Friday, August 18, 2017

'Only Islam and 'iman' could unite people'...

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.


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.

GLANCING at the calendar, I noticed in a few weeks time, we would be celebrating our National Day (Merdeka) 'side by side' with Hari Raya Aidiladha (Eid Al-Adha) - Merdeka is on 31st August (Thursday) while the Eid is on Friday, September 1st.

So to all readers, Happy Merdeka Day and Eid Mubarak. Since Merdeka and Eid Adha falls 'next to one another', in my opinion it is interesting to relate both events perhaps for the spiritual building of our souls for the benefits of ourselves, our society and the country.

According to the Muslim calendar (the Hijra year), Eid Al-Adha falls on the 10th Dhul-hijjah; the blessed month of Hajj.  For this year, Dhul-hijjah, the 12th month of the Muslim calendar of Hijra, 'insya-Allah' would began on Wednesday, August 23, 2017. This is the month Muslim perform hajj, with its peak when they do ‘wukuf’ (to stop or gather) in Arafah (or Arafat) 'insya-Allah' on the 9th Dhul-hijjah (Thursday, 31st August).

Wukuf, being the highest 'rukun' (component) of hajj must be rendered; without which hajj does not take place. The requirement is the presence in Arafat, regardless of whether the pilgrim is riding, walking, sitting or moving. In Arafat one is to spend the afternoon from dhuhr (midday) to maghrib (sunset) prayer times making du’as (supplications) and repenting to leave Arafat with all of one's sins forgiven.

For Muslims who are not performing hajj in their homelands, they are encouraged to perform recommended deeds during the first 10 days of Dhul-hijjah such as fasting especially on ‘Wukuf’ day and giving charity. Then during Eid Al-Adha (10th Dhul-Hijjah) when Muslims perform ‘solat’ (Eid prayers) and the days of Tashreek (11, 12, and 13th Dhul-Hijjah) they are recommended to do the slaughter or ‘korban’ (sacrifice) animals (such as sheep and cow).

Regarding the hajj, this year about four million Muslims from all corners of the world were expected in the Holy Land to perform the hajj manasik (rites and ceremonies performed at hajj). After Arafah, the pilgrims would then proceed towards Muzdalifah and pick up pebbles there to be used when stoning the Pillar of Aqabah or Qubra on Eid Adha (10th Dhul-Hijjah).

In Mina, they are required to stay for three nights where they will stone the three ‘jamrahs’ beginning with the first Pillar (i.e. the one which is furthest from Makkah), followed by the middle Pillar and lastly the Pillar of Aqabah. 

The pilgrims will also shave their heads or cut their hair and then proceed to Makkah to perform the Tawaf Al-Ifadah (circling the Kaabah seven times which is an essential part of Hajj) and then perform Sa’y (walking seven times between the hills of Safa and Marwa). After completing their hajj, pilgrims fulfill their days by performing prayers and 'tawaf' in the Grand Masjid of Makkah (Masjidil-Haram) before going home.

Back to the local scene, as we are about to celebrate our 60th Merdeka, the topic of unity is still the top concern of our leaders and 'rakyat'. Talking about unity, I remembered an Indonesian who I befriended in the Holy Land while performing hajj in 2002 who said only 'Pancasila' could unite the the people of his vast country with huge diversities in 'almost everything'.

After 'much talking' I told him that if he had traveled 'all the way' to the Holy Land but still cling to 'human made laws', then it is advisable to him to do some reflections about the life and struggle of the Prophet s.a.w. 

Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. unites people with Islam and 'iman' (faith) in Madinah which was not only an abode for Muslims and Arabs but people of different beliefs, races and background such as the Jews and unbelievers. 

"As a Muslim, whats more you are in the Holy Land preparing to perform your hajj that is the fifth pillar of Islam (Rukun Islam), you must believe that only Islam could unite must believe in the Prophet s.a.w. and must emulate his way of life..." I told him firmly.

