Thursday, 31 January 2013


“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”  Dr. Seuss  

Years ago, when I started evaluating my life, I found that I fell short from the definition of a ‘Muslim’. I found myself severely lacking. I also found that many things which are cultural rituals, that I have been following, are not religious practice. The danger is that these rituals have been practiced and passed down through generations that it is difficult to differentiate it from the religious practice. I needed to get myself back on track, wherever the track may be.

For example, holding a feast (kenduri) after a funeral, is a cultural thing. It is not an Islamic practice. I can’t find any Quran verses or Hadith to support the act of holding the feast in honor of the deceased but it is something that we have been doing for ages. In Islam, it is not up to the family of the deceased to provide food for the well- wisher but it is the responsibility of the neighbours and friends, to bring food for the family of the deceased. 

There were also many other things that I questioned but I couldn’t get any answers to. At that point of time, I really felt lost. I did not want to blindly follow rituals that I do not understand. The funny thing is, many of us do not understand but we never bother to try to seek for the answers.

When I was first met the Wise Old man and the Wise Owl, I unleashed all my pent-up questions on them. One of the questions I had asked was, why do we need to pray? Why do we need to prostrate and do other physical acts in the prayer? If prayers is a form of communication between the Creator and His servant, why can’t I just sit and talk to God?.I had asked the same question to an Islamic Scholar (ustaz) years ago and he brushed off my questions and told me to just accept without questioning otherwise I would be in danger of renouncing my faith. What??? Seriously?

I am a student of Islam. Every day, I will learn something new until I breathe my last breathe, and only then, will I stop learning. A good student is one who asks questions so that she or he can understand the subject better. A student who blindly copies everything from the blackboard without bothering to think or ask question is, to me, a lazy student. As Muslim, we can’t afford to be lazy. We need to ask questions so that we understand our beautiful religion better. I find that when I understand better, I am more willing to follow. I do not want to be force to follow but I want to make the conscious decision to follow. I was not born with complete a-z knowledge about Islam hence I need to seek for the knowledge and questioning is part of the process. I am not a Prophet so no Angle will come down and reveal anything to me. I am just a normal ignorant human being and I need to seek for my knowledge as it will not be given to me on a silver platter. 

So back to my questions, the Old Wise man said this to me, “sister, our soul was created by God before our body. Our body was created in our mothers’ womb. Before our soul was breathed into our body, our soul was already worshipping God Mighty. How? That is beyond our knowledge but, when our soul was put into our bodies, we then became the custodians. Our bodies belong to God AlMighty so don’t you think that it is only fair that our body also worship God? If we were to just sit and talk, it is just our soul whispering to God but not our entire body. On Judgment day, all of our body part will have a voice of its own and it will testify to God whether it had ever worship God, during its lifetime. We control our bodies so if we do not pray, we have prevented our bodies from worshipping its Creator. Our bodies will testify against us on Judgment day.  The way for our bodies to worship God, has been taught by God Al Mighty to our beloved Prophet Muhammad SAW and he, in turn, taught us. It was during Isra’ Mikraj when the 5 daily prayers was made compulsory upon us. When our souls and bodies combine and perform the perfect act of worship which includes prostrating to God Al Mighty, then we are truly grateful servants of Allah SWT.”

Hadrat Abu Hamid as Sayidi (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated amongst ten of the companions of the Prophet (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him): I know better than you about the prayer of Allah's Messenger (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him). They asked: Narrate. He said: When the Prophet (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) stood for prayer, he raised his hands till he took them opposite his shoulders, then he recited takbir, then he read (the Qur'an), then he recited takbir and raised up his hands till he took them opposite his shoulders, then bowed placing his palms upon his knees, then making himself straight, neither lowering his head nor raising it up. Then he raised up his head saying, "Allah hears one who praises Him": then he raised up his hands till he took them opposite his shoulders by being straight: and he said: "Allah is the greatest." Then he lowered himself to the ground in prostration keeping his hands away from his two sides and bending the toes of his feet, he raised up his head and bent his left foot and sat on it, then he sat straight till every bone returned to its proper place. Next he prostrated and said: "Allah is Most Great", raising himself, and bent on his left foot and sat on it. Then he sat straight till every bone returned to its proper place. Then he stood up and did the same thing in the second Rak'at. At the end of the two Rak'ats he stood and said takbir raising up his hands till he took them opposite his shoulders, just as he recited takbir when he opened the prayer, then he did the same in the remaining portion of his prayer till when the prostration in which there was Taslim, he put out his left foot and sat on his hip bone upon his left side. Then he uttered Taslim. They said: You have spoken the truth. He used to pray thus. (Abu Dawud)

The Wise Owl then related to me the events that took place during isra’ mikraj.

