Monday, October 17, 2011

Day One- KLIA-Jeddah-Makkah

The journey was OK on a Saudi Airline. We were on the upper deck of B747—nothing special just less crowded. The journey took about 8 hours; it seems a long one but we mainly slept most of the time so it’s not so bad. They did not even put the movies on, buckeroo sungguh..but again pakcik makcik bakal haji don’t watch movies, right. So nothing much to do on this flight. I joined everyone and slept most of the way. Only to wake up whne they serve meals; one early into the flight and another one an hour before the landing. Which one was dinner and which one was a breakfast, I did not really care---airline food tastes the same regardless. With the iphone technology we managed to find the current time and place for Fajr prayers. It was over Kolkata, India when the Fajr Sidq was spotted. If you need more information on in-flight solat please go to where Ustaz Zaharuddin gives detail arguments on this issue. Tabung Haji practices “solat hormat waktu” for all the bakal haji; referring to doing the solat in your seat with or without wudhuk, facing to the front and then qadha it later on. I think that’s is too lenient for something very important such as solat.

In Jeddah

The Hajj terminal in Jeddah has changed since the last time we were here in 1998. During that time the ground was only a tarmac and with very minimal facilities. Everything has changed and beautifully renovated ( maybe not as much as KLIA but good enough to welcome these third world passengers). The immigration services has also improved with quick and pleasant hospitality.

The queue at the immigration check-point. We were through in less than half an hour.

The waiting area for those coming in from SE Asia and this part is for Malaysia. Quite comfortable and the toilet was clean too.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Into The Journey of a Lifetime (2)

Today is Friday; my last Friday before I shoot off to Mecca. The sermon was stale, tasteless as the hampas tebu outside the mosque. The young khatib read out the sermon like his form 3 presentation at school---I did not doze off but with that kind of sermon it was better off fly away with our thoughts to the never never land…..and date with Dorothy. I was excited really because earlier today I was given a clean bill of health by my doctor. I went for my final check-up and he was happy with my test result and of course I am happy too for myself. The adoption of strict regime of diet control and an array of medication have paid off. I pray to Allah for a continuous good health for the hajj.

I hope to finish up my packing by tonight. Nothing much really just to make sure that not a thing being left out. The news came in today that tabung haji can no longer transact money to bakal haji----those people are crazy and just to make things difficult for everybody because their banks would not get anything out of the transactions---and now they realize it and want the piece of the pie as well. But whatever it is most of us will have to carry a lot of cash. I did not get a chance to withdraw my money so I will go with whatever amount I have already, which is not that much. Mecca and Madinah are famous for shopping other than the places of worship----maybe this is not appropriate but some people can go @#$%! With the stuff and their price tags. Last time during the umrah trip a friend got a Rolex for under 2k, I have never seen a Rolex before so not sure that one was original or not, but I think so. I got a Rolex too for 50 rial, it’s broken and useless…what a waste. Can you fix it so the hand turns?, Nope! Said the Chinaman; why? ….. it’s fake, he said plainly. I hope I can control myself this time around and not too overly excited with shopping. No more fighting with Arab ladies and no more arguing with old makcik at the dining hall over a seat at the table. I will go with nothing to win, nothing to lose or nothing to fight for. I just want forgiveness from my Lord, a small space for my prayers, and a small opportunity to complete my hajj.

Another exciting stuff is food. Arabic cuisine is sumptuous, rich and superbly tasty, at least that’s what I think. Nothing close to the mandy dishes in Shah Alam. But to get one you have to fight your way in and beg to buy it like getting free stuff at a charity center, sometimes they just whuuuish you away with his Arabic or Turkish or whatever language that I knew it meant ---go away we are not selling! All the chicken burning in the oven and none for me…….hmmmm I just did not understand how these people work…….I mean buying food is not as simple as we used to in Malaysia, they have these weird ways of wheeling and dealing. Try buying food in a restaurant and you will know what I am talking about. But it was good I tell you. The cheap way around is to get yourself a big round of bread and eat it with butter or yogurt. I will try that this time around and see how long I can last. I don’t want to rely on food given by TH because you have to go back and forth for the meals and that means joining the big crowd every time you leave the mosque.
InsyaALlah, He will show the way……

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Into The Journey of a Lifetime (1)

