Thursday, December 18, 2014


Syeikh Zahir Mahmood (UK)
I crown this syeikh my favourite speaker for twins of faith this year.
Such energy, every word filled with frustration and emotion.
And solid truth, smacking you right on the face.
Telling you what you have done, why you are such a failure;
why this ummah is such a failure
Facts =(

(parts you can skip starts here)

 I was sitting on the floor, waiting for my cousin to make wudu' at one of the toilets on level 2 PICC when I noticed that the number of people performing prayers at the the non-designated areas have increased since yesterday. Personal praying mats were on every nook, corners and edge of the building, facing the stretch of glass overlooking the lake of Putrajaya and the government administrative buildings.
I smiled alone, thinking that it's interesting how the Malaysians attitude have evolved to become more practical in practicing Islam. This is of course, the usual picture when I'm in Sydney coz we dont have musollas everywhere so come prayer times, it's either under the stairs at the emergency exit, or under any shady tree at any park, any changing rooms at shopping stores that dont blast their stereo, or any public areas that is clean enough for us to perform prayers. (I have my personal favourite spots at Darling Harbour, Hyde Park and at the Uni's library teehee.)

I didnt expect the Malaysians to have adopted such practice as well, given that we've always been taught to pray in a room where its labeled 'surau'. And given the fact that these suraus are almost at any public spaces (from the grand empty ones like the one at Pavilion Bukit Bintang to the overcrowded small rooms at Times Square, Imbi or SOGO, KL), we've been trained to search high and low for a designated place to perform salah.

But alhamdulillah, looking at the shift of mentality that has taken place here in my beloved Malaysia,
we are definitely heading somewhere

Anyway, my cousin really did took a while (yeah with the number of people wearing pashminas and shawls dominating the mirrors at the bathrooms, I can only imagine the queue), I got bored, so I decided to rummage through her handbag looking for interesting things. And when I was done with her make-up bags, I played around with my purse, amazed by the amount of junks I've managed to stashed in there. Few minutes later, when I was halfway done to examining the details of the purse to death, my cousin came out and we headed to make our prayers. We didnt bring praying mats so I took out the many blank A4 papers which among them are my notes from the talks. There, this feels just like Sydney.

It wasn't until we wanted to get back to the main hall did I realize that my purse wasn't in the bag. It must have fallen somewhere. So I panicked, rushed down to the 'lost and found' counter where two volunteers claimed that no one has brought it over just yet. I felt like crying, thinking of the amount of trouble I'm gonna have to go through to lodge a report for my IC and driving license (an image of me having to retake the JPJ driving test zapped through and I frowned at that thought; they cant make me take the test twice, can they?) 

And as if it couldnt get any worse, as I took out a new piece of paper to jot down the interesting points one the syeikhs was pressing about, I realized the previous notes I took- they've gone too.
I was gobsmacked.


I was so dumbfounded that I couldnt concentrate and with the frustration enveloping my thoughts (words getting fancy here, alert!), I crossed my arms and decided not to take notes. I was rebelling for no reason. 

Thank God they were just raising funds so eventhough Syeikh Aala was chipping in bits of stories of the companions here and there, my distracted state couldnt have come at a better time. It was amazing though, to see how rich the Muslims are. They pledged for a million (i think), breaking it into bits and people started to raise their hands for the amount they wanted to donate (one man donated RM 100,000!).
Money, really, isnt always the root of evil.

But where the hell was my purse?!
And my notes- my beautiful notes. =(
The only bit I got to cover was the last session where I sensibly decided to record things the syeikh said.
I'm going to have to ask my friends who went to the conference if I want to blog about the rest of the talks in detail~

(and resumes here)

The final speaker for the conference was this guy; SYEIKH ZAHIR MAHMOOD and his topic was 'The Final Hour'. The Final Hour is of course, one of the element of the 'World of the unseen' that we as Muslims, should have strong belief in.
Before I knew it, I was jotting down his points.
Forgotten about the purse; at least for a while~

Syeikh Zahir Mahmood is a UK born scholar, who is an instructor at the As-Suffa Institute, Birmingham. What I personally like about him is that he's pretty daring. He told us of his experience of being invited to Pakistan, where he was to give talks to a bunch of rich kids and he immediately presses on the subject of wealth and double standards. 
That takes a lot of gut; to rub it on people's face like that.

