Sunday, September 26, 2010

Activities In Madinah (Part 2)

That night we were “dikejutkan” with the news that Makcik S did not come back from the mosque since Zuhr. We were having our sahur and Z, Makcik S' roommate complained that Makcik S was never in her room after terawikh prayers. It was already sahur and still there was still no sight of Makcik S.

The jemaahs panicked and were very concerned. What could have happened to Makcik S. Some speculated that she may have been “rescued” by other jemaahs from a different package whilst some thought that she may have not found her way home, despite the hotel is just too near to return to after prayers. During the commotion and as I was about to leave the dining hall, an elderly guy came in with Makcik S. To my disbelief, Makcik S was standing right before my eyes. Speaking of the devil!

"Makcik, makcik pergi mana?"

"Dah makan ke belum ni?"

"Siapa jumpa Makcik?"

"Makcik berbuka di mana? Tidur di mana?"

After bombardment of questions, Makcik S explained in her thick Dungun accent that she came back to her room after Zuhr but she could not open the hotel room door, tahulah ini bangsa yang key swipe. She didn’t want to trouble anyone else. So she went back to the mosque. Similarly same thing happened after Asr. Leaving her with no other choice, she returned to the mosque to wait for iftar and terus stay on until sahur. She slept at the mosque. Kesian Makcik S. Although some were of the opinion that Z should stick by her and vice versa, I think it is pretty difficult to be with each other’s side 24-7.I don’t blame Z for not taking care of Makcik S all the time. I believe Z has her set of problems too.

As for me and Mek, she is such a resilient person. She dutifully followed me where I go. If I say get ready by a certain time, she will surely be there punctually. There were times when I wanted to stay in the mosque for a much longer period, and I wish Mek could go back by herself so that she could rest. Tidak, she insisted that she would wait up for me until I finish mengaji. I think it was her fear to go back on her own. I overheard Mek said to Mahmud that because of the crowd going in and out Babun Nissa after prayers, she fear that she may be crushed hence the reason she kept on hanging to my telekong every time we left the mosque.

Ending the commotion about Makcik S, beloved husband slipped his Saudi phone number into Makcik S’ sling bag, just in case she finds it useful later. Luckily Makcik S wore her tag with the package name and hotel we stayed indicated on it. Anything happened, the tag can be a tool for reference.

That day, we went for ziarah. The places we visited were Masjid Quba, Bukit Uhud (where Perang Uhud happened, the Muslims initially won, but later because they had disobeyed Rasul s.a.w. they were defeated) and Masjid Qiblatain. Many years ago during my ziarah we had a bit more time to spend in Madinah. Almost every day we would go to Masjid Quba, solat sunat there and return to Masjid Nabawi. There is this hadith which says that if we solat sunat at Masjid Quba and later perform the solat at Masjid Nabawi, the pahala will be equivalent to satu kali umrah. However this time round, sadly the time was short, we could only go to Quba once.


Bukit Uhud

Later we went to the kurma supermarket and pasar kurma (two separate places, the former a bit exclusive with air condition) where we bought dates setakat perlu. Beloved husband reminded me what happened on our last visit. The last time we went there, we over-purchased the dates which resulted in us paying hundreds of riyals due to excess weight.

At the kurma supermarket they sell other delicacies for e.g. cashew nuts, buah zaitun, buah tin, apricot and chocolates. They say the other pasar kurma near the mosque sells cheaper dates. This time round we just bought kurma Nabi, a kilo each of the Ajwa and the Ambah, some apricot, cashew nuts, pistachios, buah tin and chocolates. As for the kurma Nabi, it is believed that those who eat 7 pieces of Ajwah a day will be protected from any kind of sihr.

Kurma and other delicacies mart

Pokok kurma

As mentioned earlier, for this trip, our stay in Madinah was short because we only spent three days there, which means that night, it would be our last night. I was overwhelmed with sadness. Since that night was the last of the Madinah memory, I was determined to visit Raudhah again. So when husband came back from his nasi mandi feast with his friends, I was subconsciously awaked and I thought it was a good time to check out Raudhah, and so Raudhah I went.

It was 2 am i.e. about an hour before Raudhah closed for Suboh prayers. There were not that many people waiting outside. I only had to wait about 10 minutes and the batch before us exited. I quickly rushed into the heavenly area. Initially I prayed in the middle of the area and slowly I progressed to the front. When I reached the very front, an Arab looking lady (not sure her origin) told me to solat next to her, and she would make sure that nobody disturbed me. Alhamdulillah, bersyukur and seolah-olah tak percaya. I prayed and prayed, and didn’t know for how long. By the end of it, the Arab looking lady, without fear still guarding me from any unpredicted encroachment. Subsequently, it got into me that I have prayed long enough that I should be letting others to pray next. The lady was still there, sitting and raising both her hands, praying to Allah.

