Perform Hajj, Umrah & Ziyarat with Al Haj Mahmud & Zehra Habib

Alhaj Mahmud and Zehra Habib formed the Hajj Assistance Committee of North America in 1983 to cater to the needs of Hujjaj and Zuwars in the Western world. They are the first North American group to arrange Umra, Hajj and Ziyarat excursions. Their reputation is built on excellent service and reliability. They have over 20 years of experience to their credit and they have served thousands of mo'mineen and mo'minaat who are residents of Canada, United States, Jamaica, England, Australia, Germany, Switzerland, and Sweden to name a few.

They migrated from Tanzania in 1967 and have since been living in Canada. They have always been known for their dedication and active involvement in the community. Alhaj Mahmud Habib was awarded a certificate for 10 Years of Volunteer Service by the Ministry of Citizenship in 1994, and Zehra Habib received an Achievement Award for her voluntary services from the Metropolitan Toronto District Canada Day Committee in 1995.

Alhaj Mahmud and Zehra Habib have always helped Hujjaj and Zuwar Fi-sabilillah, despite which group they belong to. They often provide Hajj and Ziyarat seminars for the various groups.

They have printed many books on Umra, Hajj and Ziyarat. Their most recent publication, Guide for Umra, Hajj and Ziyarat, provides essential information for first time Hujjaj and Zuwars. This booklet is available free upon request or can be downloaded (1.15 Megabytes) from this site.

The following is an article about an experience during Hajj followed by letters received from people who have used our services:

Extracts from an article titled "My experience during Hajj in the year 1990" by the late Alhaj Abbas S. Alloo of Toronto.

The Talbiya recited by more than two million Hajjis that year a call was recited by Prophet Muhammad (SAW) himself over fourteen hundred years ago, was recited in our family drawing room in Toronto. A decision was made although a little late, during the season, that the family would perform that year's Hajj to-gether. Our first move was to inform Hajj Mahmud J. Habib of the Hajj Assistance Committee North America (HACNA) to enroll us with his Kafela. His ever polite answer was that it was late as the advance booking had been completed and closed. Sensing our dismay, he added, tag along with the Kafela, and as we go, we will see what we can do for you. True to his words not for a moment were we ever made to feel that we were not part of the Kafela. We proceeded with the preparation with travelling documents and visas, cheques and joined vaccination sessions and Hajj briefing conducted by the Hajj Assistance Committee North America at the Bayview Mosque, Thornhill.

The organizer of the HACNA since 1983, Mahmud Habib and his equally dedicated wife Zehrabai, were leading the Kafela and both of them had hands full meeting and introducing Hujjaj who were joining the group at New York, taking care of their tickets, luggage and offering guidance, comfort and distributing Pak and halaal lunch which had been pre-ordered from Toronto.

In fourteen hours we were in Jeddah. From this onward the discipline organizational strength of the HACNA became silently evident. A volunteer guided the Kafela to a well chosen point in the airport (Madina-tul-Hujjaj) and left us free to do our shopping for Ihram, sandals, water bottles and other small paraphernalia. This well guarded and cushioned care was to be a distinct pattern throughout the journey.

My thoughts flashed back, how spoilt we were! Hajjis from Africa, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia who had invested their life saving in making this pilgrimage by sea, camels and buses, shamed us into thanking Allah (SWT) for the ease with which we were performing our Hajj.

In the meantime Hajj Mahmud Habib was busy trying to procure enough seats to accommodate the entire Kafela for a flight to Medina. This was a feat by itself for in that fierce rush to obtain one single seat is an achievement. Hajjis hands off, the baggage were once again taken care of to reappear in the lobby of the Sheraton Hotel in Medina.

HACNA had its group booking at the Sheraton and therefore the reception was a ready lunch and rooms allocation quick and orderly. We visited all Ziyarat in Medina. After a stay of three nights in Medina, we now boarded the buses to take us to Makkah via our Meeqat Masjid-e-Shajarah. On arrival in Makkah, we drove through teeming shop lined streets towards the Masjid-ul-Haraam, the Sacred Mosque, and passed it to enter into a narrow street to reach our place of residence.