I mean often times we listen to lectures, we'd be happy to hear the fault of some others, like if they mention youth these days are clubbing and drinking alcohol, we'd go like, "Yep I agree a hundred percent, that is bad."

Syeikh Zahir Mahmood here, he sorta knows his audience. So, every points he made during his talk was directed to us, mentioning every small and huge sins that we overlook and how we think it's not a big deal.
His energy was amazing.
His words were like that of a father, being mad at his children.
I felt like I was being scolded for a good reason.
And I wanted more of it.

There wasn't one time where he comforted us with words like "It's okay. We can all change slowly"
He was more like "Look at what we've done. Look at the ummah. Look! You look at poor people and you think they deserve it? Who gave you wealth?!"

I was surprised actually. I thought I'd like funny talks more. Turns out I prefer this sort of bullet-to-your-hearts sessions.

You can download some of his talks here. They're from events and courses by As-Suffa Institute.
Just right click and Save As =)
I'm currently eager to finish this one called 'Are you a Loser?'

So here's some of the points from the talk. 
Syeikh Zahir Mahmood mentioned that most of us would probably relate that the final hour would be on the day of judgement. We however, fail to remember that our Qiyamah would start on the day we die. 
When we're buried seven feet in the ground, our Qiyamah would be reflected upon us. If it's good, then things are gonna be easy on afterwards. And if it's bad, chances are, it's gonna get worse once we're resurrected nauzhubillahiminzalik.

After we die, we'd probably ask Allah, why didn't He show us signs?
When in fact, the signs are always there. We overlooked them.
The news of relatives, friends, acquaintances passing away, the wrinkles on our forehead, our birthdays, the oppression on the Muslim countries around the world, the earthquakes, the flood, the landslides.
These are all signs.
And we choose to see it with a blind eye, not associating it with His calls for us to turn back to him after we've swayed for so long.
We share a noble status on facebook, and we continue to sin.
We hoped for people to change, but we denied our own responsibilities.

The believers are people of action. They don't just sit looking at the problems of the ummah, becoming armchair critiques; they actually do something. And they have a focus. What is their purpose of life? Where are they gonna channel their wealth? How will they help Islam?
These were the sort of questions that swarmed in the minds of the people during the glory days of Islam. They put Allah before anything and everything, and they managed to conquer every aspects of life there on. The education, the wealth, the power. Everything for the sake of Allah, the priority of every action.
Because come death, the only thing that you're gonna bring from to dunya to the ground with you, would be your kafan (the white piece of cloth that envelopes your body).

"And I swear by Allah, your kafan won't have pockets"
-Syeikh Zahir Mahmood-

On the day of judgement, it would be so scary that every man is for himself. All those Hollywood movies portraying the supposed imagery of the Judgment Day do not come close to even 1% of the horror it would be on that day. There won't be families hugging each other, looking for shelters. Even women breastfeeding, they'd forget about their babies. (Yes, if its gonna be that illogical, then it should be extremely scary). One that the human mind is incapable of picturing.
Septillion stars are gonna fall from the sky.
The mountains breaking into pieces...

And no soul can escape after that.
Be them alive, or be them dead.
For even if you're dead, the Angel Israfil is going to blow the horn for the second time, and you shall be resurrected too with the others.

Think about it. Every one you know in the history books is going to be there.
Even Napoleon
Even The Beatles
Even Abraham Lincoln
Even Adolf Hitler
Even our beloved Umar Abd Aziz.
Umar Al-Khattab
The Prophets
Even Pharoah

They're all gonna be there.We're all be gonna be there

Allahuakbar. No matter how great or how low we were during our lives, we're all gonna stand there on the day of Judgement counting our deeds, waiting for our turn to receive our books.

So the big question is, have we prepared ourselves for the final hour?
Or are we willing to compromise our Barzakh, Mahsyar, Siraat, Hisab, Mizan and Jannah.
For this temporary,single entity, dunya~


They called later that night and told me that someone turned in my purse and I have to pick it up at the main office at Damansara.
Alhamdulillah. Phewww.