Narrated Malik bin Sasaa: The Prophet said, "While I was at the House in a state midway between sleep and wakefulness, (an angel recognized me) as the man lying between two men. A golden tray full of wisdom and belief was brought to me and my body was cut open from the throat to the lower part of the abdomen and then my abdomen was washed with Zam-zam water and (my heart was) filled with wisdom and belief. Al-Buraq, a white animal, smaller than a mule and bigger than a donkey was brought to me and I set out with Gabriel. When I reached the nearest heaven. Gabriel said to the heaven gate-keeper, 'Open the gate.' The gatekeeper asked, 'Who is it?' He said, 'Gabriel.' The gate-keeper asked, 'Who is accompanying you?' Gabriel said, 'Muhammad.' The gate-keeper said, 'Has he been called?' Gabriel said, 'Yes.' Then it was said, 'He is welcomed. What a wonderful visit his is!' Then I met Adam and greeted him and he said, 'You are welcomed O son and a Prophet.' Then we ascended to the second heaven. It was asked, 'Who is it?' Gabriel said, 'Gabriel.' It was said, 'Who is with you?' He said, 'Muhammad' It was asked, 'Has he been sent for?' He said, 'Yes.' It was said, 'He is welcomed. What a wonderful visit his is!" Then I met Jesus and Yahya (John) who said, 'You are welcomed, O brother and a Prophet.' Then we ascended to the third heaven. It was asked, 'Who is it?' Gabriel said, 'Gabriel.' It was asked, 'Who is with you? Gabriel said, 'Muhammad.' It was asked, 'Has he been sent for?' 'Yes,' said Gabriel. 'He is welcomed. What a wonderful visit his is!' - (The Prophet added:). -There I met Joseph and greeted him, and he replied, 'You are welcomed, O brother and a Prophet!' Then we ascended to the 4th heaven and again the same questions and answers were exchanged as in the previous heavens. There I met Idris and greeted him. He said, 'You are welcomed O brother and Prophet.' Then we ascended to the 5th heaven and again the same questions and answers were exchanged as in previous heavens. There I met and greeted Aaron who said, 'You are welcomed O brother and a Prophet". Then we ascended to the 6th heaven and again the same questions and answers were exchanged as in the previous heavens. There I met and greeted Moses who said, 'You are welcomed O brother and a Prophet.' When I proceeded on, he started weeping and on being asked why he was weeping, he said, 'O Lord! Followers of this youth who was sent after me will enter Paradise in greater number than my followers.' Then we ascended to the seventh heaven and again the same questions and answers were exchanged as in the previous heavens. There I met and greeted Abraham who said, 'You are welcomed O son and a Prophet.' Then I was shown Al-Bait-al-Ma'mur (i.e. Allah's House). I asked Gabriel about it and he said, This is Al Bait-ul-Ma'mur where 70,000 angels perform prayers daily and when they leave they never return to it (but always a fresh batch comes into it daily).' Then I was shown Sidrat-ul-Muntaha (i.e. a tree in the seventh heaven) and I saw its Nabk fruits which resembled the clay jugs of Hajr (i.e. a town in Arabia), and its leaves were like the ears of elephants, and four rivers originated at its root, two of them were apparent and two were hidden. I asked Gabriel about those rivers and he said, 'The two hidden rivers are in Paradise, and the apparent ones are the Nile and the Euphrates.' Then fifty prayers were enjoined on me. I descended till I met Moses who asked me, 'What have you done?' I said, 'Fifty prayers have been enjoined on me.' He said, 'I know the people better than you, because I had the hardest experience to bring Bani Israel to obedience. Your followers cannot put up with such obligation. So, return to your Lord and request Him (to reduce the number of prayers.' I returned and requested Allah (for reduction) and He made it forty. I returned and (met Moses) and had a similar discussion, and then returned again to Allah for reduction and He made it thirty, then twenty, then ten, and then I came to Moses who repeated the same advice. Ultimately Allah reduced it to five. When I came to Moses again, he said, 'What have you done?' I said, 'Allah has made it five only.' He repeated the same advice but I said that I surrendered (to Allah's Final Order)' " Allah's Apostle was addressed by Allah, "I have decreed My obligation and have reduced the burden on My slaves, and I shall reward a single good deed as if it were ten good deeds." - Sahih Al-Bukhari 4:429

