From Him we come and to Him we return, say the Muslims when they hear the death of one, any one, be they friend or enemy, loved or hated.
The spiritual leader of PAS Datuk Dr Haron Din passed away this morning in San Francisco, US, after undergoing an operation for his heart condition, at the age of 76.
A well known Muslim cleric in Malaysia, having been educated in Egyptian universities such as Al Azhar, this man is also known for being one of the most sought after ulamas when it comes to public sermons.
In his prime, he used to be able to fill the whole of Dataran Merdeka with people who will come from all over the country just to sit on the ground and listen to him speak and stay late into the night.
He was also syariah adviser for Bank Negara and a few other banks at one point of time, showing how his knowledge was very much appreciated by the government and experts.
He had a way of speaking to the Malay Muslims and his simple ways of admonishing and advising, no matter if we do not agree, gathered him millions of followers. He was also much respected by clerics around the world.
At that time, RTM used to air his public sermons and he used to be invited to forums on religious issues on national television channels.
When he was known as a preacher, he was not politically active, although he was a PAS Central Committee member for many years, and was not seen as being part of PAS.
He was just an ulama tersohor who had much knowledge and famed for his many writings and explanations on issues of religion. Even those who are not on the same political path of his would seek him for various ailments.
He was also famed for his traditional healings and the products under his name were very popular among the Malay masses.
It was only in the last few years that one saw him foraying into the political sphere. As much as he was condemned by many for having allowed PAS to break and work with its rival Umno, one has to concede that Haron Din did not say much throughout his short tenure as the Spiritual Leader of PAS, and that PAS President Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang overshadowed him easily.
This was unlike when Haron Din’s predecessor Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat, who held the reins of the party when he was alive.
Haron, although he did make some statements on kafir harbi and the Allah issue etc, was always placed at the back of the politicians in PAS and he was literally a spiritual leader, only being there in spirit.
His death may come as a blow to many PAS people, who was hoping that this Islamic scholar would wake up from his political lethargy and unite the party, and to many of his followers who have grown up listening to his sermons.
Some others, however, have also taken it upon themselves to point out that the fact he has passed away in San Francisco, the city famed for sex and drugs, says something.
They asked why is it that Haron Din sought treatment for his condition in a kafir harbi’s place and not in a Muslim country and wonder if this is not a message to PAS people that he passed away there.they also ask who funded his treatment there.
At the same time, there are many other voices asking those above not to lose their values and respect the dead, only because Haron Din was after all a human being, who had knowledge.