Sunday, December 14, 2014


Great line up this year, we have:
Sheikh Tawfique Chowdry
Sheikh Alaa Elsayed
Sheikh Yahya Ibrahim
Sheikh Tariq Appleby
Sheikh Daood Butt
Imam Karim AbuZaid
Sheikh Abu Abdissalam
Sheikh Zahir Mahmood <done>
Sheikh Muiz Bukhary
Muslim Belal
Faisal Salah

I love them all! May Allah bless them, give them the highest jannah and put them among those that he loves.
And may He let us follow their footsteps, aminn =)

 Last time, I attended Twins of Faith in Sydney, there was so many things I wanted to share with the world and then I came home, realized that I had 4 days before my finals and so I said to myself, I'll do it after the exam.
And of course I never did.

The notes I took remains notes, which, is still there in the phone. But it remains there.So what im gonna do is that imma combine this weekend's talk (Twins of Faith 2014 Malaysia: World of the unseen) and the one I went to in February (Twins of faith 2014 Sydney: The Sunnah the Better) and blog about them both coordinating it by speakers. 

I remember back when I was 18 and Afikah Aiman told me all about the conference, I was like, well, I dont see the significance of going to such event when you can just go on youtube and select the lectures of your favourite scholars. I mean, I could listen to Nouman Ali Khan all day long for free really. No tickets. No gas money gone. No need to dress up, I can watch it at home over a bowl of popcorn, on my bed, in pyjamas.

But alhamdulillah 3 years later, He knocked some sense into me and I somehow managed to force my cousin to get me two tickets so I could drag my mum along. And wallahi, that simple phone call I made from Kingsford was the best decision to wrap up 2014 (well we technically still have 15 days to go but that line I just typed is pretty cool I dont want to cross it).

The thing about going to such conference is, you get pretty constantly pumped up by the great great vibe around you. Everyone is so eager to learn, to donate, to get involved and you just felt there is a great ummah spirit that we Muslims have that we sadly dont convey as much at other times. Outside of nice conferences like this, we're very much strangers and we don't seem to want to know one another. But deep down, we long for unity of the ummah. We want to see men in jubahs and women in proper clothing, in hijab, talking about Islam, talking about the greatness of Allah.
I didn't realize that before but-
I kinda like that.
It's a weird world we live in today where if you talk about Islam, you'd be labeled pious or extreme or somewhat rigid.

Its sad. And true.

And come conference like this, you're free to voice out your opinion. You can quote these scholars and share it with your friends and it becomes a topic that isn't awkward because you're not the only one who went.

And that is a great stepping stone to a lot of things.

My mum also pointed out something nice to ponder about from the two-day conference.

It's nice to sit down with everyone.
The volunteers are made of everyone.
The speakers are everyone.
The audience is everyone

I think her point is, these days, there's way too many islamic organisations with different names and each one claiming that they are better than the other, their vision are better, somewhat stronger, somewhat more substantiated.

Conferences like this, organised by an independant body that has no association with these unseen politics between the many islamic organisations in Malaysia, well, conferences like this, they're really a blessing.

We need more of it.
You've done a great job, Mercy Mission!
Imma blog about the content next according to the speakers so stay tuned!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Saad Al-Ghamdi

I have a confession.

I have a new favorite <3
Quran Recitation by Saad Al-Ghamdi
The way he reads the quran is so effortless, so soothing~

Found him first on Spotify. I was doing my homework somewhere where the wi-fi was so bad. And as usual, since my phone has no music playlist (since they take up so much space and I need those Med e-books, yes I'm a nerd I know), I'd go for youtube.
But surprise surprise my data mobile was reaching maximum and I was so desperate for music, I considered Spotify. (Coz it's just songs without the videos so probably it won't use that much of my vodafone data. My logic.)

So I followed this country singer by the name...., well you don't need to know.
And then I  had a moment of sudden realization that I haven't heard recitations for long.
Or attempted to memorize the quran.
Or listened to translation podcasts~
Since Ramadan, I think.
Which was ages ago. Two seasons ago. (Iliveinfourseasonscountrynowwoots)

So, I searched for Quran Recitation on Spotify (You bet they didnt have em)

Well, they do! There's only one with the multiple surahs playlist. And it was Saad Al-Ghamdi's.
Others had selected surahs and since I prefer playlist (which means the whole quran, instead of just a fraction of it), this would do, I thought
Someone with a pure heart aiming for an endless supply of deeds uploaded them and thanks to him/her, I managed to listen to some very good recitation while doing homework~

And then it started to become a thing.
I start listening to him most of the time I'm plugging my earphones to do notes.
I don't know, I don't really plan to.
But, I'll end up clicking his folder and ditching Daughtry and Coldplay.