I was captivated by the explanations made by both, the Wise Old Man and the Wise Owl. What a beautiful explanation. Now I truly understand the importance of prayer. I must not deny my body from worshipping God because, truly, I do not want my hand or feet or even eyes complaining to God, saying that I stopped them from worshipping Him. The vision of my hands talking, is enough to scare the living daylight of me so, to vision them testifying against me, is enough to give me nightmares till eternity! No thank you.

I was very lucky that I finally found 2 wonderful people, who were willing to erase my doubts and put me straight. I think all Islamic scholars should try to explain rather than insisting that we just blindly accept. I was not questioning my faith or God or the Quran but I just wanted to know the history behind certain religious conducts so that I can learn to appreciate it better. It is also because I asked questions, these hadiths were told to me …

On the authority of Hadrat Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him), who said that Allah's Messenger (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) said:
The first of his actions for which a servant of Allah (The Glorified and the Exalted) will be held accountable on the Day of Resurrection will be his prayers. If they are in order, then he will have prospered and succeeded; and if they are wanting, then he will have failed and lost. If there is something defective in his obligatory prayers, the Lord (The Glorified and the Exalted) will say: See if My servant has any optional prayers with which may be completed that which was defective in his obligatory prayers. Then the rest of his actions will be judged in like fashion. (Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, an-Nasai, Ibn Majah and Ahmad). (Hadith Qudsi)

Hadrat Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) said, "Let anyone tell me; if a stream flows by the house of any person and he baths in it five times a day, whether any dirt will remain on his body." The companions replied that no dirt would remain in such a case. He said, "So is the case with prescribed prayers. Allah forgives men's sins (minor) on their account." (Bukhari, Muslim)
So my dear brothers and sisters, do not be afraid to ask questions but we must never ask out of arrogance or conceit. Let our intention be sincere and In Shaa Allah God will give us the answers. Do not be disheartened if you can’t find the right person who can answer all your questions. Remain steadfast and keep on looking; and God will send someone to guide you, In Shaa Allah.

Sunday, 27 January 2013


“To err is human, to forgive, divine.” ― Alexander Pope,

‘Forgiveness’ is such a simple word but one of the most difficult thing to do. There are two limbs of forgiveness; one, is to seek forgiveness and two, to forgive. Most of us have trouble with both. Well…at least I did.

There were many of times, when people irritated me or roused my anger. I used to have very short fuse. I simply can’t abide by rude people. They trigger my provocation button immediately that I always feel like giving them a 101 on manners on the spot. I also can’t stand arrogant people. I just feel the need to knock them off their high horses and put them in their place. Well, now, I just forgive and walk away. 

Growing up, I had my fair share of heartache and broken hearts. At that point of time, silly as it seemed,I felt that whenever I suffered a broken heart, my world had come to an end. How tragic isn’t it? Not as tragic as Romeo and Juliet but close enough. However, I had my fair share of breaking people’s heart too and that is something I’m never proud of.

I remember during the hajj course which my husband and I attended, the facilitator mentioned to us that one of the best things to do before going on the sacred journey is to seek forgiveness and to forgive. The reason being is that, we do not know if we would survive the whole experience and make the journey back. It could be that it has been written in the books, that our soul will reach its final destination in Haram, therefore, it is best to set our book of deeds in order.

Okay…like I said, ‘forgiveness’ is such a simple word but a very difficult thing to do. I mean, what if the wrong was committed ions of years ago? Am I still required to apologise? There must be a loophole some where, I just need to find it so I seek the opinion of the Wise Owl. He told me, “ sister, the fact that the wrong was committed years ago, does not erase the sin unless that person forgives you.” Oh man….!!!! Then, a light bulb appeared and I asked him, “God is merciful and forgiving so can I just ask for forgiveness from Him instead?” I was grinning as I thought I have found my loophole, a shortcut! Truth be told is that, I did not think I had the guts to face the people whom I have wronged and ask for forgiveness. It was partly ego and also shame. To my dismay the Wise Owl replied, “no sister, it doesn’t work that way. God will only forgive sins between you and Him but not between you and another person. The right to forgive belongs to that person and only him or her can forgive you.” Well..that effectively wiped off the grin of my face!

