PM Najib Tun Razak and wife Rosmah Mansor, both have performed the Haj a number of times, and by ‘convention’ they should be addressed as Haji Najib Tun Razak and Hajjah Rosmah Mansor. But for some reason, I have not heard anyone honouring them as such.
Back at my kampong, a Hajjah and a Haji is usually accorded with respect and dignity, and for someone that had just returned from performing the Haj, he or she usually gets a rousing welcome by the kampong folks and including the recitation of a doa to grace his or her return. They claim that to receive someone that had just returned from Mecca is to seek their blessing, and usually one is offered some dried fruits and a taste of ‘air zam zam’.
I remembered the day my father left on a pilgrimage for Mecca, and that was back in the early 50’s. We had to send him to the KL railway station for his trip to Penang; thence to board a ship specially chartered for pilgrims to the holy land. At the railway station, and just about the train was to depart, someone would recite the Azan. As a child, I do not know the significance of reciting the Azan for those performing the pilgrimage, for I only know that the Azan is a call to prayers. I remembered shedding tears upon seeing my father bidding farewell to me and my other siblings. What saddens me upon returning home was that I would no longer have my father to accompany me to sleep at night for the next few months.
It was several months later that my father returned home upon completing the Haj, and I remembered his friends would all gather at our house to welcome him and for the customary ‘doa selamat’. That was the first time I heard someone addressed my father as Tuan Haji Raji, and I could hardly understand the reason for this. Sometimes, I would meet my father’s friends at the market place and they would usually ask, “awak ni anak Tuan Haji Raji ke?”. Certainly, I sensed the respect and dignity accorded to my father who is already a Haji, and I being referred to as ‘anak Tuan Haji Raji’.
Now, both Rosmah and Najib have just returned from performing the Haj, but why wouldn’t they be addressed as Puan Hajjah Rosmah and Tuan Haji Najib? What’s stopping people and including the media from addressing them as such? Will they be seen to be less honourable and dignified by addressing them as such? Or are their honorific titles of Dato Seri and Datin Seri takes precedence over any other titles? I would certainly like to address them with their new found ‘titles’. Besides addressing them as such, I would also love to see Puan Hajjah Rosmah adorn the ‘mini telekong’ to cover her exposed hair like most Hajjah do, and Tuan Haji Najib to wear the ‘kopiah putih’. This would certainly change their image; one of a good and obedient Muslim leader; something that the highly priced APCO and the British Public Relations company weren’t able to do. And above all things, the Malay kampong folks would be pleased to see Tuan Haji Najib and Puan Hajjah Rosmah present themselves with this new image.
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