MELAKA, Jan 6 — The public perception that the Haj pilgrimage can be performed with the intention of curing illness or so that the pilgrim can die in the Holy Land needs to be corrected, said Malaysian 1440H/2019M Haj Delegation deputy head (medical) Dr Mohammad Faid Abd Rashid.
This is because the pilgrimage, as the fifth pillar of Islam, is compulsory for all able Muslims, health-wise, and good health or istita’ah is a requirement to perform it.
“Hence, those who do not have good health are not obligated to perform the Haj,” said Dr Mohammad Faid who is also Negri Sembilan Health Department’s deputy director of public health and will be leading the Malaysian Haj medical team for the fifth time this year.
“The Haj is not the same as other ibadah (religious requirements) such as prayers as those who cannot perform them properly can do so sitting down, but for the Haj, you need to be physically able.
“The purpose of performing the Haj is to attain Haj mabrur, not to cure illness or to die there. We (the medical team) will help the pilgrims enjoy good health and attain the Haj mabrur,” he told Bernama recently.
Dr Mohammad Faid said the most important factor in determining whether a person is qualified, health-wise, is the medical checkup done in his home country before leaving for the Holy Land.
He urged future pilgrims to perform the medical check-up early, so that they can to detect any illnesses early and get treatment.
“They have to stabilise the medical condition, and if need be, seek a specialist doctor who can tell them what to do. If not, they are deemed incapable of performing the Haj and it is not compulsory for them,” he said.
He added that mental diseases and kidney problems are some of the medical issues where the patient is exempted from performing the Haj.
Dr Mohammad Faid also said another misconception is that pilgrims with health conditions will not have a problem performing the Haj as they can depend on the health and medical facilities provided in the Holy Land.
He said the facilities provided by the Health Ministry and Tabung Haji are focused on treating the illnesses contracted by the pilgrims while in the Holy Land, rather than treating diseases brought from Malaysia.
“Many think that just because we have medical specialists and good medical facilities, those with illnesses can go, this is not true because there are illnesses that are beyond our control. For instance, those with anemia need to be sent to the hospital in Saudi Arabia for blood transfusion.
“Although our health and medical facilities are very good, we cannot treat every patient. We are worried that the condition of pilgrims with health problems will worsen and they die in the Holy Land,” he said.
However, Dr Mohammad Faid stressed that pilgrims who passed their medical check-ups in Malaysia, despite suffering from a serious illness, will get the best treatment and will be assisted through programmes such as Safari Wukuf to help them complete their pilgrimage.
“During the last Haj season, there were 119 pilgrims in the Safari Wukuf programme, we took them in special buses and ambulances for them to perform the wukuf in Arafah. Arrangements were also made for pilgrims who were unable to stay longer there to return early to Malaysia,” he said. — Bernama