Friday, October 6, 2017

Hajj 1438 - A story told

Pilgrimage period: 2nd August till 22nd September 2017 (1438 Hijrah year)

Many of you may have guessed about my long disappearance from this platform. Yes, I've been chosen to be His guest for 52 days pilgrimage in Mecca and I wasn't alone. My better half was with me. All praise to Allah, we have successfully surpassed all challenges during that period of time. As a Muslim, we felt that we have delivered the 5th pillar of Islam (Hajj pilgrimage is obligated to do once in a lifetime). The feelings were surreal, even until now.

Hajj wasn't an easy task unlike any other task that I faced before in this life. That was what we wish to conclude and spread to all, hence everyone must by all means take the ibadah seriously. Just imagine yourselves in an examination hall but the examiner is none other than the Almighty Himself, who had created you and watching your performance all these times. The ustaz once taught us that one will know whether their Hajj ibadah (means obedience, submission and humility) is accepted by Allah while they are at the wukuf day (the day of Arafah), that is on 9th of Dzulhijjah. There will be a "karamah" transferred between the pilgrim and Allah that tells whether their delivery of 5th pillar of Islam has been accepted.  Karamah literally means something precious, superior, nice and generosity given by the Almighty. As an Islamic term, it means “a supernatural event which happens through a believing righteous person”.

Our morning routine at where we chose to stay foot, from 2.30am since we walked from the hotel till after dhuha's praye at around 8.30am

Due to that, we both were very nervous before we physically adjourned to Arafah/Muzdaliffah and Mina for the 6 day pilgrimage. It was a peak of hajj. We arrived early in Mecca, i.e. 27 days prior to Hajj period whereby we can mentally and physically prepared when the big day arrives. That was the reason, the silver lining why Allah has planned that we have to depart on 2nd August though I submitted an appeal to Tabung Haji for a later flight. At least after I finish my exams. We walked quite a lot in a day since our hotel is more than a kilometre (1 way) to Masjidil Haram. Due to a hot weather encountered in Saudi during 2017 Hajj period, we were advised to go to the mosque only twice a day. We make use of our times in Masjidil Haram by finding a spot where we can face the Holy Ka'bah at each of our prayers. I'm sharing below my prayers schedule and in between I was reading Al-Quran:-

Morning prayers:
1. Tawaf sunat @ sunnatul masjid - 2 rakaat;
2. Solat Taubat - 2 rakaat; 
3. Solat Qiyam - 8 rakaat;
4. Solat Tahajud - 8 rakaat;
5. Solat rawatib (before subuh prayer) - 2 rakaat;
6. Subuh prayer - 2 rakaat;
7. Solat Tasbih - 4 rakaat, 1 salam;
8. Solat Hajat - 2 rakaat (followed with sujud syukur)
9. Solat Dhuha - 8 rakaat

Noon prayers:
1. Tawaf sunat @ sunnatul masjid - 2 rakaat;

2. Solat Taubat - 2 rakaat; 
3. Solat rawatib - 4 rakaat, 2 salam
4. Solat Zuhur - 4 rakaat;
5. Solat rawatib - 2 rakaat.

Afternoon prayers:
1. Tawaf sunat @ sunnatul masjid - 2 rakaat;
2. Solat Taubat - 2 rakaat; 
3. Solat rawatib - 4 rakaat, 2 salam;
4. Solat Asar - 4 rakaat

Dawn prayers:
1. Tawaf sunat @ sunnatul masjid - 2 rakaat;
2. Solat Taubat - 2 rakaat; 
3. Solat Maghrib - 3 rakaat;
4. Solat rawatib - 2 rakaat.

Night prayers:
1. Tawaf sunat @ sunnatul masjid - 2 rakaat;
2. Solat Taubat - 2 rakaat; 
3. Solat rawatib - 4 rakaat, 2 salam;
4. Solat Isha' - 4 rakaat;
5. Solat rawatib - 4 rakaat, 2 salam;
6. Solat tasbih - 4 rakaat, 2 salam;
7. Solat Witir - 1 rakaat 

What we bring to the mosque everyday. The sling bag that fit in what we need including empty water bottle to fill with zamzam water and some snacks in case we got hungry.

