Friday, June 25, 2010

The black stone from paradise

Being chosen as the guest of honour of Allah is blissful. My humble gratefulness to the Almighty for enabling me to step foot on Masjidilharam in the holy city of Makkah.

The journey from Madinah started after we had done our zohor prayer and taken our lunch. The bus took around 8 hours to reach Makkah. We stopped by at Bir Ali Mosque in Zulhulaifa to set our intention for Umrah and prayed solat sunat ihram.

We reached Makkah at about 9pm. We had our dinner and checked into our rooms. By 11pm we gathered at the hotel lobby to perform our umrah together. We completed the umrah around 3a.m. We took quite a long time since we had to wait for others who were first timers. Besides, the crowd was huge at these hours since the weather was cooler during subuh. We walked back to the hotel and returned to Masjidilharam around 4a.m. for subuh prayer. We did another umrah in the evening on the same day. We went to Tanaim around 6pm. and started to tawaf before maghrib. This time around we completed our umrah at about 10.30pm.
We thought of having a day off on the following day but after learning that we were going to have our miqat from Jaaranah enticed us to perform another umrah. Alhamdulillah, we started our umrah after zohor. The tawaf and saie were easy since there were not so many people when the weather was hot.

The following morning I told my sisters that I was going to perform tawaf sunat and solat sunat at hijr Ismail. If possible I would try to kiss the hajar aswad. Around 7.30a.m. we headed to masjidilharam. Alhamdulillah everything went smoothly. My sisters and I were able to kiss the black stone. First I let my sister made her attempt. Once she was done I helped to pull her hand so that she was able to free herself from the crowd. Then, I told my sister to go straight to hijr Ismail while I made my attempt to kiss the stone. Unfortunately I found myself being pushed farther away. So I decided to do my prayer in Hijr Ismail first before I proceed with my second attempt. Alhamdulillah I succeeded.

If you wish to kiss the stone, make sure you are free from ihram first. It is best if you could do it after you have performed tawaf sunnah. When you have completed your last lap of tawaf, you have to get yourself closer to Multazam (between hajar aswad and the door of kaabah). While standing, say your prayers. Then, get yourself closest possible to the door of kaabah and move yourself to the left with the crowd of the ladies. Make sure you are able to penetrate the crowd until you stand right infront next to kaabah. Hold tight to the stone where the guard is standing observing the pilgrims. Chant "Rabbi yassir wa laa tu 'assir Rabbi tanmim bil khair" many times as you move closer to hajar aswad. Keep holding tight to the stone even though you feel that you have been nudged, pushed, pulled or brushed. You will finally find yourself closest to hajar aswad and able to kiss the stone. Once your mission is accomplished, move away from the crowd by turning right. Do not go back to the same way you walked in. Raise one hand high up and yell "khuruj". You will find some ladies will pull your hand and help you to get out of the crowd. So remember to move in from the door of kaabah to the left and move out from the centre of the crowd in between the ladies and the men. If you feel that you are not confident during your first attempt and you kept on being pushed away farther from the stone, retreat and pray that Allah will guide you through. Then, repeat the same strategy and move in again from the door of kaabah. Insyaallah your prayers will be answered. Once you are able to kiss hajar aswad, you will feel that you just won a battle and the victory is yours.

You will find there will be around 3-4 indonesian ladies offering to help you kiss the stone. If you accept their offer, don't be surprised that they will demand some sort of a payment. To me, it is about you... about me as an individual to struggle for myself and to be able to fight for my right and grab the opportunity laid right in front of me without being dependent on others.

Nevertheless you have to bear in mind that the act of kissing hajar aswad is only sunnah. If the condition around you does not allow you to do it (the crowd was too violent for you to handle) or you yourself are not strong enough physically, then abort the mission. You will endanger yourself.

