The Journey - Part 1

Hariri never considered himself to be a normal kid. He grew up in an environment where Islam was never really the main focus in life. His parents were both good people, yet probably lack the sort of religious understanding one would expect from a typical Malay family. In a certain retrospect, his family could have been branded as an archetypal urban family, devoid of spiritual exploits, yet brimming with utter class and intellectualism. Hariri was in fact, a victim of society’s indifference toward Islam.

It was a society that had shied away from the true basics of the prophet’s teachings, choosing to uphold the so-called superior western values so avidly portrayed as the ‘modern alternative’. Islam was restricted to mere rituals of faith, designed as a separate entity from their daily lives. Hariri lived and breathed in this environment, absorbing the so-called norms of the society embraced in a wave of hedonism and obsessions toward worldly gain. These were the people at the top of the social order, the ones who were led astray probably by the stigma of grandeur associated with anything that had been conjured by the ‘developed’ colonialists whom once ruled the nation.

On the other hand, there were those who did remain true to their principles, upholding the word of God, championing the true meaning of the sacred deen. They lived under the radar, afraid of what might be perceived of them, for it was a time when Islam was heavily bombarded with suspicions of terror and anarchy. These were in fact the people that most affected Hariri, as we shall witness in the coming development through the course of his adolescence.

Hariri wasn’t by any means a religious person. He believed in God, did good things, yet still lacked in many areas pertaining to Islam. Though the word ‘secular’ would be harsh in a certain sense, Hariri couldn’t help but disassociate religion from his daily life. Even in his early years, he was never sent to religious classes as others were; much to his utmost dismay. His disappointment wasn’t due to the fact that he had any sort of interest in Islam; he instead felt a certain sense of being left out, as all of his friends would talk endlessly of their various exploits during evening classes in the compounds of the mosque. He realized that he had a notable disadvantage when it came to Islamic studies in class; he couldn’t write in Jawi properly, let alone master the numerous aspects of Quranic tajweed. Credit to his parents, he did know how to perform the solat, and read the Quran, albeit at a slower pace than most would expect of people his age. These minor yet pressing issues always made him feel inferior to his peers. This was another notable trait in Hariri; he always had the urge to be ahead of the pack, always wanting to excel in every aspect in his life. So the lack of knowledge in Islam, put a dent in his ever increasing ego.

One of the five tenets of Islam is praying five times daily during prescribed hours of the day. It would make sense that bathing one’s self five times a day would purify the body of all dirt. Therefore praying five times a day would be the remedy to cleanse one’s soul, freeing it of sin and guilt. Performing the five daily prayers or Solat was never an issue for Hariri. In other words, he couldnt care less. He prayed Maghrib with his parents, and sometimes Dhur and Asr with his friends during break time in school. All of these were done out of habit, as the reasons for performing the solat were never made clear to him. Solat was reduced to a mere ritual, at times, a burden especially when having to choose between watching football or any other show that would conveniently clash with prayer times. Fajr prayers were only performed during school days, coinciding with the fact that class started quite early. Who could blame him, as his frank definition of a ‘good’ individual was more often than not governed by the superficial characters portrayed by the media, or society’s scalar measurement of an exemplary individual.

Hariri’s desire to succeed was a double edged sword. His drive of excellence had put a dent on his social life. He had friends, definitely; he knew that friends would get him places. In fact, he had a whole network of contacts, making friends with everyone regardless of age, sex or race. But deep inside, Hariri knew that he was alone. Unlike peers his age, he never had a close friend, not having a shoulder to ‘cry’ on. No, he didn’t need that. Hariri could never open up to a person let alone admit that he cried when he was alone.

Despite having an overlying weakness in matters relating to religion, Hariri never viewed it as a disadvantage. He knew could never rise up to the level of others whom have had many extra years of religious classes over to him. Yet he also knew that compared to the rest of his peers, he did have an advantage in terms of maturity, and most important of all, the confidence and self-motivation to succeed. He was born a leader, inclined to step up when others had been instilled with the virtue of being humble and accommodating. No, he wasn’t of the typical Malay breed; he knew he could and would go far if he put his mind up to it.

From then on he never looked back. He left others in his wake, excelling in everything from books to sports. His CV boasted a myriad of impressive achievements, and in true fashion, people were starting to take notice of his talents. Nobody could have predicted such a meteoric rise of an otherwise ‘average’ student. Hariri’s dreams and hopes of success were shared by the increasing number of the teaching staff who themselves wanted the best for him. That itself further propelled him to greater heights, holding positions of prestige, winning award after award for his achievements. In short, it was all falling into place for Hariri.

Despite all that, he still felt a certain form of emptiness inside of him. An emptiness only he himself knew of, one he would contemplate in moments of extreme loneliness, or under the cover of dark. Hariri cringed at the thought that people would find about his self inflicted depression. There he was at the top of the world, adored by many and was very much the icon of success in his school; yet this troubled soul was by no means happy. Something was missing

By no means was he contented with his superficial achievements. He wanted more. That was Hariri. He never settled for anything but the best. Little did he know that his hunger for success would soon drive him into a totally different path, one he could never ever have imagined by his own accord.


Ahmad Zulkifli said...

Hariri oh hariri...
A reflection of someone i know or just another invention of the creative territory in your faculty of thought?

j477 said...

a lil bit of both..go figure..:P

si hamba said...

the writing clearly express the 'emptiness' that i think many people outside there do not realize that. simpati pd hariri dlm pencarian...


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