Monday, August 29, 2005

Tabung Haji (Pilgrimage Fund)

The Building:

The building called "Tabung Haji" (pilgrimage fund), was completed in mid eighties, the geometric product of reknowned Muslim architect Hijjas Kasturi.With a height of 152.0m, in 1984, it was not only the tallest building in Malaysia but was also hailed as the highest Muslim edifice of the world.The Tabung Haji building resembles the drum used to summon pilgrims and its five pillars represent the pillars of Islam.

Background of Tabung Haji
In line with the concept of Islam and the belief and strong determination to perform their pilgrimage, Muslims have been inspired to gather wealth to finance their journey to the Holy Land. Launched in November 1962 and commenced operation on September 30, 1963, the administration of Malaysia's hujjaj is now entirely managed by the country's Pilgrim Management and Fund Board; as a modest proposal to aid the Malayan rural economy and enable the Muslims to perform Hajj, one of the tenets of their faith.

At that time, it was normal for rural Malays to save up their paddy surplus to buy buffaloes, and later to convert the buffaloes into land. The land thus bought, after years and years of saving, was later sold off for the cash to perform the pilgrimage.Royal Professor Ungku Aziz who was then an economics lecturer and who later became the Vice Chancellor of the University Malaya,realized that this use of land as savings was economically damaging.In its place, Ungku Aziz designed a simple post-office savings scheme. The intending pilgrim first has to open an account at a post office and save up by buying stamps with denominations ranging from 50 cents to RM100. It was estimated then that it would take 13 years for one to save up the needed funds of RM1,500.

The rural Malays then were also known to have preferred to keep their savings 'under the mattress' rather than to trust commercial banks as they did not want to have anything to do with interest. Thus, when Tabung Haji was first launched, rural savers needed to be convinced that it would not be run like a commercial bank with interest. Instead, it was repeatedly emphasised that it would be run on the basis of investment of the savings in halal activities, and the profit gained would be deposited to the intending pilgrims' accounts as bonuses.
Tabung Haji has time and again been hailed as a model for Islamic banking. Today, depositors or intending pilgrims do not need to go to to the post office to buy stamps to save up for the pilgrimage. With its branches all over Malaysia, one can deal with Tabung Haji directly. Furthermore, Tabung Haji employees are said to work on the principle of 'For Now and the Hereafter', providing service with reward from Allah in mind.

One is also encouraged to start saving at a very tender age to be able to go on the pilgrimage when he or she turns an adult. Today, not only the rural Malays but Malaysian Muslims from all parts of society stand proud when they hold an account with Tabung Haji as an intending pilgrim.

Indeed, with much preparation and all travelling facilities and Hajj needs taken care of, from prayer beads (tasbih) in hand to accommodation and safety, Tabung Haji pilgrims - who now include depositors from neighbouring countries, such as New Zealand, Fiji, New Caledonia, New Guinea, Australia, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan - find that they only have to concentrate on one thing: perfoming the Hajj.
Location: Jalan Tun Razak
Accessible: Public Bus,LRT and Taxi

By Wendy


At 10:14 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

well done Wendy...... good luck in your coming exam.... you'll do well....

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