Those who spend (freely), whether in prosperity, or in adversity; who restrain anger, and pardon (all) men;- for Allah loves those who do good;”
Surah Al-Imran 3:134

“but forgive them, and overlook (their misdeeds): for Allah loveth those who are kind.”
Surah Al-Ma’ida 5:13

Hhmm…..I had a choice to make. I was about to embark on a journey of a lifetime, with the ardent hope that God will accept my sacrifices and pardon all my sins. If I wanted God to forgive me, I need to seek for forgiveness and forgive others first.  Also, if I don’t do it, I can I live with the guilt?

The Prophet (peace be upon us) said:
There was a merchant who used to extend credit to people. If he found one of his customers to be in straightened means, he would say to his assistants: “Forgive them their debt, perhaps Allah will forgive us.” Allah did forgive him. [Sahīh al-Bukhārī (2078) and Sahīh Muslim (1562)]

There is no ‘escape clause’ so, after dragging my feet, I finally gathered my courage to start my mammoth task. I started listing down all the names of the people whom I have wronged dated from the moment I reached puberty (why? Because that was the time when I was held responsible for my own deeds and actions) Geez…!!! What a long list!!!!  I told myself…it has to be done so I have to do this!

Next, I had to track all of them down so I started slowly. The first step is always the hardest but I found that once I got started, it got easier. I was determined to find everyone on the list or at least, most of it, before I leave.

How did they react? Well, some were very receptive and some were not. We can’t win them all but the bottom line is that we have tried and we have done our part. That is enough. During my quest, I also learned some humbling lessons in forgiveness. There were some whom had forgiven me immediately after I committed the wrong. They have such pure hearts that they forgave me even before I apologised and even forgotten about it. To me, they are truly gifted people. To be able to forgive others easily is actually a gift from God Al Mighty. For some people like me, I have to work hard to achieve the task and it did not come easily to me then.

There were some who were genuinely touched my gesture and naturally accepted my apologies. These people made me feel that my efforts were worthwhile.

For each ‘sorry’ I uttered, I felt a tiny weight was lifted off my chest and shoulders. Pretty soon, I didn’t feel like I was going to collapse underneath the weight of all the guilt. Did I finish my list? Of course not!!! I told you it was a very long list! But, the main thing is that I have started and I have gotten over ¾ of the list so I am making progress. I prayed that if I die in Haram before finishing my list, God will still give me brownie points for intention and for trying. I need to point out here that, when I apologised, I did not confess to any crime as the person whom I have wronged may not be aware of the wrongdoing. To confess to my crime, would be like opening a can of worms that could lead to further complications or world war 3! Plus, if God had hid my sins, then I should not be the one to announce it. So, I just asked for forgiveness for ANY wrongdoings that I may have done.

The Prophet SAW had said “Everyone in my Ummah will be granted forgiveness except those who announce their sins”.
                                                                        (Narraated by Imam Muslim)

Now, we come to the second limb of forgiveness. The forgiving part. As human, it is natural that we carry a grudge over acts wrongly committed against us. Some of us (I’m no exception) spend our time imagining the perpetrator of the crime being burned at the stakes or shot down by a shooting squad. As horrid it may seems, it is a human thing.

In one of our little chit-chats, the Wise Owl said to me, “sister, forgive everyone and be happy. If you forgive, you can continue with your life.” So, I took his advice and starting forgiving those whom I felt had wronged me. I started with the oldest and most painful scars and worked my way down. Bit by bit, I felt my heart slowly came to life again. It was like, I was peeling off the black dots that was surrounding my heart. After I forgave all, I felt so much lighter. I also found that once I forgave, I could forget. I could move on and not be stuck in the past. Logically, there is nothing I can do about the past. I can’t change it but I can learn from it. No amount of tears or feeling of hatred will undo the act. Carrying a grudge is actually very exhausting.

