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."

Wednesday 26 August 2020

40 Days in Northern Thailand

Masjid Pakistan, Nakhon Sawan

In November 2007, I joined a jamaat of 40 days bound for Northern Thailand. Our jamaat consisted of 10 persons including me. The others were Haji Julaihi and Haji Muhammad Kamal of Brunei; Haji Sabaruddin of Melaka; Abdul Samad of Pahang; Zulkefli of Johor; Haji Harun, Nor Azha, Yuzli, and Farak Khan of Kuala Lumpur. We spent the first ten days of our chillah doing the dakwah and tabligh effort in Shah Alam while making travel arrangement to Thailand.

Prior to that, I had sat in tafakud (which is a screening and interview process conducted by the appointed responsible old workers of the tablighi jamaat) twice in the same year and passed both tafakud. The first one, in a jamaat scheduled to make effort for 4 months in Madagascar. And the second time, in a masturat jamaat (husband and wife) bound to India and Pakistan for 2 months. Sadly in both occasions, I had failed to join the intended journey.

We arrived at Bangkok International Airport at 9.35pm and arrived at Mimburi Markaz at 11.05pm. Thailand has two main dakwah and tabligh markaz. The markaz for Southern Thailand is Yala and the markaz for Northern Thailand is situated at 2/1 Moo.8 Ratuthit Rd, Khwaeng, Saensab, Khet. Mimburi 10510, Bangkok, Thailand. As usual, one of the first thing for us to do when traveling abroad is to note down the local solah time: Fajr 4.56am, Dzuhur 12.30pm, Asr 4.00pm, Maghreb 5.48pm and Isya' 7.45pm.

Mimburi markaz is a large double-story building near an open field. After registering as guests, Harun and a student at Yala Markaz, Yusof, served us delicious late night meals.

The majority of people of Southern Thai are Malay-speaking Muslims, whereas Northern Thailand people are predominantly Budhists who only speak Thai language. At the time, Yala syura consisted of  Haji Abdurrahman Patlong, Haji Man Golok, Ustaz Mahmud and Haji Zakariya whilst Bangkok syura consisted of Babu Bhai, Haji Abdurrahman and Haji Musa. Babu Bhai, one of the syura of Mimburi Markaz met our jamaat the next day, taking ehwal of and making consultation with our jamaat and gave the routes for our jamaat. We were given the task to make effort mainly on the immigrant Pathans who had become the citizens of Thailand and their second generation, since one of our jamaat members, Farak Khan, spoke Pushto language fluently. It was also decided that three Thai brothers from Yala markaz would join our jamaat, mainly as our guides, assistants and translators. Alhamdulillaah, it served us well and good as none of us could speak or understand Thai language, though I had to remind the Malaysian brothers in our jamaat not to use bombastic words or sentences, and to only stick to plain simple Malay language since our Yala brothers only know Kelantan Malay dialect.

The Mimburi markaz provided us with a driven 13-seater van to our first route - Masjid Baitul Nur, Nakhon Sawan. Alhamdulillaah, here we managed to tasykil Fasal Maula to join our jamaat in the journey through a lot of convincing by Farak Khan. Fasal Maula was a huge man in his 40s with a thunderous voice who unintentionally manage to scare a few fragile soft-spoken Malay brothers in our jamaat. It was funny really.

After three days, we moved to Masjid Muhammadeeyah, Chainat. It was one of the few Shafi'e masjids in Northern Thailand. Most masjids were built by the early Pathan who were Hanafis in the school of jurisprudence. We were in the company of Imam Muhammad, Ya'kob Khan, Fandi Ahmad, Sulayman, Haji Abdullah, Shayahan, Ibrahim, Mubin and Lala Jahangir Khan, to name a few. I've visited a Pathan by the name of Sayid who lived nearby the masjid. He was a butcher and cow breeder. The Pathans in Thailand are known to control the halal livestock industry. They are breeders and own halal slaughter houses. At times they export live cows across border to Malaysia. They take pride in their work. It is common that the word "PATAN" is ingrained on the steel gate of a Pathan's house or a large skull of cow is hung on the gate.  

We then moved to Masjid Nurul Islam, 25/1 Soi Promnakon 2, Taklee in the province of Nakhon Sawan. Usually after mesyuarah upon arrival at any masjid, we would disperse in pairs going near and around the masjid to meet as many Muslims as possible as a mode of announcing the arrival of jamaat at their masjid and that the effort of dakwah and tabligh was actively taking place in their area. Saud Khan, Abdullah, Imran Khan, Dawud Khan, Nawaz Khan, Mahmood Cha, Abdul Aziz, Lala Tuti Khan, Mahyuddin (malay Bangkok), Abdul Latif (caretaker) and Imam Usman are a few names that I could remember.

Somehow the word "tien shierg" in Thai language or "khaat" in pushto language is written in my notebook. Perhaps in the guest area of the masjid there was a couple of traditional woven bed used in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa or charpai as they called it elsewhere in the Indian subcontinent.

Then we moved back to Nakhon Sawan town to Masjid Pakistan, Nakhon Sawan. The masjid was established in 1380H/1960 or 1961. It was situated at the town centre. Among the brothers that gave us nusrah were Lala Saiful Rahman who was born in Buner-KPK, Imam Ahmad Myanmar, Umar Farouq Myanmar, Ishaq, Farhad and Sardar Khan.

Then we travelled further north to the next route - Masjid Pakistan, Pitsanulok. As the journey was far, we arrived quite late after Dzuhur. Zul and I quickly went to the market to find some ingredients for fast cooking meal. We prepared nasi goreng or fried rice. It turned out as the hottest fried rice that I had ever tasted because we underestimated the Thai chillies. Tablighi brothers are thought not to complain but pity them all who had to eat with grimace and tearful eyes. Picture someone wrinkling his nose, squeezing his eyes shut, and twisting his mouth and you'll have a solid mental image of a grimace...haha. After that our jamaat was not allowed to cook by the locals and food was abundant from the nusrah.  Abdul Basit, Bacha Khan, Ali Khan of Pichit, Muhammad Khan, siblings Yusof Khan and Hakeem Khan and also Mullah Shafiqul Nabi were among the local brothers that jointly making effort with us, completing the two main element of dakwah and tabligh effort ie. hijrah and nusrah. Mullah sahab was an aalim from Swabi-KPK. I've gain much benefits sitting in his company. 

