Pilgrims who often visit the Grand Mosque, Islam’s holiest shrine, will quickly notice a familiar face among the hundreds of government workers there. The Saudi man is always there and has never left the Mosque for nine years.
Thallab Al Moulad, 52, decided to get away from people and live a recluse life inside the Grand Mosque in the western Saudi town of Makkah for the rest of his life after losing his farm in which he invested his life savings.
He says he was about to reap his harvest at his new land when he woke up one morning to the rumbling of government bulldozers that razed his farm on the grounds he had no proof of ownership.
The bearded Saudi man now spends most of his time praying although the trauma of losing his farm is still noticeable on his dark face. He earns his living through tips given to him by handicapped pilgrims in return for pushing their wheel chairs through the massive mosque and other services.
“I want to spend the rest of my life here after losing all my savings…I paid more than SR20,000 ($5,400) to lease the farm from its owner….I spent much time in planting the land and was about to reap the harvest when I woke up one morning and found government bulldozers razing the farm,” he said.
“I could not stop them and I did not go to court…they told me that I have rented the farm from someone who does not have ownership documents.”
Quoted by the Saudi Arabic language daily Alwatan, Moulad said he no longer thinks of money and that he gets tips from pilgrims only to feed himself.
“I have become contented all these years inside the Grand Mosque…I no longer think of achieving any ambitions… I just want to live here for the rest of my life and I am sure that God the Almighty will reward me.”