Extracts from letters received by HACNA from Hajjis and Zuwars who had joined our group for Hajj and Ziyarat

I am always late in thanking people. Most of the time I have successfully used/misused the excuse of lack of enough time (and gotten by with it) but it is my basic laziness that I remain late in staying in touch with friends. That was one reason our daughter Sadaf from California, had expressed appreciation on our behalf a few days ago. It is, if not impossible, very difficult to thank enough all of our Hajj partners. We shall remain deeply indebted to all forever especially The Habib's for taking us along and other leaders. I have been in public life as a physician for about 40 years of my life, dealing with all sorts of people. Never before I met so wonderful persons as this Hajj group. Doctors (especially their spouses) generally consider themselves as something special and try to appear cut above others. Delightfully even these professionals were so humble and down to earth group. Allah Bless them all.

I am embarrassed to admit that Brother Abu Ali had given me his address and telephone (including fax number) at Jeddah Airport. Unfortunately I have misplaced that (with some other important documents). I have not been able to download the addresses/phone numbers, etc., that Brother Habib sent in his mail a few days ago. Would Brother Habib or some other friend please email me his telephone number if possible. Maulana Sakhawat by now should be in Chicago for the next ten days or so for Muhram Majalis (Rockford is about 70 miles west of Chicago, near Wisconsin border). We intend to go tonight and perhaps tomorrow night to listen to his speeches. He is an extremely well read and a marvelous orator. Allah gives him very long life. Our experience was so wonderful that Sadaf, Ajmal and Anis are already talking for a repeat of the Hajj with the same leadership again next year. If so, obviously, I will have to tag along too. Please stay in touch.

 

With best regards Jamil (& of course, Anis) Hussain.
HAJJ 2002

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Yasmin and I would like to thank you both for being the great anchors for our recent hajj. You had planned for every detail, little or big, to make the trip really satisfying both physically and spiritually. And a special thanks to Shahnaz for making the meals spicy with the achars and chutneys.

I have already sent a message to our leader Haji Habib appreciating all the arrangements that he had made for making every aspect of the hajj experience really enjoyable. It was a real treat to meet so many enlightened and committed Muslims dedicated to making life better for all human beings. May Allah listen to our prayers for peace in our homes, in our communities, in our nations and within ourselves. This experience also taught us the value of service above self to make life better for all. We had a lot of people in the group who were always willing to help others.

There were many memorable moments on this trip in the harmain, in Arafat, in Mina. I will remember the moment when a needy stranger came to a member of our group asking for help.  The need was met with a smile and a thank you for giving the opportunity to help.

May Allah continue to guide us to set our personal compasses to do what is good and right in our little ways. Each little drop will eventually make a river.

Best regards,

Mahmood Butt.
HAJJ 2002

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Dear Brother Habib and Sister Zehra, 

        Two years ago we were imagining about Hajj.  Ten months ago I was concerned about my health.  Thank God my health improved and we started to concentrate on Hajj again.  It was pure luck that we discovered your name. In the beginning we thought of you as just another family.  During the last few months our dealings with you changed our minds and now we think of you as a very special family.  You are a gift from God. 

        God has given you a special gift. Your honesty is so impressive that any person who deals with you develops a full trust in you.  Your trust in God is so strong that sometimes the impossible becomes possible.  Whenever you said, "Inshallah it will be done", it was done.  We learned so much from you but the most important thing we learned was patience.  We practiced it so much during Hajj that it is becoming part of our life. 

        Thank you for bringing Maullana Sakhawat and Abu Ali with the group. Because of these two people our Hajj became more special.  They possessed vast knowledge and most of all they were complimentary to each other.  We pray that God gives them a long and healthy life so that we can meet them again and hopefully perform another Hajj with them. 

        Thank you for all the comfort that you provided for the group during Hajj.  It was well arranged and we are extremely satisfied.  We are especially thankful for all the difficulties that we went through because Hajj would not be complete without them.  It gave us a sense of what poor people go through.  We pray for your health and ask that you include us and our family in your prayers.  Please keep in touch.

Sincerely,

Samina and Syed Shah
HAJJ 2002

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Salamun-Alaykum, Dearest Mahmud Uncle and Zehra Aunty,

I hope that by the Grace of the Almighty you are in good health & spirits. I never got a chance to meet you at the airport so I did not get a chance to thank you.