Yusof Khan and Abdul Basit joined our jamaat to the next route further up north - Masjid Ad-Dai'e, Tha Sao, Mueang, Uttaradit. Abdul Basit's parents lived in Uttaradit. The weather was very cold over there, especially in November and December. The masjid had been built on his father, Zamalak Khan's land. The whole family of Zamalak Khan embraced the effort of dakwah and tabligh; his sons Abdul Basit and Muhammad Yassin and his son-in-law Muhammad Zarim. Zamalak Khan owned and operated a small studio for licensed local radio-broadcasting on his land. I remember the local DJ announced our jamaat's arrival to Uttaradit during her broadcast.  There were also other brothers, namely Jamal of Chieng Mai, Romli of Yala, Ariffin a committee member of the masjid and Ziarad Khan who accompanied us during our stay at Uttaradit.

We thought of going even further up north to Chieng Rai but decided to travel back south to Masjid Diya ul-Islam, Phichit. Ali Khan and Abdul Basit drove us in two vehicles to Phichit.  Nuruddin of Nakhon Sittamarat, Yassin, Imam Ismail and Lala Mama were the locals that joined us at the masjid. 

"Zuuh" (let's go) "Zarur para zey" (you must come), were repeatedly uttered in Pushto language by Farak Khan in making cash tasykil to a Pathan man who was a butcher in the wet market to come the masjid. And the man came straightaway leaving his stall. Earlier on, the same man shooed off a couple of Malay brothers from our jamaat who went to his stall for khususi mulaqat. I then sent Farak Khan and another person to him. The moment he saw a fellow Pathan from Malaysia came to him, he immediately turned into a more mellow personality and pleasantly greeted Farak Khan, free from harshness. I realised that it is an important mode of dakwah which had been practised and taught by Rasulullaah SAW that whenever circumstances required, an Aws might be better accepted by his fellow Aws tribe, a Khazraj might be better accepted by his Khazraj tribe, similarly applicable to other tribes and nations. There are numerous examples of the Sahabah radiyalaahu anhum regarding this as well.

At this stage I feel compel to write briefly but specifically about the Pathans in Thailand. It is believed that hundreds of Sunni Pathans left their motherlands for Thailand, then known as Siam, in the early 1900s. In 1970s, Siamese Pathans were infamously well-known for being ring-leaders or their mafia-like involvement in vices and criminal activities. A Pathan ring-lord might ruled three or four changwat or provinces in the sense that the mere mention of his name brought fear to the people in those provinces. The first generation of Pathans that married local Thai women eventually have children who are called luk khrueng.  In a narrow sense, luk khrueng is a Thai term referring to a person of mixed Thai and foreign origin. A large number of Pathan's luk khrueng were raised as Muslims but later converted to Buddhism. There are numerous sad stories about daughters of Pathan who got married to Thai men and later lost her faith in Islam. Even some first generation Pathan men were not spared of the fitan for not being able to hold firmly their faith and practices of Islam. We've been told by the local brothers that it had happened many times that a Thai wife and family of a Pathan man brought the dead body of her husband to the masjid and left to be buried. They returned home leaving Islam behind. Islam died in the family with the death of the husband. 

Nevertheless, alhamdulillaah, when many Thai Pathans started to embrace the effort of dakwah, Allah Ta'ala changed their way of life and the way of lives of their family and many others back to the true way of lives of Rasulullaah SAW and the Sahabah radiyaal laahu anhum. All praise only to Allah Most Merciful. One of such person who had been blessed by Allah Most High is a Pathan who is well-known by many as Lala Abdul Wahab.   

I was told that during his youth time, Lala Abdul Wahab was a singer performing Bollywood songs at hotels and nightclubs in Golok, a town bordering Malaysia. Back then Golok was infamous with vices activities. A jamaat from Pakistan came to Masjid Pakistan Golok and stayed there for a few days. They visited Lala Abdul Wahab at the place where he performed and encourage him to come to the masjid. Though he treated them well, Lala Abdul Wahab gave all sort of excuses not to go to the masjid, one of which he told them he was not properly dress for the occasion to follow them to the masjid. The next day, the Pakistanis jamaat  paid him another visit and to his surprise, they brought with them a set of kurta and shalwar neatly ironed as a gift for him. His heart was softened by their care and kindness. Lala Abdul Wahab followed them to the masjid and never returned to singing ever since. He had devoted his time and self to the effort of dakwah and tabligh. Many many people had their lives reformed back to the true path of Islam through the effort and sacrifice of Lala Abdul Wahab. Murderers and pimps turned to namazis. Brutal criminals turned to dai'e. I heard that he now runs a madrasah which is situated at Lumna Rai, on the way to Bangkok.

From Phichit, our jamaat went to Masjid Wang Chom Phu, Phetchabun. Here our jamaat had been made busy day and night by Hassan Khan and the other hardworking brothers - Imam Shabir Ahmad Myanmar, Idris, Musa, Roshan Khan, Muhammad Nur Khan Abdul Haq Khan, Anas the soldier, Habib Khan, Abdul Kareem, Nawab Khan, Rahmatullah Myanmar, Umar, Abdul Jalil Myanmar and Musa.  Hassan Khan has a child, Matin Khan who he always brought with him to be with our jamaat. Hassan Khan and the other brothers made an effort to gather many womenfolk at a place adjoining the masjid for us to deliver a masturat bayaan. Most of the brothers in Petchabun and the places before were the fruits of labour and sacrifice of Lala Abdul Wahab.  

Our last route in Thailand was Masjid Kaewnimit which is situated in the outer part of Bangkok city. This masjid is quite special since it was in the middle of Thai Malay community who originated from Southern Thai. Most of them were still able to speak Malay. In the vicinity of Masjid Kaewnimit, there were Surau Deanul Islam, Surau Nurul Islam, Surau Darul Uloom and Masjid 'Alaa. Among the many people who gave us nusrah were Abdul Karim, Jamaluddin@Sufi Sahb (Myanmar), Haji Yahya, Haji Habib, Haji Abdurrahman Adam, Haji Muhammad, Abdul Hakim Masjid 'Ala, youngsters Fadin, Yusof, Ridwan and Mansur.

We met a Malaysian man who was working in Bangkok. He never traveled in jamaat for dakwah but spent a few days with us in Masjid Kaewnimit that he frequented for Friday namaaz every week.  He asked us a peculiar question as to why dakwah and tabligh in Thailand is different from Malaysia. We asked him to explain what he sees as the difference. He told us that from his observation, all the chairmen and trustees of the masjid and imams and the ulama in Thailand are actively participating or lending support to the effort of dakwah and tabligh but it cannot be said the same in Malaysia. We explained to him that just as we all make qiyamruku' and sajdah in solah following one imam, the same is the case of the effort of dakwah and tabligh, whether in Thailand, Malaysia or every other part of the world. All of us are trying to revive and emulate what had been the original dakwah and tabligh effort of Rasulullah sallaaahu alayhi wassalam and the Sahabah radiyalaahu anhum. They are truly our elders and our source of guidance.

