Monday, January 5, 2009

Hijrah in heart versus symbolic Hijrah

Hijrah in heart versus symbolic Hijrah
29 Dec, 2008

Yes, it is time to let the healing begin. So long has ‘May 13’ lingered in our hearts, to be resurrected time and again whenever an election or by-election looms over the horizon. Racism is tearing this country apart.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

Kumpulan nasyid UNIC berharap sambutan Maal Hijrah 1430 lebih besar dan konsisten daripada perayaan tahun baru Masihi 2009 yang bakal disambut pada malam 31 Disember ini – Harakah, 29 December 2008


Yes, Hijrah, the time of the migration of Prophet Muhammad from Mekah to Medina 1,430 years ago and the beginning of the Islamic calendar. But what is Hijrah other than a public holiday when all can sleep late and need not get up at 7.00am or earlier to rush to office? To most, Hijrah is but another day to sleep late. To many, Hijrah is when Prophet Muhammad escaped the long arm of the law to seek refuge in Medina. To some, Hijrah is the commemoration of when the Islamic State of Medina came into being. To a handful, Hijrah is about ‘migrating’ from one ‘spiritual form’ to another.

Celebrating Hijrah in a festival-like atmosphere or with ceremony and events is just like celebrating your birthday with the blowing of candles or celebrating your wedding anniversary or Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, Merdeka Day, and whatnot. It is a hollow event, one full of rituals but absent of substance. The best ‘celebration’ would be a celebration in the heart and nothing can beat the rohani over jasmani.

Rohani comes from the word roh or spirit and jasmani would, of course, be the non-spirit, meaning physical. Physical minus spirit would be just like a prostitute having sex with you because of the money she is earning. She will certainly pretend to be enjoying it, with sighs and moans thrown in, but all she wants is for you to get it over and done with so that you will get out of her room and she can then service the next client.

We will march on the street and sing songs and fly flags and give speeches to celebrate Hijrah. Then we will go home and live our lives as usual with no change in attitude and mindset. Hijrah was nothing but a physical event. It was something we did. It was not something we felt.

Hijrah was about the Prophet’s migration. Today, it is a ritual we perform, symbolic of that migration. But have we been able to transform that symbolism into spirit? Are we acting out the symbolic Hijrah or are we practicing Hijrah in our hearts?

Hijrah is about change. It is about repentance. It is about transformation. It is about reforms. It is about renaissance. Hijrah is more than just about changing your place of abode to a new address.

If we are racist can we stop being racist? If we are corrupted can we stop being corrupted? If we are a wife-beater can we stop beating our wife? If we love sex with prostitutes can we stop visiting prostitutes? If we steal can we stop stealing? If we oppress people can we stop being an oppressor? If we are violent can we stop all the violence? If we _______ can we stop _______ (fill in the blanks with whatever may be your ‘sin’)?

That is the real meaning of Hijrah. It is about ending your old, wayward and evil ways and adopting a better lifestyle, attitude and mindset. It is not about marching on the street and singing songs and flying flags and giving speeches. Hijrah is about change. It is about repentance. It is about transformation. It is about reforms. It is about renaissance.

Muslims are good at talking and celebrating. But Muslims are yet to learn how to live the life of a good Muslim. And ‘good Muslim’ goes beyond praying, fasting, going to Mekah for the Haj, etc., and beyond shunning liquor, pork, gambling, extra-marital sex and whatnot. That merely makes you a ritualistic Muslim. Even prostitutes perform the rituals of sex without any real feeling. ‘Good Muslim’ begins when compassion, consideration, tolerance, sacrifice, and much more replace greed, lust, envy, jealousy, arrogance, pride, ego, and all those other ills that turn our hearts black.

A human being is born with a white heart, says Islam. No one is born with a black heart. But the heart turns black as the years pile up and as we get closer to our graves. Hijrah is about reversing the process and turning the heart back to white so that we can leave this world and return to our Maker with as white a heart as when we first came into this world.

That is the true meaning of Hijrah, Hijrah in heart, as opposed to symbolic Hijrah.