I was lost for words. I hugged the Arab lady and gave her a kiss. I exited from Raudhah and performed the solat syukr. I was confounded with joy because indeed it was a memorable and blessed night. Allah is Great!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Good Luck Alina

All the best ALINA in your UPSR.
We know you have studied very hard, so break a leg!!

A stint of regret on Mama's part, .... looking back, I should have spent more time coaching you. Our doas are for you dear, therefore no worries. All should be a OK!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Aidilfitri 1431 H

My maidless situation is never to dampen our raya spirits this year. My maid left for good three days before 1 Syawal. With me not having able to take leave this raya, it was tiring and challenging to juggle between work and tending to the needs of the loved ones on the last few days of Ramadhan and on Aidilfitri. The replacement is still in absentia. God knows when she will arrive, or will she ever arrive!!

In my busy-ness of cooking, cleaning the house and ironing at the moment, I am finding some time to upload some lovely pics during the Raya.

Our theme is blue this year. We didn't realise that it turned out lovely.

Ha... siapa yang banyak buat salah ni....

The clan at parents-in-laws.

One of the uniqueness this raya, my 5th Ace, Alim Erfan's 8th birthday.
(thanks Zai for the Ben 10 cupcakes, Alim and the rest loved them)

At Emak's house in Seremban.

The following pics, were taken level by level, started off with 2nd generation, 3rd generation and 4th generation. At this instance, there are almost 60 persons in Emak's house. Itupun tak semua yang ada. Family from Uncle Kassim my arwah Abah's brother, from arwah Abah's sister, Mak Yan (she was not well and could not join the joy of celebration with us), arwah Abah's sister Induk plus the nieces and nephews and to those yang not able to make it, near and far (as far as Buenos Aires), we missed you. Laksa Penang which I cooked and Mee Hailam which Kay cooked were just enough for the 60 of us.

The first Aidilfitri for the additional members of the family, Nasiruddin or whom we call "fishball", my brother's 3rd child and Ehsan, my lil' sis 4th son.

Once Amalina [read : Amalina & Amrin's Wedding], my cousin's daughter gives birth to this one, insha Allah in Oct, I will be an Uwan. Uwan TM, perghhhh... vogue betul Uwan ni nanti!

Balik kampung @ Batu Kikir (a kampung related to what Ito of Blues Gang sang in his song Apo Nak Di Kato --->> "jambatan bosi")

Of course the guraus senda and gelaks ketawa.

Maaf Lahir and Batin from us :D

Hope your Aidilfitri was an enjoyable one! Jangan lupa puasa 6, and I am reminding myself too.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Selamat Hari Lebaran 1431H

To all the Muslim friends; bloggers or silent readers
Semoga bahagia di hari yang mulia ini
Taqqabballahu Minna Wa Minkum :)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Activities in Madinah (Part 1)

When I went to Raudhah that morning with Ibuk Sham, the guide, I didn't know whether the old visiting system or the new one is better. Previously, the ziarah times for women at Raudhah was morning around 7 am to about 11.00 am before Dhuhr, and 2 pm until before Asr. The jemaahs will rush in, into near the Makam and subsequently into Raudhah. It was be a big rush obviously. For men, it is open at all times. People will just assess how the situation is in Raudhah by waiting at the outer side of Raudhah. Rasa-rasa dah tak ramai...., masuk. Then the move escalates from behind to front where the barricade is. You can stay in Raudhah as long as you want if you are able to fend the push and the whoosh especially from the big Arab women.

Since perhaps 2 years ago, the visit system to Raudhah has changed. The visiting times for women have changed. There is an additional visit for women at night i.e. from 12 midnite to almost Suboh times (previously Masjid Nabawi was closed after midnite until about Suboh). Apart from that, the jemaahs are divided into groups of Iranians, Arabs, Indians and Malays. Maybe there are more groups but I only realised these ones. Indonesians, Singaporeans, Bruneians and Malaysians fall into the Malays category. What will happen is, you have to wait for your turn to be called. There is no special order hence I found the waiting time to be irksome. Towards the end of the visiting times, although it is for eg Malays turn, they still allow the others to join.

As one enters Raudhah, one wishes salam to Nabi and sahabah because Raudhah is just next to the Makam.

My visit that morning was almost at the end of the allowable time before Dhuhr. Initially we thought it was just us Malays, but half way in Raudhah after visiting the Makam, we were rushed by the ...not sure who... they were either from Turkey, Yemen or Algeria. One of them just sondol her a** and solat infront of me whilst I was performing my solat. I was furious. I insisted that I continue praying and she suddenly pushed me and said "Haram, haram!".