Nevertheless, the Malaysian brother raised a valid point. The responsible trustees and imams of the masjids and the ulama in Thailand do get involve and participate more in the effort of dakwah and tabligh. However, through my own observation, the ulama in Thailand generally stepped down to the level of the ordinary men in order to be part and parcel of the public. When we first sat down in consultation with the local Muslims at Masjid Keawnimit, we did not realise that among them are a few ulama' who had spent many years studying in Jordan, Mesir and Yemen. They sat and mixed around with the ordinary men and became part of them. Truly you can see the meaning of what is suggested by our solafussolihin that the reformation of ordinary men could be attained by sitting in the company of the ulama', and the reformation of the ulama' could be attained by sitting with the ordinary men. Scholars and men of knowledge are tested on their characters and patience when at times they have to bear the roughness and ignorance of the ordinary men. Even Rasulullaah SAW himself had endured and tolerated patiently the crudeness of the illiterate Bedouins. 

At the close of our journey, we hope that Allah Ta'ala accepted our little sacrifice of time, self and wealth for the uplifting of Deen in our lives and the lives of Muslims in Thailand and as a mean of preparation for the Thailand Ijtima' to be held on 1-3 February 2008.

Chatchuchat market, Ranchit market.

A day before we returned home, Khairon from Shah Alam, who was living in Bangkok brought us around Suanlun Night Bazaar, Chatchuchat market and Ranchit market where we bought some gifts for our dear one at home.

Our journey ended on 14th December 2007.

Friday 10 April 2020

The IPB Journey: Madhya Pradesh

The first time that I arrived in India was on March 2000 for the IPB journey. After a few days at Nizamuddin Markaz, we were gathered in a jamaat for tasykil. This time six other persons also joined us - Abdul Latif from Johor and Hafiz from Sarawak, both are haafiz of the Qur'an; Azwa, an Indonesian who lived in Malaysia; Engku Zainuddin and Pak Awang from Terengganu and another person whom I could not recall.

Whilst in Bangladesh our jamaat of six Malaysians were combined with eight local brothers and the amir was amongst us Malaysians. In India, two Malaysian jamaat of six persons each were combined together making a jamaat of twelve Malaysians and two local brothers. The amir was from the local brother. Our amir was Abdul Aziz Mehdi from Tamil Nadu. He could speak urdu as well as his native language, Tamil and he also could speak a little English. His understanding of English language was better than spoken. Our jamaat had been tasykil  to Bilaspur and Bhilai in Madhya Pradesh (MP).

We took a train to Bilaspur, MP from Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station. The journey itself was about nineteen hours of exotic experience. I had rarely travelled by train in Malaysia, I recalled only a couple of time in my lifetime. However, I had travelled by train across fourteen countries in Europe within a month during my student days: England-Belgium-Netherlands-Denmark-Sweden-Norway-Germany-Austria-Italy-Switzerland-Cote d'Azur-Spain-Morocco-Spain-France-England. Even then the excitement and experience of travelling by train in India is beyond imagination.

Every few minutes there were voices of chaiwalas that cried "Chai! Chai! Garam chai!" At first I was amused with the chaiwalas who walked back and forth passing us. Occasionally, we stop the chaiwalas for a few cups of chai. One cup was not enough since we were used to chai that was served in a big glass in Malaysia. One thing for sure, the best chai is from India and Pakistan. Eventually, the voices of chaiwalas became irritating while you were sleeping or trying to get a nap. Many other sellers also walked back and forth on the train selling all sort of things that you would never imagine were saleable in Malaysia.

Back then in the year 2000, Madhya Pradesh (MP) were governed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a Hindu nationalist political party. Unlike other states that were governed by the majority Congress Party, the MP state prohibited the slaughtering of cows that were considered sacred by the Hindus. Buffaloes could be slaughtered but not cows. In fact most cows were adorned with colourful fabric, bells and turmeric powder and wondering around on streets and even in train stations. When we entered the state of Madhya Pradesh, we could see piles of bones from dead cows on the fields along the train line. What a waste of food that could benefit poor peoples. But of course the Hindus think differently from us Muslims.

On the other hand, there was a couple of circumstances that really amazed me in relation to the Hindus in India that I encountered on the journey. In the first circumstances, when two or three of us were praying with jamaah in the train at a time on the walkway. It is possible to perform solat with jamaah on the Indian trains as the carriage space is large, well at least they are larger than Malaysian trains. Whilst we were praying, all the people on both side of the walkway stopped and quietly waited until we finished our prayer. We could hear them whispering to the people behind, "Musalman namaz" (Muslims are praying). I was blown away and overwhelmed as to how considerate they were to us. Even the chaiwala patiently waited for us to finish our prayer. Allah Ta'ala had certainly honoured us. On another occasion in Bhillai or Bilaspur, a few Hindu mothers huddling their babies waited at the steps outside the masjid asking us to bless their children. "Baba! Baba!" they called us and nudged their babies towards us. We were really astonished by the sight, so much so that we did not know how to react. A local brother told us to recite Fatiha and pray for hidayat for them. So we recited surah Fatiha and blew softly on the babies' foreheads. May Allah give hidayat to the mothers and the children.

Haji Sheikh Aslam, an old-karkun in his 50s from Bilaspur joined us for the duration of our chillah in Madhya Pradesh. He acted as an assistant to our amir, rehber (guide) and translator to our jamaat. 

Throughout our tasykil in Bhillai and Bilaspur, we were urged not to wonder out from masjid alone without any local brother accompanying us. Perhaps they were worried of any harm that might befall us especially our safety as foreign mehman (guest). Back then, I also noticed that some of the local Muslims were not so friendly with us. I came across a few persons who looked like namazi people but would not return our smile and salam. They looked angry all the time. Once, on our way moving from a masjid to another masjid, an auto-rickshaw driver mistakenly dropped some of our jamaat at a different masjid rather than on the stated rukh (route). Before we could perform solat tahiyyat-ul masjid, two or three persons came rushing towards us yelling, "Tablighi jamaat! Khanna, pinna, sonna, pakhana karna. Jao! Jao!" I leave it to you to find out the meaning yourself...haha. Though we ended up leaving the masjid to join the rest of our jamaat at the intended masjid, we had a good laugh about what happened. 

