Umer’s Blog

Al-Rihlah: Team Update, Major Changes to Ride, Kick-off Event

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Dear Al-Rihlah supporters!

This is Imran and Omar Ghani here saying hello. It’s been a while since we’ve updated you on things but now that the ride is just around the corner we thought we’d bring you all up to speed. This past year of training and route planning has faced us with many challenges that have led to incredible physical and spiritual growth. We are ready to experience a unique Hajj trip and are excited to share it with you along the way.
Team Update
  • Thanks to your support we raised $11,136 during our LaunchGood crowd funding campaign. These funds were used to purchase our bicycles, traveling equipment, and food. Major thanks to our sponsors Bicycle World and Fifth Moon Studios for the support they have given our project.
  • Due to circumstances that occur in life many of our teammates will be unable to do the ride. Thank you Jaudy, Umer, Emad, Usman, and Talha for being amazing team mates. We love you and hope you have benefited from this endeavor. We are forever thankful to you for believing in this project. Omar and I will be remember you throughout the ride.


Major Changes to the Ride

  • Due to the political instability in Eurasia and the Middle East we have decided to change the cycling portion of al-Rihlah to here in the United States. The above map is the new route that we will be following.
  • The ride will be a combination of about 50-60 miles of cycling everyday and driving to safe camp sites.
  • We understand that our final project is NOT what we promised you when soliciting your financial support. If you would like your contribution returned then please message us and we will provide you a full refund. 
  • Important Dates:
    1. Sunday, July 19th – Send-off party!
    2. Monday, July 20th – Imran to start cycling from Houston towards the Guadalupe Mountains.
    3. Friday, July 31st – Omar to leave Houston and catch up to Imran at Guadalupe Mountains
    4. Cycling + Road Tripping to various National Parks in the Western U.S.
    5. Tuesday, August 18th – Imran to end cycling portion at Berkeley, CA and start school.
    6. Monday, September 7th – Omar to continue U.S. trip solo
    7. Saturday, September 12th – Leave Houston for Hajj
    8. Monday, September 28th – Return home


Kick-off Event
 Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 3.35.36 PM
The time has come friends!
Come out and wish us farewell before we hit the road. We have been planning, training, and praying tirelessly and ready for an amazing trip.
Sunday, July 19th @ 8-10pm
1127 Eldridge Pkwy #100, Houston, TX 77077
FB Event:
What to Expect During the Trip

  • Vlogs and blog posts by Imran and Omar
  • Photography, photography, and more photography!
  • Visiting masjids and other religious centers across America.
  • Sharing as many conversations as possible with the new people we meet .
  • Campgrounds!
With that being said we wanted to thank you once again for your support. Please pray that we are able to complete this journey safely and in good health. Please let us know if you have any questions or feedback.
Imran Ghani
Omar Ghani

Living life

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Reflections at sea

Reflections at sea

As-salam-alaikum and Ramadan Mubarak guys and gals. SubanAllah, Ramadan has been amazing experience for me so far. This month has this amazing ability to soften the heart to such a degree that the little things in life become…colossal. I pray and ask Allah (swt) that this month affords us all the opportunity for this month to soften our hearts, strengthen our resolve and renew our purpose in this world inshAllah. Ameen!

What I wanted to talk about in this post is about one of the main reasons why I am doing this ride. Allah (swt) says in His Book:

Say: “Travel in the land and see how (Allah) originated creation….” [Surah Al-‘Ankabut; 29:20]

The theme or concept of reflecting is presented time and time again in the Quran and Allah (swt) does this for a reason. Reflection is not a pointless exercise. At its best, it brings about a significant change in us and actions that change the lives of those around us. At its worst, it brings a transient change. But even then, sum up enough of those transient changes and you will get a permanent one. So reflection is not a pointless exercise and instead I would argue that it is something as essential to the wellbeing of our soul as water is essential to the wellbeing of our body. Without it, there would be no change. Without change, there would be no improvement. And without improvement, life is simply not being lived.

So yes, Allah (swt) invites to reflect upon His creation and in this particular ayah He offers a method of doing this: “Travel in the land”. What better way is there to reflect on His creations than to travel through countries that are beautiful and countries that are suffering on a bicycle – a means of transportation that gives us plenty of solitude and time to soak in the environment around us – on the way to Makkah to perform Hajj!

There are many reasons why I am partaking in this ride. Fulfilling the Command of Allah (swt) is one of them and perhaps the most important. InshAllah, in my future posts I will address the other reasons. Until then: Rabbana afrigh ‘Alayna sabran watawaffana muslimeen [Our Lord! Pour out on us patience and constancy, and make us die as those who have surrendered themselves unto You].


Umer Arian’s Biography

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My name is Umer Arian and I am currently a medical student at Nova Southeastern University in Florida. My interest in medicine specifically lies in internal medicine and trauma. And my goal is to embody the title “Doctors Without Borders” by frequently setting up free or at least cheaper care in areas that are in need of it, both locally and abroad. 

The first time I heard of the Rihlah was during a road trip back to Houston after spending three days snowboarding on the awesome slopes of Colorado with the Ghani brothers. I became interested in the project simply because it is an opportunity of a lifetime. It is an opportunity that promises to develop me physically, spiritually and mentally. In addition to that, given my role as the Medical Advisor on this team, this ride presents me with the opportunity to develop my medical skills in a manner and setting that very few other opportunities would allow. By His Will, both of these opportunities will immensely aid me in achieving my dream of setting up medical care in the areas of need. 

The biggest thing I am looking forward is exploring the unknown. When I say unknown I am referring to things that I have never gotten to see or experience: I am going to get to see awesome landscape, meet new people, explore different ways of life and, if and when the opportunity presents itself, explore different ideology in regards to medical practice from country to country, city to city and village to village. In addition to that, I look forward to performing Hajj with a great group of guys. 

I am generally pretty quiet.