Shariah violation: Govt paid fine for ex-PM’s Umrah faux pas
By Qaiser Butt
Official documents reveal that former premier Shaukat Aziz and his entire 50-member delegation violated a Shariah tenet while circumambulating the Kaabah during their Umrah in 2007.
Pakistan’s mission in Jeddah had to pay 19,500 riyals (Rs472,660) in religious fine to the Saudi Arabian authorities in 2007 because then-prime minister and his elaborate entourage had violated a basic and widely-known Shariah condition while performing Umrah, The Express Tribune has learnt.
According to Islamic Shariah, it is mandatory for every male intending pilgrim to wear Ahram (traditional white, unstitched robe consisting of two sheets) before entering the geographical limits of Meeqat, Kaabah, while performing Umrah.
However, if a pilgrim performs Umrah, and does Tawaf-e-Kaabah (circumambulation of the Kaabah) without wearing Ahram after crossing into Meeqat, will be liable to slaughter a goat or pay its price to the poor as fine (damm).
Official documents reveal that former premier Shaukat Aziz and his entire 50-member delegation violated this Shariah tenet while circumambulating the Kaabah during their Umrah in 2007.
While performing Umrah, it’s mandatory for the pilgrims to circumabulate the Kaabah seven times anti-clockwise.
Ironically, neither Premier Aziz nor any member of his delegation knew about the Ahram condition and were hence fined for violating the Shariah tenet.
The auditor general of Pakistan (AGP), in his report for 2008-09, raised objection to the payment of 19,500 riyals from the public exchequer for the religious mistake of Premier Aziz and his delegation.
The report says that Pakistan’s Consulate General in Jeddah, in violation of rules, also spent around 34,354 riyals on the purchase of Ahrams, costly dates (Ajwa) and Aab-e-Zam Zam for the premier and his delegation as a gift.
The AGP recommended to the ministry of foreign affairs to recover the amount from those officials who spent the public money without any authorisation.
Sources, however, say that the foreign ministry is still squabbling over the mode of recovering the money from the officials. Some officials believe that the amount should be recovered from Aziz and his delegation members.
Shame on you Shaukat Aziz
I am referring to the news flashed in Express Tribune today 17th May, 2012 saying that Saudi Arabian authorities imposed fine on Shaukat Aziz, the then PM in 2007 when he and his delegation of 50 odd people performed Umra without sticking to the religious rituals. The cardinal principle of Islamic Sharia that no male Muslim can enter the territorial limits of Meeqat, Kaaba without wearing proper ahram which consisting of two unstitched pieces of white cloth but if anyone still enters the area and performs Umra then he is obliged to slaughter a goat or pay the price of the goat to the poor person. It is reported that our PM Shaukat Aziz and his delegation did not wear ahram and performed Umra so as per the Islamic Sharia rules they whole lot has been fined accordingly and as a consequence Pakistan Consulate General, Jeddah had to pay19, 500 Saudi Riyals to square it up and now Pakistan Auditor General is in a fix how to recover the said money and from whom.
Isn’t it shameful to know that Prime Minister of The Islamic Republic of Pakistan does not know that wearing ahram is the 1st and basic pre condition to be met by any male who wishes to perform Umra or Haj? As per Google he is born on 6th March 1949 which means that in 2007 when he performed this Umra under reference, he was as old as 57 and should I construe to believe that till that date he had never even seen anyone performing umra in ahram? Didn’t he ever hear and see azan relayed 5 times on our tv channels showing people wearing ahram and performing umra? Very often one sees photos of different people both in newspapers and magazines wherein hundred of different people are seen in action in Kabaa which itself proves that one is to compulsorily wear ahram before entering Meeqat. Should I believe that none of his relative, friend, colleague, neighbor, class fellow ever did umra? The more I think more ashamed to be honest.
Shame on you Shaukat Aziz because you terrified the rest 50 also and I am sure most of them wanted to wear ahram when reached Meeqat but they knowing your autocratic attitude were so much awed and afraid that they did not dare to open their mouth before you. Again, shame on you Shaukat Aziz you have earned big blot for the entire Pakistani nation. Shame, shame.
Iqbal Hadi Zaidi / Kuwait