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Maria-Syamsi

From My Heart

From Mecca to Jakarta (With Sweet Dreams and Poetry In Between)

“Dicari karya Chairil Anwar tapi gak ada. Langsung dibaca perjalanan hidupnya dulu.”

Since I had two cups of coffee today (and the latest was at 8pm 😰), I gave myself the rights to ramble. Hahah.

(1) One of my few resolutions for the year is to finish four books per month, and one journal/guideline per week. I am trying hard and rather pressured to fulfill this, just because I really really wanted to. I have been too slow in the books division and there are so many things I need to learn, to expose myself to. For January, I need to finish these books:

– Adik Datang by A Samad Said

– The World Atlas of Coffee by James Hoffmann

– The Muse by Jessie Burton

– The House of Wisdom by Jonathan Lyons

Four very different genres; two of them are fictions. The cheating part is I have started reading the non fictions about weeks to months ago. Yet I’m struggling to finish it.

Not forgetting the ESC ACS guidelines that I started reading last Wednesday.

(2) I have not gone out since coming back from Umrah. What with my cough and multiple oncall days and weekend rounds, I have not even gone to the gym. So today I managed to get some exercise, went for dinner in Kinokuniya, and browsed its shelves after that. So I got myself these books. Yes, despite not reaching my January goals yet.

(3) The place I’ve been, the place I will be. From Maqam Ibrahim to Jakarta. In between there are sweet dreams and poetry. And hope. A lot of hope.

(4) Browsing the net for information about a city is probably much cheaper than buying a book, and as far as I know, information in travel books might be as (in)accurate as travellers’ blogs. But with my job and all the reading I need to do, I don’t think I will have time to do a proper research for my short trip there. So I decided to grab a book about Jakarta (it is not cheap 😰). I hope it will be useful.

(5) I am not happy with the quality of Malay books these days. Many books in the market are basically compilations of tweets, Facebook statuses and blogs. However, the language is often too rough, even when they are written by young ustazs. Apparently these kinds of books sell better. “As long as the message gets across.” But I don’t believe in compromising language for marketing/popularity purposes. We need to be more responsible. 

Using simple language is alright, but using rough slangs and inappropriate, incorrect words are just unacceptable.
Therefore I get back to classics. 😊

(6) The movie Ada Apa Dengan Cinta managed to re-ignite my love towards Malay poetry. I recognised the book “Aku” from afar, and excitedly, I grabbed a copy. It is not written by Chairil Anwar but it is based on his life and his works. I do wish to get a copy of his works one day. Maybe in Jakarta.
So good night. I hope I will be able to sleep well despite the coffee. 😴😴

Memanggilmu

Haramain: Beberapa Panduan (Bahagian 3 – Persediaan Rohani dan Jasmani)

Persediaan Rohani

Untuk memastikan kejayaan bagi sesuatu yang kita lakukan, pasti ada beberapa perkara yang perlu kita capai. Dalam perkara berkaitan umrah dan ziarah, hal ini termasuklah persediaan rohani, bagi memastikan kita menggunakan peluang berada di tanah suci Makkah digunakan sepenuhnya. Antara perkara-perkara yang bermanfaat untuk seseorang yang menziarahi dan mengerjakan umrah adalah seperti berikut:

(1) Mempelajari pengertian umrah,  fadhilat, serta hukum-hukum dalam umrah. Saya pasti kebanyakannya disentuh dalam kursus umrah atau buku panduan umrah.

(2) Mencari ilmu tentang keistimewaan kota-kota Makkah dan Madinah, serta Masjidil Haram dan Masjid Nabawi.

(3) Mempelajari dan mendalami sejarah hidup Nabi Muhammad SAW agar dapat menghayati setiap pengalaman berada di kedua-dua kota suci Islam ini.

Saya sangat menggemari ceramah-ceramah daripada Sheikh Dr Yasir Qadhi, yang dahulunya belajar di salah satu universiti tersohor di Arab Saudi iaitu di Universiti Islam Madinah. Sebelum itu beliau telahpun mendapat ijazah daripada Universiti of Houston di Texas, Amerika Syarikat dalam bidang kejuruteraan kimia.

Berikut adalah ceramah pertama daripada 104 ceramah beliau dalam siri “Seerah of Prophet Muhammad SAW”, yang boleh ditonton percuma melalui YouTube:

Seerah of Prophet Muhammad SAW: Part 1

(4) Mempelajari tentang solat-solat sunat yang dituntut oleh Nabi Muhammad SAW seperti solat witir, solat tahajjud, solat dhuha, solat rawatib dan lain-lain seperti solat taubat, tahiyyatul masjid. Juga mempelajari cara-cara solat jenazah (sebenarnya agak mudah), supaya tidak kehilangan peluang untuk meraih ganjaran yang besar daripada Allah SWT, dan yang penting sekali, solat jenazah mampu mengingatkan kita tentang dekatnya kematian.

Saya sendiri suka merujuk kepada blog berikut:

Shafiqolbu – Solat Sunat Rawatib

Kita tidak perlu membawa buku solat sunat (boleh bawa jika anda mahu), boleh screenshot sahaja doa-doa dalam blog ini dan buka saat diperlukan.
Dalam blog tersebut ada panduan macam-macam lagi jenis solat sunat termasuk solat istikharah.

(5) Menyenaraikan matlamat kita semasa di tanah suci nanti. Kadangkala kita terleka dengan curiosity/rasa ingin tahu – nak tengok semua bahagian dalam Masjidil Haram, nak tengok kedai-kedai di sekeliling masjid, nak rasa nasi Arab paling sedap, nak beli tamar untuk saudara-mara, nak beli jubah style Dubai, nak jalan-jalan dan macam-macam lagi nak. Sebenarnya apa yang kita inginkan, itu yang Allah beri. 
Sepatutnya wang dan masa yang telah dilaburkan itu digunakan hanya untuk satu tujuan: mendapatkan keampunan dan keredhaan Allah SWT.