The Prophet said that: “Whoever suffers an injury and forgives (the person responsible), God will raise his status to a higher degree and remove one of his sins” (Al-Tirmidhi)

Prophet said that: “Whoever does not show mercy will not be shown mercy” (Al-Bukhari).

Now, it is easier for me to say ‘sorry’ and I have learned to forgive even before the person apologise. Like everything else, practice makes perfect. To seek forgiveness and to forgive, is not a ‘one-off’ thing. It is something we need to do on a daily basis. To seek for forgiveness is a lesson in humility and to forgive is a lesson on mercy. Both are very important components in the process of purification our souls…

The Messenger of Allah was seated in a gathering with the Sahabah when he looked towards the entrance and said, “A man of Paradise is coming.” At that instance someone who seemed to be very ordinary entered the mosque where they were seated. A Sahabi WaS curious as to why the Prophet .‘ said this, so he followed the man to his house. This Sahabi told the man that he was a traveler and stayed as a guest. For three days the Sahabi saw nothing unusual, so he finally told the man what the Prophet had said and asked him what was so special. The man thought for a long time and said, “There might be one thing — before going to sleep every night I forgive everyone and sleep with a clean heart." (Hadith)

My advice to you is, start asking for forgiveness and start forgiving. Trust me, you will be a better person, In Shaa Allah….

Friday, 25 January 2013


“Motherhood is near to divinity. It is the highest, holiest service to be assumed by mankind.”  Howard W. Hunter

When I first got married, having kids was the last thing on my mind. In fact, I was not even in favor of having one. I was even contemplating of not having any. You see, I was not exactly the maternal type. I could only take children in very small doses, then. Screaming kids drove me nuts. They still do but after years of practice, I have perfected my ‘killer look’ so one glance from me, it’s enough to quiet them down.

So here I am, 15 years later and with 4 kids. I now realized that God decides what’s best for us whether we like it or not . What made me change my mind about having kids? Well… God did! I remember visiting a friend who had given birth. She and her husband were working in London and they had come back to Malaysia for holidays. I went straight from work and was quite excited to see her. (note: ‘her’ not the baby!). When I got there, she was downstairs in the living room talking to her mum. The baby was upstairs sleeping. The baby boy was about 5 months already. My friend asked me if I wanted to see the baby. I hesitated as I did not want to seem rude by saying ‘no’ so I agreed. We went up to the room and found that the baby was still sleeping. We perched at the edge of the bed and suddenly, the baby opened his eyes, stared directly at me and gave me this wonderful tooth-less smile. I felt the smile went straight into my heart and pierced my soul. I felt a ray of sunlight shining so brightly in the room. I picked him up and something happened inside of me. I was melting. I was smitten! I held on to him until it was time to me to go home and I was very reluctant to let him go. Alas! He wasn’t mine to keep.

When I went home, I knew that I was ready to have a child and I wanted one immediately! That was exactly what I told my husband. You can imagine his shock!

Anyway, I discovered the joy of being a mom from the moment of conception till the time my children were born. Alhamdulillah, God was very kind to me, in that, my pregnancy periods were not very difficult or trying for me, or, I must have developed amnesia that I can’t remember the difficult bits.

Every time after I gave birth, I told my husband that it would the last because I do not want to go through the trauma again but, after a year or two, I would have forgotten about the laborious pain and my maternal instincts started kicking in; I always ended up telling him that I want another baby.

It is wonderful how God create women to have such strong maternal instincts and bond with their children. It is also amazing how God has created us to be able to endure the pain of childbirth. As women, our pain threshold is way higher than the men. That is why God have given us a special authority over our children.

When a man approached the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) asking to take part in a military expedition, the Prophet asked him if he had a mother. When the man said his mother was still alive, the Prophet said: "Stay with her, for Paradise is at her feet." 

Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 1275 

"We have enjoined on man kindness to his parents; in pain did his mother bear him, and in pain did she give him birth"
Surah Al-Ahqaf (46:15).

A couple years ago, during one of my chit-chats with the Wise Owl, I discovered the wonderful virtues in Islam about being pregnant and being a mother.

 When a woman is pregnant with a child, all the angels will make Istighfar (repentance) on her behalf. Allah SWT will, for each day of her pregnancy, write for her 1000 good deeds and erase from her 1000 bad deeds.

