COMMENT All of sudden, we see public uproars over the remarks made by our former prime minister on the validity of haj pilgrimage using 1MDB's money.
The fact of the matter is that Dr Mahathir Mohamad really hit the nail on the head. Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, in turn, had to be salvaged by some of the compliant religious men. Thus, we have seen and heard many fatwa (religious rulings) issued against Mahathir.
In pleasing their political masters, some of these religious men have gone overboard in criticising Mahathir. They were so overzealous in defending Najib, so much so they could not be bothered to come up with hollow arguments.
To cite one example, one of these religious men had appeared in TV3, condemning Mahathir by justifying the use of 1MDB's funds to sponsor the poor folks to go to Makkah.
Apparently , such an argument was not credible at all. First of all, the haj pilgrimage is part of Islamic worship. Nevertheless, unlike other worship in Islam, such as prayer or fasting, the Muslim jurists have put an additional condition for this type of religious worship.
It is this: Anyone who wants to perform this worship must be financially sound. This condition is absent in other forms of religious worship ordained by Islam. This condition has to do with the very nature of the haj pilgrimage - it is a costly journey.
Not religiously obligated
To put in a simpler term, if you don’t have sufficient funds, you are not religiously obligated to perform this rite. By helping out the poor and needy folks using the 1MDB funds to defray the expenses of going to Makkah, there is a tacit concession, on behalf of 1MDB, that those folk, in actual fact, are not even qualified to perform the haj - thus they need to be financially assisted.