I saw the change of color on the friend's face. I was scared, but wait...he was then in tears, sobbing; acknowledging that he was 'a bit' confused...He thanked me for reminding him that that as a Muslim, we must submit to all of the teachings of the Prophet s.a.w. He said he knew about this fact but was too emotional when mentioning his country. 

An 'ustaz' during his 'tazkirah' (lesson) at  a 'masjid' near my house which I followed recently said that to achieve total unity among us, we had to be united in 'iman' first.

Only with 'iman' we could be united in propagating the truth and of course we could not be united in propagating sinful acts and ill activities.  In the Qur'an, Allah SWT says: "...And cooperate in righteousness and piety, but do not cooperate in sin and aggression. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is severe in penalty." (Al-Ma'idah; 5:2)

Scholars said, Allah has enjoined upon us to cooperate in righteousness and piety with everybody. What matters is that our common endeavour is a good one. He has forbidden us from cooperating with people in sin and transgression, regardless of who they are. In this way, Allah has defined for us the limits of cooperation, but He has not placed restraints on who we can cooperate with. 

With 'iman' intact in our hearts, we could utilize fully 'the extra and temporary factors'; they could be steered to be in line with our 'iman' thus we would be rewarded both in this world and Hereafter. 

Allah told us to be successful in both worlds; we pleaded to Him with this du'a: 'Rabbana atina fid-dunya hasanatan wa fil 'akhirati hasanatan waqina 'adhaban-nar' (Our Lord! grant us good in this world and good in the Hereafter, and save us from the chastisement of the fire." (2:201)

In Islam all our actions are considered 'ibadah' (acts of worship) and would be rewarded by Allah The Greatest; be in small matters such as going to the toilet or of highly looked upon jobs such as administrating departments to governing states or countries. But one important aspect must be looked upon and that is our 'niat' (intention); if our 'niat' is in line with the teaching of Islam then we would be rewarded otherwise, our deeds would be wasted.

Well, if doing 'small things' such as going to the toilet could be an 'ibadah', then what could be said about 'bigger and more important things' such as involving in sports and celebrating one’s country’s independence day or 'Hari Merdeka'. It is also an 'ibadah' if we fulfill the requirements stipulated in Islam.

Let us look at what renowned Muslims have said about 'merdeka'. At the height of the conquest of Persia, the Muslim general, Sa'ad ibn Waqqas carried out Caliph Umar Al-Khattab's will and sent to Rustum (or Rustam), the Persian great general, a number of his companions lead by Asim ibn Amir to call on him to follow Islam and Allah's path.

The conversation between them and the Persian leader lasted long. Finally they ended their talk by Asim telling him, "Allah has chosen us to turn whom He chooses of His creatures from paganism to monotheism, from the narrowness of life to its freedom, from the ruler's injustice to Islam's fairness. Whoever accepts our offer we will leave him alone and will refrain from hurting him. Whoever fights us, we will fight him until we fulfill Allah's promise."

The points elaborated by Asim to Rustum are looked upon as the meaning of 'merdeka' (freedom). It was regarding 'transforming' people from paganism to monotheism, from the limitations of life to freedom and from a ruler's injustice to the fairness in Islam.

In Islam, each of us is equal in the eyes of Allah SWT. There is no difference between a rich and a poor man. Yes, only 'takwa' (fear of Allah) differentiates people for He says in the Qur'an: "O mankind! We have created you from a male and female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honorable of you with Allah is that who has At-Taqwa. Verily, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware." - (Surah Al-Hujurat, verse 13)

Doing reflections about the activities of hajj helps us to understand why it was concluded that only by 'iman' could united people. Imagine, the 'azan' (call of prayers) made 4,000,000 (four million) people went rushing to Masjidiharam (Haram Mosque), and then they were in deep concentration, prostrating to Allah SWT - all the actions of the 'imam' were followed by the million of congregators...where else in the planet could we see this demonstration of united hearts, souls and bodies?

Subhanalllah, only Islam and 'iman' could unites people...

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