I really like his recitation (if you still can't tell).
And his pace is about the same as mine when I read the Quran, plus points!
And well,
you sorta know you're doing the right thing.
One step at a time, shall we.

Allah bless you,Sheikh.
You can download here!

Full Quran Saad Al-Ghamdi

Anddddd a few weeks ago, Dania messaged me. No, I messaged her first. She is rarely the initiator for our conversations coz she's fabulous.

And she told me of her favorite.
Rashid Al-Afasy
And you can download hereeee


Friday, April 18, 2014


Salam Alaikum all,

So alhamdulillah, few months have passed since I got to Sydney and these days, time really flies. I wouldn't say it felt like only yesterday that I was filling in forms for MARA scholarship contract, (because back then, everything took forever), but ever since this life as a medical student started, things have quite gone quite fast-paced. Like, suddenly it has been one semester. And suddenly, exam, then the winter break. Then Ramadhan.

Medic is..good. I mean, I didn't realize that it would be this okay. I've heard so many bad remarks about it that I've hated the course throughout SPM. And then throughout IB.
And comes degree, I'm just like 'yeah- lets just do this since a million girls would kill for that scholarship and who am I to complain; plus this is what Dad wants yada yada.. (so not the attitude you should have upon entering a degree that will take almost 2/3 of your youth , ok, people).
But I have to say this. Things have been fab. Far from the dark dungeon sorta life I thought I'd be leading. Probably because UNSW encourages clinical practice since first year. In fact, in the 8th week after the first semester commences. So, going to the hospital once every fortnight and actually making use of the things we learn in class- that kinda helps in restoring my interest in this course.
And yeah, Medicine is hard. But do-able. And everything sorta links. And if you get sick, at least some things make sense LOL. I still have the urge to drop-out every now and then, though. Joking.

Anyway, I came across the guy up there in the picture; Kamal Saleh, years ago. It was either some video on facebook or some video they showed during USRAH UMUM  (But as usual, I've never really bothered to look him up. I don't know....nothing really matters to me then except for studying (shame, shame).

But anyway, it's spoken word poetry.
And unlike Amal Ahmed Albaz (whom I also admired), Kamal Saleh's approach is more emotional. His words go deep, deep, deep in your soul. He uses simple vocabs and you'd think you'd be needing some pause-for-effect moment to comprehend the messages he's slamming to you, but no, really. I don't know, there's just something about poetry that allows you to be moved, reflect and think all at the same time. Probably coz it's like listening to a song. hmmm.

He's in his early 20's and studies Law and Media at Macquarie Uni, Sydney. (OMG FOR 5 SEC)

I have this habit whenever I hear about someone so inspiring that turns out to be around my age. I'd go '-and what have I done again for this ummah? Oh yea. I'm battling hard finish some online tv-series. haha. <hopefully not for long though, that'll be a sad 'story of my life', one i wouldn't like flashing before my eyes on my death bed and plus, on judgement day. naudzubillah>

His videos are uploaded on youtube, by the Youtube name LEBO2196.
And among my favourite is the one I've attatched below. And there's another one about Prophet Muhammad that moved Yasmin Mogahed to tears.
(I tell you his words+ emotions are a perfect combo)

His twitter account is here>> @KamalSaleh_

Here's a website that compiles his video and there's a link to download the mp3 version>
 it automatically converts it for you.
(so, you can put it in your iPOD like me eehehehe)

Here's the lyrics I found from this website (thank you MR.X); may Allah bless. Enjoy =)
Ohh. And have a blessed Ramadhan.

