MAKKAH – Malaysians come to Hajj in thousands but many of these pilgrims, especially the young and able, dedicate their pilgrimage journeys to help make things easier and more comfortable for others in need.
“I was supposed to perform the hajj in 2015 but it was postponed to this year as I was pregnant then. I am glad to come this year and be given the opportunity to be a volunteer,” Haslina Samsuddin, 31, told New Straits Times on August 5.
Samsuddin is one of the volunteers who was selected with her husband, Wan Mohd Fadhli Wan Saipuddin, 30, to join Sahabat Maktab.
Introduced in 2006, the Sahabat Maktab saw encouraging response from pilgrims who sent in applications to help manage the welfare of their fellow pilgrims.
They help other pilgrims meet their day to day needs and fulfill their religious obligations as well.
Another example is Nor Azian Sulaiman who helps pilgrims in Madinah, especially the elderly, to enter the Rawdah.
Interestingly, siblings Ahmad Syazali Ahmad Nizam, 25, Erra Izati, 23, Ahmad Izzul Fikri, 20, and Nurul Athirah, 19, decided to volunteer as they wanted to follow in the footsteps of other Sahabat Maktab in the past who helped their grandmother perform her hajj in 2009.
Maktab manager, Mustafa Kamal Abdul Latif, informed that several criteria are considered in selecting volunteers.
“They must have a keen spirit of voluntarism, been a member of a uniformed unit before, performed their umrah, are in good health, and preferably husband and wife,” he said.
Hajj is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, it consists of several ceremonies, which are meant to symbolize the essential concepts of the Islamic faith, and to commemorate the trials of Prophet Abraham and his family.
Every able-bodied adult Muslim — who can financially afford the trip — must perform hajj once in their lifetime.