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Di Bawoh Rang Ikang Kering
Random Ramblings of A Retired Retainer

PILGRIMS PROGRESS-JEDDAH

Friday, December 10, 2004

(Continued from The Wait. WARNING: LONG POST)
At around
half past 11, 5 hours after landing, someone came to pick me up. No apologies, no explanations even though he could speak English. The gentleman didn't even offer to take my luggage into the GMC Suburban. Patience, man patience. You are on pilgrimage.

I was taken to Holiday Inn Al Salam which was to be our home base for the whole trip. I was given a room which later I shared with Pak Masduki Attamami from ANTARA, The Indonesian News Agency.

By dinner time all the guests from the media organisations all over the world arrived. Among them a Palestinian editor from Ramallah, senior editor of a Cairo paper, a journalist from Radio Orient of France, a TV bigwig from Tunisia, an officer from Radio TV Brunei, a gentleman from Sri Lanka who have been invited many times before, a Muslim from a Macedonian newspaper and many media officers from Central Asia and Africa. The guest from Sudan even came with his TV crew. I didn't meet any media people from Iran, Iraq, Syria or Turkey.

The first week was filled with visits to places that were to be showcased. We visited The Port of Jeddah, The Catering facilities of Saudi Arabian Airlines (wonderful lunch), Okaz newspaper plant, Jeddah's new Industrial Estate and the Islamic Development Bank headquarters. I shook hands and chatted with the President, Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali, a brilliant and a humble man. IDB introduced the coupon system to fully utilize the meat of the animals sacrificed (qurban) during each hajj season. Instead of the pilgrims buying the animals, arranging for them to be slaughtered on their behalf and then distributing the meat to the poor, IDB would undertake all that. All the pilgrims have to do is to go to any of the designated banks, buy the coupon for qurban or dam (penalty) and make the niat (declaration of intention). IDB buys the animals, slaughter them and distribute the meat to the poor people in Africa or wherever they see fit. Wastage is avoided.

When not taken on official tours, we took the hotel shuttle to Corniche, one of Jeddah's many malls to shop or window shop or we explored the souks. Each day we wondered when are we going to start our haji even though all the shopkeepers called us haji already. After midnight, I gave a live report over Radio Muzik's morning shows using the phone in the Press Center. I used tit bits about the hajj gleaned from the English language papers. Gary (Scamboy) Ratnam, the dj, trying very hard to be in my good book, introduced each report with the sound effect of a jet landing. I made my hosts happy even though they could not hear the broadcast.

One afternoon, after returning from another trip to Corniche we were told to pack for the trip to Madinah. At last! The real pilgrimage begins after all. We were given an ihram (the seamless terrycloth sheets) and a belt each. I should have left my 2 ihrams home.

Madinah Al Munawarah is 264 miles/425 km from Jeddah and 308 miles/490 km from Makkah Al Mukarramah. We set off in a mini bus. After refreshments at a dingy truck stop somewhere in the desert we reached Oberoi Hotel in Madinah. We were just in time for maghrib. After getting our room and performing maghrib, we were feeling hungry and proceeded to the restaurant. We were politely told that dinner would only be served after isya'. Fair enough, we thought. It would give us time to pray at Masjid Nabawi, the Prophet's (s.a.w.) mosque. But where is the mosque?

We took the lift down, got out and there was the mosque. Oberoi is next door to the 3rd Holiest Mosque in the Muslim world. Alhamdullillah. (see the pic from the hotel window that I took the next day. Kervin , don't laugh. The Olympus mju was bought at Subang airport at the beginning of the trip. Not enough time to experiment.)

The mosque was naturally crowded. It is the hajj season after all. We stood at the edge of the crowd for a few minutes before being beckoned one by one by kind souls who made room for us.

Like all pilgrims before me and I m sure after me too, I silently praised and thanked Allah. By Allah's Grace, I could pray here, in the mosque that the Prophet himself built and where he himself prayed.

"A salaat performed in the Prophet's Mosque is better than a thousand salaats in any other place except Masjid al-Haram in Makkah" - Bukhari and Muslim.
All pilgrims would want to pray at least 40 waktu in this magnificent mosque. Alas, we could not.
"The person who offers 40 prayers consecutively in my Mosque, without missing a prayer in between, will secure immunity from the fire of Hell and other torments and also from hypocrisy." - reported by Hazrat Anas
During dinner I was asked if I visited Raudhah Al Shariff, where the Prophet's Tomb is. The prophet said:
"The person who performs Hajj and then visits my Tomb, will be regarded as though he had seen me in my worldly life."
I choked on my chicken. Astaghfirullah al azim. What has come over me? I had completely forgotten about the Prophet's tomb. I consoled myself that I could pay my respects tomorrow. Alas, the hosts had other things planned and Allah planned other things for me. The memory lapse was like a warning.

(More tomorrow)

| 12:30 AM :: ::
24 CommentsOldStyle:
  • Pok Ku:

    Many thanks for sharing yr hajj experience. I will certainly wait patiently for tomorrow entry.

    SK

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:45 AM  
  • cant wait!
    dusyum.fotopages.com

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:06 AM  
  • Pok Ku it's a lovely picture in my books, nicely framed, subject highlighted and tones subdued :D It's been a pleasure reading about your journey there can't wait for the next installment. Pity I can't enter the Holy cities, would've loved to have a field day with photos there.

    By Blogger Kervin, at 8:08 AM  
  • Pok Ku it's a lovely picture in my books, nicely framed, subject highlighted and tones subdued :D It's been a pleasure reading about your journey there can't wait for the next installment. Pity I can't enter the Holy cities, would've loved to have a field day with photos there.

    By Blogger Kervin, at 8:10 AM  
  • More please,Mr.Pok Ku sir..this is good stuff.