Memang membeli hadiah apabila bermusafir itu adalah sunnah Nabi Muhammad SAW, tetapi yang lebih utama adalah ibadah. Membeli belah boleh dilakukan kemudian, kerana kedai-kedai di keliling masjid itu sama sahaja semuanya. Lakukan solat istikharah sebelum shopping, insyaaAllah dapat membuat pilihan terbaik dalam masa yang singkat, dengan syarat yakin kepada Allah SWT.
Berbalik kepada matlamat. Mungkin anda sudah lama mahu menghafaz surah Yaasin tetapi tidak pernah memulakannya; di mana lagi tempat yang paling hebat kalau tidak di tanah haram? Atau anda mahu mulakan solat tahajjud secara istiqamah; mulakan di rumah dan sambung di tanah haram. Mahu merasa iktiqaf di masjid, tetapi tidak pernah berkesempatan kerana kesibukan kerja? Mulakan di Masjid Nabawi, atau di Masjidil Haram.  
Tuliskan senarai matlamat-matlamat ibadah yang ingin anda capai semasa berada di kota-kota suci ini. Doakan yang anda akan mencapainya. 

(6) Antara cara-cara untuk memudahkan bangun awal untuk solat tahajjud adalah banyakkan membaca Al Quran pada waktu siangnya. Kurangkan perkara-perkara yang lagha seperti menonton tv/wayang ataupun mendengar muzik, banyakkan berselawat dan berzikir, tidur dengan niat untuk solat tahajjud pada keesokan harinya. Selain itu, tidur awal pada waktu malam dan qaylulah pada waktu sebelum zohor juga insyaaAllah boleh membantu.

(7) Ustaz yang mengajar ketika salah satu kursus umrah berkata, seeloknya mulakan solat taubat dan tahajjud di rumah lagi, supaya perjalanan dan ibadah kita lebih dirahmati dan diberkati Allah SWT.

Persediaan Fizikal

(1) Pastikan tekanan darah dan tahap gula dalam keadaan yang baik. Sekiranya sebelum ini tidak terkawal, mungkin anda akan memerlukan beberapa bulan untuk mengawalnya. Suasana dan pemakanan semasa bermusafir adalah tidak menentu, maka lebih mudah untuk mendapat komplikasi penyakit. 

Minta doktor anda menulis senarai masalah penyakit anda, supaya mudah jika terjadi sebarang kecemasan. Tidaklah doktor di Saudi nanti terkial-kial bertanya kepada anda.

(2) Jika anda mempunyai penyakit yang memerlukan ubat setiap hari (seperti kencing manis, darah tinggi, asthma, SLE), bawa ubat cukup untuk sebulan (walaupun anda cuma pergi 10 hari). Bahagikan dan letak dalam beberapa beg berasingan, termasuk dalam beg check-in anda. Harga ubat di Arab Saudi agak mahal. Lagipun pasti anda tidak mahu jatuh sakit di sana.

(3) Bawa bekalan ubat-ubat seperti panadol, ubat selsema yang tidak menyebabkan mengantuk, ubat sembelit, ubat gastrik, ubat cirit-birit sebagai standby. Berbincang dengan doktor anda tentang apa yang mungkin anda perlu.

(4) Lain-lain keperluan seperti losyen pelembap (contohnya Vaseline) kerana cuaca di sana kering, pelindung UV, krim untuk mengelakkan tumit pecah. Krim-krim ini boleh dipakai ketika dalam ihram.

Saya beli botol-botol ini di Watsons. Saiznya 50mL. Kualitinya bagus. Saya bawa vaseline lotion (kiri) dan minyak zaitun (sebelah kanan), langsung tidak tumpah dalam perjalanan, alhamdulillah.
Krim ini telah dicadangkan oleh seorang mutawwif daripada satu lagi kumpulan. Saya sendiri tidak menggunakannya, tetapi menurut mereka, gunakan di kaki untuk mengelakkan pecah-pecah yang kadangkala agak serius. Mereka beli di farmasi di Makkah/Madinah.
(5) Beberapa kaedah melegakan masalah-masalah kesihatan/kulit tanpa memerlukan ubat (sekiranya tidak serius):


Minyak zaitun – untuk merawat tumit yang sudah pecah sedikit, serta mengelakkan dan merawat kulit kering. Gunakan yang asli (extra virgin atau virgin olive oil yang selalunya digunakan untuk memasak), bukan yang dicampur dan dilabel sebagai barangan kosmetik. Memang Nabi Muhammad SAW pernah berpesan supaya menyapu minyak zaitun di seluruh tubuh.


Madu – Makan sekurang-kurangnya satu sudu besar setiap hari untuk melegakan batuk atau selsema. 


Madu+air suam – Campurkan satu atau dua sudu besar madu dengan secawn air suam untuk melegakan sembelit. Boleh juga diamalkan setiap hari untuk kesihatan


Air zam zam+doa – Khasiat air zam zam adalah mengikut niat orang yang meminumnya. Sebelum minum air zam zam, baca bismillah, berdoa dengan apa yang kita hajati (contohnya kuat ingatan, sihat tubuh badan, tambah tenaga, kurangkan sakit tekak atau selsema), kemudian minum. Pastikan anda yakin dengan apa yang anda doakan. Kadangkala dapat terus apa yang didoakan, dan selalunya Allah beri petunjuk tentang apa yang harus dilakukan untuk mencapai perkara yang kita doakan itu (bukan semua benda boleh sapat sekelip mata, perlu usaha daripada kita juga).


Kurma – bagus untuk legakan sembelit, tambahkan tenaga, tambah zat besi, alas perut sebelum qiyamullail.

(6) Anda akan banyak berjalan di sana. Tetapi letih kerana banyak berjalan di sana selalunya mudah diubati dengan rehat secukupnya di waktu malam. Saya berjalan secara purata 7,000 sehingga 24,000 langkah sehari semasa di Makkah (lebih kurang 3 hingga 13.6km).

