Durban mom and son die on Hajj

Hajj in Mecca in Saudi Arabia. Picture:

Hajj in Mecca in Saudi Arabia. Picture:

Published Jun 23, 2024


Durban — A Durban widow and her son were both buried in Saudi Arabia after they died just days apart during the annual Hajj pilgrimage.

Ebrahim Khan, 27, died last week and his mother, Shereen Khan, 59, this week of natural causes.

Mufti Zubair Bayat, a spiritual guide on the Hajj pilgrimage, said the Khans, from Overport, were part of his group of about 800 pilgrims.

“Ebrahim brought his mom for pilgrimage. She was widowed at a young age and single-handedly raised her four children. Ebrahim felt an obligation to fulfil his mother’s wish of taking her on pilgrimage.

“Last week he had a sudden pain in his chest and was taken to hospital. He suffered a heart attack and passed away. He had no previous record of ill health. It was very sudden. We attribute it as the will of God Almighty. He died in the holy land, was buried there,” said Bayat.

He said Ebrahim’s mother was at his bedside when he died.

“Six days later, as the pilgrimage was over, she took ill. She was taken to the South African Hajj and Umrah Council (SAHUC) clinic, and while they were treating her she passed on. She was very heartbroken and found it difficult that her son passed away so young. She kept saying to people, ‘I don't know how I’m going to leave my child here and go back home’,” said Bayat.

According to SAHUC, five South Africans died while on the pilgrimage.

Millions of pilgrims, including 2500 South Africans, performed Hajj, which took place over the past week.

More than 1000 people have died during the pilgrimage due to heat-related medical issues and scorching temperatures exceeding 50°C. The hottest recorded temperature reported in the Grand Mosque of Mecca was 51.8°C.

SAHUC’s head of mission Ismail Kholvadia, who has spearheaded missions for the past 16 years, said it was the first time in his tenure that five people from South Africa died in one Hajj year.

“A 59-year-old woman passed away on Wednesday, and her son, aged 27, passed away last week. All were natural deaths and not related to the hot weather. Two of them died in Madinah and three passed on in Mecca.

“The pilgrimage has ended and the pilgrims are preparing to return home. All the pilgrims should be back by June 28,” said Kholvadia.

He said weather conditions had peaked on the day of Arafat (the second day of both the Hajj pilgrimage and the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha) when they experienced temperatures of between 45 and 50°C.

Kholvadia added that in his personal opinion last year was hotter.

The Travel and Tour World team, with whom the Khan’s had booked, wrote in a message on social media: “We at Travel and Tour World are profoundly saddened by the passing of a noble Hajji in the holy city of Mecca, especially so soon after the loss of her beloved son. This double tragedy touches us deeply.”

Sunday Tribune