    Did you eat those ayam golek bakar? Ate so much of it that we had a severe tummy ache on our last day there *sigh*

    By Blogger lion3ss, at 8:13 AM  
  • Urhh, it's like reading "Harry Potter". can't wait for next episode. --md

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:05 AM  
  • pok ku, wish I'll be able to go there. Nih nok makang pong tak dok pitih. :(

    By Blogger atiza, at 10:11 AM  
  • Waktu mak saya balik haji dulu pun dia bercerita tentang keseronokan dapat bersembahyang di masjid Nabawi. Terasa betapa kecilnya kita bila di sana.

    Mak jugak kata lantai masjid tu sejuk betul.

    Alhamdulillah waktu mak pergi tak ada masalah langsung. Semuanya lancar.

    Sepatutnya mak bawak saya sebab abah dah tak ada, tapi waktu tu masih muda dan takut-takut (Tak cukup persediaan).

    Insya'Allah kalau ada rezeki nanti rasanya nak pergi buat umrah dulu.

    By Blogger Aku Tak Reti, at 10:33 AM  
  • Pok Ku,
    ..catatan pok ku mengingatkan kembali kenangan di sana dan menggamit hati utk kesana lagi, teruskan.

    By Blogger madcap, at 11:38 AM  
  • md's right, this is like waiting for the next harry potter book...tell me more! tell me more! :)

    Leen@xanga.com/ashburn

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:50 AM  
  • Alamak Pokku, don'tell me I have to wait...again. I can only read your post on Monday...arrrgghhh

    By Blogger Yeen Hashim, at 12:24 PM  
  • I seriously think that the picture you took was good. well framed and all.
    Pok Ku macam tunggu cita bangsawan kat radiolah...

    By Blogger Lollies, at 4:22 PM  
  • SK: InsyaAllah
    dusyum: What to do, long story!
    Kervin: Thank you. It is an autoexposure camera.
    lion3ss:Didn't try that chicken. Tried the Taza chicken at the Hilton Hotel outlet.
    md: LOL! Ada magic juga. Tunggu.
    atiza: InsyaAllah, bil atiba masanya sampai jua.
    Akutakreti: Lantai sejuk sebab di "aircond" dari bawah.
    madcap: Pok Ku pun nak pergi semula bila ada rezeki.
    Leen: Heheh! Just finished tomorrow's post. Wait for it.
    Yeen: Not sure if the whole saga is going to end on Monday.
    LollieS: Thank you. I guess there is still a bit of the art teacher in me.

    By Blogger Bustaman, at 5:18 PM  
  • Saya setuju dengan Lillie.. say siap teringat lagu latar cerita drama radio masa zaman saya cebudak dulu.

    Reading this Pok Ku's series on Hajj makes me wonder thought. On how it will be when its my time to performed it. Am I prepared for it? Am I even worth to go to perform Hajj? A lot of ponderings for this young Cob to do tonight. But, as always.. Pok Ku have done it again. Another Jem have been unearth. Domo Arigatou

    By Blogger Sham, at 6:13 PM  
  • pok ku, the more i read, the more interesting it gets. thanks for sharing your personal experiences in the holy land. kalau ada rezeki, kita pon nak pegi sana juga! insya Allah.

    anyway, i just found out that you were nominated for best malaysian blog. goto http://simonworld.mu.nu/archives/056981.php
    my [X] for you!

    By Blogger 3six7, at 6:15 PM  
  • NonameBaka: Cerita panjang. Tak boleh post sekaligus nanti lengoh orang nak baca.
    Mengerjakan haji boleh selama 40 hari atau kurang. 3 minggu pun boleh. InsyaAllah, lambat laun sampai juga.
    3six7: Ada rezeki, sampai juga! Thank you for the support.

    By Blogger Bustaman, at 7:01 PM  
  • Salams Pok Ku .. :)

    I've been slowly but diligently reading all of your postings (I have only just chanced upon yoru blog last week, via Jordan's blog), and am truly in awe. Your current series on your Hajj is also very touching, because I just returned from my 2nd umrah with hubby. This 2nd umrah of mine was very meaningful, and my hubby and I have set out goals to perform our Hajj soonest possible. Your series on the Hajj makes me blissfuly reminisce and hubby reads them too. :) Please keep the beautiful stories and recollections coming, they are awaited with much anticipation.

    -b-

    By Blogger Ms.B, at 7:44 PM  
  • Blabarella: Thank you for stopping by and for the kind words. InsyaAllah, you will enjoy the full hajj soon.

    By Blogger Bustaman, at 7:53 PM  
  • this entry brought back memories of my arwah mom's umrah before she passed on. i look forward to your next entry!

    By Blogger kudo, at 8:52 PM  
  • ursamadre: Thanks for stopping by. InsyaAllah, there will be more about the hajj tomorrow.

    By Blogger Bustaman, at 9:17 PM  
  • Pok Ku: As always, beautiful post. Patiently wait for your next entry. Thank you for sharing.
    Today, I had lunch with a friend who's going for Haj & I'm the one who's more excited as if I'm the one going! :)

    By Blogger Honeytar, at 10:42 PM  
  • Pok Ku. I do envy your patience in writting such a wonderful post. Kudos to you and do keep up the good work ya! Since the place is the last that my late dad visited, i'm looking forward to reading more of your experience tomorrow ;)

    Cheers!!! :D

    By Blogger hyelbaine, at 10:53 PM  
  • Honeytar: It is my pleasure. I hope you will be as excited when it is your turn to do the haj.
    hylebaine: Welcome back! I am sure, one day in the near future you will retrace your abah's steps in the Holy Land. InsyaAllah.

    By Blogger Bustaman, at 11:18 PM  
  • Free Black Greeting Card

    By Blogger TexasDude, at 11:22 AM  
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