What are we doing here? And where are we gonna’ go?
It’s like we just woke up one morning,
And then it was, "Welcome to the show."
Don’t ask any question, just go with the flow,
make as much money as you can and try your best not to get broke.
Copy everything you see on the TV from the hairstyle to the clothes,
And don’t think too often, just do exactly as you’re told.
And If you get confused, just turn towards the alcohol.
You still hear your thoughts? Then just turn up the radio,
As you learn to live a lifestyle of drugs, sex and rock and roll.
But, in all honesty, I just need to know:
Is there more to cycle than growing and getting old?
Living and dying just to leave behind a happy home,
And a whole lot of property that someone else is going to own?
I just really need to know before the caskets close,
Because I’m not willing to gamble with my soul,
Nor am I ready to take any chances.
These are just simple life questions
And I’m just searching for some answers,
Like, “What are we doing here?” and, “what is our purpose?”
“How did we get here?” and, “Who made us so perfect?”
And, “What happens when we go?” or, “Is this world all really worth it?”
Questions we don’t answer because apparently we don’t really have to.
There’s no purpose to this life and our existence is merely natural.
Then in that case please let me ask you,
Did you create yourself or is it someone else who had fashioned you?
Cause you’re a being that is impeccable, faultless, and unparalleled,
You’re a product of supreme intelligence and I’m merely being rational.
For there isn’t a camera on this earth that come close to the human eye,
Nor a computer than can compete along the human mind.
And if the whole world was to come together,
We wouldn’t be able to create a single fly.
So many signs, yet we still deny.
Science tries to justify that all this could come from none,
When it’s a simple sum:
zero plus zero plus zero cannot possibly ever give you one.
So from where did all this order come?
For everything has its origins, a maker, a creator of its own,
I mean, the only reason you’re watching this video
Is because somebody had to press upload.
So we can believe in the Big Bang,
But I’d rather believe in He who caused it to explode.
Allah, the Creator of everything along with every single soul.
The Ever-living, the Master, the only One who is in control.
Unlike his creations, beyond our imaginations,
And, no, he’s not a man, nor does he have any part in His association.
He’s on His own. And, no, He did not ever leave us alone.
Just like every manufacturer, he left us with an instruction manual.
The Quran and Islam, and I’m sorry to jump to conclusions,
But it’s the only one possible solution.
The only definition of God is the One and Only, supreme being, it’s logical.
A Book with zero contradictions,
With miracles that are both scientific and historical,
All revealed over 1400 years ago.
Like the detailed description of the human embryo;
To the mountains as pegs holding firm the earth below,
And the two seas that don’t mix in a complete separate flow;
To the planets in orbit, alternating night and day as they stay in flow.
The expansion of the universe and the creation of everything, from H2O
to the stories of the past and the preservation of Pharoah;
To identifying the lowest point in the land where Persia defeated Rome;
The gushing fluid that created man in the glands
Between the ribs and the backbone.
And, not a word has changed, it’s still the same,
So please explain how all this was known, over 1400 years ago,
To a man who couldn’t read or write
As he would recite whatever the angels spoke.
And if you still don’t believe,
Please try to come up with something that’s even close.
But you can’t, so we took God as a mockery, and his messages as a joke.
Dismiss descriptions as legends and tales of the ancient folk,
As we live life according to our whims, desires and hopes.
Saying this life is the only home we will ever know,
We will live then die then simply turn to bone:
Yo, Lo, Correction. After the grass dies, the rain arrives and it re-grows,
And Allah promises to do the same thing to your very soul,
And bring you back from your very fingertips to your toes.
As the all-seeing, Supreme Being, He watches us so close,
And we are surely being tested, in our wealth, our health, and our self,
And everything that we’ve been blessed with.
So believe, for we will surely be resurrected,
And be brought back to our Lord and account for every single deed,
As He hands us our books and orders us to read.
From the bad to the good and everything in between,
You yourself are sufficient for your own accountability,
so don’t be mad at me, you were the one who thought,
“He wouldn’t come back to me.”
I gave you a whole life long to search after me.
But you were busy in all that which was temporary,
So, read! And glad tidings to all those who believed.
And if you disbelieve, Read!
And don’t let that day be the first day
You find out what your life really means.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


May Allah bless him, Ameen.

I had no idea who this Zimbabwe man was, until an encounter with Mawaddah at the college's surau last year. It was the lunch break and being IB students we were, going back to our room would only mean not coming back to class (because obviously, there's the bed and the rest is history),  so we girls, whom the hostel blocks are ten minutes walking distance away, preferred to laze around the Surau's women section instead. I was playing games on her iPhone (temple run, if I'm not mistaken, which is best played on iPhone or iPod touch considering the screen touch sensitivity was way better than SAMSUNG; and no, I do not own either of them hence everytime I meet Mawaddah, I'd spend 30 minutes with her phone alone). Mawaddah was doing something else while I was preoccupied with the game until after what seemed like forever, I gave her the phone back, telling her that there was no way I will be able to beat her high score (she's a real game-junkie, you have no idea).

