I have a strong desire to perform the Hajj.
I’ve had this desire for a long time now, ever since I started travelling extensively in the Middle East about ten years ago.
My travels started as a road to self-discovery through my adventures of making self-reflective and immersive documentaries back in the day.
I was interested in my own identity as a Muslim Malaysian and wanted to explore and find out more by traveling to the heartland of where the religion was born.
I visited so many holy places in so many countries. I can’t begin to describe my feelings as I passed through Shiite country, Sunni country, Druze country, Baha’i country, Zoroastrian country, Christian country and even Jewish country.
And so I can’t even imagine the sensations I would experience if I had the opportunity to perform the Hajj and be in such a holy land.
Which brings me to the tragedies that occurred during this year’s Hajj season, more specifically, the deadly collapse of a construction crane in Makkah, and the fatal stampede in Mina.
There is a wide belief that it is considered blessed if one dies while performing the Hajj and for many, especially the elderly, it becomes like a ‘hajat’ or intention.
Of course, this is, for someone who is spiritual and religious, definitely understandable because dying while doing something good just sounds really nice.
It doesn’t guarantee that that the deceased will enter Heaven, but at least it is hoped and prayed that he or she will.
With all due respect to those who lost loved ones in those incidents, there is a distinction between dying while performing ‘ibadah’ and death due to human negligence.
If there was indeed human error involved in what happened in Makkah and Mina, then those responsible should be held accountable, and action taken to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
I, for one, would like to avoid dying even if it is while performing any kind of ‘ibadah’. The intention is to continue to live a more enlightened life once I have experienced spirituality.
Al-Fatihah to all the victims.