Not too Hajj to handle: 110yo Russian makes pilgrimage

A 110-year-old woman from Russia's North Caucasus has fulfilled a lifelong ambition by traveling 3,000 kilometers as a pilgrim to join the Hajj.

The Hajj is the largest annual pilgrimage in the world and also considered a religious duty that must be carried out at least once in every Muslim's lifetime.

It is the only pillar of Islam that happens strictly at a certain time and place, from the 8th to the 12th day of the last month of the Islamic Calendar.

For Madinat Dzadzieva, taking part in the Hajj has been a lifelong dream. She is high-spirited and fearless, despite being more than a century old.

“I’ve done a lot in my life, this house where I live now I built myself, I’ve never asked anything special – only to help me go on the Hajj,” Madinat told RT.

Through the repressions of the 1940s, when she was almost starving in Kazakhstan and working in the cotton fields, to a hard life back in Russia laboring on construction sites in North Ossetia, she always dreamt of the Hajj to Mecca.

Even when in later life she lost her sight, she never lost hope.

“For years she was telling me everyday how much she wanted to go. I was afraid the trip would be too much for her. But I knew how important it was. So one day I thought we should just do it,” says her grandson, Magomed.

Among her relatives – she has four children and 30 grandchildren – no one really took it seriously. But without ever letting on to anyone else, her grandson Magomed and his wife started preparing for the trip of a lifetime.

First they flew to Jordan, before taking a 36-hour bus journey to Medina. There they joined hundreds of thousands of pilgrims, all simultaneously converging on Mecca for the week, to perform a series of rigorous rituals – a testing time for people in their prime, let alone someone who has entered their 12th decade.

Radimhan, Magomed`s wife told RT that Madinat had had a difficult life, but was always strong both physically and emotionally.

“That is how maybe she coped with the trip. She is an example for me and our family,” said Radimhan.

Now almost everyone in North Ossetia knows about her. Her strong drive and lack of fear not only made her dream come true, but also proved that where there is a will, there is always a way.