Monday, September 19, 2011

Journalists need to be well prepared for...

************************** In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. ************************** REFLECTION ************************** The Declining Day (Al-'Asr) ************************* 1. By the declining day, ************************* 2. Lo! Man is in a state of loss, ************************** 3. Save those who believe and do good works, and exhort one another to truth and exhort one another to endurance. *********************** “AT one corner of the stadium was I, ‘a humble reporter’ from Malaysia, covering the touching event, several thousand kilometers away from home. ************************** “I looked at the ‘Mat Saleh’ journalists. They were tall, big and bold and of course had the advantage compared to the Asian pressmen. When the press mobbed the leaders for the latest news, the Asian press were left behind or pushed aside. *********************** “But what impressed me while I was in the stadium, the blacks ‘were roaring back to life’ after more than four decades under the apartheid regimes. The Afrikaans, Zulus, Indians and non white minorities were on the way to a new era – and it was made possible by the struggle of ‘that humble leader’ – NELSON MANDELA.” ******************** This report was filed by me, a young reporter of 32 years old, some 17 years ago from a stadium in Soweto, a very vast black township outside Johannesburg on the eve of South Africa’s historic first multi-racials election after the collapsed of the white aparthied regime with it’s last white president FW de Klerk. *************************** The April 1994 election was history – Mandela’s African National Congress (ANC) secured more that 62 percent of the votes, paving way for him to be the first non-whites to be South Africa’s president; and for me, the event there was always on my mind because it was the second time I covered a major world event; the first was filing reports from the ex-Communist republics after the collapsed of the Soviet Empire in 1991. *********************************** As a veteran journalist, I was willing to share my experiences and point of views after reading suggestion from several senior editors such as Dato’ Chamil Wariya that future journalists to war torn or crisis zones seek advices from their ‘old experienced friends’ after a BernamaTV cameraman, Noramfaizul Mohd Nor was shot dead in Somalia. **************************** I join the nation in mourning the untimely and tragic death of Noramfaizul and would also like to convey my deepest condolences to the family of his parents and widow, Norazrina Jaafar. Of course while covering the South African election and events after the collapse of the Soviet Empire, like Noramfaizul I was full of energy and spirit; ever roaring and hunger for news items and at times put aside dangers that loomed around me, but as grew older and more matured, I realized that a person to such areas be him a journalist or volunteer be prepared for the worst - ready to die in whatever circumstances one’s had to face. I may sound harsh, but that is the truth. ****************************************** Everyone, and mind you not only those who had to go to war zone or crisis areas should be ready to die (please learn a lesson from events involving Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor’s family, the ‘angkasawan’ had a ‘pleasant’ journey to and back from space but one of his brother died after knocking a lampost), and to have that feeling always secured in one’s mind, one had to be knowledgeable in one’s religion. **************************** For He (Allah SWT) said: “...Those truly fear Allah, among His servants, who have knowledge...” (Qur’an 35:28) No one truly fears Allah except those whose minds are enlightened enough to see the greatness and power of Allah SWT manifested in the creation of the universe and all living things, and these are the people of knowledge. So He has prefered them over those who have no knowledge: “...Say: ‘Are those equal, those who know and those who do not know?’ It is those who are endued with understanding that receive admonition.” (Qur’an 39:9) *************************************** So to all future journalists and volunteers to crisis areas, please do acquire knowlegde on how to be good and a practising Muslims when one is abroad or being a traveller. A Muslim traveller should learn religious obligations for example how to pray when one is on board a plane and when there is no water for ablution. So do have and read travel guides for Muslims before one departs for a journey...who knows should it be a ‘one way ticket to the moon’. About 20 years ago, I had only a ‘little’ knowledge on how to pray when one is on a journey. So to young journalists, do not follow my foot steps. *************************************************** My advice, you should master the knowledge and practical of ‘solat jamak and qasar’ (prayers that could be combined and shortened). For example you could shortened and combined your ‘dhuhur’ (afternoon) and ‘asr’ (late afternoon) prayers during ‘dhuhur’ (jamak takdhim) or ‘asr’ (jamak takhir) with one ‘adhan’ and two ‘iqamahs’. For Allah SWT says: "And when ye go forth in the land, it is no sin for you to curtail (your) worship if ye fear that those who disbelieve may attack you. In truth the disbelievers are an open enemy to you." (Surah 1V, An-Nisa', Women: 101) ***************************************** From my experience including in an arliner that carried ‘umrah’ travellers, I had seen only a few passengers who took the trouble to do that obligation. So learn how to say your ‘solat’ on planes but that does not end there because the most difficult part of it is to do it practically in full views of ‘hundreds of eyes’ including the sexily clad air hostesses. ******************************************* There is no excuse for you for not saying your obligatory prayers in the plane; the ‘distance’ between ‘you being alive or ‘dead’ is too near, if Allah SWT wished for you to die, the plane might just get exploded and you had became part of history... I must admit that I was also not equipped with ‘this fine art of Islamic travelling’ until I enrolled for a ‘hajj’ course when I was 38, and two years later performed hajj. During that course, the ‘ustaz’ (religious teacher) told the would be hajj to settle all their problems including debts before embarking the journey for who knew it would be a non return one. *************************************** The ‘ustaz’ also taught us about the fine art of ‘jamak and qasar’ prayers and how to say one prayers in the plane. He also told us to seek forgiveness from friends, relatives and most important of all to seek blessing from our parents. On the topic of embarking one journey to the Holy Land, Ali Shariati in his book ‘The Hajj’ wrote: “Before departing to perfom hajj, all your debts should be paid. Your hates and angers towards relatives or friends must disappear. A will must be drawn. All of these gestures are an exercise in the preparation of death (which will overtake every one some day). These acts guarantee your personal and financial clearance. The last moments of farewell and the future of man are symbolised.” ******************************************* Every knowledgeable person should be readied to die at any time and place not only when one is on a hajj journey or to war torn areas, and regarding this, I saluted what was said by Putera 1Malaysia Club president, Datuk Abdul Azeez Rahim who lead his team to Somalia, when contacted by a local newspaper a few days ago: “I even gave blank cheques, credit cards, ATM cards with pin numbers to my wife before I left. I, too, have young children at home, and I made the necessary preparations in the event that I would die, because I was certain that if anyone was going to be shot in Somalia, it would be me.” *********************************************** Yes, Abdul Azeez was right, and to me those necessary preparations must include one’s living as a true Muslim in readiness to face questions and drills posed by the ‘malaikat Munkar and Nankir’ (angels inquisitors of the newly dead) in one’s grave. Are you journalists ready for it?

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