Friday, December 29, 2006

Pilgrimage & Eid

My kids watching Quban in Kota Bharu.

Here is my opinion regarding Haj Pilgrimage. I would suggest anyone to do Haj at their younger age, than what had been a norm to the past generation. They went for Haj after years of pension which is in Malaysia the pension able age 55 or 56, quite early compared to States, where one will be thinking of 60 or 65.

Why younger? The trials have been very different for the past generation and today. In the past the trials have been the journey itself, where it took weeks to cross the Indian Ocean. By today’s standard, if Concorde is allowed to fly, flying faster than mach 1, the speed of sound, you will be walking anywhere in Hijaz in less than five hours after boarding the aircraft.

Those day they used huge ships. I recall Sanusi Junid, the former minister, used to talk in our school hall about buying ships and when it hits the sea with the potential Hajjis , it will sound Shammelinn, shammelinn. He was a great believer in Koperasi (Co-op). The trials those days were on the ship. There were quarrels, break ups, divorces, marriages not to mention the sea sickness. Well if that is my argument, we can get there older now! But that okay there is room for everybody.

Those days, once yet get to Mecca, you are okay. There were much lesser people and to do the rituals were much easier. Now is the reverse, when you get to Mecca, then the problem start to come. It is better to get there in the beginning or towards the end of the Haj period. At the peak there will be millions wanting to do the same thing at the same time. So you can imagine the havocs and the amount of garbage created included. Without the Bangladeshi doing their morning run with the huge bulldozers to pile up and collect them, the Haramain will sink in the rubbish dump.

With that size of crowd wanting to do the same thing at the same time, crowd control is not going to be easy and accidents do happened. That’s the reason we heard of death and near death occurring almost every Haj period now. It is due to these challenges that I proposed Haj to be done at a younger age so that one can carry oneself smoothly during the rituals.

I salute the Saudi’s authorities on this score, their control of situation and prevention of epidemics are excellent. So do not blame them for denying you rice, sold by the “Meccan Malays”. They are doing their job preventing unwanted outbreaks of diseases.

My congratulations to those relatives who have sacrifice their wealth and time to do their Haj. I came to know that Sue Zak, Sue Den and Che Nab left for Haj on Christmas Eve, 24 December. May their efforts be extremely well rewarded and come back with Haji Mabrur.

I also take this opportunity to wish Selamat Hari Raya Qurban to all family of Keluarga Haji Wan Ishak and a happy and bless future in the coming year 2007 Masehi too. Do pass my Salam to those who will not be reading these wishes and prayers.

Hari Raya Poole Technical College, UK 1976

The Hajj: concluding remarks

Dr. A.R.M, Imtiyaz

Hundreds of thousands of Muslim pilgrims circled the Kaaba, Islam's holiest site, for a final time today in Mecca, bringing to a close what may have been the largest hajj ever. Several thousand faithful remained behind in Mina, some 5 kilometers east of Mecca, to stone pillars representing Satan for a fourth and final day. The hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam, passed this year without the deadly incidents that have marred it in the past. Many pilgrims admired new safety measures taken by Saudi authorities since a stampede in 2006 killed more than 360 pilgrims during the stoning ritual.

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