We had a beautiful experiences in the Masjidil Haram or the Great Mosque (remind myself to finish the entry that I prepared long ago at this beautiful mosque.. definitely after this entry!). Hubby had a last minute preparation before our departure. One of the book that he read was Travelog Haji by Professor Dr Mohd Kamil. He kept a target in his heart to only pray while facing Ka'bah only and due to that we had our chance, 98% of the time either at the Ka'bah square and/or a little bit inside of the mosque. If not, we forced our way inside towards the 3rd floor tawaf area where we still can face the Holy Ka'bah from above. We encountered a lot of beautiful experiences meeting good people .One of those moment was meeting the most kindest person in the universe, who made effort to serve the pilgrims tea and supper. Below was the photo that I snapped when hubby joined the group for the first time.

The kindest man is from China. He welcomes everyone including the mosque cleaner for his free meal.

Before I pen off, I wish to remind myself to update the next 2 entries, one is about the Great Mosque @ Masjidil Haram which to my eyes even more beautiful than the Taj Mahal and second entry is about the hajj ritual at glance. You may refer to below chart shared from AlJazeera news about steps that we, Muslim follows during our pilgrimage. Till then, peace + love + compassion from me, a normal person who has been given a lot of blessing from the Almighty, and she most of the time wonder what did she do in this life to receive this blissful fate. He tested me and He granted hidayah to show me a way back to Him. Sweet words, gratefulness, good deeds and prays are not enough to pay what He granted to me. I have my whole life to serve and be obedience to Him.

Friday, July 28, 2017

The Blue House

Date: 3rd July 2017

We officially moves in to the new residence 2 days before Eidhul Fitri 1438 celebration. It was on Friday, 23rd June 2017, I shifted only myself while the workers were still busied touching up on a lot of unfinished taks, for example fixing the toilet key door knobs. That night, only hubby and I decided to put on a night with a mixed feeling and blank situation, unsure whether or not we should be proceeding with our intention to permanently stay.  It was the last day of fasting and at breakfast there's only 1 piece of KFC fried chicken and a hot-dog bun for us to eat. Hubby chose a fried chicken whilst I had the bun to survive the last day of fasting. We both look at each other and nodded in agreement that we will not be celebrating eid this year. But the Almighty has helped in a lot. He made it certain.

The photo that was uploaded by my brother in his Facebook

I texted my sister informing that I will let her know whether the eid plan were to proceed as originally intended or not. An hour later, I called hesitatingly telling her that she may want to see the house condition as I do not feel confidence that we could celebrate eid in this situation. She was about to leave to the wet market buying all ingrediats to cook at that time. So, she said she will drop by after that and later we could discuss about it. While waiting for her, hubby and I unproductively started to continue un-boxing, packing and tidy up whatever we can. There's not much to do in the absence of motivation.

My sister's family, slept over on 2nd night

Only the carpenter came to fix the unfinished task where he left at the living room a night before. So, when my sister and her husband arrived, we instantly knew that rescuers has arrived. We could celebrate the first eid in this blue house together. Truthfully, I'm so grateful for her existence in my life since the day she was born until today. She never left me alone. She was the one who will always be by my side at my sunny and rainy days. That's what the families are about. 2 families, including our 3 childrens were reunited for the last break fast and occupied the house for the second night of our move-in.

Family on hubby side who slept over on the third night

On Syahirah's Facebook 

On eid, all of my siblings who lives nearby and my husband siblings including father in law came for eid visiting. The rest of family on hubby side put on a sleep on the third night. The house is continuing lively till present date. A lot of people came by thereafter, mostly to see the house. Though I haven't shared any photos on my social media, they cant resist to sharing them on their page. A lot more people came to know about it and later visited. At times, I felt like the house now becoming a clown in itself. Am I being ungrateful for saying that? Yes I am.. No I am not as I have personal reasons for saying it out loud, which makes me so uncomfortable with.

Another side of the house.. girls only allowed :)

Nevertheless, hubby and I are feeling so bless and bliss for being able to put 1 big problem off shoulders. We move on to the next chapter of our life. I'm going to share that in this blog in 2 months time. Before I move on, I must share the reason why it was painted blue. We were at IKEA Damansara looking for furniture 1 fine day in the month of April. I had hubby photo sat on the couch as I originally want a pastel blue paint at my laundry to show him. Later, he saw that blue as very soothing and started looking at ICI computer color to match the colors of the blue sky and the white clouds. Hence the blue house that suited any kind of mood that the sky and the clouds are feeling! The last 2 photos of the house and 2 persons who designed and built them.

