The Path

Hadhrat Abdullah bin Umar radiyalaahu anhuma had mentioned, "Whoever wishes to follow the way of another, should follow the ways of those who have passed away. These were the companions of Muhammad sallalaahu alayhi wassalam, who were the best people of this Ummah. Their hearts were most pious, their knowledge was deepest and they were least pretentious. They were people whom Allah Ta'ala had chosen to be companions of His Nabi sallalaahu alayhi wassalam and for the transmission of His Deen. You people should emulate their character and mannerisms. By the Rabb of the Kaabah! The Sahabah radiyalaahu anhum of Rasulullah sallalaahu alayhi wassalam were correctly guided."

Friday, 31 December 2010

The Journey Towards Al-Khaliq - Part 7

We arrived in Makkah al-Mukarramah about 12 days before the day of wukuf at the Plains of Arafah. Thus, we opted for haji ifrad, choosing to be in ihram for whole duration of that period. My first three days in Makkah was what I could only describe as confusing and chaotic. Unlike in Madinah where separation between men and women in the Masjid Nabawi was strictly observed, I seemed could not find any place in the Haram Shariff that were separated from women for devotion. There were instances where I had to pray in a saff (row) surrounded by women and it had caused me great distress. 

It was not until the fourth day when, alhamdulillah, I finally found the gathering area of karkuns and the masyaikhs and elders of dakwah and tabligh where prayers and devotion could be carried out in calmness and peace. It was situated at the top floor near the corner of the single minerat of Haram Shariff. You might noticed that the other three corners of Haram Shariff have double minerats. Subhanallah! At the said single minerat top floor area, women seemed to assemble in harmony in the rear saffs and men converged in the front saffs, although there were no curtains or barriers between them. Only on a few occasions did I noticed some ignorant women tried to sit in front area to have a good look at the Kaabah. Someone would quickly asked them to go back to the rear area. The other places of the Haram Shariff seemed to be full of inseparable men and women, perhaps husbands and wives sitting next to each other fearing that they would get lost. I observed the situation twelve days before the day of wukuf at Arafah though as the people began to leave Makkah after performing the rituals of hajj, the other areas in the Haram Shariff slowly  adhered to the separation rules. 

Therefrom, every time my wife and I would go together to the Haram Shariff, walked across a sea of people, climbed up a couple of elevators and sit quietly at the peaceful corner - I, in the front row, and she, not far behind me. It was an added pleasure to have glimpses of our masyaikhs and elders in devotion at the same corner. Sometimes I would gather with the other Malaysian karkuns, sitting in small groups or halqahs, listening to a short targheeb given by a senior Malaysian tabligh worker or an aalim.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

The Journey Towards Al-Khaliq - Part 6

I first heard about Pok Soh when we were still in Madinah. People at my maktab were talking about an elderly man who got lost, not knowing to find his way back to the residential place after stirring out with the people to Masjid Nabawi. Only after two days, he was found in an ailing condition, broken down and severely dehydrated, submitted to the shivering weather of Madinah. Needless to say, he had to receive an emergency medical treatment. Like many other people, in the first instance, I was amazed as to how he got lost amongst the multitude of people, enduring the hardship and the weather, chill at daylight and cold at night, without any drink or food. Even at daytime, I wrapped myself up with a wool Pakistani blanket around my body. It was not until our arrival in Makkah that I had the opportunity to get to know Pok Soh.

He was a fragile man of about 75 years old from Kelantan. He was a very soft-spoken man who always put a smile on his face. He had never been out from his village in Nilam Puri, at the outskirt of Kota Bharu. He traveled for hajj with his sister, Mok Su, aged 63 years old without being accompanied by other able relatives or friends. The incident in Madinah had left him traumatized and impaired. He had turned out to be a sort of burden to his room-mates. They were complaining to the officials of Tabung Haji about his disability and inability to take care of himself...the filth and foul that he had caused them for not being able to care of his hygiene. It was during this time that I started to devote my attention to Pok Soh. Eventually, it was decided that he and his sister, Mok Su, would be placed in one room, specially for the two of them. From that moment, I had been taking care of Pok Soh, and Mok Su had been taken care by my wife.

