Friday, November 7, 2008

Hajj Akbar 1427H

Children Enjoying Ice Cream After the Gruelling Tawaf and Sa'ee

Children None the Worse for Wear and Tear

As Malaysian pilgrims started leaving for the Holy land beginning last week, Papa’s mind constantly wanders off to that singularly absorbing, overwhelming and uplifting experience that happened nearly two years ago. The year 2006 was about to draw its curtain, and Mama had settled down into the second trimester of her pregnancy.

The family was about to embark on what is dubbed as “the once in a lifetime journey”. At 20+ weeks pregnant, and after consulting widely among the gynaecologists in several hospitals in Riyadh, Mama felt assured of the fact that the risk of miscarriage was considerably reduced during the middle trimester. I was comfortably ensconced inside Mama’s tummy – and could twirl like a little astronaut, and not tightly crammed into a ball, inside her. As Mama was not lumbering towards the finishing line yet, so to speak, Papa also felt pretty confident to bring along my brother and sister, who were respectively 10 and 7 then, for this gruelling but rewarding spiritual journey.

My family joined the Malaysian Embassy Riyadh Hajj Group, led by Ustaz Hassan Abdul Kadir of Patani, who has been residing in Saudi Arabia for more than 20 years and is co-owner of the Mutiara Malaysian Restaurant in Riyadh. The group comprised mostly of staff from Ahmad Zaki Resources Berhad who were constructing the swanky Al-Faisal University campus, designed by Hijjas Kasturi Associates, who also designed the exquisite 38-storey hour glass HQ of the Lembaga Tabung Haji (Pilgrim's Fund Board) in Kuala Lumpur.

A few weeks before the pilgrimage, they attended Hajj classes conducted by Ustaz Hassan at the Ambassador’s Villa in the charming Diplomatic Quarter, which is not far from where they lived. Essentially, during the classes, intending pilgrims were drilled on the rites of performing Hajj according to the Quran and Sunnah; what is Rukun and Wajib, what is Haram during ihram, the need to pay dam, the different types of hajj - ifrad, tamattu and qiran, and the realities and what to expect in Arafat, Makkah, Mina and Muzdalifah.

Alhamdulillah, they were so grateful that they could perform the Hajj with millions other pilgrims from around the world smoothly and witness the greatest gathering of humankind on planet earth. The tawaf around the Kaabah amidst a sea of humanity stood out as it symbolises unity in diversity - race, age, gender, language and culture comingle perfectly without any notions of superiority (or ketuanan, as some persistently insist).

In short, the 7-day Hajj journey can be distilled as follows. The group left Riyadh on December 27, slept in Mina – the Tent City the following day, and continued sleeping at the same venue until January 3. And during their stay, they observed the rituals of Wukuf in Arafat (which happened to be on a Friday), stoning the three Jamrats, circumambulating the Kaabah, walking briskly between the foothills of Safa and Marwah, and tahallul. On the day of the Eid-al-Adha, December 30, many Muslims were outraged when Saddam Hussein was hanged by the American regime in Iraq.

To all the Guests of Allah this season, may your Hajj be accepted by Him, and please remember us in your deepest prayers at Arafat.

For a complete narrative of the journey written by a member of the Hajj group, please read here.

A Pictorial Journey:
1. Days and the Night Before ...

Hajj classes at the Ambassador's Villa, The meeting place in Riyadh prior to departure, The exterior and interior of the bus, First stopover.

Day 1: Ihram at Miqat and our camp in Mina (8 Zulhijjah)

Day 2: Wukuf in Arafat (9 Zulhijjah)

Day 3: Stoning Jamrat Aqabah (10 Zulhijjah - Eid-al-Adha)

Day 4: Tawaf Ifadah and Sa'ee (11 Zulhijjah)

Last 3 days: Winding Down in Mina, Stoning the Jamrats and Tahallul


elisataufik said...

ahh.. abu ehsan,
you have somewhat allayed my fears. Please pray for my journey to be as uplifting as yours.

p/s kirim salam kat ummu ehsan.. tengah menjahit labuci lagi ke?

GUiKP said...

Alhamdulillah, and may Allah swt. shower you and yours with His best barakah throughout the blessed Hajj days.

Hmm, has Ehsan been playful today?

Yep, Ummu Elham is at it again, and tomorrow I have to be her kadam to deliver the overdecorated dress to her No. 1 customer.

Al-Manar said...

I envy you for having record of your past, particularly pictures, readily available despite having moved from place to place. Much to my regret I have lost a lot of mine. You can reminisce and illustrate with pictures. We all know what a picture can do. Well done and keep writing now that you have made the plunge.
Pak Cik

GUiKP said...

Pak Cik
Thank you for visiting and dropping a line. I've lost quite a bit of my old photos too, especially those that captured my life and times in the UK during 1980-1986. Put all those in T-chest to be shipped to Malaysia, but the shipping company went bust before shipment was made.

I was already back in Malaysia for good to start work in a MNC when my friend in London informed that the shipping company's affairs were handled by assignee/liquidator.

If I remember correctly there was a global recession then, and most of my contemporaries had to take whatever jobs that were avaialable. And Sudirman had a hit song "Jangan ku dipandang hina walaupun aku penganggur"

Kak Teh said...

what a beautiful journey. I have yet to perform the big one. Insyaallah,one day.

GUiKP said...

kak Teh,
I have a feeling it will be a perfect one when you get the opportunity to perform Hajj one day, insyaAllah.

ruby ahmad said...

Hi Quikp,

Yes what a wonderful journey that was. It is even more wonderful that you performed the hajj with family members. Form all the brilliant photos, I could only detect happiness & fulfillment. Alhmadulillah.

I must say, performing hajj while pregnant is very brave & proves sheer determination. My respect!

GUiKP said...

We have Ustaz, who is a seasoned Hajj promoter, and the admirable group members to thank for. They were infinitely patient with us. Truly blessed. The following year, Ustaz led another group, and you can read their enlightening journey here:

elisataufik said...

Abu ELham,
SO sorry for the previous blunder.
You know why I always get confused?
Sebab ada satu lagi friend ada anak kecik jugak, dan nama anaknya Ihsan.
Kekadang I terpanggil anak dia Ilham.. eheheheh.
Kalau ada 2 lagi family yang namakan anak2 diorang Anis or Izani, habislah I.

Nizreen said...

Salam Guikp,

My name is Nizreen from the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia. I came across your blog just by chance while browsing through the internet. We're in the midst of writing and putting up an exhibition called "En Route to Mekkah" to be launched in end Oct. 2009.

I just would like to get your permission, if I could use some of your photos to be featured in our panels at the exhibition. Especially the ones with your children in it. We're looking for some casual/family shots of children performing Hajj.

You may contact me at or 03-22705103. I look forward to your reply.

Thank you and Salam.

GUiKP said...

Salam Nizreen

Thank you for visiting our blog.

We are thankful to Allah and deeply honoured if you use materials from this blog for the forthcoming exhibition to be held at Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia.

All the best and may Allah reward your endeavour.