Days are counting down for my wife and I to go on that trip again. The hajj trip. It isn’t our first time but the excitement seems to be mounting on until it has started to become an anxiety. Long journeys make me sweating at night and nervous like the time tok mudin was about to cut off that part of my penis. The time I wished the world should spin faster and faster. The good news came in early Shawal through a phone call saying that our plea to go for hajj this year has been considered and there might be a couple of seats if we are interested. From that moment onwards I just could not stop thanking the Almighty Allah for His blessings upon us. Although this would not be our first trip to Mecca; the opportunity to go back to the holy land alone is unbelievably ecstatic. Maybe some of us who had been there would understand the feeling of joy and serenity for being there; the place where it  all started. Then the rush began to do medical check up, making sure the passport is still valid and attending all the courses required for all bakal haji (future hajj). With that little time and short notice we managed to get everything done including the Kursus Perdana (the one they gathered everyone from the whole state and do the practical part of hajj.) Well, everything is practical in hajj but the simulation during this kursus really gave experience to some especially how to handle one self and the other half with the huge crowd. I followed this kursus as closely as I could, when the tears could not stop flowing I know this trip would not be the same as the previous ones. As if my soul and my mind were so happy for having this chance again. Alhamdulillah. Thank you Allah.

The medical report cleared me as a healthy bakal haji but I know it could turn otherwise in any moment of time. I pray to Allah for my wife and I to be healthy and strong throughout this trip. I went for a stress test and ran on that treadmill with my chest strapped down to a computer. I thought it was simple and easy ; but hey please don’t underestimate, the test was serious and strained your heart to the limit. The test started with an easy walk, then the speed was increased and the floor has slowly become an uphill track. I think the level was changed a few times during the test until I finally breathed through my nose and I was gulping for air to keep me running. Then it stopped at 98% performance with the blood pressure was clocked at 160/90 ( I don’t know why he did not go for 100% performance , the doctor never explained). I guess that’s good enough. The verdict was OK; my heart was able to function correctly with the pressure increases proportionately with the pace and came back down when the pace was slowed down. It’s supposed to function in that manner. However there is a slight abnormality (referred to as “borderline dilated”) of the heart due to my hypertension, it will take sometime to heal through medication, the doctor said. I am OK and feeling great so I hope will stay this way for a long time. But one thing I realize after that test is how vulnerable our heart really is. It’s soft and beating steadily 24/7; how come we don’t take a good care of it…someday it will stop beating you know. So I hope we can start now by eating well, exercise regularly and listen to our heart everyday. Every now and then let the doctor listen to the heart, he/she will tell you how healthy your heart is.

We also managed to do the khenduri as the way to tell everybody that we are going. I am not good at this really I mean I don’t know why I should let everybody know where I will be going—I will get nervous and all. But this time I just played along and invited everbody (well almost everybody). Only two out of all my 343 FB friends turned up.I guess it’s time to start a house cleaning and throw away some old furniture……hahahaha. Sorry bad joke!. They all sent me their well wishes instead, thank you all. It was a merry occasion, nonetheless, everyone in the neighborhood came over and wished my wife and I well. That’s all I asked for, I mean this is the first time we hold a khenduri since moving to this area about five years ago. I was happy to see them all. And I did not know that people give money too…..I felt so guilty as I never give money to people going haji…..I guess I should’ve learnt my lesson well.

My friends and colleague at the faculty have also conveyed their well wishes over and over again…until I decided to take an early cuti before the departure. People are so nice I really don’t know what/how to respond. I guess that’s our culture and traditions that our people have been practicing for a long time . Anyway, the preparation has come along very nicely I think. The work at the faculty has been handed over for the time, the classes have been rescheduled, the food has been stocked for a good one month or so, the kids are in order insyaAllah, the cars….well ..both are not well, one has a broken bearing and another a broken a/c compressor with a 3K price tag so let it be for a while, the cats have their food and litter box in order……..hmmmm..I guess that’s it…..I can start putting on the bracelet and try out the ihram cloth. It’s a bit tricky with the ihram cloth because you wear it without the underwear… you know….when my friend got breezy you will easily get a hard-on, an old man with his dick sticking out isn’t a pretty thing to see, need to practice so my friend will get used to without the undergarment. Things will be okay InsyaALlah.

To tell you the truth, I just can’t wait to get on that plane. I will be there for 44 days and that’s quite a long time to be away from everything back home. I don’t know what to expect…this time I really and completely leave everything to Allah.
LabbaikaALlah hummalabaik
Labbaikala syari kala kala baik
Innal hamda wa nikmata
La syarikalah

Moga Allah mempermudahkan segala urusan kami
Memberi kekuatan dan kesabaran mengharungi segala cabaran
Dengan hati yang tenang dan terbuka
Bersama jiwa yang bersyukur dan hati penuh taqwa
Kami datang ya Allah dalam keringat dosa
Mengharap keampunan dan kerahmatan Mu
Kami datang sebagai bukti hanya Mu Tuhan Maha Agung
Mengikut jejak amalan para rasul dan anbia
Mungkin pengorbanan ini kecil tapi inilah yang termampu
Terimalah doa dan pengorbanan ini Ya Allah
Dari insan kerdil yang berkelana di bumi Mu ini ………..