Soon after, some of the other hujjazs thought that the two elderly brother and sister as our parents. All praise to Allah Most High, I and my wife still cherish the sweetness of hajj, particularly all the time spent with the two special elderly folks. I believe that Allah Most High sent us for hajj to also take care and give khidmat to the needy Pok Soh and Mok Su.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

The Journey Towards Al-Khaliq - Part 5

The meeting place of karkuns in the Masjid Nabawi was at the area right behind the floor of Ashab-ul Suffah. My journey on ziarah and hajj coincide with the year when most of the elders and masyaikhs of dakwah and tabligh effort performing ziarah and hajj. Hence, there were a large number of karkuns from all over the world sitting quietly in devotion at the place inside the Masjid Nabawi. It was like a gathering between a jord and an ijtima'. As if I could still see Maulana Saad Kandahlewi damat barakatuhu prays nafl solaat just a few feet from me. And Maulana Zubayr damat barakatuhu was being pushed on a wheel-chair to his sitting place. I could only manage to have a glimpse of the two masyaikhs in awe among the many other luminaries of this ummah who had endured harship on their selves and wealth for the sake of upholding the deen. I dare not even go near them for du'a out of fear of causing agitation and distress to them by my presence. Moreover, earlier muzakarah at Masjid Jame' Sri Petaling markaz discouraged us to flock in towards the elders and masyaikhs for the same reason.

For eight days in Madinah al-Munawarrah, I had been in the company of the elders and masyaikhs in Masjid Nabawi trying hard to keep a distance from them even though many other people still converged meeting them. Except in one occasion when an African brother besides me suddenly asked me, "Who are those persons whom the people huddled to meet?", pointing at the masyaikhs. I briefly told him who was who. He then told me that he would like to join the people in meeting them. As a matter of playing host to him, I stood up and brought him to the masyaikh that was sitting nearest to us. He turned out to be Maulana Tariq Jamil of Raiwind, Pakistan. He gave us a broad smile as he extended his hands. I requested du'a from him. While my African brother went up to the other elders and masyaikhs, I quietly returned to my place of sitting.

One day, in Madinah, I was on my way down in a crowded elevator heading towards Masjid Nabawi when I overheard a rather loud conversation behind me. A person told another person that he could have joined the hajj envoys in expensive hajj travel package since he's used to be driven around by a driver in government-provided car, but he had chosen to be with the common folks for this journey of hajj. I looked behind my shoulder looking at the man in his early 50's. I thought that he must have been a member of a royal family since he used the word "rakyat jelata" for common folks. But upon inquiry, he turned out to be an Assistant Director of a religious body in Malaysia! It then crossed my mind that I need to bring a local Arab karkun to meet him for khususi mulaqat

The work of dakwah and tabligh in Madinah during hajj season, among other well-organised work, is that everyday after asar solaat,  the ever hard-working local Madinah Arab karkuns  would make themselves available at the place in Masjid Nabawi behind the floor of Ashab ul-Suffah for anyone karkun to guide them to meet anyone from his native country for khususi mulaqat. Alhamdulillah, on this occasion I managed to meet an English speaking local Madinah Arab brother and brought him to meet with the Asssistant Director at his room. Though they were conversing in Arabic, I shared the enthusiasm and diligence of the Arab brother. Masha'Allah! It turned up that the Assistant Director was a scholar of Darul Uloom Deoband when he was young.

