Saturday, November 20, 2010


1. IN THE CONTEXT OF HAJ , there are literatures abound and even videos and cassettes to put you right on the path of  your pilgrimage. Courses are conducted by Tabung Haji, mosques, institutions including travel agencies that promote packages for pilgrims besides the national organised setup by Tabung Haji itself. All that being specific to Malaysia.

2. Believe me nothing compares to being here yourself and of course performing the Haj with three million Muslim pilgrims all over the world. When everyone covers himself with the two pieces of white shroud called ihram, there is nothing to show where he is from excepting the color of his skin. Their sole focus is towards 'Haj mabrur'.

3. For sure the Haj begins at Mekkah.Millions of pilgrims moved into the city before the 8th of Zulhijjah. With its bursting limits, an additional three million visitors from all over the world moving into Mekkah for an extended period of a fortnight to seven weeks no less surely would put the local city councils at a high point for the necessary services besides the security to the visitors and its populace alike. 

4. The peak of Haj meant  seeing all pilgrims dressed in white, moving into the plain of Arafah before dawn breaks on 9th Zulhijjah. Here everyone has to perform the 'wukuf', meaning to be at Arafah even for a brief moment between noon and sunset.

5.All are prepared for the pilgrims. Accomodation in tents, toilet facilities, food and drink plus special 'surau' etc are there. He has to be here only in person.   He has only to spend his precious moments here praying, reciting holy verses or read the Koran.Here he will experience moments only the 'jemaah' could  personally described. The prestine moment after the zohor prayer allows him to read a prayer repenting and asking for forgiveness from Allah for all faults, sins and wrong doings  he has committed in his life. It's soul searching. Confessions, sobs and tears flow unspared.

6. With the break of 'fajar' everyone started moving to Muzdalifah.Transporting such a huge number of pilgrims to the plain of Muzdalifah within two to three hours is a daunting task and not surprisingly many 'jemaah' would be making the short journey by foot.

7. The temporary halt at Muzdalifah allows the 'jemaah' to pick seven pieces of stone while of course enhancing on him or her to continue praying, reciting and reading the Koran. Nearing midnight, everyone is on the move again. Now to Mina. the camp city for religious rites for the next three days.

8. Mina enclosed in a valley sets again an experience to be felt and treasured by the pilgrims. The stoning of the 'Jamratul Ula, Wusta and Aqabah' then takes precedence. The presence of 'jemaah' old and young, men and women arriving from the whole wide world set on one purpose can only be marvelled. They walked in groups at alloted time for several kilometers and through a large man - made tunnel to gain excess to the 'jumratul' and back not once but four times amongst the uneasy crowd. The sick and elderly got wheeled - chaired.The hot weather plus a sudden storm followed by swift flood waters at the camp on Friday 12 Zulhijjah in the afternoon only make the three day stay at Mina  memorable and significant. No doubt there was enlightenment with comraderie amongst hundred others who were strangers before but now closed friends and links resulting from the jemaah prayers in the tents  which were our homes.

9. The history of Islam's devout and followers' journey to the Holy Kaabah and AlHaram for the Haj has now recorded 1421 times bearing that it began since the 10th year of Hijrah. Prophet Muhammad saw led his friends and followers numbering 90,000 to 120,000 from Madinah. Since then the Haj being one of the pillars of Islam has guided millions from all over the world to make that one important journey once in their lifetime. The onset of sacrife, danger and time have now moved forward to convenience,security and comfort. Malaysians took to shipping embarking from Penang in liners and disembarking at Jeddah more than a half century ago. The sea journey alone lasted weeks. Thanks to the Saudi Arabia's authorities, the Kingdom's royal house and the facilities afforded by the respective governments of the world and especially the Muslim nations our journey and our search for Haji Mabrur has never been more meaningful and accessible. Only it takes  a longer time for newly fresh registered pilgrims to fulfill their Haj due to a quota system. All being fair, Muslims all over the world will forever look forward to their first Haj journey.      

(satu imprasi dan pemerhatian diri berkaitan Haj tahun ini, mengingati kami dilanda bajir pada hari dijadualkan berlepas dari Lapangan Terbang Alor Setar)

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