I heard certain people said that at the time, the Muslims of Madhya Pradesh were predominantly Barelwis and the Barelwis did not like tablighi jamaat because they were seen as Deobandis, or some Barelwis even associating the jamaat with Wahabbis, particularly the jamaat from Arab countries. However, to me it was just plain ignorance or lack of knowledge on certain people. Hadzrat Maulana Muhammad Yusuf Ludhianwi rahmatullaahi alayhi said, "The phrase "Deobandi-Barelwi difference" is surprising and odd. There is no sound basis for any difference between the Deobandis and Barelwis. The reason being that both these groups are passionate followers of the Hanafi madzhab. In so far as Aqaa'id both these groups accept and follow the teachings of Imaam Abul Hassan Ash'ari and Imaam Abu Mansoor Maturidi  rahmatullaahi alayhim. Both these groups accept and take ba'yt to all four silsilahs of tasawwuf, viz. Qaadiri, Chisti, Saharwardi and Naqsyabandi. Both theses groups are in all respect followers of the Ahle Sunnah Wal Jamaah.They also acknowledge to and accept the reverence of the Sahabah, Tabi'een and Aimmah-e-Mujtahiddeen. They are muqallids of Hadzrat Imam Abu Hanfah rahmatullaahi alayhi and accept the authority right up to Mujaddid Alfe Thaani and Shah Abdul Aziz Muhaddith Dehlawi rahmatullaahi alayhima. However, there are some differences between these two groups in a few masaa'il.... With regard to these masaa'il, that group is on haq whose beliefs are in conformity with the Qur'an, Sunnah of Nabi Sallaalaahu Alayhi Wasallam, practices of the Sahabah radiyalaahu anhum and the fiqh of Imam Abu Hanifah rahmatullaahi alayhi (as a widely accepted madzhad in the Indo-pak continent). The other group is in error."

I mention this karguzari here not to mean any negativity or harm towards anyone or any group of people. Truly it was a precious knowledge and wonderful experience to me. I treasure every single moment of my time during the IPB journey to correct my Imaan and Aamal and for the correction of Imaan and Aamal of all mankind one must struggle to revive the effort of dakwah in the way of Rasulullaah SAW throughout the world. 

Friday 14 February 2020

The IPB Journey: The Nizamuddin Markaz

All praise is for Allah Ta'ala. We praise Him and seek help from Him. We believe in Him and have complete trust in Him. There can be none to misguide the person whom Allah Ta'ala has guided and there can be none to guide the person whom Allah Ta'ala has caused to go astray.

The Banglawali Masjid at Basti Nizamuddin, Delhi which is the markaz of dakwah and tabligh was something that I had imagined differently. The markaz is situated at the place generally known and named after Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya, a famous waliyullah. Most of the people that I know would tell you the same thing and have the same feeling when first set foot the Nizamuddin Markaz. Here, the original effort of Rasulullaah Sallalaahu Alayhi Wasallam and the Sahabah Radiyalaahu Anhum had been revived about a hundred years ago.

"Maulana Ilyas rahmatullaah alayhi said that the purpose of this work is to revive what Rasulullaah SAW had brought to us. Maulana Yusuf rahmatullaah alayhi explained further that the aim of this work is to raise the status of Muslims to the level where Rasulullaah SAW had left for us. What is the level? One hundred percent of Muslims, men and women, are all dai'e. One hundred percent of Muslims pray, tilawah of the Qur'an, zikir and du'a. When we reach this level the masjids will be full of aamal for twenty four hours. Only then will hidayah from Allah will come to the people until the enemies of Islam will also receive hidayah from Allah Ta'ala. This level is still far from us but we have to keep on continue walking on the path. When we know where the destination is, it does not matter if we are moving slow or fast, we will definitely reach the destination." These are the excerpt of many bayaan in Nizamuddin Markaz that I managed to scribble in my note books. 

Sitting in the company of the pious and the scholars of dakwah like Maulana Saad, Maulana Zubair, Maulana Mustaqim, Maulana Sulaiman and others rahmatullah alayhim certainly could help us in attaining self-reformation. Alhamdulillah, this attribute is still prevalent at the Nizamuddin Markaz till today where one could tremendously benefit from sitting in the company of Hazratji Maulana Saad damat barakatuhu and the other elders of dakwah and tabligh effort and the mukhlisin from all over the world.

People from all over the world went to the Nizamuddin Markaz to learn first hand the original effort of dakwah that had been carried out by Rasulullaah SAW and the Sahabah r.anhum. The elders at the Nizamuddin Markaz wish that jamaat are being dispatched all over the world and jamaat are everywhere. They also wish that every masjid throughout the world is full of aamal for 24 hours like the Masjid Nabawi during the time of Rasulullaah SAW. When addressing some people during karguzari at Nizamuddin Markaz, Maulana Sulaiman r.alayhi said that we all should have fikr and concern that perfect Deen should come to our lives and the lives of all mankind. Maulana Sulaiman told us that even this fikr and concern is not enough. The true and perfect fikr and intention is that  perfect Deen should come to our lives and the lives of all mankind AND 100% men and women calling mankind towards the perfect Deen until the day of Qiyamah.

In Nizamuddin Markaz you would not hear words except the words of dakwah. The mahul or atmosphere of dakwah and the atmosphere of practical sunnah on the people from all over the world who gathered at the Markaz.

"Brothers! Why do we go out in the path of Allah? Mianji Mehrab said we go out in the path of Allah to bring out the wrong belief of greatness of the world from our heart. In order for us to have the right relationship with our Creator, we must get rid of the wrong belief in the creations. Rasulullaah SAW had spent thirteen years making effort to bring out the greatness of the world from the hearts of the Sahabah radiyalaahu anhum. If a carcass of an animal fell into a well, we must first remove the carcass and clean the water. Water will not be clean if the carcass is still in the well, not thrown out. The world is like the carcass. And then we have to make the effort on Deen with constancy and move forward. Allah Ta'ala created this world for mankind, but Allah Ta'ala revealed how to use our lives living in this world. Thus, we go out in the path of Allah with the intention of (1) making effort on our imaan and aamal, and (2) learning the effort of Rasulullaah SAW. Save the Ummah by learning Deen and teaching Deen, learning Deen and inviting the people to make effort on Deen. Dai'e bano, dai'e banao.