(7) Tidur awal, sebolehnya jangan lagi bercakap-cakap atau berjalan-jalan selepas solat isya, supaya anda dapat bangun awal untuk ke masjid bagi menunaikan solat tahajjud. Nabi Muhammad SAW tidak menggalakkan kita berbual-bual lagi selepas solat isya’. Seeloknya terus tidur.
Sunnah Nabi Muhammad SAW juga untuk tidur pada waktu tengahari sebelum masuk waktu zohor (nama lainnya ‘qailulah’) supaya menyegarkan kita pada waktu petang, dan memudahkan bangun awal untuk tahajjud keesokan harinya.
(8) Jaga kesihatan semasa di sana. Minum air yang cukup (melainkan anda mempunyai penyakit yang dinasihati doktor supaya mengawal pengambilan air). Banyak tong air zamzam di dalam masjid. Tandas pun banyak (17,000 tandas di sekitar masjid), cuma tempatnya di luar.

(8) Biskut, roti dan minuman panas. Boleh bawa biskut dan minuman 3-in-1 daripada rumah, lebih-lebih lagi untuk alas perut sebelum qiyamullail (selalunya hotel menyediakan sarapan selepas solat subuh). Boleh juga makan kurma dan minum air zamzam. Semua barang makanan di atas (termasuklah mee segera) ada dijual di kedai runcit/supermarket berdekatan masjid, cuma harganya agak mahal, tambahan pula dengan nilai matawang kita yang tak seberapa.
(9) Dobi juga ada di sana. Boleh juga hantar pakaian ke dobi supaya dapat meluangkan lebih masa di masjid. Kalau cuci baju sendiri pun boleh, selalunya cepat kering (kecuali stokin/pakaian yang tebal).
Berikut adalah senarai harga bagi khidmat dobi yang kami gunakan:


Banyak juga barang-barang di atas dijual di tanah haram, cuma harganya mahal sedikit berbanding di Malaysia. Terpulang kepada anda untuk membawanya dari Malaysia atau membeli apabila ada keperluan.

Akhir kata, berdoalah sebanyak mungkin agar perjalanan dan ibadah anda dipermudahkan. Memang ada sesetengah agent umrah menipu tetapi banyak juga yang mereka sendiri terperangkap dalam kerenah berurusan dengan orang Arab. Masalahnya, terutamanya syarikat kecil, mereka sendiri mungkin tidak tahu bahasa Arab, yang di Arab Saudi sana pula tidak pandai berbahasa Inggeris. Banyak-banyak bersabar dan cuba memberi kerjasama dengan agent umrah anda. Berbincanglah dengan baik sekiranya anda tidak mendapat apa yang dijanjikan atau diiklankan. Mungkin agent anda juga tersepit di tengah-tengah.

Ziarah dan umrah merupakan masa untuk kita merenung diri sendiri, bukan menuduh orang lain itu dan ini. Kalau diizinkan Tuhan yang ada masalah dalam perjalanan, lihatlah balik ke dalam diri sendiri, apakah amalan kita sebelum ini? Bagaimana kita melayan insan di sekeliling kita? Adakah kita telah melanggar hak orang lain?  Ada harta yang kita tak patut ambil? Jangan pula memandang orang lain dengan soalan yang sama, kita hanya patut tanya diri sendiri. Pengajarannya memang pahit tetapi lebih baik sedar sekarang daripada sedar di alam barzakh atau di akhirat nanti.

Mungkin agent umrah kurang cekap menangani urusan-urusan mereka, tetapi adakah kita sendiri mampu melakukannya? 

Berdoalah. Jika anda tak mampu berfikiran positif atau bersangka baik dengan manusia lain, bersangka baiklah dengan Allah. 

Haramain: Beberapa Panduan (Bahagian 2 – Sambungan, Masjidil Haram)

Sambungan daripada bahagian 1:

Haramain: Beberapa Panduan (Bahagian 1 – Masjidil Haram)

Ibadah di Masjidil Haram

Selain daripada umrah dan haji, ada pelbagai inadah yang biasa dilakukan di masjid ini, contohnya:
(1) Solat rawatib

(2) Berdoa. Antara waktu afdal berdoa adalah antara azan dan iqamah. Selesai solat dua rakaat sebelum solat fardhu, banyakkan berdoa. Selepas solat fardhu, tidak ada zikir dan doa seperti di Malaysia. Yang ada hanya solat jenazah.

(3) Solat jenazah. Selalunya dilakukan tidak lama selepas solat fardhu. Bagaimanapun kalau di Masjidil Haram, tempoh antara solat fardhu dan jenazah adalah cukup-cukup untuk mengerjakan solat rawatib dua rakaat. Kalau mahu berzikir, tunggu hingga selepas solat jenazah, kerana di Malaysia kita jarang-jarang dapat buat, dan pahalanya adalah sebesar Bukit Uhud. Jadi rebutlah peluang ini, setiap waktu solat hampir pasti ada solat jenazah. Walaupun saya sendiri tidak pernah nampak jenazahnya, kesan pengajaran daripada kematian amatlah besar, terutama apabila membaca doa untuk mayat. 

Bagi yang lelaki, digalakkan mengikuti jenazah sampai ke kubur.

(4) Tawaf sunat. Menurut seorang ustaz yang mengajar kami, tidak perlu lakukan umrah berulang-ulang kali, cukuplah satu umrah wajib dan satu umrah badal. Yang pentingnya kita cuba melakukan tawaf sunat sebanyak mungkin. Tawaf sunat ini menggantikan tahiyatul masjid.

(5) Beriktiqaf di masjid. Mencari keredhaan dan keampunan Allah adalah lebih penting daripada mencari kedai baru atau cenderamata baru untuk dibawa pulang ke tanah air. Ketika beriktiqaf lakukanlah ibadah-ibadah (mengikut waktunya) seperti solat taubat, solat tahajjud, solat witir dan solat dhuha.

