27 Apr 2014

At our orchard

Durian fruits

Last June Repin and I bought a piece of land at Telok Gong. Telok in Malay means a bay and this piece of land is very close to the sea. Its not by the sea but we can see the sea from the house there. The house is actually rather old and in need of repair and enhancement but it's quite solid, with 3 bedrooms, although they are rather small  bedrooms.

Anyway the land is fairly large - an acre and a bit more with fruit trees already planted. The owner wanted to move away and wanted a ready buyer and we were quite thrilled to get it. There are at least 5 rambutan trees and a few durian trees. Yesterday we went over to clear the leaves under the trees and also from the house. The owners had left quite a lot of their household rubbish and it took Yatie and me 5 hours to clear it all, with Wan's help. But it was worth it. Just looking at the young rambutans hanging on the trees is enough. They should be ripe in June, insyaallah. We want to renovate the hour and make kit nicer, repaint it and add a few more bathrooms so that by the end of this year we can stay there or make it into a home stay to add to our income later on, insyaallah, or God willing.

17 Apr 2014

A pilgrimage to the holy cities

Inside the Prophet's mosque 

On 5th April Repin and I flew to Madinah for our umrah or pilgrimage to the holy cities. It's been awhile since we last visited the two holy cities and I'm sure things have changed a lot. We arrived in Jeddah airport around 9.30 pm and after customs and immigration clearance we were transported by bus to Madinah, another 5-6 hours away by road. 

The journey was long and tedious, and most of us were already tired after our 8 hour flight. Luckily the night air was cool and I drifted in and out of sleep. We stopped for a break at a rest area, and was given a simple meal of rice and chicken. After a half hour break we were back on the move, arriving in Madinah around 1 am in the morning.   

Early the next morning we were up again to pray at the Masjid Al Nabawi, also called the Prophet's  pbuh) Mosque because this was where he died and was buried. It is one of the holy mosques in Islam and prayers here are supposed to give a person 1000 times the reward of prayers in an ordinary mosque. 

Women coming out of the masjid Al Nabawi 

Days in Madinah consisted mainly of going to the mosque to pray five times a day, back to the hotel to rest and sometimes in the evening, walking around some of the shops. The city has not changed much - there are of course a lot more hotels than 5 years ago when I was here last. Basically though a lot of it is still the same. We stayed at the Mubarak Silver hotel which was about 500m from the mosque so it was easy for us. 
On the second day we were taken to view some historic sites - Mount Uhud where one of the worst battles between the Quraish and the Muslims took place. The mountains are barren and very very rocky. This was the place where the Muslims took one of their worst defeats and the Prophet' s (SAW) uncle, Hamzah was killed trying to protect their hill. It was said that after he was killed the Quraish mutilated his body and even carved out his heart and that Hindon, a woman who's husband had been killed by Saidinah Hamzah RA in an earlier battle, ate his heart. Urrhggg... Sounds gross! But the early Arabs were a rather terrible people - cruel in the extreme, vengeful and ferocious. My late father used to say that was the reason why Islam was sent to Arabia. Allah Subhannallah Taala wanted to change them and make them a better people.  Of course this was only my father's opinion, not a fact. 
For this Umrah, I wanted to return home to Malaysia a better person completely. I want to be more patient, especially with my mother in law and others less fortunate than me. I want to be humble and more caring and I really hope I can be better. 

15 Apr 2014

Makkah Al mukaramah

For This year's umrah Repin and I managed to get a Hilton package. In Madinah we stayed at the Mubarak Silver Hotel but in Makkah we stayed at the Hilton Towers, and it was the nearest hotel to the mosque. We didn't have to rush to get to the Masjid Al Haram every prayer time. Our travel agent was Andalusia and the mutawif or Guide who took us was a very young man by the name of Amirul. He was very knowledgeable and a pleasant as well as sweet natured guy. In fact he was one of the best uztaz that we've had so far. So we managed to do 3 umrahs or circumbulating around the Kaabah while reciting certain prayers, with our Uztaz Amirul guiding us the whole way.

On the 3 rd day we were given a short tour of the various holy sites. I had been to these places before but it was more interesting with our mutawif because he told us stories related to the site's history. For example Jabal Rahmah which is a small hill outside of Makkah was the place where Prophet Adam and Hawa ( Eve) his wife met after almost a decade of not seeing each other. The story is that after Adam and Hawa were sent out of Paradise for disobeying Allah they were sent to Earth. But an Earth which had no humans on it. They were the first humans. But they were not sent together - one fell somewhere on Mount Arafat and the other fell somewhere near Yemen or even further. For years they both prayed to God to ask for forgiveness and finally God forgave them and let them be together again and Jabal Rahmah or the Mount of Mercy was where they met. So it is believed that whoever asks God for a partner or a child here that prayer would be answered. I don't know whether this is true or not but my brother in law did pray that his son gets a child here and that son has now 4 children, after 8 years of childlessness previously. 

At Mount Rahmah or the Mount of Mercy

After doing our "tawaf" or walking around the Kaabah reciting prayers.
Our young Uztaz Amirul and us after performing our tawaf. 

People of all races doing the tawaf