Many people who are not well acquainted with the work of dakwah and tabligh confuse Nizamuddin Dakwah and Tabligh Markaz (Banglawali Masjid) with Nizamuddin dargah. The difference is like heaven and earth. Nizamuddin markaz is the proponent of sunnah, whereas Nizamuddin dargah is the proponent of shirk and bida'ah. Nizamuddin dargah is actually a kubr or tomb or shrine of the well-known waliyullah, Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya that had been turned by the ignorant Muslims as a place of wrongful worshipping. No doubt Nizamuddin dargah is more well-known to the ordinary Indians, Muslims or non-Muslims, than Nizamuddin markaz. Once during my subsequent frequent visits to the Nizamuddin markaz, the auto rickshaw man dropped me at Nizamuddin dargah when I asked for a ride to Nizamuddin markaz. Since then I had to always make sure the rides that I took dropped me to the correct place. On my first visit to Nizamuddin markaz, once exploring the surrounding areas I came close to the Nizamuddin dargah. I could feel the change in the surrounding environment as I walked closer to the dargah, gloomed dark faces and unfriendly people appeared more before me as I walked closer through the small alleys. I felt weirdly uncomfortable that I had to turn around and walked away from the dargah. It was my own personal feeling.

The Nizamuddin markaz also hosts a madrasah called Kashiful Uloom. Thus the Nizamuddin markaz not only confine dakwah and tabligh as its main activity, it is also completed by three other main activities, namely ta'leem, ibadaat and khidmat. All the four main activities had been the core activities of the Masjid Nabawi during the time of Rasulullaah SAW and the Sahabah radiyalaahu anhum. 

A world gathering for mesyuarat or consultation is held at the Nizamuddin Markaz every three months. As the effort of dakwah and tabligh had first been revived in Nizamuddin Markaz, those who are actively involved in the effort all around the world are invited to every meeting. The work of dakwah had begun at the Nizamuddin Markaz and more in Makkah al-Mukarammah. Now Hazratji Maulana Sa'ad Kandhlawi, the fourth amir of the effort, and other persons who who make the effort of dakwah and tabligh as their purpose of lives, always hold muzakarah to set forth the usool and tartib of the work at the Markaz. And the people who strive hard in the effort are invited to the meetings.

Tuesday 17 December 2019

The IPB Journey: Bagerhat & Nawabganj

Note: This article is written based on my memories of the journey back in 2000 when Bangladesh and Pakistan still have the right environment of dakwah. Now in my opinion, it is no longer ideal to learn the work of dakwah and tabligh in Bangladesh and Pakistan until righteousness returns to both.

Our first tasykeel in Bangladesh was a transit place called Nababgonj, a few hours bus ride within Dhakka city. We stayed at Nababgonj Boro Masjid from 13 to 15 February 2000. A blind brother, Mohammad Mohsein and a Qur'an teacher, Hafiz Jamaluddin gave nusrah to us at the masjid whilst we made arrangement to Bagerhat  district, 200 miles south-west of Dhaka. 

We took a large ferry to Bagerhat from a river port sailing through Burigangga River. The local brothers quickly found a space on the upper deck. They tied ropes around the area to make a boundry since that area was to be made a mussolla and and a place for us to rest. Alhamdulillaah, it really helped us a lot since the ferry were crowded and overflew with passengers. Adzan was called loudly and we performed solah in that area. Ta'leem also was performed by reading the kitaab Fadha'il Aamal whilst we went around making ghast requesting people on the ferry to join the aamal of ta'leem. The local brothers who were in our jamaat performed the responsibility admirely. They were mostly university students. The aamal on the ferry during the overnight journey all came out from their suggestions. Although they are young students, they have already a good experience in the work of dakwah and tabligh.

Nur Masjid is the Bagerhat markaz. We arrived there at 6.00pm on 16 February 2000 greeted  by Murrubi Abdul Sattar, the Bagerhat markaz elder. Though it is situated south of Dhaka, somehow the temperature in Bagerhat was colder than Dhaka, perhaps because it was a rural area. The next day a few local brothers who were sent by Kakrail Markaz to join our jamaat arrived; Mohammad Moslehudeen, Mohammad Akramul Hassan, Mohammad Ashraf Hussein, Mohammad Motiur Rahman, Mohammad Rafiqul Islam and Mohammad Rizaul. 

One of the first thing that I endured to do was to learn Bangla language. You will not be able to get to know the people better if you do not speak to them. Certainly I had met many Benggalis in Malaysia before since there are hundred of thousands of them working in Malaysia. But I had never known them. In fact the Benggalis are one of the the nicest people that I had ever met. After the journey my feeling towards them totally changed, growing into a brotherly affection. I would gladly stop and speak to a Bengalli brother whenever I met one anywhere. 
"Apni kaemon achen?" How are you?
"Bhalo achen." Fine.
"Apni khothai kas koren?" Where do you work?
These simple sentences would always draw smiles on their faces.
"Ami matro bangla shikti arombho korchi" I just learned the bangla language.
This sentence would draw bigger smile and laughter from them.

Then they start listening to you - 
"Manushe duniya ebonk akhirate shopolata ekmatro Deenir mothe. Duniya akhirate kamiyabi Allah Ta'ala hukum manar mothe ebonk Rasulullah sallalaahu alayhi wasallam ir tarika cholar manthe."
The success of mankind in this world and the hereafter is only in Deen. By obeying all the commandments of Allah Ta'ala and following the way of life of Rasulullah sallalaahu alayhi wasallam.

And they are people who listen. Mashaa Allah! They really listen to your speech. It makes learning dakwah a lot easier. They give us encouragement for dakwah. 
In the masjid that we were making effort of dakwah and tabligh, after solah you would hear the local called out loudly, "Inshaa Allah, baki namaaz badh iman amoler ofor bayan hobe. Amorosh shabai boshe onek faida hobe." Inshaa Allah, there will be a talk about iman and aamal. It will benefit you if you give time for it. 

During bayan in the masjid, whenever they heard any virtues of aamal, they would loudly respond, "Subhanallah!" May Allah keep choosing us and them for the effort of dakwah, and keep us and them on the path of the Sahabah radiyalaahu anhum only for the sake of Allah Ta'ala. 

