A True Beginning
The Maal Hijrah, the day that marks the beginning of a new Islamic calendar, is surely the most appropriate time to signify change for the betterment – a quest for excellence. Maal Hijrah is defined by the momentous migration made by Rasulullah SAW from Mekah to Madinah.
It was an occasion of great celebration and joy, of freedom from oppression and marked the coming of Islam to the world.
Before Maal Hijrah, Muslims in Mekah suffered daily threats on their lives from the Quraish of Mekah. They vowed to ensure Islam did not spread and believers faced constant punishment and obstacles to their faith. After several meetings in secret with the leaders of Madinah, finally, Rasulullah SAW ordered followers to leave Mecca secretly for Yathrib (Madinah).
After12 years of preaching in Mekah, Rasulullah SAW was warned that the Quraish had planned to kill him. Allah SWT ordered Nabi Muhammad SAW to leave for Madinah. Saidina Ali took Rasulullah’s place that night while the Prophet SAW went into hiding together with Saidina Abu Bakar in a cave on Mount Thaur.
The Quraish came in pursuit but the cave which hid Rasulullah was covered with a spider web. And so the Quraish overlooked the cave and thus, failed in their deadly mission and intent.
After a precariously dangerous journey, Rasulullah SAW and his companions arrived in Madinah, and were greeted by the Bani Sabin with joy. It was an occasion of hope and life-changing point for the future. The people of Madinah were overjoyed to have Rasullullah in their midst. The Prophet finally entered the city of Madinah on 12 Rabiulawal and the first Friday prayer was held in the village of Bani Amar.
A New Chapter
The Hijrah was truly a new chapter and in the next centuries, marked the expansion of Islam worldwide.
The effect of the migration of the Prophet (PBUH) from Mecca to Medina is an important note that Muslims make of this historic event as the beginning of the Islamic calendar.
For the last 14 centuries, the Maal Hijrah has come to signify a change to betterment. Not only that, it lends its influence to the change in spirit, a quest for self-betterment.
From The Malay Hikayat
The Hikayat has a long history and its storytelling reflected a time when beliefs were rooted in various practices and religions. The existence of garuda and jentayu points to a time when Hindu was practiced in the region widely.
Nevertheless, it was obvious that with the rise of various Sultan embracing Islam, the people quickly followed suit. It might seem strange that the coming of Islam is also traced in the Malay Hikayat. The Malay Hikayat was a powerful and important tool to record as well as shape the mind of the people centuries ago.
In the Malay Annals, it was told that the Raja had a dream that in the afternoon, a ship would arrive from Jeddah. A man would arrive and pray on the riverbank. True enough, this happened in the Sultan’s dream the very next day. When the Sheikh invited the Sultan to embrace Islam, he immediately did so.
Since that moment, governed by Islamic laws combined with the Malay adat Temenggung, Melaka embraced world-class governance and became a power to reckon with in the East. Its relationship with China strengthened its position and influence in the world.
Lessons From The Maal Hijrah – The Quest for Excellence
In this time of change, throughout the region, as seen in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and all over the region, it is opportune to think about the lessons of Maal Hijrah.
This Maal Hijrah is the time to find icons we can aspire to emulate. There are many who have adhered to the teachings of Allah and done well by the religion and self-actualisation.
One such individual that comes to mind is the Malaysian economist who came up with the idea to enable more Malaysians to travel to Mekah to perform the Haj. Today almost a million Malaysians have benefited from this vision. The man in question is Prof Di Raja Ungku Aziz and the platform he created was Lembaga Tabung Haji, a world-class entity and leading Haj management organisation in the world.
Another successful Malaysian that comes to mind this Maal Hijrah is the tycoon and business extraordinaire, Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar of the Al Bukhary Group. Among his many legacies to the embodiment of Islam is the International Islamic Museum of Arts, Masjid Al-Bukhary on Jalan Hang Tuah in Kuala Lumpur and the CSR work through the Al Bukhary Foundation.
There is no other company in Malaysia more admired and successful than PETRONAS, a Fortune 500 company. While the idea of Malaysia setting up an oil company was mooted by Tun Abdul Rahman Ya’kub in 1971, the idea did not gain traction due to disagreements between the state and federal governments. Finally, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah suggested solutions and drafted the Petroleum Development Act that was acceptable to all stakeholders. And PETRONAS was born to benefit the country and millions of Malaysians since its inception.
Malaysians like Prof DiRaja Ungku Aziz, Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar and Tengku Razaleigh have shown how perseverance and great ideas can effect the lives of fellow countrymen.
Let’s embrace an empowered mindset this Maal Hijrah.