My first OOTD on 15th July at this favorite main door where everyone has used as their selfie spot :)

It's really a long time since my last post. Time is becoming precious nowadays when there's so much thing to do at work and at home. But I hope I will not neglect this precious blog of mine.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Muslim Woman's Hijab

Date: 10th July 2017

Today's entry are about the 2 YouTube video that someone I've been following shared in her Insta story this morning vis-a-vis my thoughts on this issues. Let's watch the video first:-

Nouman Khan's (Bayyinah) on topic to cover of not to cover?

Samina Ali spoken about what does the Quran really say about a Muslim woman's Hijab

*Claimer: read this with your own research and interpretation from many scholars, being your duty as a Muslim and as clearly instructed by Allah to those deserving His favor. For the record I can’t stand a Muslim woman who insulted another Muslim woman publicly for veiling as if those wearing hijab are uneducated and undeserving of beauty. Because in the Muslim context, the Quran clearly stated that veiling or covering indicates the high status of believing women. See the evidences:-  

Surah An-Nur 24:31 “And say to the faithful women to lower their gazes, and to guard their private parts, and not to display their beauty except what is apparent of it, and to extend their head coverings (khimars) to cover their bosoms (jaybs), and not to display their beauty except to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husband's fathers, or their sons, or their husband's sons, or their brothers, or their brothers' sons, or their sisters' sons, or their womenfolk, or what their right hands rule (slaves), or the followers from the men who do not feel sexual desire, or the small children to whom the nakedness of women is not apparent, and not to strike their feet (on the ground) so as to make known what they hide of their adornments. And turn in repentance to Allah together, O you the faithful, in order that you are successful”; and

Surah al-Ahzab, 33:59 says “O Prophet! Say to your wives and your daughters and the women of the faithful to draw their outer garments (jilbabs) close around themselves; that is better that they will be recognized and not annoyed. And God is ever Forgiving, Gentle”.

The commandments in the above verses are related to behavior of:
  • lowering the gaze
  • guarding the private parts
  • not striking the feet on the ground so as to give knowledge of what is hidden
  • not displaying the beauty beyond "what is apparent of it" except to the people highlighted in bold in 24:31
  • extending the head covering to cover the bosom
  • drawing the outer garment close aroun

Historically, the first recorded instance of veiling or covering the hair for women is recorded in Assyrian legal texts from the 13th century BCE.  Its use was restricted to noble women. Prostitutes, slaves and poor women were forbidden to cover their hair/heads.

From monotheism perspective, the origins of the hijab is Jewish and that is why, the mother of Jesus, wearing a hijab. The Old Testament (Torah) mentions head or hair covering only briefly but these few words have evolved into a complex hijab ritual practiced by devout Jews across the globe.

The Bible’s New Testament, First Epistle to the Corinthians verses 11:5, says that   “Every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonours her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved”; to which Christians refer to when explaining why women should cover their heads, especially in prayer or in church come to us from Saint Paul in his letters to the Corinthians.  Corinth was a city situated on the peninsula of Southern Greece and was part of the Roman Empire during the time Corinthians was written.  It was a cultural melting-pot of Roman, Greek, and Jewish cultures, thus it is pertinent to wonder what cultural norms were retained as the city changed hands and empires.  

The early Christian women veiled their heads in church and anytime they were in public and Christian women continued to maintain this practice to some degree throughout the centuries until the 19th and 20th centuries when the practice rapidly declined. A Christian woman who becomes a nun is said "to take the veil".  This is said in reference to her head covering.   Nuns throughout Christian history have been recognisable by their distinctive head coverings many of which resemble Muslim hijab.  In medieval times, across the western world married women normally covered their hair outside the house, and nun's veils were often based on secular styles.

