– World Qur’an Hour –
spirituality and togetherness
Part 1: World Qur’an Hour
Muslims in Singapore joined the World Qur’an Hour event from 9:00 – 10:00 on 9 Zulhijjah which coincided with 11 September this year (2016). On this day (9 Zulhijjah), known as Day of Arafah, all Haj pilgrims must be in the Plain of Arafah (Padang Arafah in Malay). Arafah Day is the peak of the Haj, the annual Islamic pilgrimage in Mecca.
The 1-hour World Qur’an Hour on 9 Zulhijjah is meant to coincide with Arafah Day. The reading of the verses of the Qur’an reverberated across the world as Muslims read the Qur’an between 9:00 and 10:00 am of their countries’ local time.
The Qur’an is the Holy Book of Islam and it is in Arabic. However, translations are available in other languages. Translations are not called the Qur’an but interpretations of the Qur’an. So when Muslims read the Qur’an, they read the Qur’an in Arabic, in its original language. The Qur’an is neither written by Prophet Muhammad nor by anyone else. It was recoded verbatim as and when the Prophet received the Revelations from God through His angel, Angel Gabriel (Malaikat Jibrial), over a period of 23 years.
I was among those at Kassim Mosque who immersed ourselves in the guiding light of the Qur’an. I also managed to get the views of two family friends who attended the event, and who had performed the Haj several years ago.
Hajah Salmah Ismail, who is in her late fifties, and who was fasting (voluntary fasting) like many other Muslims do on this special day, felt that it is good to attend this Qur’an reading event to “get our hearts to be with those who are in the Plain of Arafah right now, most of whom would be reading the Qur’an.”
On 9 Zulhijjah of the Islamic calendar, the Haj pilgrims, numbering more than 2 million in the last two decades, would be in Arafah which is some 20 km away from Mecca. Arafah Day is the culmination of the Haj and here pilgrims, in ihram (sacred state of purity while the men wear white robes), would listen to the Haj sermon, perform obligatory and voluntary prayers and read the Qur’an.
Hajah Salmah said: “Reading the Qur’an is good for us in establishing a close relationship with this Holy Book. It shows us the path of unity and togetherness and guides us to live a righteous life in this world.”
The other friend, Haji Jama’in Suaib, attended the Qur’an Reading Hour event at Kampong Siglap Mosque. He said that as Islam is based on brotherhood, the event is meant to unite the Muslims across the globe.
He added: “This World Qur’an Hour is a wonderful idea held in the spirit of uniting the Muslims who gather at the Plain of Arafah today.”
Hj Jamain has always felt nostalgic about his stay at Arafah during his Haj reading the Qur’an. He said: “We are actually connecting with the pilgrims in Arafah in a spiritual way when we read the Qur’an from anywhere in the world. Reading the Qur’an is spiritually good.”
The following day (10 Zulhillah) is Eid ul-Adha (Celebration of Sacrifice) or Hari Raya Haji in Malay. However, as Muslims follow the Islamic calendar which is lunar-based, the celebration starts in the evening of 9 Zulhijjah, just after sundown. Then, after the Maghrib prayer (the fourth prayer of the day performed after sunset), Muslims praying in the mosques or at any other special venue, recite the takbir (praising the Greatness of Allah) in chorus.
“Part 2: Participating in Hari Raya Haji takbir gathering” will be out in the next posting.
16 September 2016
(Part 1 photo credits: Haji Jama’in Suaib, Shaik Kadir and Internet)