Panduan Dalam Masjidil Haram
Masjidil Haram merupakan masjid terbesar di dunia. Arsitekturnya hampir-hampir simetri menyebabkan terlalu ramai yang tersesat. Lebih-lebih lagi sekarang mereka sedang mengubahsuai beberapa bahagian.
(1) Ingat pintu mana anda masuk, dan carilah pintu itu ketika anda hendak keluar. Pintu-pintu masjid ada nama dan nombor masing-masing, manakala di tenpat sa’ie ada nombor pintu. Tangga bergerak juga ada nama.

(2) Disebabkan jemaah yang terlalu ramai, pihak pengurusan Masjidil Haram akan menutup pintu sekiranya sesuatu bahagian itu telah sesak. Jadi anda terpaksa mencari pintu lain, lebih-lebih lagi jika terlambat ke masjid untuk solat fardhu.

Pintu yang masih boleh dimasuki tandanya begini:


Manakala pintu yang ditutup adalah begini:


Pengawal/polis/tentera akan menghadang laluan dengan pagar plastik, mereka tidak akan berkompromi dengan anda walaupun itu sahaja pintu yang anda tahu. Jadi carilah pintu lain yang terdekat. 

(3) Jika anda ingin duduk di mana anda suka, masuk melalui pintu yang anda biasa, datanglah sekurang-kurangnya sejam sebelum waktu solat fardhu. Lebih dekat waktu solat, lebih ramai orang yang masuk. Kawasan dalam masjid sendiri pun akan ditutup sekiranya sesak. Saya sendiri tidak dapat menghabiskan tawaf sunat pada waktu sebelum subuh kerana pengawal telah mengarahkan kami keluar pada jam 5am (hari Jumaat). Maka terpaksalah saya sambung pada waktu lain.

(4) Tandas dan tempat wudhu’ hanya ada di luar masjid. Jika anda cuma perlu memperbaharui wudhu’ (tanpa perlu membersihkan diri di tandas), anda boleh gunakan botol spray seperti ini:


Botol ini hanya memuatkan 100mL air, dan saya telah menggunakannya sebanyak dua kali, airnya luak sedikit sahaja. Ini membuktikan yang kita hanya perlukan sedikit air untuk setiap kali wudhu’. Jadi walaupun kita ada banyak air, tak perlu gunakan air mencurah-curah (seperti hadith Nabi Muhammad SAW supaya berjimat walaupun mengambil wudhu’ dalam sungai yang mengalir).
(5) Sekiranya anda membawa orang tua, terutamanya yang mempunyai masalah ingatan, tuliskan nama hotel, nama pintu, nama ahli keluarga dan beberapa nombor telefon yang penting di belakang kad yang diberi oleh agensi umrah anda. Selalunya kad ini digantung di leher. Sekurang-kurangnya orang tua anda boleh bertanya orang lain tentang pintu masuk dan keluar, atau meminta tolong daripada jemaah lain. Jemaah Malaysia agak ramai, saya pasti ramai juga yang mahu membantu. 

(6) Hal-hal kasut. Di tepi jalan menuju ke masjid dan di beberapa pintu masjid ada disediakan plastik untuk meletakkan kasut anda. Kasut anda boleh disimpan di dalam beg dan dibawa merata-rata, atau ditinggalkan di rak-rak kasut yang tetdapat di tiang-tiang masjid. Sebenarnya lebih mudah sekiraya anda bawa kasut anda ke mana-mana, kerana anda mungkin akan keluar di pintu berbeza dengan pintu masuk, lebih-lebih lagi selepas mengerjakan umrah.

(7) Saya sendiri tidak mempunyai anak kecil, jadi saya tidak dapat memberikan apa-apa panduan. Yang saya nampak, kebanyakan ibu bapa mendukung anak ketika tawaf dan sa’ie, ataupun menolak mereka di atas kerusi roda. Kadangkala bapa menolak ibu yang mendukung anak di atas kerusi roda. Kereta sorong bayi mungkin tidak dibenarkan – saya nampak banyak juga yang ditinggalkan di tepi pintu masjid. Tidak ada yang marah sebab bawa anak kecil masuk ke masjid. Ramai bayi yang ditidurkan di atas permaidani masjid, ibunya solat seperti biasa. Ramai juga bapa yang membawa anak kecil solat bersama.

(8) Sebenarnya menara jam yang tinggi itu amat berguna untuk memandu kita tentang kedudukan kita di dalam masjid. Saya seringkali menggunakan jam tersebut sebagai pemandu arah sekiranya saya sudah banyak berjalan di dalam masjid. Ada juga cara-cara lain seperti melihat kedudukan pintu kita melalui bahagian-bahagian kaabah (seperti rukun Yamani, Hijr Ismail), tetapi kadangkala kita tertolak masuk oleh pengawal masjid atau orang ramai. Jadi jika ingin keluar dari masjid, menara jam tersebut sangat berguna.

Berikut adalah peta Masjidil Haram yang saya dapati di hotel tempat saya tinggal. Peta ini mungkin berubah dari masa ke masa, bergantung kepada perkembangan proses penambahan masjid oleh Kerajaan Arab Saudi.

Simbol untuk peta tingkat 1, Masjidil Haram
Simbol untuk peta Masjidil Haram, Ground floor
Peta Masjidil Haram, tingkat 1
Peta Masjidil Haram, Ground floor
Sekian dahulu panduan ringkas untuk Masjidil Haram. Saya pasti ada banyak lagi perkara yang boleh saya tambahkan, insyaaAllah saya akan update dari semasa ke semasa. 

Haramain: Beberapa Panduan (Bahagian 1 – Masjidil Haram)

Alhamdulillah, saya telah selamat menziarahi kota Madinah dan mengerjakan umrah di Masjidil Haram pada 16 hingga 24 Disember baru-baru ini. Ini adalah musim sejuk di Arab Saudi, maka cuaca di Madinah sejuk seperti musim bunga/panas di UK (dengan suhu dari 13 ke 22 darjah celcius), manakala cuaca di Makkah adalah seperti Malaysia (suhu dari 23 ke 31 darjah celcius). Memang agak selesa pada ketika ini berbanding dengan musim-musim lain.