The rukh or routes in Bagerhat had been decided for us as follows: 

16-17 February 2000 Nur Masjid, Bagerhat markaz
18-19 February 2000 Railway Masjid, Bagerhat
20-21 February 2000 KB Masjid, Bagerhat
22-23 February 2000 Mogra Bazaar Masjid, Bagerhat
24-25 February 2000 Shat Ghombuj Masjid, Bagerhat
26-27 February 2000 Mitha Pukur Par Masjid, Bagerhat
28 February 2000 Hospital Masjid, Bagerhat
29 February-1 March 2000 Dipara Bazaar Masjid, Bagerhat
2-3 March 2000 Dipara Madrasah, Bagerhat
4 March 2000 Mukhait Masjid, Bagerhat

Shat Ghombuj Masjid or the Sixty Dome Masjid was built in 1440 by Hazrat Khan Jahan Ali. Hazrat Khan Jahan Ali was the sultan dai'e who had spread Islam in Southern Bangladesh. It is believed that he was of Tughlaq-Uzbek origin. I remember Mahmudur Rashid brought me visit the grave of Hazrat Khan Jahan Ali. Unfortunately the Mazar (mausoleum) of Hazrat Khan Jahan Ali are mostly being visited by the ignorant grave-worshippers and the Brelwis. 

Shat Gombuj Masjid is very big that it actually has 77 domes and 60 stone pillars. It's large size made it look like we only occupied a tiny part of the masjid. During daytime, a lot of people came just to visit the masjid as a historical site.

Most of the masaajids in Bangladesh has a small pond or pukur beside it. We used the pukur for wudhu', for bathing and for washing our clothes. 

We cook our own food but sometime the local prepared food for us from their homes. "Khanna thayar. Ashen bhai, boshen." The food is ready. Come brother, sit. With white rice, we eat alu, muruggi and kacha morich. And I certainly will not forget naga morich, the hottest chilli that I had ever tasted at the time. I realised then why they drew up cartoon characters that breathe fire and smoke when they ate chillies. I was so astonished of its hottest taste that I brought home a few with the hope of growing it locally. 

On 4 March 2000 our jamaat and another local jamaat were combined at Mukhait Masjid, Bagerhat. Al-Hafeez Abdul Baari, who I met earlier at Kakrail Markaz became aamir of the combined jamaat. He made us all read surah Yaa Sin as an asbab for Allah to form cash jamaat from Bagerhat. It was here I met a murubbi Samirudeen of  Village Rodropara, Thanasrinogor, Mounshiganj, Dhaka. He was about 97 years old and was on his way to go out in the path of Allah for 4 months. As if I can still see him smiling and hear his voice, "Allah Khub Boro" (Allah is the All Mighty). We called him Abu Ayyub as Sayyidina Abu Ayyub Ansari radiyal laahu anhu, a Sahabi who was in his 90s when he died in the path of Allah and had been buried in Istanbul. The Turks called him Eiyyup Sultan.

From Bagerhat, we went back to Kakrail Markaz. After a couple of days at Kakrail Markaz, we were then tasykil again to Nawabganj Thana Area not far from Khaka. Thus in Bangladesh, our chillah had been spent in a long tasykil  to Bagerhat and a short tasykil to Nawabganj. I could not remember much of our effort at Nawabganj except we were at a very large centre for the orphans called Yateemkhana Masjid. 

We practised what we learned from Hafeez Abdul Baari in preparing people to gout in the path of Allah. I remember we tasykil a postman to go out for 40 days. He gave us reason that he will not be able to get leave for he is the only postman in his area. So we went to his superior, the Post Master and tasykil the Post Master to go out for 40 days. He gave us all sort of excuses saying that he will not be able to leave his position as there is no one else that can relief him  of his post. So we told him about one of the postman under him who wish to go out for 40 days but leave was not granted to him. He immediately told us that he would grant the leave to the said man to go out in the path of Allah for 40 days. 
Subhanallah! Allah taught us so much in our first chillah in Bangladesh. Then we took a flight to Delhi, India to continue our journey for the second chillah. 

Tuesday 5 November 2019

The IPB Journey: Dhaka

Note: This article is written with the memories of the right environment of dakwah in the year 2000 when it was still best to learn the work of dakwah in Pakistan and Bangladesh, besides India. In my opinion, currently only through the Nizamuddin Markaz at Banglawali Masjid in Delhi, India that the work of dakwah remains ideal to be learnt but it is no longer ideal to learn the work of dakwah in Pakistan and Bangladesh until righteousness returns to both.

بسم االله الرحمن الرحيم

The five of us had made arrangement for the IPB journey by consultation between us. Of course, the final decision on all matters came from our amir having heard suggestions from us, sometimes arguments, pro and con. It had been decided that our journey would start to Bangladesh first by Biman Airlines, then from Dhaka, Bangladesh to Delhi, India by the same airlines and finally we would travel by train from Delhi to Lahore through Amritsar. The journey back home would be from Karachi, Pakistan to Kuala Lumpur by PIA. Three jamaat had travelled that time from Kuala Lumpur to Dhaka, Bangladesh.

We arrived at Dhaka Airport about a week after the Bishwa Ijtema, an annual gathering of Muslims engaging in the effort of dakwah and tabligh. You may read a detailed report on one of the occasions of the Bishwa Ijtema here. At the arrival terminal we were ushered in groups together with some brothers from other countries passed the immigration counters like VIPs. It was quite a sight when bearded men in shalwar, gamis, jubbah and lungi walked hastily in the express lane passed by foreigners in suits, jackets and blazers in other lanes in long queues at the immigration check-points. Our passports were collected earlier by a brother in charged of istiqbal and given back to us later duly stamped. I was amazed by the special treatment given to us and all the people who came to the country for dakwah and tabligh effort.

We were taken to the nearby Airport Masjid or Istiqbal Masjid by bus. It was just five to ten minutes from the airport. Many smiling khidmat brothers rushed to carry our luggages into the masjid. We arrived there at 8.00pm on 10th of February, 2000. We were seated at a long dastarkhan and almost immediately food was placed on the dastarkhan which ranges from simple tea and bread to white rice, veggies and meat set out for a feast. 

After Isyak prayer, the masjid main hall were turned into a large resting place where a huge mosquito net was put up and sleeping mats and pillows were arranged inside neatly. We were then politely invited to rest and sleep. Certainly, my first impression of Bangladesh was, Subhanallaah! what a host! They do know how to treat their guests. And by the look of it they have been doing it for ages.

The next day we were brought to Kakrail Masjid in Dhaka. It was the markaz of dakwah and tabligh effort in Bangladesh. As the room that usually placed Malay-speaking jamaats (Malaysian, Indonesian, Singapore, Brunei, Thailand) was fulled at that time, the five of us were placed on the upper floor which was still under construction. By the time we already noted the prayer times: Fajr at 5.30am, iqamaat at 6.00am; Dzuhr at 1.00pm, iqamaat at 1.30pm; Asr at 4.30pm, iqamaat at 4.45pm; Maghreb at 6.00pm and Esha at 8.00pm. We were greeted by one of the elders of Bangladesh, Maulana Muzammil Haq.

