Deaf man regains hearing during pilgrimage

A Somali man who had lost his ability to hear and speak after a bomb explosion in his conflict-battered African country regained his hearing sense while on pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, a local newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The man, identified only as Shareef, was hit by a bomb during internal clashes in Somalia nearly 20 years ago and decided later to immigrate to Britain after he could no longer hear or speak, Masdar online Arabic language daily said.

Doctors in Britain examined him but found that his condition is incurable, prompting authorities to let him stay as a “deaf-mute” refugee.

The paper said Shareef, in his 40s, has been living in Britain with his wife and four children ever since, adding that he came to Saudi Arabia along with other Somali-British Muslims to perform Haj (pilgrimage), which began on Monday.

“After going around the Grand Mosque in Makkah along with the other pilgrims, he drank Zamzam (sacred) water and went to the bathroom…when he got out of the bathroom, he heard the call for prayers,” the paper said.

“He could hardly believe what he heard…he rushed to his friends and told them what happened…they were shocked when they heard him talking.”

The paper quoted the head of the Somali-British  Haj (pilgrimage) mission, Abdul Samad Mohammed, as saying he was stunned when he heard him speak.

“Shareef had been deaf mute for a long time…during our flight to Saudi Arabia, he was writing what he wanted from the cabin crew,” Mohammed said.

“At first we could not believe it….so we asked him to speak again and he did…we took him to the hospital here for examination and doctors said there is nothing wrong with him.”

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