Get­ting into right frame of mind key to per­form­ing haj

New Straits Times - - News / Nation -

PER­FORM­ING the haj is a spir­i­tual jour­ney filled with chal­lenges that be­gins long be­fore pil­grims board the flight to the Holy Land, said Datuk Wan Mo­hamad Sheikh Ab­dul Aziz, head of the Tabung Haji re­li­gious ex­perts panel.

It starts with a strong am­bi­tion on the in­di­vid­ual’s part to per­form the haj, the fifth pil­lar of Is­lam.

“If we are cat­e­gorised as those who can af­ford to per­form haj, but do not, there is a risk that we could be con­sid­ered re­li­giously ig­no­rant,” he said re­cently.

Wan Mo­hamad said the chal­lenge, for those who can­not af­ford it, was to work hard and save in Tabung Haji so that they would go for haj one day.

“The next chal­lenge is wait­ing for their turn. To be a dhuyu­fur­rah­man (Al­lah’s guest), we are tied to pro­ce­dures and pro­cesses, as are many fel­low Mus­lims with the same dream and am­bi­tion. So, we must be pa­tient.”

An­other chal­lenge is to have the will to learn about the haj wor­ship it­self.

“How can we per­form the haj with­out ba­sic knowl­edge? Would-be pil­grims must have a strong de­sire to ac­quire knowl­edge to per­fect their haj.

“Al­though Tabung Haji (TH) does not make it a pre­req­ui­site, (and) some pil­grims opt not to at­tend TH cour­ses, they will shoul­der the con­se­quences later if their wor­ship is un­sat­is­fac­tory,” Wan Mo­hamad said.

Once in the Holy Land, pil­grims should re­cip­ro­cate their sta­tus as ‘hon­oured guests’ by re­spect­ing the two holy cities, which can be a chal­lenge when ex­posed to dif­fer­ent cul­tures from all over the world.

“I am con­fi­dent that the ac­cep­tance of our haj is linked to the open­ness of our hearts to see and ex­pe­ri­ence the di­ver­sity in the Holy Land, more so when we move to the Masy’air phase of haj in Arafah and Mina.”

Wan Mo­hamad re­minded pil­grims to fo­cus on their wor­ship, and not be dis­tracted by other mat­ters, such as buy­ing gifts and sou­venirs for rel­a­tives and friends back home.

“Giv­ing gifts is a no­ble act. Yes, but re­mem­ber that shop­ping is pos­si­ble in any city in the world. You can­not per­form the haj or um­rah in an­other city other than this. We should pri­ori­tise which is more im­por­tant,” he said.

He said over­com­ing these chal­lenges re­quired a high level of pa­tience, but the re­ward was also great.

“Per­form­ing the haj soft­ens our soul and with this cleansed soul, we re­turn home, as the Prophet tells us, as pure as a new­born baby,” he said, adding that this state of pu­rity was de­scribed as haj mabrur.

Datuk Wan Mo­hamad Sheikh Ab­dul Aziz

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