There was a jamaat from South Africa among other jamaats from all over the world. I befriended Arshad, a tall herculean South African Cape-malay who looked like a Springbok's No. 8. He told me that he used to work as a night club bouncer. Hitting other people was part of his daily job. Alhamdulillaah, after Allah gave him hidayat through the effort of dakwah and tabligh he never raised a finger to harm others. Even when he was badly hit by a gang of men, he never retaliated in defence. Before he went back home, Arshad gave me his mosquito net which became very handy to me throughout my journey in Bangladesh.

On the first day at Kakrail markaaz, eagerly I got myself in the second or third saff (row) during asar prayer. During the second rakaat, when it was supposed to be the sitting of the first tahiyyat, I rose up standing. Instead of quickly sitting back, I broke the salaah and start again in tahiyyat. When the prayer finished with salam, I was the only one standing in the very front row making up another two rakaat. I felt like a Bedouin who know nothing about Islam and aadab when first came to Madinah during the time of Rasulullah sallalaahu alayhi wasallam. It was so embarrassing moment for me.     

The next day we moved to the "Malay room". Malay-speaking jamaat from Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Brunei etc were stationed in this room. A murubbi by the name Abdul Razzaq Abdullah was in-charged of the room istiqbal whereas Dr Afzal Hussein and Dr Faruq acted as mutarjim (translator). Both of them had been living in Malaysia for a few years when they were post-graduate students at UKM. Thus for three days our time was occupied sitting in different halqah or circles of learning. Sometime we would hear tafseer of Surat ul-Asr, ""By the time, Verily Man is in loss, Except such as have Faith, And do righteous deeds, And (join together) in the mutual enjoining of Truth, and of Patience and Constancy." (Quran 104:1-3)" The four conditions are just like the four wheels of a car. If one tyre is flat, the car would not be able to run properly." Sometime we heard the mutarjim translated a bayaan saying, "Ibadaat and dakwah are like a pair of wings of a bird. Both wings are needed in order for the bird to fly." "Brothers! Salam, Taam, Qalam, Qiyam - then tabligh will penetrate the hearts." Another time we sat in the circle of tajweed learning together with local Bangla brothers. As if I could still hear al-Hafeez Abdul Barri, a hifz and teacher of Qur'an recited the last ten surahs of the Qur'an in hoarse melodious voice.  

On the third day at Kakrail Markaz, our jamaat was tasykeel to Bagerhat, south of Bangladesh. Bayan hidayat was given by Maulana Khalid and musaffah by Maulana Ruhul Qis. The five of us were joined by local brothers Mohammad Shahabudeen, Mohammad Mahmudur Rasheed, Mohammad Hussein, Mohammad Dalim, Mohammad Anisudeen Ahmed and Mohammad Ramzan (pronounce Ramjan). 

Thursday 31 October 2019

IPB: Remembering Arwah Ramli Bajhkata

بسم االله الرحمن الرحيم

Whenever I.P.B. is mentioned I always thought of my dear friend Arwah Haji Ramli bin Lebai Ahmad (may Allah enlightens his grave with nur).

Friendship is built up in many ways. Some friendship began since childhood. Some friendship began at school, college or university. Some friendship started at workplace. Some friendship began at the house of Allah or at place for the remembrance of Allah, solely for the love of Allah.

It has been more than 6 years since Arwah Haji Ramli bin Lebai Ahmad passed away. He was an engineer at ESSO when I first met him in 2000. We first met at Masjid Jame' Seri Petaling, the Kuala Lumpur markaz for dakwah and tabligh effort. Three other persons - al-Hafiz Hisham Mansur, al-Hafiz Najib Haji Muda and my sister's son, Muhammad Faizal; made up for a five-men jamaat including me and Haji Ramli. Faizal had been tasykeel cash when I went back to my hometown to meet my mother and all relatives before going for the 4 months IPB journey. The elders of tabligh said that I should make syi'ar or proclaim loudly of my noble intention to go out in the path of Allah and in doing so, Allah opened the heart of my nephew Faizal to accompany me on the journey. He had gone for 40 days with his father before when he was a mere teenager.

Haji Ramli had been appointed as amir for our jamaat. He was about five years my senior at age. We stayed at the KL markaz for a few days whilst submitting our application for visa for all the three Indo-pak countries - India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Meanwhile we had to sit in various important circles of knowledge at the KL markaz before making our journey. One such circle of knowledge is the muzakarah of masa'il where an aalim taught us all the relevant matters with regards to certain rulings of fiqh according to madzhab shafi'e, madzhad hanafi and the relevant differences of rulings between the two madzhab for clear guidance. These was important since we were going on our journey to the countries where hanafi madzhab is predominantly being practised by the people. I remember the advice well, "You are on your journey to learn dakwah, not to learn fiqh." Uh, I think I'm straying away from the topic. It needs a special muzakarah to understand.

Sayyidina Umar radiyalaahu anhu used to say that, "You don't really know a person until you live with him, travel with him or do business with him." 

The first chillah or the first 40 days in Bangladesh was very stressful for me and for Haji Ramli. Haji Ramli and I just did not see eye to eye. In fact, we did not see eye to eye for the whole duration of the first chillah in Bangladesh. I seemed to have a complete disagreement with my amir on almost all matters all the time. It was really worse on my part since in the end I still have to obey my amir. At the earlier part of our IPB journey, Allah had tested us against each other. 

I did not know the real reason of our disagreement. I thought it might be because I did not have a 40 days experienced prior to the IPB journey but then the lack of experience should made me more humble and obedient. Perhaps I was just a plain hard-headed man. However, one thing was clear to me. Haji Ramli was completely a changed man once our jamaat arrived at Nizamuddin Markaz in Delhi, India. He became buoyant and jovial. I no longer see the gloomy and depressed man. At this point of time, I realised that for 40 days he had carried the heavy burden of being the amir of our jamaat in Bangladesh. It was too much of anxiety and strain to him. Once he realised that in India and Pakistan, the responsibility of amir would be given to the local experienced brother, the gloom turned to jubilant and joy for Haji Ramli. And from that moment, he became my close friend. 

I remember in 2009, we both were together again in a paidal jamaat or a walking jamaat destined for Sandakan in East Malaysia Sabah. During the formation of the jamaat, when he learned that he was given the responsibility of amir of the jamaat, he turned hysterical and distraught. I sensed that perhaps the bad memories of being my amir nine years ago had overcome him. Thus I felt the need to calm him down and gave in some words of encouragement. I promised him that I would devote myself in helping him ease his burden. In other words, I promised him not to be an idiot that would made his life difficult.

