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Gulf | Saudi Arabia

Street sweeper’s life transforms in Makkah

Haj season sees man reunited with estranged brother who agrees to restore his fortune

  • By Habib Toumi, Bureau Chief
  • Published: 13:04 November 3, 2012
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Courtesy: Sabq
  • The two brothers as they are reunited in Makkah during the Haj last week.

Manama: An expatriate working as a street sweeper in Makkah saw his life change in a blink during the Haj season after his estranged brother sought to make amends for wronging him by returning his share of the family fortune.

The Bangladeshi man was sweeping Taneem Street in Makkah when an old man wearing the Ihram cloth of Haj pilgrims crossed the busy road and embraced him warmly much to the perplexity of passersby. However, the sweeper returned the embrace, indicating his familiarity with the older man.

The embrace in fact was between two brothers who had not seen each other for more than five years in the aftermath of a bitter dispute over inheritance rights, Saudi news site Sabq reported. The two men were from a wealthy family in Bangladesh, but the older brother had refused to give his sibling his share of the inheritance estimated at 17 million Saudi riyals (Dh16.64 million) in cash in addition to several properties.

The older man even managed to have his younger brother sent to prison whenever he asked for his share. The younger brother, disappointed and dejected, opted to leave Bangladesh and work as a sweeper in the holy city of Makkah. As it turns out, the sweeper has become a millionaire in his home country.

He told the people who gathered around him and his brother that he had forgiven his brother who had apologised profusely for mistreating him and that he was ready to return home.

The older man said that he had been diagnosed with cancer and that he was not sure how long he would live.

He reportedly looked for his brother in several places to ask for his forgiveness and make amends for all the years of deprivation he was forced to endure. He even offered financial rewards to whoever could help him locate his brother.

According to the news site, the younger brother said he was ready to forget the past and move forward with his new life. “I will always be kind with the poor and the needy,” he said. “I have learned a lot about deprivation and poverty in the last five years. I will always be fair with everyone after I lived through years of injustice,” he said in Arabic, a language he learned during the time he spent sweeping the streets of Makkah.

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