I had put off writing this post for quite a while.
Not that there wasn't much to say, but because there was too much to say that in the state of disorientation that i was in after touching down in Malaysia, I was worried that i would not do the story justice. Now that i've settled down to the normal routine of things, the whole picture kind of settles, and i'm allowed to appreciate the experience as a whole and not as some jumbled up highly emotional pieces.
And highly emotional it was.
Visiting places with so much historical content, and not just any history, religious history, really helps you appreciate and understand the ibadat that is asked of you. Real places, where real events happened, that you usually hear the ustaz talk about in ceramah agama kat masjid, or in the CD's that my mom always buys. To see them in from of you, to be there and to appreciate their importance, can really touch you.
My family was lucky enough to be able to visit all three mosques, Al Aqsa, Al-Nabawi , and Haram. We were not allowed ample time in Aqsar, given the current condition of things. Getting there took us through countless checkpoints with armed guards. The jemaah lelaki were all allowed to pray Jumaat prayers there. Rezeki mereka Alhamdulillah. The women prayed in the adjacent Dome of the Rock. We only stayed overnight in Baitulmaqdis in which we also visited the Western Wall, and Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where Jesus was supposedly crucified, according to Christian beliefs. I must say though, this church was stunningly beautiful and rustic.
We then visited Madinah where we stayed for 3 days. I loved Madinah, to the point that the thought of migrating there didn't strike me as such a bad idea. Our Hotel thankfully was situated pretty close to the Nisa' gates. We reached around subuh, and that was when we gave our first salam to Rasulullah saw outside Raudah. I must say this was the turning point of the whole trip. This was when it really hit me. Realizing that I was giving salam, to our last prophet, and that that salam would be answered by no other but himself. How can that not be overwhelming?
The feeling of Al-Nabawi is very serene. Very calm. And the people are good honest people. It was no wonder that the Prophet loved Madinah so much.
We made our niat at Miqat Bir Ali. The whole Jemaah in white, reciting labaikallah in the bus all the way to Mekah. We reached at 10 pm, and proceeded with Tawaf and Sa'ie till a little over one. My first glimpse of the Kaabah was shocking. I was told that when you forget everything at the sight of the house of Allah, you must at least remember to recite syahadah, the absolute core.
We stayed in Mekah for 8 days. 8 days full of trials, tribulations, revelations and understanding. Alhamdulillah, our jemaah was lucky enough to be guided by two Ustaz as well as another 2 additional mutawifs from Mekah. I had initially felt frightened that once in Mekah I would be lost and not know what to do. But Alhamdulillah, once you're there, once the sole priority becomes untuk beribadat, all things fall into place.
Being in a place where nothing else matters except giving yourself up to Allah swt. Life, suddenly becomes so simple. Like it all makes so much sense. Where faith alone upholds a whole community. Where when people speak, there are only praises to Allah swt and praises to our Prophet Muhammad saw. Where women are modest and men are.. well men. Mekah is like an isolated haven, untouched by modern madness and urgency. And though so many different Islamic teachings reside in Mekah, there is still that unity you feel when the Imam angkat takbir for prayer.
Mekah is simply Amazing.
Thus, returning to Malaysia, after being kept away from the reality of life for more than 2 weeks, I guess i was caught between to distinct worlds, and not knowing how to merge them together. There was also this sense of loss and a certain feeling of panic.. Would i have the strength to istiqamah?
There is still much that i must learn. Still too much that I am rather clueless about when it comes to religion. But I am more than thankful to be given the opportunity to experience what I did. And hopefully, panjang umur murah rezeki I can return there dengan lebih ilmu di dada untuk beramal. Insya'Allah...