After my hajj, I happened to bumped onto the Assistant Director on a few occasion, and even after his promotion he was so kind in acknowledging me, talking for awhile before we parted our own separate ways. We have a good relationship between us.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

The Journey Towards Al-Khaliq - Part 4

My first visit of the Holy Prophet SAW's masjid and resting place was none like I had expected. Despite my earlier effort in preparing to meet Rasulullah SAW with the best ethics that I could possibly do, I felt like a rough ill-mannered illiterate bedouin who came from the most remote part of the desert to the holy city of Madinah, unaware of the extent of greatness of his host. The narrative of the ignorant bedouin who had a pee in the Masjid Nabawi during the time of the Prophet SAW came to mind.

First, I got mixed up on the proper entrance door to visit the Prophet SAW. Instead of entering through Bab-ul Jibreel, I tried to enter the masjid through Bab-ul Baqee. Rightly, I had been stopped from entering by the guards since Bab-ul Baqee was the point of exit of the the flow of people entering from the opposite Bab-ul Jibreel. Still wondering why the guards had stopped me the first time, I tried to enter again without success. Finally, after a few vain attempts, I just stood outside Bab-ul Baqee feeling very sad looking from afar at the resting place of Rasulullah SAW.

Later, when dawn was approaching, I lamely entered Bab-ul Nisaa' hoping to find a good spot for me behind the Rawdah. The number of people was far more than I had expected and I was really struggling to find even a tiny space to sit. Like a lost bedouin who has no idea where he was heading, I walked over the shoulders of devotees again and again, inviting uneasy stares from the people around me. It was then that I felt like a ruthless moronic barbarian standing alone among the civilised cultured people. 

Alas, alhamdulillah, indeed Allah Most High had extinguished the pride and self-sufficiency within me at that point of time in the most perplexing way. Truly, Allah is the One for Whom nothing is hidden from His Knowledge.

The Journey Towards Al-Khaliq - Part 3

We started the journey from Jeddah Airport to Madinah by a fleet of buses. We were in flight group KT82, the second last group of pilgrims from Malaysia that was destined for Madinah before Makkah. It was a long journey to Madinah. I slept for the most part of the journey. An hour before reaching Madinah, I began to look at the notes that I had prepared for the journey. I recalled a hadith of Rasulullah SAW, "Whosoever come to me as my guest, with no other purpose than to visit me, I will be his intercessor." I immediately renewed my niyyat to make the journey only for the sake of Allah.

I was concern as to what extent my journey could be as close as the journey of Rasulullah SAW. I mean, there we were travelling by bus, without being able to stop at any masjids or places that Rasulullah SAW and the sahabah r.anhum had stopped for a rest, or to drink water at the wells that Rasulullah SAW and the sahabah r.anhum had stopped for a drink. I would not have the opportunity to stop at Mu'arras near Bir Ali/Zhul-Hulaifah even for a two-rakaat solah or a short du'a. And it would not be possible for me to get off the bus at Bir Ali (about 10km from Madinah) and walk from thereon bare-footed towards Madinah as did Rasulullah SAW and the sahabah r.anhum. Nevertheless, alhamdulillah, I still could recite durood sharif as much as possible. And I began to build up my devotion and fervor to meet with Rasulullah SAW by exhorting my wife of the virtues of Madinah al-Munawarrah and its inhabitants, the resting place of Rasulullah SAW and about 10,000 sahabah r.anhum who had served as the vanguards of Islam.

It was about 2am. I felt the warmth of Madinah as I entered the city and glanced again at my notes as I recited the du'a “Allahumma haaza haromu nabiyyaka, faj’al huliyy wa qho yatam minnanar wa a maa nanm minal ‘azaabi wa suu ‘al hisaab.” (O' Allah! Verily this is the land of Your Prophet SAW. Do make it as a cause for my salvation from the hellfire, protection from the torments, and protection from calamities on the Judgement Day).

After the hustle and bustle of rooms allocation, I managed to get a short nap. I then took a shower, put on my best dress and immersed myself with the green coloured raihan attar which I had bought in India and kept it safe for special occasion. I then slowly walked to the Masjid of the Prophet SAW.