Humility, key to creating a strong bond with roommates

Saturday, June 18, 2022

MAKKAH: Concealing social status and education level from others’ knowledge is among the best ways to create a strong bond and harmony among haj pilgrims.

This was the approach taken by two Malaysian pilgrims, a medical specialist and a senior lecturer, who are sharing a room with four other women of various backgrounds.

Dr Siti Norhafiza Mohamad Azmi, 35, a pathologist at Tengku Ampuan Afzan Hospital, Kuantan said the ‘secret’ was only revealed a few weeks after living together and when all of them had already become sisters to each other.

“I did not bring my post to the Holy Land. Here, we are all the same and that is the purpose of our pilgrimage. In this room there are a professor, kindergarten teacher, clerk and tailor... but everyone is the same.

“We will help each other if there are things we don’t know. To me, feeling humble and not being arrogant will bring us closer to one another. This is a humbling experience,” she told reporters at the pilgrims’ dormitory at the Abraj Al Janadriyah building here.

She added that besides taking care of each other, they would perform congregational prayers in the room if they could not go to the mosque and participate in various programmes organised by Lembaga Tabung Haji (TH).

Asked whether she is ready to work if needed by TH, Dr Siti Norhafiza, who was described as a generous person by her roommate, said: “I have informed TH officers that I’m willing to serve, especially in matters involving COVID-19.”

Meanwhile, Assoc Prof Dr Noriah Ismail, 50, an English lecturer at Universiti Teknologi MARA Segamat, Johor said when their ‘secrets’ were finally revealed, everyone just laughed and went on with their lives as usual.

“Like my other roommates, I don’t think about our differences at all. This is our opportunity to perform ibadah and being here for over 40 days is quite a long time. To me, it is crucial to have mutual feelings and a harmonious relationship,” she said.

Nora Jusin, 54, said she was comfortable with all her roommates and most of the time, they would eat together.

Interestingly, the husbands of the six women are also staying together in a nearby room and have already created their own bonds.

It was reported that among the complaints received by the counselling unit during the haj season were emotional distress, communication problems between husband and wife and incompatibility between roommates.

As such, TH provides counselling services in every accommodation building to enable pilgrims to make complaints and seek advice so that they will be able to perform their ibadah comfortably. - Bernama