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Bahraini man who swam around Kaaba mourned.

A BAHRAINI man who found fame for swimming around the Kaaba in Mecca when it flooded 74 years ago has died.

Pictures of Shaikh Al Awadi performing the ritual of tawaf (circling) at the age of 12, during the Mecca floods of 1941, were widely circulated at the time and can reportedly be found on postcards sold to this day.

He died in Bahrain last Wednesday, aged 86, English language daily newspaper the Saudi Gazette reported.

Two years ago, Mr Al Awadi appeared on Kuwaiti television to speak about his experience that year in Mecca.

Flash floods had inundated all parts of the city, he said, and police were trying to stop people from approaching the Kaaba.

"Being a good swimmer, I was struck by the idea of performing tawaf and my

brother and friends also joined me," said Mr Al Awadi.

"I tried to convince the police to allow me to complete tawaf while my friend Muhammad Al Tayyib and another boy called Ali Thabit could not continue and they took shelter by climbing on the doorstep of the Kaaba, waiting to be rescued.

"I had a mixed feeling of joy and fear while circling the Kaaba.

"I experienced the joy of having a great opportunity to perform the ritual in a unique way and the fear that the policeman may shoot me from his rifle for disobeying him, but later I found out that there were no bullets in his gun."

Pilgrims returning from Mecca

had since told him that souvenirs, books and postcards of his swim on that eventful day were still being sold, Mr Al Awadi added.

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Geographic Code:7SAUD
Date:May 18, 2015
Words:286
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