Untuk waktu solat pula agak rapat antara satu sama lain. Subuh bermula kurang lebih jam 5.30am, syuruk 6.55am, zuhur 12.15pm, asar 3.15pm, maghrib 5.40pm, dan isya’ 7.08pm. Malamnya agak panjang.

Di sini saya ingin menuliskan beberapa panduan yang saya fikirkan berguna untuk bakal-bakal pengunjung kedua-dua tanah haram ini, dan saya mulakan dengan Masjidil Haram. Saya nasihatkan bahawa panduan ini harus disesuaikan dengan tempoh masa umrah, tempat tinggal dan keadaan anda sendiri. Saya juga ingin memohon maaf terlebih dahulu sekiranya terdapat kekurangan atau kesilapan dalam coretan saya kali ini.

Sesetengah informasi yang saya berikan sekarang mungkin tidak boleh digunakan pada masa hadapan kerana Masjidil Haram sedang dalam proses penambahan dan pengubahsuaian struktur, jadi ada sesetengah pintu dan jalan mungkin ditutup/dibuka maka laluan yang ada sekarang mungkin berbeza. 

Mengerjakan Umrah

(1) Saya pasti kebanyakan jemaah akan mendapat kursus umrah sebelum berangkat ke tanah suci. Sesibuk mana pun anda, pastikan anda mendapat maklumat dan panduan tentang syarat sah, wajib umrah dan pantang larang daripada orang yang lebih arif, terutamanya jika anda tidak pernah mengerjakan umrah atau haji sebelum ini.

(2) Bagi kaum wanita, lebih baik jika anda ulangkaji semula bab hukum-hakam berkenaan darah wanita. Ada kalanya timbul waswas, maka kita juga perlu belajar untuk menghindari masalah waswas tersebut. 

(3) Saya telah memuat-turun panduan umrah yang sangat asas dan amat mudah difahami daripada website berikut:

Panduan Umrah UniSZA

Panduan ini boleh dibawa ketika kursus umrah sekiranya travel agent anda tidak menyediakan buku.
(4) Ibu saya juga telah memberikan buku asas haji dan umrah terbitan tabung haji. Buku ini juga mengandungi banyak informasi tentang umrah dan haji, serta hukum-hukum dan ibadah lain yang berkaitan. Terdapat banyak gambar sebagai panduan. Tulisannya besar supaya mudah dibaca oleh sesiapa sahaja. Mungkin anda boleh pinjam daripada sesiapa yang telah mengerjakan haji.


(5) Tempat tawaf itu dinamakan mataaf atau mataf, manakala tempat sa’ie itu dinamakan masaa atau massa pada papan tanda. Ketika saya berada di sana, terdapat tiga tempat yang kita boleh mengerjakan tawaf dan tiga tingkat untuk mengerjakan sa’ie.

(6) Di sekeliling kaabah sendiri memang ramai yang mengerjakan tawaf, ada juga orang yang keluar masuk untuk mencium Hajarulaswad dan solat di Hijr Ismail. Memang keadaan sesak dan berhimpit-himpit, terutamanya antara waktu zohor hingga selepas maghrib. Waktu yang kurang sesak adalah waktu dhuha sehingga jam 10am, dan selepas waktu isyak. Walaupun kurang sesak tetapi sebenarnya masih ramai orang. 

Sekiranya anda orang muda atau tidak suka bersesak-sesak, boleh tawaf di tingkat satu. Tidak ramai orang dan jalan lebih laju. Waktu yang saya ambil untuk tawaf dekat dengan kaabah adalah 8 minit setiap pusingan, manakala di tingkat satu 10 minit setiap pusingan. Tempohnya memang tidak banyak berbeza tetapi jaraknya jauh juga, lebih kurang 3.5km keseluruhan. Bagi saya kurang stress di tingkat atas.

(7) Untuk sa’ie pula, ada tingkat basement, ground dan tingkat satu. Basement dan ground agak sesak tetapi tidak berhimpit-himpit, masih boleh berlari di bawah lampu hijau. Di ground floor anda boleh memijak batu-batu asal di Bukit Safa, dan boleh merasa memanjat bukit sedikit, manakala di tingkat satu, suasananya lapang dan rata sahaja.

Suasana sa’ie di tingkat satu:


(8) Selepas tawaf dan selepas sa’ie, mungkin anda akan merasa sakit di bahagian pinggang atau pangkal peha atau kaki, bergantung kepada cara anda berjalan. Ini disebabkan oleh lantai yang licin dan cara berjalan mungkin terubah dengan sendirinya. Salah satu cara mengelakkannya (bagi wanita) adalah memakai stokin yang bergetah di tapak kakinya. Pergerakan kaki anda menjadi lebih stabil.

Tetapi jika anda tidak memiliki stokin tersebut, atau pinggang/kaki tetap sakit, salah satu cara untuk melegakan sakit itu adalah sujud dengan tempoh yang lama. Sujud, insyaaAllah, dapat meredakan sakit-sakit di anggota badan selepas tawaf dan sa’ie. 

(9) Banyakkan minum air untuk mengganti peluh yang hilang dan menyegarkan diri. Minum air zamzam sebelum dan selepas tawaf (minum selepas tawaf itu sunnah), dan banyak juga tong air zamzam sepangjan jalan antara Bukit Safa dan Marwah.

(10) Untuk bertahallul, saya nasihatkan wanita membawa gunting kecil sendiri. Untuk lelaki pula, jika anda ingin mencukur kepala, tempatnya tidaklah terlalu dekat tetapi kadangkala ada ‘agent’ yang menunggu di luar Bukit Marwah. Harganya lebih kurang SR15.

Membawa Diri di Masjidil Haram

Masjidil Haram dipenuhi orang hampir setiap masa. Hari yang paling sesak adalah hari Jumaat kerana itu adalah hari cuti bagi Arab Saudi, maka ramai penduduk tempatan datang sama ada untuk mengerjakan umrah atau melakukan ibadah-ibadah lain. Jadi amat wajar untuk kita menjaga adab diri sendiri agar tidak menganiayai orang lain.