I've kept it inside much too long
There's no relief
Carry it around just like a stone
Too heavy for me
I had paid the price
Of standing on the outside looking in
It's time to let the healing begin
A boy is strung out he's going through hell
His mother weeps
His spirit is broken and there's nothing left
Just a terrible need
And the days are marked by the heaviness of the heart
It never mends until the healing begin
And the tension prowls the streets like an animal
The people stay behind their locks and chains
It's a shame
When so many are trying their best to live as one
And the smoke from the fires covers the sun
A young girl is lying in the dirt
Her dreams ended there
Caught in the crossfire on somebody's turf
Hatred in the air
It's a voice that never sings
A winter without the spring
It never ends
It's time to let the healing begin
It's time to let the healing begin

Let The Healing Begin by Joe Cocker


Yes, it is time to let the healing begin. So long has ‘May 13’ lingered in our hearts, to be resurrected time and again whenever an election or by-election looms over the horizon.

Racism is tearing this country apart. Religious bigotry and intolerance is not far behind as the second ‘time bomb’ that is set to go off if care is not taken. Let the healing begin and let us live the life as what the Prophet said: God made us of different peoples so that we may know one another.

So, let Hijrah, today, be about ‘migrating’ to a new Malaysia where persecution, intolerance, injustice and all those other ills are abandoned the way the Prophet migrated from Mekah to Medina, by order of God, to avoid the same persecution, intolerance, injustice that he too faced.

I will close my piece on how to celebrate the proper Hijrah with the item below.


The Qur'an and the Vedas

Question: I am a Vedic Sanatana Dharmi. I have full faith in the Islamic concept of Paramatma (the Supreme Spirit). I need you to guide me with a good and correct interpretation of the Qur'an. May Paramatma Allah bless all in a Satyanarayan way!


Salam, Harsha.

Thank you very much for your question.

It is very heartening to welcome a Vedic Sanatana Dharmi like you, who would identify the Hindu concept of Paramatma with the Islamic concept of Allah.

Indeed the Vedas (the four sacred books that form the foundational religious texts of the Hindus) provide a great deal of insight into the Sanatana Dharma (Eternal Law) of Brahman — the Sanskrit word for God as the Ultimate Reality — Who is considered by Hindus the Source of all existence.

The Hindu belief about the Vedas as the sruti (what was heard) bears a close resemblance to the Muslim idea of wahyu

It is also noteworthy that they are considered nitya (eternal, i.e, without beginning or end) and apauruseya sabdaSrila Jiva Gosvami); and this means that they originated from God. That is to say, the first sages who taught the Vedas may have been prophets to whom God had revealed them originally.

The Qur'anic verses are sruti in the sense of revealed scripture, but with the additional significance that they were written down and preserved intact so that Muslims have been reading them and learning them by heart from the very beginning.

The Qur'an was revealed to the Final of the Prophets, Muhammad (peace be upon him), and it came as a confirmation and fulfilment of the earlier scriptures revealed to all the prophets of old. In other words, one function of the Qur'an is to confirm the truths in the earlier scriptures and to correct any errors that might have crept into them during their transmission from generation to generation.

There are clues in the Vedas, as well as in Hindu religious history, that point to the possibility that the Vedas were corrupted versions of earlier revealed texts, such as the scriptures sent to the Prophet Abraham (Ibrahim). The Oneness of God underscored in the Vedas, as against the common beliefs of the Hindus, is a very important factor, for instance.

There is the verse in the first of the Vedas called the Rig Veda: Ekam sat viprah bahudha vadanti (Rig Veda:1.164.46) “Truth is One; but the sages call Him by many names”. Indeed, this verse is comparable to the following Qur'anic verses:

Say: He is Allah, the One and Only; Allah, the Eternal, Absolute (Al-Ikhlas 112:1-2)

Call upon Allah, or call upon Rahman: by whatever name ye call upon Him, (it is well): for to Him belong the Most Beautiful Names. (Al-Israa' 17:110)

It is to the credit of the religion of Islam (which means submission to God) that it does not limit itself to any particular prophet or to any particular age. Muhammad (peace be on him) was only the final prophet of Islam, and so he never claimed that his religion was a new one, nor do Muslims consider him the founder of Islam.

Hopefully, a close and insightful study of the Qur'an can lead us to a clear understanding of how we can lead a virtuous life in obedience to the One True God.

May He guide us to His Truth!

I hope this answer helps you. Please keep in touch.

Shahul Hameed

Lifted from:

Or go to:
(divine revelation). You know that the sruti, according to interpreters, were ‘heard’ by the sages of later generations from their predecessors. (revealed knowledge from a superhuman source) (

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