She could have bragged on about it, at least, that's what I would have done. But no she didn't. Immediately after she got the phone, she began to click on an Eventbrite app and was busy checking a few online tickets. I was of course, impressed; not knowing a thing about the 2D barcode paperless revolution, so I asked her  about it and there and then she spilled on about the gadget info and also about who's-coming-to-town.

"I thought you knew," she said.

Hah-ha. Nope, I don't. Who is this man. Mufti Menk? 
No. Never heard of him.

"Well then, maybe you should come. I'm not sure if there are still tickets, but it's worth checking them out. They're free,"

I said okay and booked 4 tickets to one of the talks that was available for the weekend. Everything else was fully booked. (Whoa, this man must be famous)! 
Honestly, I only considered going because I wanted install the Eventbrite app and see how the barcode thingy works, hehe. 

I don't know what I was expecting when I attended the talk, but my Lord, was I surprised when I listened to his lecture.
Mufti Menk is an incredible speaker.
He talks like he didn't need to catch a breath. Every word was clear, powerful and energetic. His Quran recitation was flawless.
You know how when you listen to talks sometimes and the man in front was  saying something and suddenly three quarter of the room laughs, and you and your friends went 'What just happened?', well you won't have to do that when you listen to the booming voice of Mufti Menk. I tell you, his lecture just snaps. Word-by-word smacking your face, stabbing your heart; and it is all the truth. He was not shouting at the microphone, but it did feel like some kind of Friday sermon. A powerful one that just build you and make you sit upright. Yeah, like it's meant for the army and every word just leave you nodding and shutting up.

He have this thing that makes you disciplined and listen to what he have to say for as long as the talk takes.
And you won't even complain, because it wasn't boring. At all.

So, you could tell, my family and I enjoyed the lecture; very much. It was only about two hours but it was excellent.

I wasn't really into online lectures then, so I didn't bother to look him up on he internet after the talk. I was more like, That was one good talk. super. Which might explain why I had trouble recalling his audio when I heard it at the As-Safwa Mall at Makkah, a few weeks ago. The audio was very engaging. It was talking about one of the prophet and how he was mentioned in the Quran and the story behind it. 
I asked the man in the bookstore and he said that it's the CD collection of Mufti Ismail Menk: Stories of the Prophet, which were daily lectures at a Masjid in South Africa for the Ramadan nights some years ago. 

"You mean all the prophets?"
"All the prophets."

Cool! The last time I bought a book about the prophets, I came home feeling extremely excited and was immediately disappointed about no less than ten minutes later when my Dad tells me that particular book is full of Israeliyat (adds-on that aren't necessarily true), so I had to be quite careful in differentiating what was the truth and what was not. (which of course I thought, how would I bloody know, and decided not to read it anyway and stick to my childhood knowledge)

So, of course, knowing that Mr. Menk here is gonna tell the; story mentioning that it will be in a manner that is deemed to be the truth as agreed by the muslim scholars; this, my friend, is like a gift for all of us seekers.

I've searched online for the lectures. And Alhamdulillah, it wasn't hard to find the mp3 version of it. Although I did stumble upon a few self-recording that wasn't very clear. Hurt my ears a little from all the background noises. Still, the effort to upload it online is very much appriciated mr. whoever =)

Here's the link to the best website (with no background noise) I found that complied Mufti Menk's lecture including the Complete Stories of the Prophet. Right click and Save As and if your internet line have no problem, you can actually download 'em all in a few hours.

p/s: I tried listening to the stories of the prophets in the train once while I was busy instagramming. It didn't work out.Unless you're like a real multitasker, plug in something else if you wanna go double on the gadget.
This guy is no Eric Clapton background music; well at-least, for me. Since I comment and like instagram pictures like anything. haha.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


(you might wanna read the Madinah post first here because chronologically, that was how it went.)
As if anyone reads this.
*      *     *

Anyway, you will definitely notice when you've entered Makkah.
It's a busy city.
Cars were everywhere. Espescially the white Makkah taxis. Man, they occupy 80% of the streets.

We checked in the hotel around 1am and this time, we can put the sweaters away. It was 24 degrees Celsius which served as a perfect temperature to complete our umrah (the tawaf, saie, and tahallul).