(1) Kurangkan berbual dan banyakkan beribadah. Pada kebanyakan tempat, orang banyak membaca Quran, solat ataupun berehat, tetapi ada juga yang berbual-bual dengan suara yang kuat (orang Melayu tidak terkecuali). Maka setelah berbelanja besar dan bersusah payah untuk ke Tanah Haram, pastikan anda menumpukan sepenuh masa untuk beribadah; di Malaysia pun boleh berbual. Bagi saya, suara orang dewasa yang berbual adalah lebih mengganggu berbanding suara bayi menangis di masjid.

(2) Jaga kebersihan. Banyak juga tong sampah disediakan, dan kalau tukang sapu lalu, boleh juga tumpang buang sampah dalam tong dia. Siram air secukupnya selepas buang air kerana tandasnya tidak ada flush.

(3) Sekiranya anda dapat solat di Hijr Ismail atau belakang Maqam Ibrahim, lakukan seringkas mungkin, terutamanya apabila jemaah terlalu ramai. Kita ada doa dan harapan, begitu juga dengan orang lain. Kalau mahukan waktu yang lebih lapang, pergi dalam waktu dhuha, insyaaAllah dapat duduk di mana-mana yang kita mahu.

(4) Berkongsi. Jika anda solat di atas lantai beralaskan sejadah (tidak semua orang dapat solat atas permaidani), kongsilah dengan orang sebelah yang mungkin tidak memiliki atau membawa sejadah. Kongsi air zamzam, buah tamar, atau makanan/minuman lain yang anda punyai. Tolong ambilkan air zamzam untuk orang tua yang berseorangan. Semua ini nampak kecil tapi kita tak tahu ganjarannya di sisi Allah SWT.

Bersambung di Bahagian 2:

Haramain: Beberapa Panduan (Bahagian 2 – Sambungan, Masjidil Haram)

The Scare – Part II

Do check out The Scare – Part I right before this post. But I guess you can read this first, if you happened to come across this.

Lessons that I learnt from the health scare:

(1) Appreciate your health. With a good health, we could think more clearly, have much less worry (because being unwell gives you sooooo much anxiety, you can’t imagine until you become unwell yourself), serve others around us and plan for the future. Try to avoid all those lifestyle-related problems like diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, chronic obstructive lung disease, obesity, alcoholism, drug abuse. Please leave the healthcare system for those who could not help being sick – like those who had cancer, multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, errors of metabolism, epilepsy and so many other serious conditions. We all need to learn about caring for ourselves better.

(2) I know most doctors (and other healthcare workers) know this, but I need to stress this to myself and others: your smiles mean THE WHOLE WORLD to your patients. Even when they are so worried or in pain that they could not smile back at you. A smiling face makes a world of difference. Encouraging and positive words, even more so. We all need to smile more, say more motivating words. Life will be better for all of us.

I really need to say this: all the staff in neurology ward and clinic have been very kind to me, from the consultants to the staff bringing in food to my room, and the cleaners were all so polite!! They lifted my spirits in ways that I did not expect. The nurses updated me on the MRI waiting status, put in my IV line (even distracted me by chatting with me so that it would not be too painful), prepared my room. The attendant who pushed my trolley towards the MRI was also friendly and encouraging. It was great service for me, and I do hope they do this to all patients.

(3) If you know you’re going to be admitted to the hospital, or going to wait in a specialist clinic (government or private centers), do bring a book to read and some food to munch on. I occupied myself with a book during my MRI wait, and although the day was still long, I could tolerate it. In the neurology clinic, I had to wait for almost four hours, which would have been excrutiating if I did not have anythig to read in my hands. I also found that watching TV actually makes one more angry. So a book is the way to go.

(4) Positivity should become our best friend that we bring around everywhere. For the past few years, I have been struggling with a few life issues that made me sometimes too lethargic to go on. I managed to keep my nose above the water by giving myself positive thoughts everytime I find myself almost drowning. Personally I would usually listen to speakers like Nouman Ali Khan and Sheikh Yasir Qadhi. They give lectures about the Quran and Prophet Muhammad’s (SAW) life that changed my perspective of life to a more fulfilling one. It doesn’t mean I don’t get anxious or have depressed mood, but by reminding myself, I could get out of it fairly quickly. 

It is worth every effort of whispering ourselves good words. There are times that we might not feel convinced, but after a while, it gets easier. Once we have positive thoughts, things get easier for us.

(5) It is a very very VERY good habit to say our thanks and gratefulness the first thing in the morning, when we wake up. Just think about the things that we are thankful for, and along the day, the list will keep on growing.

(6) Indeed, with difficulty comes multiple ease. Good news, it only happens if you truly believe in it. 

(7) How to survive MRI if you’re claustrophobic? I guess it depends on how claustrophobic you are, and my techniques may not apply to everyone. It was scary at first, I had palpitations. The informative radiographers actually helped the whole process; they knew I was supposed to be given sedation, but since I wanted to try without, they explained to me what it is going to be like in there. 

My good friend told me, when she did her MRI, the tunnel was very close to her face, and there were vomit stains in there! Yikes!

It was certainly NOT like that when I had mine done. The tunnel was clean, and although it is narrow, I could still look towards my feet and hence outside the tunnel. So that is the first technique – look at the light at the end of the tunnel!

It also helped that the lighting in the MRI room was soft yellow, it gave quite a calming effect. 

As soon as the ‘bed’ moved in, I started reading those Quranic verses that I could remember, and the focus I neeed to recite those verses managed to distract me away from the noise and the narrow tunnel. They said they would put on music but I was thankful they did not, it would have interfered with my recitations.

The thing that was not so easy to overcome was…the on and off itchiness on the knee or on the head; we’re not supposed to move!! So deep breathing exercises was the answer. 

(8) If you truly believe in Allah, believe in the power of du’as, then you’ll know know that whatever He puts you through at that time is the best for you. Like I have been thinking of whether or not I should let anyone know about the scan date, but I didn’t want to trouble anyone, on top of not wanting to feel frustrated if nobody came to accompany me. I have to say, I felt rather lonely, but looking back, I’m glad I made that decision.