I can't and will not stop saying Alhamdulillah ... Alhamdulillah... Alhamdulillah. Allah is Great!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Roudhoh - the garden of paradise

My trip to Madinatul Munawwarah this time was a very short one - 2 and a half days only... the hotel is the farthest I have been living in throughout my trips so far. We stayed at Mawaddah AnNoor Hotel which is located at the far east of Masjid Nabawi AsSharif. Everytime I visited and prayed at the mosque I will never miss going to visit Rasulullah (may peace be upon him) and Roudhoh- the garden of paradise except during my visit in 2006 with the whole family because I had my mensus throughout my stay in Madinah.
Roudhoh is located between Rasulullah's (saw) house and his mimbar. I believe that the area of Roudhoh allocated for the men is more spacious as compared to the area for the ladies... So we ladies have to struggle every time we would want to visit and pray in Roudhoh.
Roudhoh for ladies is only between the two while beautiful poles. The colour of the carpet in Roudhoh is greenish white with small prints as compared to red used in the rest of the area in the mosque.

Besides Roudhoh, we also will not let go the opportunity to visit Rasulullah (saw) and to convey all the salams given by others from our homeland. You will find that your heart is so close to Rasulullah (saw)... tears will be streaming down voluntarily. Once you get this precious opportunity, don't forget to ask from Allah that you will be one of those who will receive 'shafaah' from Rasulullah (saw).

The mosque used to open up door no 22 (if I got it right) to ladies 2 times a day...after subuh and zohor. Door no 22 is meant for the men but ladies were allowed to go in from that door to visit Roudhoh and Maqam Rasulullah (saw) during the allocated time. If we go in from door 22, we will be able to see the green dome from outside. Under this dome is where the body of our beloved Rasulullah (saw) is placed to rest.

Well, that was then. During my recent visit, we could not do that anymore... at present, ladies could only enter Roudhoh from the inside .... meaning, we have to enter from door 25 (door Uthman ibn Affan) - ladies praying area and wait for the guards to pull out some sort of signboard which carries name of the country or language that you belong too. In my case, I have to look for a signboard which says "Bahasa Melayu" ... I guess that would include people from Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Thailand and the like. We will have to sit obediently among our groups and wait for our turn until the guard let us get up and walk towards Roudhoh. There will be one or two more pit stops for us to wait inside before we are allowed to struggle for a space to pray in Roudhoh. When the opening is made from the inside, normally, the guard will let the ladies from the Arab countries to go in first, then Egypt, Turkey, etc. The last will be the group of Bahasa Melayu. The main reason why they separated the groups is to avoid commotion and injury... our small frame is too fragile as compared to those from the Arab regions.

But why they put us last? I wonder... Why they put us as the last group to enter. We are the most obedient group. We sat when they asked us to sit. We waited when they instructed us to wait. We walked quietly when they led us inside.... we would normally pray 2 rakaahs and move away from out praying spot to allow others to have their turns ... Why can't we be the first group since we would not take long. We are not the extremists... crying, kissing and wiping the poles. If we were given the first turn, I bet nobody from our group will over stay or nudge or push others aside. I guess I got my answer... well it is just my personal opinion ....I think it is all due to Arab superiority. The Arabs think that they are superior as compared to other muslims especially as compared to us the Malaysians.... if they did not feel that way, they would give way to us - petite ladies from South East Asia. Well I just have to accept the situation with an open heart and mind since I know Allah knows best. It is a part and parcel of life that I have just to live by it.

If anyone really wants to visit Roudhoh and Rasulullah (saw), you have to sacrifice in skipping your breakfast, or lunch or dinner. You have to be at the waiting area immediately after those 3 prayers: subuh, zohor and isya' or otherwise you will miss the visit. I tell you.. it is not easy... the journey and the waiting test your physical and mental ability, your determination and your patience. The waiting could be very long... you will feel thirsty, hungry and sleepy... but you have to take charge, persevere and steadfast. Many would just walk away even though they have walked inside. Once you get the opportunity to go to Roudhoh make sure you bring yourself to the first saf. The guards will tell you to pray at the back and at the side and they will insist that it is Roudhoh. But... after the waiting... don't you want to give yourself the best reward? Just brisk yourself to the first saf right in front... wait for your turn. You might want to gently tap on the ladies's heads or shoulders if you see that they purposely prolong their prayers. You could also say "Yallah, hajjah.. bi sur'ah - solat ya hajjah' to indicate to them that there are more people waiting for their turn. Once you got your turn .. pray solat taubat or hajat or mutlak and ask for Allah's forgiveness. Then let others take your place so that they could also get a chance to pray.

