get permission
to cross the Bosphorus Bridge on foot and two months at the border
between Jordan and Saudi Arabia to obtain an entry visa.
The hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and must be undertaken at
least once in a lifetime by all Muslims who are able to.