I did wonder though, why am I alone? Of course, I told myself that I am not truly alone (as evidenced by the MRI success without needing sedatives), and that there is a goo reason behind the whole situation. Turned out, I did not need anyone. Everything was fine, in the end.
(9) What’s painful? I had so much body aches after being in the hospital room for 24 hours. I did some reading, I repaired some of my clothes (brought along my clothes that needed stitching here and there), went out to talk to the nurses and some of the doctors there, but yes, I was sedentary enough to cause some serious muscle aches.

And tissued IV line. I knew it must be painful but I did not know it could be THAT painful. The first person who tried to put in the IV line that morning was a bit nervous because she thought my veins were a bit small (the room was cold!). For me they were acceptable. So she was unsuccessful during her attempt, and called her colleague to help. The second person succeeded.

However, the site of the first attempt almost bruised – I pressed it for a long duration so that it would now swell so much. But the pain…it was even painful when I washed my hands. Without anything touching it, it was bearable though.

On a side note, I do NOT like poking patients. In fact, I HATE it. It is painful, it takes time, and sometimes it can be really difficult.

There are a few other lessons but I guess I’ll stop for now. Will probably add them on some other time.

The Scare – Part I

Truly health is one of the greatest blessings in life.
Recently I had sort of an ‘opportunity’ to remind myself about its importance. It’s not that I don’t care about my health before, but this time I get to see it from a different perspective.

A few months back, I started to have tingling sensations over my toes. At first it only lasted for a day, and it disappeared after a good rest (thank you, Dr Ong!). However after a few weeks, the tingling came again, and this time it persisted, day and night. Even the tips of my fingers felt numb occasionally.

After a week of persistent tingling, I asked my senior colleagues (thank you, Dr Aza and Dr Zila!) to assess and write me a letter to see a neurologist. I went to see the head of department but since she was busy, I saw another neurologist whom I love as much. 
It turned out my toes were truly numb, and so were my fingers (I examined myself before, but it was difficult to gauge because my brain already knew there was going to be a stimuli). On top of that, my right big toe was a bit weak. So she arranged for an MRI of the whole spine, but in addition to a possible diagnosis of prolapsed disc, she was worried it might be something more sinister like multiple sclerosis, because of the on-and-off nature of my symptoms.

It did come and go. That particular episode lasted for two weeks, and then it resolved. A month after that, it occurred again for a week, and then resolved. After that it came a few times, for a few days. 

Without realizing it, I became more anxious. A day prior to a public holiday, I was having tea with my family, I suddenly had this tingling sensation over mynleft shoulder. I panicked but I only told my best friends. The next day it rained and rained and rained; it was such a peaceful day, all I wanted to do was spend time in the masjid. I went to my favourite masjid that morning, bringing along my worries and sadness with me.

The sun that came after the rain only served to remind me that any kinds of sadness will be followed by days of joy, which will surely be multiplied. I thank God for sending us the rain and the sun.

I did not ask for early MRI appointment as I had another big task to go through. Meanwhile, I did go back to the neurology clinic (to settle some stuff for my patients). The nurses and other staff there were so kind and supportive, giving me advice on how to survive the MRI (I’ll get back to that later), smiling cheerfuly when they see me there.

As the date became closer, I became more anxious. I tried to tell myself that it’s all going to be fine, that it’s not a big deal really, that even if the results are bad, I would still live my life the way I do now and believe in the same principles as I do. Most of the time, the positive vibes I tried to instill into myself stuck in me, although there are other times that I just felt like breaking down. I even thought that this scare is good, because I finally learn how to not procrasinate (my friend found it weird and said it is not nice to think of it like that, but I told her I need to survive this one way or another).

I have to mention that a good friend of mine was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis three years ago. She’s still alive and kicking, I must say. Perhaps if I was diagnosed with the same disease, we could promote MS awareness together.

I felt worse after my mom became unwell, and I failed my exams again. I became extremely edgy, especially when I’m on call; something I have managed to avoid being for a few years.

The MRI was another drama (actually it was not very dramatic). I am rather claustrophobic, so the neurologist suggested for me to be admitted so that they could give me some sedation before the scan. I agreed for it. 
“Don’t you have any friends who could hold your hand while you’re in there?” she asked. I could not answer that question. I can’t think of anyone who’s not occupied with his/her life. Obviously I won’t tell my parents because they would be even more worried, especially my mom. It is going to be a long wait so I don’t want her to wait that long with me either.

I drove myself to the hospital, checked myself in, thank God I had a single room to myself (it smelt like old hotel room), changed my clothes and settled down with Cecelia Ahern’s Lyrebird. I was given prednisolone cover late that night (I have allergies, although the MRI is an uncontrasted one I still had to take it), thank God I felt sleepy, and slept through until the first vital sign was taken at 5am.

The next day was even longer; I fasted from 6am, allowed lunch at 11am because the waiting list was still very long, fasted again at 1pm, and was FINALLY called for MRI at 7pm. I knew it was going to be like that, I only hoped they would not cancel it after all the trouble.

As adviced by the clinic nurses, I tried going through the MRI without sedation. The radiographer warned me that it was going to be noisy, the tunnel is narrow, I would go in head first, it will last one hour, but I said I wanted to try without sedation. I spent that half hour in the noisy tunnel reciting some Quran verses that I could remember; it had the expected effect of calming me down and made me focus on my memory rather than my sensations. In the end I did not need any sedation; I managed to discharge myself by 9.30pm and drove myself home.

The next day I was still on leave, I had nerve conduction studies done by one of the specialists. It was not a pleasant experience, I must say (I tried not to recall the bad experience reading Cecelia Ahern’s Flawed), although it was a good learning process and the specialist was being very nice to me (thank you, Dr ASM!). The test result came back as normal.

After that, I had another four days until the clinic appointment to find out my MRI findings. I survived the weekend, and on Monday I found out that the MRI report was actually ready within 12 hours after the scan. Talk about being efficient! 