The difference between Madinah and Makkah is vast.
At Madinah, everyone was more calm and contented. I didn't get to see that much drama as I was hoping. But Makkah, masyaAllah, I saw different types of people with struggles, difficulties and pain. 
You walk into Masjidil Haram and you see the faces of these people, praying and bowing and looking at the ceiling with palms spread against their chest, thanking Allah that they've arrived and you just knew it....
It wasn't that easy for everyone to come.

For us, Malaysians, things are more procedure-like.
You have the money, you obtain the visa, you go through agent or what not, you argue for a reasonable hotel, they arrange your catering service, your transportation and all that- then you're good to go.

For some other people, it wasn't that easy.
I was told that some of them rented rooms as far as 5 km away from Masjidil Haram; and that is all they can afford. So they had to walk over to masjidilharam before suboh, stayed until isya' and walk back to the hotel then. Some other bring bundles of clothes and sleep on the roadside or wherever possible because obtaining the flight ticket alone is a major struggle. I saw old men and women, with scribbles of how to perform the Umrah guide on crumpled paper, penciled.

Since the hotel where we stayed at required me to climb this 500 m hill, I would usually stay back at the mosque (masjidil haram) in between prayers escpescially between maghrib and isya;.  For one, if you leave your spot, there's no guarantee you're gonna get it back because the Masjid is cramped for every fardhu prayers. And for two, this is the time where you could actually sit back and talk to one another for the timing is just right.

I got the opportunity to sit beside a beautiful 32 year-old South African lady once and we chatted non-stop. I don't really remember how it started. She was asking me where I was from,, I guess. And I asked her back and it was that simple to break the ice. It was her first time doing Umrah and she kept on and on about how amazing the experience is. We went on talking about random topics, about Makkah, Madinah, her early marriage, my study plan, the Prophet, -everything,  until her two kids arrived and my God, were they cute. They were adorable. Her 11 year old daughter's name was Zulaikha. Her youngest son, around the age of four was very cheeky, asking me to go to sleep and wanting to pull my shawl. Somehow we managed to make him sleep, holding my hand. (CUTE, RITE?!) The subject of discussion went deeper after that. The lady told me she lost her 5 year-old son a few years ago. His name was Muaz and he was the most beautiful boy with long eyelashes and best behaviour. He suffered from an unknown disease that made his mouth swell and later died in his mother's arm. She held back her tears telling me this and shared with me pieces of verses in the Quran mentioning that He knows best. Then, I shared with her some of the disappointments I had in life and we discussed them together where she brought forward her personal opinions on some of my matters. Before we parted, we said salam, hugged and did not exchange contacts or what not. It wasn't necessary. We both kinda know that this kind of friendship remains.

Another time, I was getting ready to pray maghrib when the lady beside me spoke to me in Arabic, asking me where did I buy the 'telekung' (LOL). I told her that I'm from Malaysia and she immediately apologized. After maghrib, she said 'Barakallah' (May Allah bless you) to me and I rummaged my brain for an answer. 
It took me more than a minute to answer 'Wa iyyaki' (And to you to) ; only that I don't think I answered that. I said 'Minna wa minkum' (To us and to you) LOL! 
She was impressed anyway. It turned out that she's from Palestine and had brought along her 3 daughters and son. (The son was with the father so I didn't get to see him). 
Her daughters were all very beautiful. The oldest one is around 14 years old. The middle one was eleven. And I can swear she looked like Lindsay Lohan. With the brunette hair and all that. 
The youngest one is only 3 years old, blonde, hazel eyes, uncombed ruffly hairs and insisted to pray without her hijab on. My Lord, I wanted kids there and then. 
The Mum turned out to be an English teacher and that was why she could converse in English. I asked her about the situation in Palestine, and she could only sigh and said that she is lucky enough to come over to Makkah. Most of them, espescially in Gaza, would not even be allowed to step outside the massive wall Israel has built. She then mentioned that she had no choice but to send her kids to school in Isarel for education purposes. She had to educate the children about Islam herself and made sure they know what they should. The kids have to put up learning Hebrew and Jewish history and it worried her that their identity may float so she had to remain firm in teaching them what was necessary. And her savings, most of them are so that her family can perform Umrah.
It sounded very complicated. 
Yet, the lady sounded happy and contented.
Her kids were shy since they knew only the basic English so I got a lot of "What is your name?" and "How old are you?". I tried speaking to them in Arabic and mehhhh, I shouldn't have tried. I sounded like some computer, all with proper verb and noun and pronounciation; like I was reading the Quran.
Their Arabic is all different with short forms and slangs and so, they taught me a few.
For example, for fiftteen, I'd say. Khomsata 'Asyr. They'd go 'Khomstaj'
See what I mean? 
Dude. There was no way I could catch up.
Besides, it took me more than three minutes for a sentence, so in the end, I'd relay my message through their mother and she'd translate it, they'd get excited, babble babble babble in Arabic, and I'd get the translation a minute later. We did this until Isya' (Lol!). And once again, we hugged before departed. And her kids asked for my facebook account.

