MAKKAH – Three senior editors from Malaysia recently visited four cities in Saudi Arabia to observe the various developments taking place in the country.
Here, they also had the chance to meet with the Imam of Makkah’s Grand Mosque (Masjidil Haram), Sheikh Abdul Rahman Abdul Aziz Al-Sudais, at his office.
Sheikh Abdul Rahman was just finished leading the Zohor prayer at the Grand Mosque before meeting with the three editors, who were accompanied by a local liaison officer.
The imam appeared happy during the meeting and kept on praising Malaysia and its pilgrims.
Despite his tight schedule, Sheikh Abdul Rahman managed to share his opinions on several issues with the editors, namely on the Malaysian pilgrims, the expansion of the Grand Mosque, Islam and its development, fake news and the roles of women.
The three senior editors were Datuk Seri Abdul Jalil Hamid, the chief executive officer of NSTP Berhad; Datuk Othman Mohamad, deputy editor-in-chief of Utusan Group; and Datuk Mokhtar Hussain, deputy editor-in-chief for domestic news service of the Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama).
Apart from Makkah, they also visited Riyadh, Jeddah and Madinah.
Following are Sheikh Abdul Rahman’s opinions on the topics discussed.
Malaysian haj pilgrim:
What makes Malaysian haj pilgrims special is that they are well-mannered and organised, thanks to the proper coordination and management (of Tabung Haji). We want to commend the good example shown by the Malaysian pilgrims in being respectful and always adhering to the regulations in the Haramain.
And also (our gratitude) for their warm welcome for the Imams from Makkah’s Grand Mosque and Madinah’s Nabawi Mosque during their visits to Malaysia.
Sermon in Malay Language:
Great news for Malaysians indeed. The Guardian of the Two Holy Cities has agreed to implement the live translation of Friday’s sermon in Makkah and Madinah, as well as in Arafah (during haj season) in Malay language.
Malay language is one of the 10 languages selected in the translation project.
(The implementation of) the project is important and beneficial to the people in Southeast Asia.
Expansion of Grand Mosque:
We want to share good news about the expansion of the Grand Mosque and express our gratitude to the Guardian of the Two Holy Cities and the Crown Prince for the successful implementation of the project.
The third and final stage of the project is expected to be completed by the end of this Ramadan and the expanded mosque can accommodate up to 1.6 million Muslims at any one time.
At the same time, the renovation of Makkah’s Zamzam water well has been completed, while the new tawaf area in the Grand Mosque has been opened to accommodate 107,000 Muslims per hour.
Saudi Arabia also appreciated the experiences shared by Malaysian pilgrims in its bid to improve the services and systems in the Haramain.
The expansion and renovation in the Haramain have inadvertently dismissed the allegation made by certain quarters who tried to create doubt about Saudi Arabia’s responsibility in guarding the two holy sites which had gone to the extent of proposing measures to internationalise the Haramain.
This had also created an opportunity for the creation and spread of fake news and thus affected Saudi Arabia’s credibility and commitment in discharging its responsibility to provide best services in the two holy cities.
Malaysia, an exemplary Islamic country:
Malaysia is the best example for the whole Islamic world to give a true picture of Islam especially through the concept of moderation.
Malaysia and Saudi Arabia are in harmony to combat terrorism and the stance of both countries in this issue are an example of the concept of moderation.
This is where the media has to play its important role to disseminate the true message of Islam.
This is a very important issue and a message for the young generation about the importance of understanding the true teachings of Islam and the difference between extremism and moderation in this modern era.
The toughest challenge for today’s young generation is to understand the true message of Islam.
As such, they have to have knowledge in dealing with the challenge of “nafsu and syubhah” (lust and doubtful matters). They have to be proud of Islam by showing the true image and spirit of Islam in every aspects.
Islam teaches us the way to accept an information through Al-Quran and Sunnah.
Surah al-Hujurat verse 6: “O you who believe! If an evil-doer comes to you with important news, verify it, lest you should harm people in ignorance (out of haste in belief and making decision), and afterwards you become regretful for what you have done.”
Surah al Nur verse 12: “Why did not the believers, men and women, when you heard of it, think well of themselves; and say: This is a manifest lie?”
Surah al-Nur verse 16: “And why did you not, when you heard it, say: It is not right of us to speak of this. Glory be to You (Ya Allah)! This is a great calumny.”
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “It is enough lying for a man to speak of everything that he hears.”
Therefore, Islam has taught us how to deal with fake news since the era of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
Islam and Development:
All Muslims must refer to Islamic laws and foundational goals (maqasid al-Shariah) in their daily life. Islam never stops any Muslim to progress and strive to improve their status of living. That is why Islam is the all-time guide.
How can we lead Muslims around the world is they are separated and isolated from current and mainstream development?
This is what we want to see in Saudi Arabia in the future, so that we all can benefit from it.
Roles of Women:
Women have high status in Islam and this has benefit the community as a whole.
A negative perception of women is not good. However, a very liberal and non-Islamic view of women having to do away with hijab and their codes of modesty, is also not right. What they (women) need is to practice moderation.
Women in Saudi Arabia and Malaysia can become good examples in showing the real image of Islam.
Sheikh Abdul Rahman Abdul Aziz Al-Sudais, 58, is the Imam of Makkah’s Grand Mosque. He is also President of the General Presidency for the Affairs of the two Holy Mosques.
He has memorised the Quran at the age of 12. – BERNAMA