Despite being glad that my hospital is that good, I felt my worst that day. For the first time in my life, I did not know what I’ll do in the near and later future. I had no appetite, I felt nauseous, and can’t even think of images nice enough for me to pray about. I could only ask God for more positivity and strength.
I met a good friend, who is a specialist, he asked me how I was, and I almost cried. I told him the whole thing about the exams and the MRI and that I was extremely worried…but in the end I told him I really don’t know what to do with my life, I just had to wait until the next day and then maybe I will have my direction.

It doesn’t help that I felt very lonely at that time. If the report comes back as something sinister, I really didn’t know where to go. Obviously I would not know how to tell my parents, I didn’t know if I could tell my brothers without making things worse for myself because they might not be available, one of my best friends had just given birth to her first baby, the other one is away in Germany, my mentor is probably away too….I just told myself that if God thinks that I need a person with me, He would have sent one, so most likely I don’t need anyone right now.

The day came. I waited for almost four hours in the busy neurology clinic to see the neurologist. When I walked into her room, she was standing and smiled at me. 
“Maria, there’s nothing serious in the MRI!” she said. 

To be honest, I don’t know who looked more relieved, was it myself, or was it her. 

It was not even a slipped disc.
We sat there discussing about the possible reasons for the tingling sensation. It could be an effect from a viral illness (I did have URTI prior to those symptoms), or maybe low haemoglobin. I won’t need another scan for now, unless something very serious comes up, which we both hope will not happen.

For the first time in weeks, I could truly smile. It felt like a huge burden has been lifted off my back. I felt so light in the head, I drove home thinking, again, about my dreams and prayers, and about coffee and cake. The next morning, I went to work with contact lens on, and plastered the biggest smile that I’ve had on my face since a few weeks back.

Truly health is the biggest blessing a person could have.
Sometimes it takes a scare to give it a new perspective.

Lifestyles and Influence – The Concept of Muwalliiha

This is one of the many lessons I learnt during Ustaz Nouman Ali Khan’s lecture in Masjid Wilayah on 2nd November 2016.

. . .

This is one of those lessons from the Quran that I wish is taught in primary schools, on top of teaching us about rules and regulations. This involves human psychology, motivation, and even simple manners. It would increase the love of young ones towards the Quran, and hence towards Allah, as they would understand that they could always turn to Allah’s words during times of adversity, when it is difficult to keep on doing good things.

It comes from ayat 148 in surah Al Baqarah. The ayats around this one were revealed to change the direction of our prayers – from facing the Baitul Maqdis (in Palestine) to Masjidil Haram in Makkah. This particular ayat does not only speak about how every religion has its own directions. It speaks about how every human being would choose his own lifestyle, and that choice would inspire others to follow suit.

“Therefore, compete to do good.”

Because when we all compete to do good, more people will be inspired to do good.
. . .
“Therefore, compete in doing ALL KINDS of good things.”
The good news is, good things are always worth doing, even if we do not see the results ourselves.
For example, one person started a charity drive, and another person follows, and then another, and then another….until perhaps the fifth or sixth person, very influential, gets inspired by this one person, and then promotes the same kind of charity drive. After that hundreds or even thousands of people involve themselves with all sorts of charity or voluntary work. 
Wouldn’t that be amazing?
Just imagine, that first person did one good thing and he thought he only inspired one person, but in reality, he has inspired hundreds or thousands to do the same thing. It multiplies!!
. . .
In my working life, I could see this concept of “muwalliiha” being shown in a lot of places. For example, the way a few nurses in a certain ward would influence the rest of the nurses in charge of that ward. If there are a few kind, hardworking and responsible nurses in that ward, there is higher likelihood that the rest of the nurses will be as kind and responsible. If the rougher, lazier ones dominate, even the conscientious ones might not be motivated enough to do proper work.
. . .
“ALL KINDS of good things” can be just about anything. It could be giving a big smile to everyone, being kind and gentle, being helpful, being thoughtful, doing charity or volunteer work, taking work responsibilities seriously, being humble, or even by living a simple life.
Let’s start living our lives in a better way. Positive vibes will always attract more positive vibes! 


A Thousand Praises and Gratitude

My baby is back with me after five weeks in ICU, having had a heart and lung transplant..

Ok. Not really. 

Basically five weeks ago, on a Sunday afternoon, my car broke down. I was on my way back from work at that time, was dreaming about the bed waiting for me at home. The engine made a whole lot of noise that I really had to stop on the roadside.

I need to get to the point of this article, so I will summarise the whole five weeks first. Basically the damage was so bad that the car needed a change of engine, and now it is working as it should be. I cried with gratefulness when I drove my car back from the workshop a few days ago.

I was, and am, thankful that despite the major breakdown, so many things went the right way for me.

I am thankful I had my uncle to help me out when I could not reach my father.

I am thankful I stopped the car at the correct moment because I don’t think it could go any further. If I did not, the car might have stalled at a steep hill, and nobody from the other side could have seen the car. I shudder to think about what might have happened.

I am thankful that it happened near my house, so I could have lunch and a bit of a rest while waiting for the tow truck.

I am thankful that the tow truck did not have ANY problem at all locating my car. It was located at a small kampung road, and the area is rather sparsely popuated, with palm oil plantation on one side. The tow truck even reached the car before I did.

I am thankful that the tow truck driver knew exactly where was the service center that I wanted to send the car to. And I am thankful that it is open on a Sunday!

I am grateful that I could borrow my mom’s car for four weeks, and dad’s car for one week while waiting for my car to recover.

I am grateful that the servie center staff have been kind and friendly all along.

I am thankful that the company approved for the warranty to cover 90% of the engine change cost. Very very thankful indeed.

I am thankful that my colleague and senior colleagues understood my need to leave work when I needed to settle the issues with the car.

I am thankful that despite all the stress of not having my car with me, God has inspired me to still be thankful to Him.

Indeed, it is true, that with calamity, there is multiple ease.

Only if we choose to see it in a positive light.

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