I would like to start out by telling you how truly thankful and grateful I am for all your help in making my parent’s trip comfortable and enjoyable. My grandfather and parent’s both were very emotional when they conveyed to me how well you both looked after them. I hope and pray that Allah gives you both the strength to continue doing what you are doing and may He also reward you for the sincerity and effort you put into your work. Normal people would not put in the time and effort that you people put in, infact your sincere love for Allah and his A’imaa (A.S.) is what drives you to make sure that those who visit His House and the shrines of His beloved are looked after and returned safely to their families. You two are very special people and we are lucky to have people like you to assist us in visiting the House of Allah and His beloved A’imma. Once again Mahmud Uncle and Zehra Aunty thank you and Inshallah I too will undertake this trip with you in the near future.

Sgd/ Yasin M. Dewjee (Also on behalf of Rizwan and Shaista), Toronto, 17/12/98

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Dear Br. Habib & Zehrabai:

It is with high respect and great pleasure that I sit to compose this mail. Must admit that the impression you’ve left in my heart will forever shine. I had heard before the phrase "a gem of a person" but never encountered one – until I met you both. Your unique way of dealing with pressure, people, personalities and challenges were truly a lesson to be learnt. And I was the silent student who used to watch you at different angels and admire your cool.

Thank you for making my Hajj a memorabilia!!   May Allah bless you and reward you both.

Sgd/. Rozina Kermally, Los Angeles 21/4/1999

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Your excellent and tireless effort in arranging the entire trip and covering all the bases in detail is commendable. The task may look trivial to participants outside the HACNA, however only those involved realise the time and sacrifice required in arranging the journey. May Allah (SWT) Bless and reward you for this noble deed. At this moment we would like to thank you for your effort and perseverance that probable began well before the commencing of the Seminars. May Allah give you health and motivation to keep up the good work. A'ameen!

signed by Hajja Saida and Alhaj Muniz Nasser, Toronto

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A great deal of appreciation goes to Alhaj Mahmud Habib and his dedicated wife Zehrabai for their tireless efforts and total dedication put to ensure the travel arrangements of Hajjis are completed to the last detail. Prior to departure all our anxieties and speculation as to what conditions prevailed in Saudi Arabia were put to rest as a result of ever interesting Seminars and slide shows. The fact that Hajj Mahmud Habib has continued to offer this service in the past through HACNA is in my opinion an incredible feat indeed. My only hope at this juncture is to see his talents and efforts immersed with the blessing of our community's religious and cultural side and thus enable others to share the benefits of this spiritual uplifment.

signed by Alhaj Ashak Rustom, Toronto

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I must thank HACNA, the organizers of this trip for the excellent job they did. Without their assistance my trip would have been extremely difficult. The work done behind my back, was not appreciated by me until I found out how much and what was done. Food in Medina and Makkah, bus reservations, lunch boxed for our bus journey, several majlises to assist us with all the masails, ticket reservations, collecting passports and lots more. To HACNA and all volunteers, I can only say thank you and I do pray for you for helping and assisting this guest of Allah, in the house of Allah, only HE will truly reward you. A'ameen!

signed by Hajja Shameem Khan, San Dimas, CA U.S.A.

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HACNA does it's best to prepare the Hajjis in many aspects. For example the seminars helped me in at least two ways. The seminars were supposed to be a source of Information for the Hujjaj, that is, one should know what to expect before boarding the aircraft. As well, another way in which these seminars helped, is by allowing us to get to know one another before we began our journey to-gether. I would like to thank HACNA for making it all so easy to perform Hajj.

signed by Hajja Meimuna Kanji, Toronto, Canada (now Mrs. Walji, Peterborough, U.K.)

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There were several things that made the trip easy. Going with HACNA group was the best thing to do. We did not have to worry about accommodation, transportation, food or any other headaches, so we could have total concentration for the prayers. Everything was so well organized. If we go for Hajj again we would definitely like to go with HACNA. We pray to Allah to give Blessings and courage to Alhaj Mahmud Habib and his wife Zehra M. Habib.

signed By Hajja Masuma and Alhaj Dr. Bhalwany, Brooklyn Park, MN, U.S.A.