As a conclusion it's up to you, a Muslim woman to choose whether or not to adorn head scarves. Should you feel doing so, just do it confidentally and without any sense of obligation to justify and/or debate with anyone. Stand believing in your faith and obligations to follow what the Holy scriptures (Holy Books) asked you to do. The matters are to be dealt between you and the Rabb.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Shifting time again ... sunset sunset

Date: 16th June 2017

It's time to shift to a final destination. Our bungalow is ready to be occupied. Its beauty is beyond words, according to our family (take note: beauty is a very subjective matter, the right of its beholder to state). The choice of external paint is rather rare. We were surprised at the very beginning but decided to stick on as it will remind us the colors of the sky. The house that we built based on our sweat and tears, pure from any insincere elements is worthy. It's pure love, duly designed by the 2 of us who has an equal shared of the construction cost. The house is ours and will be inherited by our beloved apple boy.

Leaving the Altitude 236 is a burden of heart, a sadness. We've been staying at this lovely condo since August 2016, almost a year. Even Kayla is very fond of the balcony where she usually chose to spend a night at. So, I thought of sharing numerous sunset views that I snapped once in a while when I was almost breathless looking at its stunning view. Yes, when Allah's naturally paint the blue sky into indescribable colors.

Latest sunset view

Almost pink colors

Yellowish a bit

Snapped behind the curtain

No more KL night city view

and KL's view at sunset

Future balcony to view the same timing of sunset but different place... and of course without KL city view :(

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

My CAT has arrived

Date: 7th June 2017

I may sound weird to many of you, but "I LOVE HEAVY MACHINES" so much. Working with this company has allowed me to purchase 8 units of them. All thanks to my most respected MD by a short-names of "DU". He has been supporting my cray for the earth dozing machines and even assisted me to buy 4 units of Caterpillar brand by interfering with the negotiations behind my back. I'm all but excited right now, over the moon when seeing the 2 CAT Dozers arrived at our project site in Shah Alam today. Had to blog this to record the moment!

That was the safety boot that I bought in November last year for work! I'm a truly CATwoman!

Rest assured, it's not easy to buy them. I have to learn all sorts of finance terms and calculations to convince our group CFO apart from going into very details Technical Specifications of each machinery in preparing the Technical assessment. Almost give up not to buy for any other projects anymore after countless proposal been rejected by him. Now, after seeing these babies working on preparing the building platform at the project, it has created a butterfly in my stomach again. I'm craving for more units in the future for our company.

Justifications (to comfort me and to convince my bosses) why do I need more machines is because I want our company profile looks better. Who knows, one day we could go listing. Wow, such humongous dream that I'm having. Anyway, please wish me luck. For the record I'm such a lucky and bless person, Alhamdulliah for blessing me each day ya Allah.

Remarks: 2 units of New Holland Backpusher, TS6.110 with 34" rear mining bucket will be arriving in August as they have no ready stock.

2 units of CAT D5R2 Track Type Tractor, a.k.a Bulldozer

CAT 320D2 GC Hydraulic Excavator

Caterpillar Excavator on loader, arrived on 31st May

2 units of Dynapac CA250D Vibratory Roller

DYNAPAC Compactor Roller first to arrive, on 26th May 2017

Mecca - Visited Places

Date: 27th June till 6th July 2016

We left Medina on 27th June after Wida' (a simple ritual of saying farewell to Prophet Muhammad before leaving the Prophet's Mosque). My auntie gets a little bit emotional while standing in front of the Green Dome, saying her farewell to the Prophet, so much so that she scolded me from snapping too many photos. I didn't take it too seriously to her scolding as I understand her situation. She wasn't unsure whether she will have her opportunity to visit again. Anyhow, it was more or less 4 hours journey vide bus ride to reach Meca from Medina. We stopped at Bir Ali for Miqat (performing 2 rakaat sunnah's prayer while officially reciting our intent to perform Umrah thereafter - mandatory routine for Umrah).  

