Ahmad Sabis’ journey from India to Egypt’s Al-Azhar University arrives in UAE, passes through 11 countries
Ahmed Sabis. – Photos provided
At just 21 years old, Ahmed Sabith took on the unique challenge of cycling over 15,000 kilometers to Egypt’s Al-Azhar University, known for its Islamic studies and higher education. During his nearly 200-day journey, Sabith wanted to spread the message of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) for the survival of humanity and peace.
On his bike, his missions span nearly 11 countries on two continents, including India, Oman, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Palestine and Israel.
Throughout his journey, Sabith aimed to research and learn about the local traditions of each country. “I’ve always been excited about learning about different cultures. I believe I’ll witness more cultural diversity on this expedition,” he said.
Ahmed Sabith in front of the Museum of the Future in Dubai.
On October 20, 2022, Sabis, a resident of Bantawar near Mangalore in Karnataka state, India, started his journey from Trivandrum in Kerala state. He cycled across India’s Western Ghats and arrived in Mumbai two months later. He traveled from Mumbai to Salalah, via Nizwa and Sohar in Oman to the Hatta border. On January 27, he rode 4,000 kilometers to the border of Hatta, UAE. “I was welcomed by many people at the border. But the most special was the welcome from nature. It was raining when I entered the UAE,” Sabith said.
On average, Sabith rides 70 to 100 kilometers a day for 6 to 8 hours. “Back in India, the people who follow me on my social media welcome me and provide accommodation at their place. It’s not that difficult,” Sabith said, noting that he is well equipped with a tent, gas stove and extra clothes.
When Sabis arrived in the UAE, he received a warm welcome everywhere. “People who saw my bike would come up to me and ask about my journey,” Sabith said.
Sabith is staying with his cousins in Karama and plans to continue his journey in the next few days. He will travel by car to Abu Dhabi and arrive at the Saudi Arabian border within seven days. “Then I will visit Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait before heading to Mecca for my umrah,” Sabith said.
After his holy pilgrimage and visits to the historic sites of Medina, Sabith plans to cycle to Jordan, Palestine, Israel and then on to his university in Egypt. Sabith has memorized the Qur’an and is taking a translation class. “I have been accepted to a one-year program at a prestigious university. I want this journey to be special, it was a childhood dream of mine to go to university by bike,” said Saibth.
travel at own expense
From a young age, Sabith has been raising funds for the expedition. “I used to earn a fortune during the holy month of Ramadan. I didn’t spend much and I used it for this dream trip,” Sabith said.
The total cost of the trip was nearly one million Indian rupees (approximately Dh44,000) and he was carrying more than 20kg. “I spent almost a quarter of that. The bike cost 150,000 rupees (about Dh6,600). Until now, I haven’t paid for my food or accommodation,” Sabith said.
Sabith is documenting his travels using a social media account called “Sabi inspires,” which has amassed 140,000 subscribers on YouTube and 108,000 followers on Instagram.