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Our Hajj went very well, thanks to good organization and all the help from many volunteers of the Hajj Assistance Committee North America. We also had a very good group of Hujjaj.

signed by Hajj Shazia Damji (11 years old) Toronto, Canada

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The Sheraton Hotel in Medina was very good and the service was also good, the lectures were held by Mullas were very nice. The other service in Makkah was good such as spring water and orange juice with a lot of salt. The doctors services were excellent had no problem what so ever and medicines were also available whenever needed.

signed by Hajja Femida Mussa, St. Hubert, PQ, Canada

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Hajj was accomplished with such an ease and comfort, due to the help and guidance of Hajj Assistance Committee North America one would not dream of. Our journey started from Baltimore. We reached JFK airport, little worried and hungry, but Mr. and Mrs. Mahmud Habib met us with such an assuring smile that our anxiety subsided. They offered us soft drinks, with tasty sandwiches, which was filling and nice. In Medina we stayed at the Sheraton Hotel, where we were very comfortable and it's breakfast is of a special mention. Deluxe buses were provided for Ziyarat in Medina. The ride to Makkah was also in deluxe air condition bus and a tasty lunch box provided to each Hujjaj was really appreciated.

signed by Hajja Dr. Zakia Hasan, Baltimore, MD, U.S.A.

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The information package sent by Hajj Assistance Committee North America prior to our seminars contained a detailed itinerary, list of items to pack, explanation of the rituals and health precautions - all of which helped to answer many of my preliminary questions. The seminars were very useful in preparing many first time' Hujjaj, in that we reviewed and discussed the procedures step by step. The Roti and Kebab' provided by HACNA at JFK airport was readily welcomed, as there was a considerable waiting period before the flight. The stopover was further enhanced by some New York Momineen who came to meet us and provide us with more food and drinks. Through out the journey, the volunteers were a tremendous help by answering questions, helping with baggage and in reassuring us that everything would work out for the best, Inshallah. The doctors, whose services were well used, were extremely efficient and sympathetic.

signed by Hajja Nasreen Razavi, Toronto, Canada

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Thank you for all the accommodation and excellent services given by HACNA. Your committee did their utmost in organizing the Hajj and in assisting with any difficulties. We would surely recommend to anyone to participate in going with your group.

signed by Hajja Shabneez and Alhaj Zulfikar Walji, Brooklyn Center, MN., U.S.A.

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Our reservations, accommodation and transportation were nicely organized. The care and concern shown by HACNA were greatly appreciated.

signed by Alhaj Shabir K. Walji, Minneapolis, MN, U.S.A.

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It was a pleasure having HACNA help us all over our Ziyarat trip. You really did a lot for us all. Inshallah, you are going to get back twice as much as you gave out, by Almighty Allah. The work that you are doing of taking Zuwars out with you is appreciated by us all, and all our duas are going with you and we hope that Inshallah you will always continue taking this opportunity.

signed by Hajja Rukiyabai and Alhaj Jafferbhai, New York, U.S.A.

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Thank you very much for all the help you gave us during our Ziyarat trip. It was very nice and comfortable trip. Thanks again.

signed Hajja Zaibunissa Ali, Bethlehem, PA, U.S.A.

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Someone who takes time to think of other people's needs and warms so many hearts with gentle words and thoughtful deeds, someone who's so glad to share, so glad to help and give and care adds something very special to the world. For all the thoughtful things that you so often say and do, this brings a world of special thanks. Especially for you and your wife Sr. Zehrabai.

signed Br. Mirza Alikhan and family, Skokie, Ill. U.S.A.

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I am writing to thank you and your wife for making our journey so enjoyable and spiritually fulfilling. I must commend on the excellent organization and the services rendered by all tour operators due to careful planning that you did on behalf of HACNA. May, Allah, grant both of you health, prosperity and give you taufik to be able to take more Zuwars for the Fourteen Masoomeen A.S. Ziyarat. A'ameen! I will always remember you in my prayers and Inshallah maybe some day we can be going with you for this holy trip again. Again, I want to thank you for the super service you provided for us to fulfill our Umra and all the Ziyarat. With Duas and Salaams.

signed by Hajja Shameem Soonasra, Allentown, PA, U.S.A.

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