Hajj through the eyes of a Russian Secret Agent

“Hajj — 100 years ago”, was a book written by a Russian writer Efim Rezvan, in which he gathered authentic reports and true stories which were composed by a Muslim Russian officer named, Abdul Aziz Davletshin.

He was sent intentionally by the Russian government to Hejaz to perform Hajj, and gather firsthand knowledge about the rituals and the Kingdom’s setup. 

The Russian officer performed his pilgrimage in 1898-1899. The book gave profitable facts and figures on military outposts, security leaders, and features of local life, teaching, well-being, and mosques at the time. 

The 352-page book is an amazingly expressive novel of history, geography, politics, and social organization. It was distributed in Beirut in 1994 and is accessible in Arabic. 

He revealed how the pilgrimage made it easier for infections like typhoid and cholera to spread. He said that Cholera infection spreads in great quantity during the pilgrimage time, killing a large portion of the pilgrims, stretching out to the bordering countries and to different Arabian regions.

The officer also told about the sufferings of the pilgrims who were looted by the desert “nomads and by some tribes’ carrying weapons when one passes through their territories.

The route linking Makkah and Jeddah and Makkah and Madinah were covered with crude sand which is usually found close to the mountains, where the stones are discovered all around. 

The book provides a view of the sight at how it used to be in old times and gives a great point to compare with the facilities today when pilgrims have all the easiness and lavish lifestyle in the 21st century.

Source: Arab News

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Steve has been living in Saudi Arabia since 2013 and writing about Saudi rules, regulations, guides, and procedures since then.