Hajj and Umrah is not for clout and content, says Dr Zul amid Hajarulaswad controversy

Datuk Seri Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri said it was strange when such a sacred and noble act of worship is spoiled by smartphones being used to record videos and take pictures, which is not appropriate at the time.

04 Mar 2024 04:23pm
Datuk Seri Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri (FILE PIX)
Datuk Seri Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri (FILE PIX)

SHAH ALAM - Hajj and Umrah pilgrims are advised against the need to record videos and take pictures kissing the Black Stone (Hajarulaswad) if it is merely a trend to gain public attention.

Former minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Seri Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri emphasised the sanctity of the pilgrimage, denouncing its trivialisation as ‘spiritual tourism’ and urged Muslims to return to its core essence as worship.

Speaking about it on his X account yesterday, he addressed the misconceptions surrounding certain rituals and highlighted the significance of Tawaf and kissing the Black Stone within Islamic worship practices.

“Tawaf is a form of worship, just as kissing the Black Stone is also a form of worship.

“The difference between them is that tawaf is obligatory (wajib) while kissing the Black Stone is sunat (recommended but not obligatory),” he said.

Zulkifli went on to cite Islamic scholar Sheikhul Islam Zakariyya al-Ansari, who stated that if kissing the Black Stone leads to problems, harm to oneself and others, or danger, then it is prohibited, and it suffices to gesture with the hand and kiss it instead.

“It is quite strange when such a sacred and noble act of worship is spoiled by smartphones being used to record videos and take pictures, which is not the appropriate time.

"I have also noticed this recent trend, where many upload videos of themselves touching the Kaaba or the Black Stone on social media.

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“If it is merely a ‘trend’ to gain popularity, then let us abandon this harmful ‘trend’,” he said.

Zulkifli invoked the Quranic verse from Surah al-An’am (162), emphasising the holistic dedication of one's prayers, sacrifices, and life to Allah, and highlighted the solemnity of the Kaaba as a sacred space for introspection and supplication, urging worshippers to prioritise sincere devotion over superficial displays.

“In front of the Kaaba, we should reflect on our sins, seek forgiveness from Allah, including praying to Him. That alone keeps us busy enough without having time to create content!” he, who was Mufti of the Federal Territories from June 2014 to his political appointment in March 2020, added.

Zulkifli’s statement on X has sparked conversations among other users. One user going by @iSyarolKyle left a comment and said: “Content creators will produce all sorts of content under the pretext of ‘for teaching or inspiration’ and are supported by many. But do they not know that Allah knows the intentions in the heart?”

Another user of X, with username @shahimi_senawi mentioned that: “The trend of showing off has deviated from worship. I just returned from Umrah and I witnessed many pilgrims focusing on worship and performing recommended tawaf without indulging in showing off. It is truly a loss when Allah gives us the opportunity to be His guests but we waste that opportunity.”

Zulkifli’s statement was made following a viral video of a social media influencer Hafiz Mahamad, showing him squeezing and pulling his "team" (the group he went to umrah with) to kiss the Black Stone.

The video recorded by his entourage also showed several female members, including his wife, almost 'drowning' as they were pushed and shoved among the male pilgrims who were also jostling for position headed for the Black Stone.

The video elicited various reactions, with the majority questioning the appropriateness of Hafiz's actions to the extent that his Ihram cloth, which wraps around his body, became loose, revealing his body.

Meanwhile, Hafiz denied that his actions were solely for social media content.

"I am not that kind of person. If you see it that way, that is what you see," Hafiz said in response to a comment from a netizen who claimed that the video was made for social media content.

He has since then removed the video from his social media platforms and apologised for any incovinience caused.

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