My first impression of Makkah Tower was of the Dajjal's eye seen from Lord of The Rings movie

Dear friends in Bir Ali Mosque

As we arrived at Mecca during Dhuhr praying time, the road to enter the great mosque has been blocked. The bus driver then took a turn to stop at a rather new mosque within the neighborhood for our Dhuhr prayer. When the traffic was open, we straightaway approached the hotel, Mira Ajyad to check-in. I helped my other roommates to push our luggage to the room. It was a call for prayer as soon as all of us settled down in a 4 shared bedroom. Everyone left to the mosque in a hurry. I was left alone performing at mosque courtyard on a hot marble floor. I prayed for assistance to enable me finding a cool spot somewhere inside facing the Kaaba so that I could finish the Holy Quran that I was recited since Ramadan begins. The help did come and I successfully achieved my mission. Later that night, a dedicated mutawif assisted me and those 4 dear friends of mine in performing our Umrah ritual of the following steps:-

Tawaf - circling the Kaaba 7 times in an anticlockwise direction while chanting series of prayers;
Sa'i - rapidly walking 7 times back and forth between the hills of Safa and Marwah; and
Halq or taqsir - shaving and/or cut some of the hair.

I was that close to Kaabah, on the very first day

Close look of the Kaaba's Cloak

Zahafiz, the tour agent has arranged for 3 visits during our stays in Mecca. I missed 1 visit as I was overslept. On 29th June, they took us for a trip to Jabal Thur, Arafah and Jabal Rahmah where I prayed so hard for Allah to bless Syahirah with her destined partner. Later I prayed for others too after being advised by a lovely elder friend who taught me to become a kind human species. And now, I included everyone's in all my prayers. We ended the visit by stopping at Jaaranah Mosque to have another Miqat for umrah when we got back. I was performing the second Umrah ritual for my late mother in law. We (my late mother in law in hereafter life and I) had our special moments especially during the Tawaf on 29th June. Such a beautiful and peaceful moment with her since her departure in 2005.

A mosque near Mount Thawr

Taneem Mosque from the highway

The visit that I missed was to Hudaibiyah held on 30th June but on the 2nd July, I was there with my group for a special tour to places where the Hajj will be performed. We started at Mount Arafat, a place where Prophet Muhammad delivered his last sermon in the year 632 AD. It was a place where the pilgrims come to seek Allah's forgiveness and to reaffirm their faith, in the zenith of the hajj rituals. Soon after, we took a round (unmoved from our seat in the bus) to the valley of Mina where Hajj pilgrims will take part in the 3 day stoning of 3 pillars representing the devil. Like the rest of those whom be called for Hajj, I too wishes to throw the stones at the Jamrah which symbolically to ward off my own temptations on this worldly life. We ended the visit that day at Tanaim's Mosque with its other name; Saiditina Aisyah for another Miqat and my last Umrah that I dedicated solely to my late mother. I was feeling sorry for my late father as I couldnt performed Umrah for him. But there will be a next trip I hope, InshaAllah, for me to do it for him.

In search for a spot for night prayers inside Mecca's new wing mosque

Beautiful Mosque snap inside the bus on the way to Mount Arafat

I wish to update, as I'm writing this entry, I have not yet received the call from Tabung Haji. Days ended very fast to me these day as the faster it goes the lesser my hope become. Honestly, the wait is too miserable and unbearably too painful. I had a feeling of rejection that I will not even entitle for a place in Heavan (Nauzibillahalazim... please forgive my word and rudeness ya Allah ya Rabb) BUT I know Allah only wants the best for me. I truly believe in His miracles descend on daily basis to me, yes, daily basis yet complaining. 

A drive through Mina Camps

Remarks: Today is the 12th day of fasting and I just finished reciting Surah Ibrahim, a key Prophet behind the construction of Kaaba. Happy fasting to everyone who is fasting.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Medina - Quba Mosque

Date of visit: 27th June 2017

This is the first mosque being built in the history of Islam. Its foundation stone was personally laid by the Prophet Muhammad himself when he first reached Madinah upon receiving instruction from Allah to emigrate from Mecca.  Quba Mosque is being mentioned in the Qur'an as the mosque being built and founded on piety and devoutness by the Prophet Muhammad. Qur'an, sura 9 (Repentance @ “At-Tawba”), verse 108 quoted Allah saying “Never stand (to pray) there (referring to a place of worship in which the hypocrites had used for harm and disbelief, as mentioned in the previous ayah). A place of worship which was founded upon duty (to Allah) from the first day is more worthy that thou should stand (to pray) therein, wherein are men who love to purify themselves. Allah love the purifiers”.

