I thought it is about time I put my thought on the Haj on this special day. I have been keeping it close to my chest until recently.
You see, coming from a person who has not performed the Haj, and the Umrah, and currently has no specific timeline when he is going to complete the last pillar of Islam, this reflection is definitely not going to be about the experience in the holy land. All those great philosophical, eye-opening and heart-warming stories; I have none to tell you. I have only seen the Kaabah in the telly and pic; I have seen documentary in National Geographics on people preparing for and doing the haj.
Nothing beyond that, I supposed.
I have always wondered when I will be going there. To use the over-used phrase "belum sampai seru" is blasphemous to many. To them, it is like blaming to God when you have the willpower and means to decide it yourself. So I can't, and I won't, use that.
And going from the criteria that make the Haj compulsory, I know I have the mean and that I am still 'young' and healthy enough to be going soon (man, I never thought I would be able to use the word 'young' and 'I' in the same sentence!).
Mum been wondering when I am heading there. Few friends been asking too. Normally I would smile at them without specifically answering them. Some of them went when they were only in the mid-twenties, which is considered very young by the haj convention.
A year ago, a former schoolmate An went to the Haj with his wife Liza (another former classmates). I visited them prior to them going, and after their return, An and I sat at a mamak restaurant in PJ; for him to narrate stories from Mecca, and for this non-haji to benefit the baraqah from someone just returning.
At the end of it, after hearing many stories from An, I made a confession to him that has always been in my mind when the subject of me heading for the Haj was broached. I had never told anyone before. "You know, An, I can't imagine myself in the holy land with 3 million pilgrims and have to fight for basic amenities. Queue to go to the restroom? That was a story unknown to me after 1980. This is my main worries that kept me away from the holy land. Can I survive the 15 hour journey in a bus? How do I answer the call of nature in the middle of the desert with no water?"
I hate to even share restroom with strangers in Malaysia .
I guess it is inevitable. He has had that predicament in one of the bus journey in the middle of nowhere.
I made the same confession to a client when I visited her at her office at the twin tower yesterday. I had earlier made a remark that it is not much of a Raya this time around. So she asked me if I had been for Haj myself.
She reckons that may be I have to go for the Umrah first to get a feel of it. "Doa banyak-banyak and ask for Him to give you the strength."
Of course she herself has horror story about the restrooms there. I shall not repeat it here.
I was reading Harakah this morning while waiting for the Raya solat. It was written by Lanh. He noted some of my worries well in his article.
Perjalanan Arafah-Mudzalifah menguji ketahanan diri sama ada dari segi mental dan fizikal. Apabila ratusan ribu jemaah berhimpun, berlaku ketidak-tentuan yang menguji keimanan dan kesabaran diri.
Bayangkan dalam masa mengerjakan manasik haji, masih ada jemaah berebut-rebut, takut ketinggalan bas. Ada isteri yang sudah naik bas, suaminya belum. Berlakulah kekecohan dan perselisihan, sedangkan perbalahan dilarang sama sekali ketika menunaikan haji...
.....Di situlah jemaah berehat, berbaring berlantaikan tikar dan beratapkan langit. Sambil baring-baring, sesekali sekala terbau najis binatang, mungkin pada siangnya tempat itu menjadi lokasi persinggahan kumpulan unta.
......Berusahalah untuk menjaga wuduk kerana untuk memperbaharuinya atau ke tandas, selain jaraknya yang jauh, terpaksa menempuh ribuan manusia, kemudian beratur panjang. Bersabar dan terus bersabarlah sepanjang malam itu.
Ketika berbaring dalam khemah di Mina, terbayang dalam kotak fikiran saya akan kesukaran sesetengah jemaah dalam perjalanan Arafah-Mudzalifah-Mina yang diceritakan oleh ibu saya ketika beliau menunaikan haji.
Katanya, antara masalah terbesar dihadapi jemaah veteran adalah berkaitan buang air kecil dan besar. Bayangkan jika seseorang jemaah yang lemah sistem perkumuhannya, bagaimana dia dapat bertahan sehingga berbelas-belas jam dalam bas. Tiada apa yang dapat dilakukan, kecuali berdoa dan berdoalah agar perkara mengaibkan diri tidak berlaku ketika perjalanan yang amat sukar itu.
Demikian juga apabila berlaku kes kecemasan, seperti jemaah tiba-tiba jatuh sakit kuat atau meninggal dunia dalam bas. Maka terpaksalah pesakit dibantu oleh jemaah lain setakat yang mampu manakala jenazah terus dibawa sehingga bas dapat keluar daripada kesesakan itu.
I guess I am too proud of a person - egoistical, to be more precise. I have to get rid of it. I need to lower myself for me to see Him. I am lowest than lower in many respects. After all twenty years ago when I first started working, I lived in a kampung house with only basic amenities in Dungun. Of course I have a choice but I was just starting out. I had to be very prudent living my life then.
If I can do it twenty years ago, she reckons I can do it today.
I know it may sounds petty. It is petty. I know that. But it is these petty things that have kept me away from the Kaabah.
God, please give me the strength to meet you at your abode. Soon.