I met more people later. An 89 year-old Algerian grandma who thought I understood Arabic like 'really' understood them, chatted for hours where I guessed most of her words and pretended to understand, and she later gave me her ring (which made me freak out because I didn't want to marry her son or anything (hahahahaha) , but my Dad assured me that it was nothing). A Turkish lady who asked me to change her clock setting (thank God it was NOKIA, none of the words made sense) and later gave me turkish cookies and patted my back when I'm done, an Arab lady who knew not an English word and her Arabic accent from where she came from was so thick and fast, I gave up guessing and in the end we both just smiled awkwardly. Few Malays including my dormmate's mother and her sister. My Mum long lost friend. The daughter of my father's friend. Pak Cik Suzaili from KMB (whom I've silently prayed to meet because Puan Sharidho did mention to me that it might be possible for us to be in Makkah on the same date. and many others; it would take pages to mention how I encountered them and what we talked about.

Among the places we went to while we were at Makkah includes Arafah, Mina, Muzdalifah, Jabal Rahmah, Jabal Nur, Jabal Thur and many other.

We were reminded of Rasulullah's struggle, his final sermon and the do's and dont's of a Muslim. Going to these places was a great experience because we finally get to see how everything looked like. Jabal Nur, where stood the Hira' Cave, was unbelievably steep, we were amazed at Khadijah's r.a, who was then in her 50's, strength to deliver food and necessities for the Prophet. And Jabal Thur, though we could only see it from far, looked very small it was a wonder how the Prophet and Abu Bakr hid there.

On our last day in Makkah, my mother and I woke up early and went over to Masjidil Haram in the dark. We decided to give it a try on entering the temporary first floor tawaaf  deck area for people in wheelchair. It was around 3.30 am so there were not that many people doing tawaf on the deck. The guards allowed us in (which will never be possible during the day time. The rule was only one person with wheelchair could enter).
But we were allowed in anyway, Alhamdulillah.
Maybe because it was before suboh and the rule only started after the prayer or something, I dunno.

But the feeling of being there. Man.
Subhanallah, I've never felt such peace before in my life. I could see the kaabah from above. The tiles were cold, the night breeze was amazing, and everybody around me was either praying or reading Quran or making duas or doing their tawaf. Nobody was chatting around or anything.

Sorry for the blur image. I was walking. This is how the temporary deck looked like.

The guards managed to empty the Hijr Ismail.
For some reason, it was emptied at this hour and there were only 3 people in there praying.
Must be the King or someone.
Look at the crowd at 3.30 am. MasyaAllah.

Peeping for Ka'bah.
. I guess not many people knew
they opened up before suboh for everyone including the non-disabled.
At this time, everyone was preparing for Aazan and finding spots to pray Jamaah.
The women went to the back, the men ascended to front.
It was quiet and peaceful.
The natural 16 degree Celsius air  swept the night and before we knew it, it was dawn. 
The clock tower before and after suboh.

View from where my Mum and I prayed our Suboh

I had a great time here. Many of my worries were gone.
Honestly, my head felt like exploding before Umrah. And I had this troubled period of time where I was restless and thought of unnecessary complexities.
Two weeks of detaching myself from the internet, away from contacts of all form and simply living the life where observing everything around me, it was great.
I think I'm gonna do that more often now. Disable whatsapp or something hahaha.

Truly, I wanted to go back,
Here I am, writing this in Malaysia, and I miss the feeling of being there in Masjidil Haram and Masjidin Nabawi.
And I wonder what it's like to pray in Masjidil Aqsa.

Let's put that in the bucket list. Amin.
Till we meet again, Makkah.