Roudhoh is indeed beautiful... you will be mesmerised! It was worth all the waiting, the hunger, the tiredness and all the trouble faced. You will walk away with satisfaction, gratefulness and humbleness. Allah is GREAT!! ALLAHUAKBAR!!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Roof tops

Roof tops of the buildings in Cairo. The pictures were taken from the 13th floor of the hotel I stayed...Cairo Khan hotel which is located at 26th July Street, Cairo. I was really touched looking at the condition of the houses on most of the rooftops of the buildings in Cairo City. I wonder how the houses would look from the inside.. no air conditioner to stand the heat from summer and no heater to stand the coldness of winter....
Who lives there?
What do they do for living?
What about their children? How do they go to school?
The questions remain unanswered.....

Imagine if we have the same situation in Kuala Lumpur. Squatter houses on top of the skyscrapers in KL? Aren't we grateful?

Pharoah's tomb

I was pretty excited to see the pyramids for real. It is the second wonders of the world that I've visited (the first was the great wall of china). As my husband told me, once I have visited the pyramids, my journey to Egypt is considered complete... well yes I agree ...

There were 40 of us travelling with Tiram Tours. As we stepped out of the bus, a guy approached the group to offer some group photo at 25 egyption pound. I have no problem taking pictures but I will not buy the photo... the same situation I experienced at The Great Wall of China. I see no point of buying the picture as I have mine in my hand phone camera.

Then, while I was taking pictures with my children, Izzah and Afnan, two egyptian guys approached me. One of the guys gave me a piece of cloth with soft igal. "It is for you. It's free" he said. I refused to take it because I am very well aware that nothing is free but he put it in my hand. Then, he dragged Afnan farther away from the crowd which forced us to follow. I told him to stop 3 times. I told Izzah that I didn't like it and something fishy is going on. He finally stopped at one point and asked us to pose. He took our picture with Izzah's camera and insisted for some money for his effort. I told him too bad that I didn't ask for his help in the first place. He came close to Afnan and insisted that Afnan give him something..Malaysian note, bag, souvenirs...anything. I was mad and dragged my children back to the crowd. I told them to call my sister's husband hoping those two guys would walk away...and Alhamdulillah... he did as my brother in law approached us after he snatched the thing that he gave me for free in the beginning (funny!..) . Ironically, my brother in law got the same experience..his kopiah was snatched and not returned since he refused to give him something. Then, another friend related the same experience when his camera was being brought away but he was able to snatch it back from the Egyptian's hand. We can't help giggling thinking back the incidents and we concluded that the place is indeed haunted by the evil of the Pharaoh.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Without Me

I am going away for 2 weeks... but I am thinking what if I am going away for good.... would my absence make a difference? I just watched 'P.S. I Love You' on Astro and wonder how would life be without me being around my loved ones. Yup, my loved ones = the ones I loved. And the feelings are not necessarily mutual. So I guess they would be okay without me. They just need little time to get used to it... Therefore, without me nothing much would change ... the house could still be maintained. The kids could still take up the course they would want to excel in after SPM. Besides, my spouse is a better cook than I am ... so, I don't really have to worry much, right? After all he deserves a better wife. Someone tall whom he loves because he falls in love with her. I am convinced that life would go on just the same even without me.... Thank you for all the good memories and care. I would cherish forever.

Please forgive me for writing all these but I did not mean to hurt anybody with my writings. It is just my way of letting what has been cooped up inside me when the melancholic mode strikes every month. Well, never in my life I take things for granted. Having been given a verdict by a doctor that I may not live to see my kids grow up 8 years ago have taught me to appreciate life and people. I accept people's behaviour and attitude without conditions. I would let them do what they like best as long as they did not bring harm to themselves or to others. I would kiss and hug those whom I love dearly because I have always thought what if there would be no tomorrow for me ... what if that would be my last hug or kiss? *sigh* .... although sometimes I wish ...... they would hug and kiss me first. *smile and teary*

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Guest of Honour

Alhamdulillah ... Alhamdulillah... Alhamdulillah... May Allah guide me and the whole group I am travelling with to his blessings and maghfirah.