Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tales from the Holy Land

Tales from the Holy Land

Al Makin, Yogyakarta | Wed, 03/16/2011 10:24 PM | Opinion, The Jakarta Post
A | A | A |

In Indonesia, religious piety has become a public norm. Indonesian Muslims pray five times a day, fast during Ramadhan, and perform pilgrimage (haj) to the holy land, Hijaz, a province in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, once or more in their lifetime.

No Indonesian Muslim dares to say in public that he or she has intentionally abandoned these Islamic religious rites. Those who are accused of ignoring these religious duties are usually branded as Islam KTP (Muslim by ID card). This is a form of contempt.

Mecca and Medina, where the Prophet Muhammad was born and passed away respectively, are regarded as sacrosanct. The Indonesian Muslims regard the two cities, which play a central role in their religiosity, in high regard. The Kabah in Mecca is the one direction which Muslims face during daily prayers.

During Ramadhan many TV and radios stations broadcast the tarawih (evening) prayers from the Prophet’s Medina mosque. The audience watches and listens the program attentively.

During the haj season, many Indonesian Muslims sacrifice their properties — land, savings, farm animals, or anything else that can be sold — in order to pay for their journey to the holy land. Many Muslims have a dream of making a pilgrimage to the sacred shrines of the Prophet, regarded as a spiritual achievement.

Back home, the pictures of the Kabah and the Prophet’s mosque are often hung on the wall.

Besides ritual purposes, not only do Indonesians go to the holy land to seek for knowledge at the universities, they also go to find jobs. In terms of numbers, we export more migrant workers than scientists or students.

However, the tales from the holy land are not always wonderful. The image of the sacred cities has been tainted by some accounts of tragic events that have befallen Indonesian migrant workers.

Read more....


Post a Comment

<< Home