I argued by exchanging sign language, she still insisted to lug her big a** infront of me, and annoyed, I left. Exited and slowly I went in again from the other side. This time round, I was able to go into further front and solat a while longer. Alhamdulillah. You see it takes some strategy too to go in. You just need to doa like Rabbi Yassir Wala Tu 'Assir or Hasbi Allahi Tawwakalllah Huwal Rabbul'arshil Azim i.e untuk dipermudahkan and bertawakkal kepada Allah.

Raudhah is the taman Syurga. It is not that big, about 144 metres square. It is the place in between the houses of Siti Aishah and Saudah, Nabi Muhammad's wives and the mosque mimbar. In the Hereafter, the Raudhah will be moved to the Heaven. There are five beams here and it is within these five beams that one pray and doa, It is distinct from the other part of Masjid because the carpet is green, and it is wangi.

As I prayed and sujud, indeed there is this sweet scented smell which I am not sure how to describe, Argggh... I am so missing the place. Raudhah is one of the places where our doa is mustajab. Hence it explains why the all-time-crowd, other than Nabi previously solat di sini.

Apparently the same night, beloved husband had to bring in the pakcik whose son was deported. The pakcik was 70 + and appear lost and oblivious. The time was after terawikh and he was not sure how to brace the crowd. Alhamduliilah, bringing in the pakcik, he was able to solat close to the mimbar behind the pakcik, The pakcik solat right at the mimbar. The guards as a matter of fact, called them to be at the front. Rezki masing-masing, and rezki menolong orang tua.

After Asr, we can find many stalls selling the goodies. Mind you this is in the hot blazing sun!

In the evening as we prepared ourselves for berbuka and made our way to the mosque, we saw many invites to the berbuka spread.

At Masjid Nabawi, we would berbuka at the mosque first, solat terawikh and later berbuka with a hefty feast at the hotel. At the mosque it would be just dates, air zam zam, roti Arab, labban (yogurt), chai and qahwah. The roti Arab delicioulsly blends with the serunding which I brought and shared with the other jemaahs. They were sceptical to eat initially but later succumbed for more. I learnt that if you can't finish the dates or roti Arab, don't throw them away, otherwise you will be subjected to the wrath of the Arabs. You can politelly leave them on your plate and someone will collect and give them away.

The first night of terawikh for me was really challenging. Because of the time difference and not adjusting to the local times yet, had to really keep my eyes wide open especially the 10 rakaat ke atas.

There was this Arab lady who solat next to me. She was holding and reading the Quran throughout the terawikh. After prayers, as she was about to leave, I just felt like striking a conversation with her. I saw she had an English novel apart from the Quran.

"Do you speak English?", I asked.

"Yes", she said.

"What was the imam reciting during terawikh?", I didn't know what else to ask other than I thought the imam was reciting An Nissaa i.e. the surah I was reading then and I neede some confirmation.

"Surah An Nissaa", she replied.

"By the way, are you local?," I asked again.

"I am an Arab but live in London. We are here for the Ramadhan. It is summer in London and I am having my break. I work in London."

"Ah, ok. Have a pleasant stay here", somehow I was amazed.

"You too", she smiled as she stood and made her way out.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Journey To Madinah

When we arrived at KLIA that Friday, 13th August, we knew that we were the odd one out. We saw the other jemaahs on the same flight having only one luggage and one hand carrier, whilst ours..???? Gosh, we were with 3 bags full! My parents-in-law sent us to the airport and when we were tucking in the bags into the boot, we realized that perhaps it was just too many things that we had brought with us.

They were in the list, I argued with beloved husband; ihram 2 pasang, telekung 2 pasang, towel, baju etc, toiletries and vitamins. With two of us, we needed two bags. OK, OK. I also brought the serunding, the maggi mee, the milo sachets, hmmm apa lagi, hangers 12 butir, sabun basuh :), 2 plates, fork spoon and knife, sunblock, heel balm, lip balm, and surely we needed that kan. Beloved husband was already grumbling claiming that he should have packed, and not left everything to me. This was not the first time we packed for our umrah. I can’t recall whether we had brought that much in the previous trips. It was embarrassing to line up of three bags at the check-in counter, and luckily there was no excess kilos.

My sister, Kay was thoughtful enough to drop by at the airport and informed me that my children were already missing me, after she read the posts on fb. Urggghhh… can I survive being away from them. Lucky Emak was at home to take care of them for approximately two weeks. Good luck to her! Nak layan kerenah tiga serangkai tu, plus two when the two kakaks come back from the boarding school during weekends.

The Saudi flight which we took was a KLIA-Jeddah flight, although we wished we were on the KLIA-Madinah flight. The latter was more relaxed as one doesn’t have to take the bus from Jeddah to Madinah which could consume almost 5 hours journey. As we departed at KLIA at 3 pm, obviously iftar was performed on the airplane. I remembered the last time I went for umrah during Ramadhan in 2004 where, MAS flight attendants sort of explained that we have a choice, either to break fast according to Malaysia time or destination time i.e. Jeddah time. I was then travelling with an ustaz friend and he told me that if we think it was mudarat to berbuka following Saudi time, which is 5 hours later, we can berbuka following Malaysia time. So I did.