Haji Ramli was exclusively known to us, the IPB jamaat members as Ramli Bajhkata. Bajhkata is a village in Bunir within the tribal areas of Khyber Pukhtunkwa, Pakistan. During the tasykeel in Bajkata that all of us felt the real companionship of each other. I guess we called him Ramli Bajhkata out of the feel good factor. 

After completing the 4 months IPB journey, as far as I know every year he spent 4 months in the path of Allah alternately travelling on domestic routes and to foreign countries including Albania, Italy, United Kingdom, South Korea, Japan, Indonesia etc.

During my companionship with Almarhum Ramli Bajhkata, I witnessed he spent his nights prostrating in sajdah and standing before Allah in solaah. During the IPB journey, when the mornings arrived between adzhan and iqamaat he would engaged in dzikr, his body would gently move. He wept like a bitterly grieved person and I can still hear his cries echoing in my ears as an imam read surah as-Saff during fajar solaah. He was very careful not to get involve in dirty, false or evil vain talk. He was always in the state of concern for the Ummah, especially for his family and his sons, that they would become the da'ie of Allah. I believe he carried this concern in his grave when I was told by one of his sons that he and his brother decided to make the 4 months IPB journey when they dreamt of their father urging them to go out in the path of Allah for 4 months. May Allah make them persevere in the effort of dakwah as their father would dearly wish. 

May Allah accept all of our good deeds, sacrifices  and obedience to Allah in this world as our means of mercy by Allah in the aakhirah. 

Tuesday 29 October 2019

The IPB Journey

Note: This article is written with the memories of the right environment of dakwah in the year 2000 when it was still best to learn the work of dakwah in Pakistan and Bangladesh, besides India. In my opinion, currently only through the Nizamuddin Markaz at Banglawali Masjid in Delhi, India that the work of dakwah remains ideal to be learnt but it is no longer ideal to learn the work of dakwah in Pakistan and Bangladesh until righteousness returns to both.

بسم االله الرحمن الرحيم

I was happy that finally I have the opportunity to travel in jamaat of dakwah and tabligh for 40 days for the first time. The first person that I shared the news was my brother. "Why don't you go for 4 months instead of just 40 days?" he dropped the million dollar question hundred of miles away from his house in Johor Bahru. I paused for a few seconds, blinking my eyes staring through the wall. "But how could I go for 4 months when I have not done the 40 days journey yet?" I asked innocently. "Since when it is a pre-condition to go for 40 days first? When are you going to get this opportunity again? Just present your case to go out for 4 months during tafakud (a short interview process)." he sounded like giving me a clear instruction. From that moment I've changed my intention to go out in the path of Allah for one chillah (40 days) to three chillah (120 days). And when I said a journey of three chillah, for a first-timer like me it means a simultaneous journey of 40 days in India, 40 days in Pakistan and 40 days in Bangladesh.

You may be wondering why was the urgency for me to go on a 4 month trip to India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Why the IPB journey was so important to me (and to most people that are called "tablighis")? 

Although Islam started in Makkah but Islam did not flourish in Makkah. Islam only flourished after hijrah to Madinah. Islam did not flourish in Makkah because the atmosphere and environment in Makkah was an environment that oppressed Muslims. For thirteen years in Makkah, the faith and imaan of the early Muslims had been constantly tested by Allah Ta'ala in enduring hardship and oppression surrounded by the enemies of Islam. Meanwhile, contrary to the environment in Makkah, the the sacrifices of the Sahabah radiyalaahu anhum, both the muhajireen and the ansaars from hijrah and nusrah in Madinah had created the outstanding environment for the upliftment of imaan and aamal. People all over hijaaz and beyond flocked to Madinah ul-Munawwarah to learn Deen directly from Rasulullaah sallalaahu alayhi wasallam and the Sahabah radiyalaahu anhum.

After sometime, during the time of tabi' tabi'een, people started to flock Kufah, Baghdad and Mesir to study from the ulama' fuqaha such as Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Shafie and Imam Ahmad ibn Hambal rahmatullah alayhim. Even the people of Makkah and Madinah made the journey to those places in learning fiqh and jurisprudence.

Then during the time of the muhaditheen like Imam Bukhari, Imam Muslim, Imam Termizi rahmatullaah alayhim etc. people started to flock Bukhara, Khorasan, Termiz and those areas near present day Uzbekistan. Even the people of Makkah and Madinah made the journey to learn and study the science of hadith from those righteous imams of hadith.

Then in the same year of the calamity upon the ummah of the defeat and dissolution of the Ottoman caliphate, Allah Ta'ala started the revival of the ummah by the ijtima'iat work of dakwah through the effort of Maulana Ilyas Kandhlawi rahimahullaah at the Nizamuddin markaz in Delhi, India where presently, there is no other place to learn and practise the work of dakwah better than the guidance given by the Nizamuddin Markaz in Delhi, India. Even the people of Makkah and Madinah made the journey to learn ijtima'iat dakwah in the Indo-pak continent, particularly India, Pakistan and Bangladesh where the work had flourished for nearly a hundred years now.

I remember once a jamaat of six brothers from Makkah came to our masjid. At the end of his bayaan, the amir of the jamaat urged or made tasykeel for people to go out for four months in the path of Allah to India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Now he did not tasykeel the people to go to Makkah because he knew that going to Makkah is to perform hajj or umrah, whereas he was urging the people to go on a journey to IPB dedicating their time to learn the work of dakwah. 

It follows that a person who had gone on a 4-months IPB journey at least once in his lifetime for the purpose of learning the effort of dakwah would then be able to go to any other countries in the world, urging all Muslims to engage in the effort of dakwah and rectification of our own imaan and aamal.

Anyway, I decided to visit my mother for her blessing and openly inform all my family back at my hometown of my intention to travel in the path of Allah for four months to IPB. This is the best time to make syi'ar or declare your niyyat or good intention and openly make tasykil to everyone especially family members and hope that Allah Ta'ala would strengthen and accept your niyyat. Alhamdulillaah, I only heard words of support and encouragement from my mother and family especially when they learnt that my sister's son, Muhammad Faizal, would be joining me in the journey. Alhamdulillaah, truly Allah Ta'ala gave me more courage and steadfastness by the presence of my nephew, Muhammad Faizal. 

Thus our IPB journey began in February 2000.