Loving this Nation We Call ‘Home’
Malaysia Day which is celebrated on 16th September every year marks a significant chapter in our nation’s historical page. If the National Day on 31st August is about remembering and appreciating the struggles of our forefathers in securing the freedom for the country in charting its own future, Malaysia Day is then a celebration of nationhood that calls upon every Malaysian to stand firmly to the fundamentals that hold the country together. The Federal Constitution and the principles of the Rukun Negara are among the central elements that must become the basis of our love and dedication for this country. There must be great sense of pride and also belonging within us that despite the odds that Malaysia faces, the nation has remained peaceful, harmonious and stable. The Covid-19 pandemic that has shaken most countries in many parts of the world, is a clear example of how one’s love for one’s country is able to beat such anomalous circumstances. Who would and could have guessed that 2020 has laid upon us one of the toughest challenges to overcome. The slogan ‘Malaysia Prihatin’ or caring Malaysia indicates a strong sense of solidarity among Malaysians from all walks of life in facing such an unprecedented crisis. The majority of Malaysians have not given up nor let our guards down in battling the invisible enemy. As our medical and security personnel stand in the frontline to combat the spread and treat the sick, general Malaysians too join the battle within our very own capacities. Our dedication and contribution is driven by our sense of love for this country we call ‘Home’.
In Islam, the feeling of love towards one’s country is highly encouraged. It was written by Abū al-Walīd al-Azraqī , in his books of Akhbar Makkah wa ma ja’ fiha min aathaarin, that the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) also shared his feeling of love toward his birth place, the Holy City of Mecca. Also in a hadith, from Ibn Abbas, Prophet Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him) said of Mecca: “How sweet of a land you are and how dear you are to me, and if it were not that my people expelled me from you, I would not have lived in other than you.” (Narrated by al-Tirmizi)
In showing his love towards the place where he lived, led a nation and breathed his last breath, Madinah, Prophet Muhammad said: “O Allah! Make us love Madinah as You made us love Mecca, or more..” (Narrated by Al-Bukhari).
Loving the country requires us to put the interests of the nation above our very own. Each and every one of us must always be ready to contribute in safeguarding these interests within our own capabilities and capacities. For example, leaders need to realise that they are not the only ones who work hard for the development of the nation nor are they the only people who know what is best for the country. A dynamic and symbiotic relationship between the leaders of the country and its people is very much needed in this endeavour, coupled with the understanding that each has a role to play in achieving the country’s development goals, stability and security. Recognition of this aspect would help Malaysia achieve its intended visions and also provide valuable solutions to challenges.
As Malaysia is currently facing a testing time in its economy, politics, health and safety, leaders and the general public should work hand in hand to push Malaysia out of the current quandary. There is no use to deny that problems do exist, but most importantly is how to formulate the right solutions to these problems. Malaysia is just like any other nation that is tested from time to time, but just like any success story, it is how we bounce back from all of these setbacks which matters.
In this sense, we should regard the nation like a big family which is made up of different individuals with their own unique personalities and personal interests. However diverse it may be, in the end, it is the family institution that is most important. Love for the family is the bond that helps to strengthen and preserve the set up. Malaysia can only move forward and remain relevant if the people are sincere enough to appreciate everyone’s contribution to the country in their very own capacities be it big or small. The role of some might be less compared to others, but if we learn to perceive things correctly by acknowledging everyone’s contribution, the country will be able to tread through these tough times. In addition, if we sincerely love the country and wish to see it move forward and become a strong nation in all aspects, we need to put aside our egos and personal interests especially if those interests threaten the peace and the sovereignty of the people and the country.
Malaysia is indeed a blessed nation, and for it to be able to preserve the peace, harmony, stability and achieve the intended success, all of us need to come together as one. It is insufficient to merely utter the word ‘love’ towards the country, it must also be accompanied by right actions, sincere dedication and great sense of responsibility as Malaysians.