There was a huge turnout for the 78th birthday celebration of Medan-born tycoon Hajj Anif, which was held at the JW Marriott Hotel Medan, North Sumatra, on March 23. Not only was a large number of family and friends present, distinguished guests also included visitors from Saudi Arabia, Germany, Hong Kong, Australia and Malaysia—all of whom headed to Medan to pass on good wishes for Hajj Anif.
The party gathered together some of the most illustrious VIPs in Indonesia, such as former Vice- President Tri Sutrisno, former Information Minister Harmoko, the Chairman of the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) Zulkifli Hasan, the Minister of Religious Affairs Lukman Hakim Saifuddin, the Chairman of the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) Harry Azhar Aziz, Kostrad Commander Lieutenant General Edy Rahmayadi, the Deputy Governor of North Sumatra Nur Azizah Marpaung and other big names like retired Indonesian army General Widjojo Soejono and Hamzah Haz.
“For me, friendship is an important aspect of life,” said Hajj during his speech. “Your presence this evening brings me joy and happiness. From deep down in my heart, I would like to thank you all for coming here,” he added.
The birthday celebrations started with a Quran recitation by Hajj Fadhlan Zainuddin followed by a Quran Saritilawah by Dinda Afwani Nasution. After the Quran recitation, Senior Cleric Ma’ruf Amin, who serves as Chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), took to the stage to lead in prayer. Hajj Anif himself is a devout Moslem who always relies on God through thick and thin.
Apart from celebrating the birthday, the event saw the release of Hajj Anif ’s biography Hidup Ikhlas Tanpa Tipu Muslihat (Live a Sincere Life Without Guile), which was part of the main agenda of the evening. Writer Toga Nainggolan went on stage to deliver his speech.
“It took 10 years to write this book,” he said. “I personally see it as an inspiration for us to become human. As humans, we are entitled to help people who are less fortunate than us and we have to work hard to achieve what we want in life,” said Toga.
In other words, through this book we can see Hajj Anif as a perfect example of an entrepreneur who works hard and never forgets to give back to society.
“God will never change our destiny if we don’t do something to make our lives better,” he said. “The book tells the story of my life and how I fought so hard to get out of poverty. With God’s blessings, I made it,” said Hajj.
The celebrations continued with a cuttingcake ceremony and entertainment such as musical versions of of poems by Devi Maya and a performance by Indonesian singer Ebiet G. Ade. Earlier in the morning, Hajj Anif inaugurated a new lecture building—which also bears his name—at Universitas Islam Negeri (UIN) Sumatra Utara.
The inauguration ceremony saw the presence of Lukman Hakim Saifuddin, Nur Azizah Marpaung and other VIPs. “We are so happy to receive this gift from Hajj Anif, and we also believe that this new lecture building will benefit the students in the future,” said Prof. Saidurrahman, who serves as the Rector of UIN.
Hajj Anif is known as a philanthropist who cares deeply about education. “I can’t thank my God more for every blessing that I’ve got,” he said. “This building is only one of many examples of my dedication to giving back to society, especially when it comes to education in North Sumatra.”
“This is because, for me, we can only see ourselves as human if we can do and give something to people, be it money or knowledge. Being useful is very important in order to be happy and content,” he said in his inauguration speech.
For more exclusive story and photos, flip through the pages of our May 2017 issue.
(Text by: Retta Oktaviani Suparli)