However, this time round, there was quite a big chaos of uncertainty. One of the flight attendants who happen to be a malay, cynically put it to us that at 1930 hours Malaysia time, it was still Zuhr in Saudi, in fact they initially were reluctant to serve us food. There were some passengers who insisted that we wait til we reach Jeddah whilst some claimed that we can already eat . It was quite a fiasco. I ate about half an hour after Malaysia berbuka time because I didn’t want to trigger my gastric. That I believe can be considered, takut mudarat.

A Mak Cik S seated next to me, initially wanted to wait until we reach Jeddah but 2 hours later after most of us broke their fast, Mak Cik S felt hungry and asked for food. She didn’t want to break her fast earlier because she wanted to “temankan” the girl seated on the other side of her to berbuka at Jeddah. Poor Mak Cik S, when she requested for food, there was no more rice and she had to settle with spaghetti!

We reached Jeddah almost iftar time in Saudi. Beloved husband and I managed to clear immigration in no time. As the azan Maghrib was berkumandang, the immigration at their whim just closed the counters, leaving the other jemaahs to be kept in a lurch. Well what’s new with the immigration there, kan. For those yang in the queue and belum berbuka tu, they have to bersila on the floor in the queue eating their food. Kesian sangat, the makciks and pakciks who must be in their 60s or 70s. My mouth kept uttering Alhamdulillah (for us) and Subhana Allah (for them).

It took the rest about 2 1/2 hours to clear immigration and customs. It was not normal according to the representatives from the package agent. Later we realized that four people from the same package were not in the bus en route Madinah. Apparently the four; i.e. father, mother, son and daughter in law got stranded with the immigration because there was technical error in the visa imprint of the son who is the mahram. The son had to be deported to Malaysia to get the visa rectified and return back to Saudi. All expenses paid by the Saudi government. The other three would still need to fill up some documentations and will only travelled to Madinah later when all are complete.

I could not sleep during the journey, thinking about the fate of the four. My mind boggled, what if it were us. Troublesome nya. People say umrah or haji ni, tidak lah susah because they are more of what we do i.e. perbuatan kita, not so much what we recite, but the challenges associated with them are sometimes unexplainable.

Mid journey, we reached the pit stop, the R & R. It was good to stretch your legs in a bit. The stops along the journey have not changed much from the time I performed my hajj in 2000. I thank Allah for giving us the highway authorities and concessionares in Malaysia and their keprihatinan (although admittedly ada jugak complain especially masa cuti sekolah and public holiday on mega celebration) because what they have at the R&R along that particular highway is somewhat, a humble and basic one.

As we approached Kota Madinah, my heart leaped as I saw the green kubah, Underneath is where makam Nabi Muhammad s.a.w. and his sahabah Abu Bakr As Sidiq and Umar ibnu Khattab. Selawat dan salam ke atas junjungan Nabi kita. It is unbelievable that I was back in Madinah again.

The hotel where we stayed was just about 150 metres away from the Babun Nisaa of Masjid Nabawi. What struck me was at 3 am as we alight the bus, the weather was warm, warmer than KL in the afternoon. After checking in and sahur, we made our way to Masjid Nabawi and all the kesyukuran was said to the Yang Maha Esa.

In the rush to go for Suboh prayers and my absentmindedness, I forgot to leave my compact camera behind. Hence, during the body and bag search upon entry into Masjid Nabawi, the guardian lady in black robe and burqa was furious. I tried to explain that it was not my intention to snap any photos, and ignoring me, she shouted “Keluar! Keluar!” (wah, pandai cakap Melayu dia ni, I whispered in frustration) Didn’t want to make a scene of my first entry into Masjid Nabawi this trip, I rushed back to the hotel. Thank God, it wasn’t that far away and I was doing a 100 metres sprint.

I was actually with another makcik who called herself Mek when I entered. Mek came with his son Mahmud. It was their first time there, beloved husband accompanied Mahmud whilst Mek was clinging helplessly to me. When I was di usir keluar I pleaded to the guardian in black “Ummi, taiyyib” and so she let Mek go. After doing my 100 metres sprint and being allowed entry, God help us, Mek was still there at the door searching high and low for me. Then I knew that I was destined to take care of her during this trip.

I entered Masjid Nabawi sambil berdoa, “Ya Allah, bukakanlah untuk ku pintu rezki Mu” and there I felt the peacefulness. I said salam to Rasul s.a.w and instantly I knew that he knew that I had come to visit and that he was listening.