Sunday, 28 October 2012

Makkah Part 5: Final Day on the Earth of the Prophets


Hari akhir di tanah Anbiya’. Aku tidak pernah bosan dengan gambar-gambar Kaabah.



High Class Beggars
Charitable deeds are highly recommended, but the manners of doing them are equally important. Do not give charity openly in public, unless you are prepared to handle hundreds more following you to your hotel room. So I was told. Mostly driven by the fact that I do not have small change, I had to be cold-hearted and ignore the beggars. Ironically most of them, or perhaps, all of them are women. Healthy women.

One busy night, as my mom and my aunties were haggling cruelly in a nearby shop, I went outside to have a look at some items displayed outside. A handsome man, wearing ihram,  approached me and gave Salam. We shook hands.

I am sorry. My name is Ahmad (I forgot his name so I made this one up). This is my wife and eldest son.”

I saw a decently dressed woman with a boy, also wearing ihram, behind him.

“This is one of those embarrassing thing to do. But thinking of my son and my wife who had nothing since morning, I am desperate. I am a banker in Dubai. Yesterday, we were supposed to check in our hotel at Hilton. But we decided to drop by and pray in Masjidil Haram. Unfortunately, our bags, containing our money, passports everything were stolen. We had nothing. I called the embassy, and my brother will come but he will only arrive tomorrow at 9:00 am. I am asking you if you can lend me some money for us to survive until next morning.”

As you can see, his English was good. His body gesture signified as if he had been doing lots of professional presentation. I found it difficult to tell whether he was telling the truth or this is one of those unrecorded scam in Makkah. I do not know.

I only had 20 riyyal in my pocket. Without saying that much I gave him 20 riyyal and left. He took a look at the money with slight frustration.

Then I left him. I felt guilty. But at the same time I felt something was not right.

Either way, it was not for me to judge. I prayed to Allah to protect him and his family, if he was telling me the truth.

We went back to our hotel. I narrated the incident to the elder people. Some of them said it was a common scam, for they faced the same tactic too. Still, I do not know the truth.

Quickest Prayer Granted

I could still recall. It was during Asr prayer. I was late. Really late. No matter how fast I ran, the crowd had already been formed, blocking me from any entrance to Masjidil Haram. The sun was scorching hot, and the marble floor was not as cool as it was inside. In fact it was so hot that I thought it could burn my forehead when i performed sujud. 

"Ya Allah, the marble floor is hot, how am I going to perform sujud?" my heart said. 

Shortly after that, an Indonesian man approached me and stood beside me. He took out a praying mat, laid it the side way, covering his and my sujud area. I looked at him, as a gesture of gratitude. He didn't look back, instead he started to perform his prayer. I realised I should have too. 

After the prayer, he quickly went away. Too quick that I did not have a chance to say thank your or goodbye. 


The Beggars who really Deserve
We packed our bags the night before our last day in Makkah. Multiplied, no doubt, after those adventurous shopping activities. Maximum luggage weight allowed was 19 kg per person. A weighing scale was given to us, so we strategized to avoid payment for extra weight.

One of the strategies was to gather remaining food and drinks, still sealed and unopened, to be donated to the beggars outside. With two big plastic bags in my hands, I was assigned the tasks of distributing the food early in the morning.

As I went down the elevator, I prayed to God, if the banker I met yesterday was telling the truth, I wish to meet him and hand him the food we had. Or if not, please give me a chance to donate the food who really really deserve it.

Surprisingly, as I stepped out of the hotel, none of the usual beggars were to be seen. I walked away from the hotel, with the plastic bags in my hands. I had to walk deeper. For 20 minutes I had been searching for beggars to donate the extra food. Nowhere to be seen.

Only after that a woman approached me and held out her hand. She was beautiful, but tired, and hungry. I did not say a word. I looked into her eyes, and put the plastic bag in front of her and walked away.

After few hundred metres, my heart said I should take a look back at her. So I did. I saw another three friends were approaching the plastic bags, but none of them touched the bags. 

They showed the gesture of “are we allowed to have these?” or “are these for us?”

I shooked my head and they hastily opened the plastic bag and took some apples.

Maybe Allah SWT was showing to me that these were the deserving beggars.

Again, I do not know.

Final Tawwaf
As I was writing these final paragraphs about Makkah, I had to admit that I had teary eyes, for I missed Makkah so much that I could cry. It was a bittersweet symphony - I was happy to go meet the rest of family members at home, but my heart was too heartbroken to leave the holy city of Makkah. 

The bags were packed, and we headed to Masjidil Haram for final tawwaf or tawwaf wida`. It is a tawwaf indicating that we are leaving the Holy City. After the tawwaf, there should be no massive shopping or sleeping or staying until the next prayer time. 

I did it alone. I wished for it to be that way, so I could take my own time to complete it. As I circumambulated Kaabah, I whispered to Allah, please give me another chance to be here. Please accept my prayer I had been reciting for the past few days. 

And please forgive me, for I have sinned. 

I said goodbye. With ardent hope that I would be able to come here again some day. Please invite me again.

Jeddah
We left Makkah for Jeddah via an hour and a half journey. Will this be my last trip or there would be more to come. 

I do not know. 

But truthfully, I am so thankful that I was given a chance to be here. 

Until we meet again, 

Hairi Tahir



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1 Nukilan:

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