It does not pay to break a trust... (PART II)

LanH, [email protected] | .

IN my article last week I wrote how I 'lost' RM1,300 after I broke the trust given by my daughter by 'taking away' RM200 'stored' in the pages of her 'Tabung Haji' (Hajj Pilgrims Fund) account book.

Yes, it does not pay to break a trust. I had learned a lesson - well a simple mistake regarding trust made my day a miserable one.

If my daughter put her trust in me regarding her monies; what could be said about the trust put by some 4.5 million depositors of Tabung Haji to that institution when it is now tainted with a controversy after its funds were used to 'bailout' 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Even former Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was disappointed with the issue of Tabung Haji spending RM188.5 million to purchase a 1.5 acre of prime land from the government-owned strategic development company.

And now throughout the country with the help of new media, a low-key campaign advocating the withdrawal of deposits is being mounted by ordinary Tabung Haji depositors wary of the use of the government agency's funds in a questionable land deal. Some depositors have decided to highlight their disapproval by drawing their hard-earned cash. Then there are parties campaigning and holding gatherings in their efforts 'to save' Tabung Haji.

Perhaps those men at the helm of Tabung Haji should be reminded again and again about the hardship of contributors setting aside their hard earned money to enable them to perform hajj - the fifth pillar of 'Rukun Islam' (Article of Faith).

Please be free to refresh ourselves with these touching stories. A good friend of mine, Haji Muzaffar Mohd Dom during his hajj a few years ago told me he was very impressed with one of his new found friends in Makkah who managed to bring along all six members of his family to perform hajj. "Oh, you must be a very rich person," he told his friend.

"Not so," said the man who was a pensioner. "Since young I had an account with Tabung Haji. So too my wife. Each time a child was born, we would open a Tabung Haji account for him or her. A small amount of RM50 would be deducted from my salary each month so in a year that child would have RM600. Since I have four children, the amount deducted from my salary for them is RM200 and for me it is RM100 plus another RM100 for my wife; that amounts to RM400 per month.

"In ten years time the money for a child would be more than RM6,000. Yes we sacrificed a lot, it took us almost 20 years for us to have enough money; and this year, alhamdulillah (all praises only to Allah SWT), the six of us managed to fulfill our dreams to perform hajj. I am now 65 and my wife 60; perhaps it is quite late for us but it is better late than never!"

Another touching story which I was told was regarding a rubber tapper who was a true 'sahabat' (companion) of a small Tabung Haji office in a northern state. Each time he had extra cash, even a very small amount say RM5 or RM10, he would go to the Tabung Haji office to have his hard-earned money deposited into his Tabung Haji account. It took him years and years until he had enough money to see him and his wife off to Makkah to perform the fifth pillar of Islam.

Almost all Muslims in the country put their trust in Tabung Haji. The majority of them became depositors, many of them since young with the purpose of being chosen to perform hajj at the earliest time possible.

Recently as a gift to my 17 year old son who secured good grades in his SPM, I registered his name to perform hajj with Tabung Haji and what a shock I got - he was placed to perform his hajj in 2081.

Most depositors do not mind about the years in waiting (they are taught to be patient), but now what are they rewarded with? Tabung Haji top guns have exposed themselves to questions about integrity and trust; why must they  execute the purchase of a piece of Tun Razak Exchange land from the troubled government investment arm 1MDB at many times the purchase price?

A general outcry has come out from depositors as well as government critics from within and without, as the leaked deal gained the public's attention. The general viewpoint is that Tabung Haji funds are being used to bail out the indebted company by injecting liquidity in the cash-strapped 1MDB that is reportedly struggling to service debts totalling over RM40 billion.

Many quarters have asked Tabung Haji chairperson Azeez Abdul Rahim to be responsible over the issue and told him to resign but he is unlikely to give in to the demand.

As mentioned in my earlier article, every Muslim should have 'amanah' (be trustworthy) what more those at the helm of a respected institution such as Tabung Haji. Hazrat Anas narrates that whenever Allah's Messenger s.a.w. addressed a sermon to them, he invariably repeated this sentence: “The man has no faith who cannot keep trust and the man who does not respect his promises has no religion.”

The Qur'anic word for trust is 'Al-Amanah' which is so important in our daily lives: If people trust one another and if they act accordingly, they will live in peace and harmony.  If we do not trust one another and we do not act righteously, we will create a state of anarchy, confusion and disturbance in the society.

Well, because of a few 'not-so amanah' top guns of our country and the prestigious institution of Tabung Haji and other identities, I am afraid that it would create confusion and disturbance in society. Some groups and parties have announced their displeasure; they would go to the streets to voice their anger; all because of a simple reason - for breaking a trust. It does not pay to break a trust...

Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) said that whoever does not fulfill his commitments, pledges and promises is considered to be a hypocrite. As narrated by Abu Huriarah (may Allah be pleased with him), the Prophet (s.a.w.) said: “Signs of a hypocrite are three: whenever he speaks he lies; whenever he promises, he breaks his promises; and whenever he has been entrusted, be betrays his trust; even if he fasts and prays and even if he claims he is a Muslim.”  - ES

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