The Quba Mosque is located in the outlying environs of Medina in Saudi Arabia, being ranked as one of the oldest mosques in the world. According to legend, its first stones were positioned by the Islamic prophet Muhammad as soon as he arrived on his emigration from the city of Mecca to Medina and the mosque was completed by his companions. Prophet Muhammad spent 14 days in this mosque during the Hijra praying qasr (a short prayer from 4 rakaʿāt to 2 rakaʿāt) while waiting for Ali to arrive in Medina after the latter stayed behind in Mecca to carry out a couple of tasks entrusted to him by the Prophet.  

Our group arrived at the mosque. The lady in red Abaya was my room mate.
Ramp to those on wheel chair leading to abulation areas

According to Islamic tradition, performing wudu in one's home then offering 2 rakaʿāt of nafl prayers in the Quba Mosque is equal to performing one Umrah. Prophet Muhammad used to go there, riding or on foot, every Saturday and offer a 2 rakaʿāt prayer. He advised others to do the same, saying, "Whoever makes ablutions at home and then goes and prays in the Mosque of Quba, he will have a reward like that of an 'Umrah". This hadith is reported by Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Al-Nasa'i, Ibn Majah and Hakim al-Nishaburi.

Women's prayer area where everyone who arrives would perform the 2 rakaat prayer  following Prophet Muhammad's sunnah

Over the years, the mosque has been refurbished many times by the Muslim rulers. In the 20th century, when Abdel-Wahed El-Wakil was commissioned to conceive a larger mosque, he intended to incorporate the old structure into his design. But the old mosque was torn down and replaced with a new one. The new mosque consists of a rectangular prayer hall raised on a second story platform. The prayer hall connects to a cluster containing residential areas, offices, ablution facilities, shops and a library.

Beautiful carved door and shoe racks inside Women's prayer hall

6 additional entrances are dispersed on the northern, eastern and western facades. 4 minarets mark the corners of the prayer hall. The minarets rest on square bases, have octagonal shafts which take on a circular shape as they reach the top. The prayer hall is arranged around a central courtyard, characterized by six large domes resting on clustered columns. A portico, which is two bays in depth, borders the courtyard on the east and west, while a one-bayed portico borders it on the north, and separates it from the women's prayer area. The women's prayer area, which is surrounded by a screen, is divided into two parts as a passageway connects the northern entrance with the courtyard.

Men's prayer hall

My aunt was reading some important facts about Quba Mosque

When Quba Mosque was rebuilt in 1986, the Medina architecture was retained with its ribbed white domes and basalt facing and modest exterior. It said to meet the qualities that recall Medina's simplicity. The courtyard is flagged with a black, red and white marble. It is screened overhead by day from the scorching heat with shades. Arabesque latticework filters the light of the palm groves outside. Elements of the new building include work by the Egyptian architect Abdel-Wahed El-Wakil and the Stuttgart tensile architect Mahmoud Bodo Rasch, a student of Frei Otto.

Last photo for this entry where I asked my aunt stood as my model :)

Before I pen off, I would like to update you guys about status of my hajj application. It's still pending as "waiting list" but my new good friend Dila had her call on Thursday last week. She came to my office and in between the conversation the Tabung Haji called to let her know to collect her offer letter from the nearest branch. Yesterday, while having meeting at Serai Project (we are building a building platform for Gamuda Gardens) Ismail also received his call. 3 of us, Ismail, Dila and myself applied to perform hajj this year. Though both Dilla and I had our name initially selected for this year but we still have to wait for an official invitation from them. But Ismail had only registered 5 years ago and had every year submit his plea to be considered. It was his 4th appeal and I can sense how overjoyed he must be. Witnessing his journey for repentance when I first introduced to him by Dato' Ubul in April 2015 since now has taught me many good things about hope.

Surprisingly, after he's been selected I became more calm since I sincerely prayed and promised the Almighty that I'm fine if Allah has chosen Ismail over me. That was the deep conversation I had with Allah while driving to the meeting yesterday. Allah has miraculously cured my impatience and unsettle heart. On the other hand, I knew that Ismail and I couldn't leave the office at the same time. We are the only 2 seniors that handles everything in the office and projects that were awarded to us. It would be tough for our staffs if we were away from our duties. For the first time in 3 years, I let the fate lead the way. I'm sure there will be a place for me next year if by ramadan I still haven't received my call. Being positive is what matters. Cheers everyone!