The elderly Pakistani shepherd, who was wandering the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah barefoot and frail with a long muslin cloth draped over his turban, recently became an unlikely social media sensation after a video of him went viral. Turki Al-Sheikh, the adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, tweeted to ask how to contact him.
But 82-year-old Abdul Qadir Bakhsh, who returned to his home in the village of Goth Haji Rahim in Hub, Baluchistan on Saturday after performing Umrah, does not even own a phone.
Bakhsh had been saving for the pilgrimage for 15 years, and on Sunday during his interview in his hut, he saw his viral video for the first time.
He said: “I feel like all my worries have vanished. My heart is content. I am not even short of sustenance, I am happy. My wish to visit the shrine of the holy prophet, and Makkah, has been granted.”
With failing eyesight, and holding a walking stick, Bakhsh can be seen on the video, already with more than 1 million views, walking alone and often turning around as if lost and searching for someone.
Arab social media users were moved by his appearance, with some comparing his simplicity and humility to famous Islamic personalities.
Many compared his appearance exactly that of Abu Bakr Siddiq (RA) closest companion and advisor of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
He sat on the floor at his village home, a sparse shanty made of tree trunks and grass, as happy visitors came and went to congratulate him on completing the pilgrimage, a dream for many in Balochistan.
For years, Bakhsh sold his goats to save up to fulfil his dream.
He said that when he first arrived in Makkah, he was beyond happy. Without a guide, he arrived in the city, and because he only spoke Balochi, it was difficult to ask for directions. But when he arrived at the Kaaba, he claimed that his prayers had been answered by Allah.
“I wandered around until I finally reached there,” adding that at the prophet’s shrine, he wept. “I said, God, you have showed me the way and brought me here.”
It was there that a still unknown person made and shared the video that immediately went viral.
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Bakhsh then went back to Makkah to perform Umrah again. Now back home, he is already preparing to save enough money to perform Hajj, his greatest wish.
“At the Kaaba, I prayed, ‘Allah, I don’t know this place; be my guide. Here, I have no guide. I’m not a learned person, and my eyesight is poor, so this place would be better for me if I wasn’t healthy. He uttered, “Guide me, for you are the only guide I have; lead me to your secrets.
And, he added, his prayers were answered.