In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.
“O ye who believe! Retalation is prescribed for you in the matter of the murdered; the freeman for the freeman, and the slave for the slave, and the female for the female. And for him who is forgiven somewhat by his (injured) brother, prosecution according to usage and payment unto him in kindness. This is an alleviation and a mercy from your Lord. He who transgresseth after this will have a painfull doom.” (Al-Baqarah, 178)
Some 26,000 Malaysian pilgrims are now in Makkah; they are among more than 2.5 million Muslims from all corners of the world gathered in the Holy Land to perform the hajj manasik (rites and ceremonies performed at hajj).
On their journey to Makkah for the pilgrimage, a Muslim cannot just simply pack up his bags and go on the journey like going to London, Paris or New York, but he/she has to be a good Muslim first for example by obeying the other four pillars of Islam that is ‘syahadah’, praying, fasting and giving tithe. Only then, is it appropriate for him/her to perform the hajj.
This Monday (9th Zulhijah, 15th November), they would do the ‘wukuf’ (to stop, to halt, standing, to study, to purse, to search, cognizance, knowledge, comprehension – Ali Shariati in his book ‘The Hajj’) in the plains of Arafat (Arafah in Malay) and then move on to Mudzalifah (Mash’ar) and then to Mina where they would do the stoning of Satan at the three jamrats (al-jamarah al-ula, al-jamarah al-wusta and al-jamarah al-‘uqba).
Before the first stoning of Satan at al-jamarah al-‘uqba on Eid Adha (10th Zulhijah) pilgrims are encouraged to recite the ‘talbiyah’ – Labbayk, Allahumma, Labbayk, Labbayk, La Shareeka laka, Labbayk Innal-hamda wan n’mata laka wal-mulk, La shareekala – (Here I am at Your service, O Lord here I am, No partner do You have, Here I am, Truly the praise and the favour is Yours and the dominion. No partner do You have).
Doing the hajj manasik especially when one is in Arafat, Mudzalifah and Mina is a very touching, memorable and unique experience. Only a haji(person who has performed the hajj) could describe it, but words spoken or writings penned would not be able to describe the whole experience, especially regarding one's inner feelings.
I tried to pen that feelings in my latest book entitled ‘Kusaksikan Keajaiban Tanah Suci’ (I Witnessed Miracle of the Holy Land) but I still think it is just like the tip of an iceberg; I was only able to write and describe a very small part of it. Of course my writing was not comparable to works on the subject by renowned and great writers and thinkers which I admired such as Ali Shariati and Muhammad Asad.
In Shariati’s ‘The Hajj’, a foreword by Mohammad al-al-‘Asi, an elected imam from Washington DC Islamic Center, noted that most of today’s Muslims take their bodies, their physical wherewithal to hajj; very few Muslims take their minds and the reasoning to hajj.
“Allah endowed us with the privilege of thinking and considering, reflecting ad figuring things out. When we are in our ‘salah’ (prayer) we recite verses from the Qur’an, and we are not supposed to do that in the absence of our mind. Salah itself is not a mechanical or monotenous relationship with Allah. Likewise, hajj is a treasure of meanings, thoughts and ideas.
“Allah, Exalted be His Name, does not expect us to go to Safa and Marwah, Muzdalifah, Arafat, al-Masjid al-Haram, and Hira’, among other places, absent mindedly or sheepishly. He wants us to go to His sanctuary with all the faculties, potentials and abilities that He has given us.
“A word is due to those who are responsible for the institutionalization of a ‘blank’ hajj nowadays. There is nothing to gain by having Muslims from all over the world coming to Makkah each year and then leaving only with the emotional ecstacy that comes from a controlled portion of the Muslims being together!
“What would give the enemies of Islam and their puppets in the Muslim world sleepless nights is when Muslims begin to have a meeting of minds in the cradle of Islam: Makkah and it two other sister Harams: Madinah and al-Quds.”
To me what I was able to describe when I was in Arafat, Mudzalifah and Mina was how small and weak I was in facing tribulations to be a good Muslim.
I cried knowing that had I wasted a great part of my life leading an aimless life and I remembered how I trembled after reading a line from Khurram Murad’s ‘Way to the Qur’an’ – “our lives will remain meaningless and ruined unless they are guided by the Qur’an, the world of God.”
Are our lives truly guided by the Qur’an? From the moment we wake up from bed in the early morning till we are in bed again at night are all our actions in acordance to the Qur’an?
Or are we good in taking what we think are good to us and ignoring what we feel bad? Regarding this, Allah the Almighty warns in Surah al-Baqarah 2:85, that to accept some part of the Qur’an and to reject some is to reject all of it. There is no room for partial acceptance in your relationship with the Qur’an; there cannot logical be.
Have a good look at Ayah (Ayat) 178 and 183 of Surah Al-Baqarah (Cow); why we fully accepted God’s commandments regarding fasting but we were reluctant to his laws of ‘qisas’. Ayah 183 reads; “O ye who believe! Fasing is prescribed for you, even as it was prescribed for those before you that ye may ward off (evil),” while Ayah 178 reads; “O ye who believe! Retalation is prescribed for you in the matter of the murdered; the freeman for the freeman, and the slave for the slave, and the female for the female. And for him who is forgiven somewhat by his (injured) brother, prosecution according to usage and payment unto him in kindness. This is an alleviation and a mercy from your Lord. He who transgresseth after this will have a painfull doom.” (The Meaning of the Glorious Qu’an, translation by Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall)
Muslims should have no reservations in implementing all of Allah SWT commands including hudud law and preventing ‘mungkar’ (sins). Having reservation on any of Allah SWT’s commands is a clear violation of our oath, the ‘syahadah’, that we will submit and obey all of Allah SWT’s commands.
Some scholars even say having such an attitude will nullify our ‘syahadah’ and is sufficient to make a person ‘kafir’ (a non-believer). And Allah SWT has given us warning on this matter in Ayah 85 Surah al-Baqarah (stated above) where Allah SWT warns us not to become like the Children of Israel who disobey some of Allah SWT’s commandments in the Taurah.
Realising how unknowledgeable I was in the studies of Islam and my weakness in practicing its teaching, I started frequenting mosques and attenting ‘tazkirah’ (Islamic lessons) since my first hajj in 2002.
Thus I am glad to share my experience in the Holy Land (I have been three times there) and the slow transformation of me in the book ‘Kusaksikan Keajaiban Tanah Suci’. This book was produced by Kemilau Publika Sdn Bhd (#34-A, Jalan Pekaka 8/3 Seksyen 8 Kota Damansara, 47810, Petaling Jaya, telephone number 03-61573314) and available at nearest bookstores such as Nufair Street in Jalan Pahang Barat, Kuala Lumpur.