When a pregnant woman starts to feel the pain from contractions, Allah SWT will write in her records as someone who is doing jihad (spiritual or physical struggle) in His path.

When a woman becomes pregnant by her husband and he is pleased with her, she obtains the reward of a person engaging in fasting for Allah SWT and a person spending the night in ibaadah (worship).
“Two raka'at salaat performed by a pregnant woman is better than 80 raka'at salaat performed by a non-pregnant woman.

 A woman who gives birth gets the reward of 70 years of salaat (prayer) and fasting. For each vein that feels pain, Allah SWT gives her the reward of one accepted hajj (Pilgrimage to Makkah).

“Nabi(salalaallahu alayhi wassallam) is reported to have also said 'When her labour pains commence, the inhabitants of the earth and the sky are unaware of the stores of comfort that are prepared for her. When she delivers and breast feeds her child, then she will be granted a reward for every gulp of milk, if she had to remain awake during the night for the sake of the child, she will receive the reword of emancipating seventy slaves in the path of Allah Ta'ala. O Salaamat! Do you know who these women are? They are pious, upright, with a delicate nature yet obedient to their husbands and not ungrateful to them'

“A woman from the time of pregnancy until childbirth and weaning the baby, is like the Mujahid (someone fighting in the path of Allah, swa) who is stationed on the frontiers of the Islamic land. If she dies during this period, she dies the death of a shahid (martyr).

SubhanAllah!!! We mothers are given such high status by God Al Mighty! We are truly very fortunate. We are compensated highly for our pain and sufferings. I realized that, as women, it is so easy to gain rewards for good deeds but it is also easy for us to incur the wrath of God Almighty hence we must be very careful.

There are of course, up and downs, in motherhood. Nothing is perfect or rosy. My kids still do drives me up the wall sometimes and there were times when I wish I have a remote control for human with a ‘mute’ button so that I can ‘mute’ them whenever they get too noisy. Since becoming a mother, bathing is a luxury because I must find time for it.

One of my friends will always hide in her toilet, whenever she wants to speak to me on the phone because according to her, that is the only place her kids will her leave alone. Unfortunately for me, the moment I step in to the toilet, my kids will be banging on the door asking 101 questions! They had to wait until I enter the toilet, not before that! I have not come to the stage where my girls are borrowing my clothes yet but something tells me that it would be soon. But you know, despite all that, I love being a mother and I wouldn’t trade it for anything else. Children are God’s gift to us and we have to take good care of them.  They are given to us on Trust and we will be questioned later....

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Climb of A Lifetime....

 The sayings of Muhammed are a treasure of wisdom not only for Muslims but for all of mankind.” (Preface to The Sayings of Muhammed by Sohrawardi).

When I realised I didn’t know our beloved Prophet SAW as well as I should, I decided that the time has come for me to get to know him better. After all, that is what being a Muslim is all about. It made sense to me, to see for myself where it all began

It was after coming back from my last umra trip, in 2010, somewhere in February , that I decided, the next time I get the opportunity to perform my umra again, I was going to climb Jabal Nur and see Hira' cave. I wanted to do so at the last trip but since no one wanted to climb up with me and I was told by the guide that it would take me 2 hours to climb up, I decided against it because it was unfair to make the rest of the people in the group, waiting for me, for 4 hours.

So, when my business partner (sister R) told me about our plan to go for umra in February 2011, the first thing I said to her was." you and I, are going to climb Jabal Nur and see Hira' cave, come what may!" and  much to my delight, she agreed!

Those who knows me, did not believe me when I said that I plan to climb Jabal Nur, for the sheer reason that I am such a diva when it comes to outdoors. I don't do hiking or walking or let alone mountain climbing! My idea of walking is just going to the fridge to get some food or shopping. I melt under the sun and would run to the nearest air-conditioned place whenever possible. My husband calls me a  'creature of comfort', a title which I wholly agree and even he, was sceptical about my intention but honestly, I felt that it was something which I had to do.

The 2nd day after we arrived in Makkah, we set out at about 7.30 am, dragging our guide along, made our way to Jabal Nur. I was really feeling under the weather and a bit feverish from flu and I was still determined to go, nevertheless. I knew that if I back out this time, I might never get the same chance again.

The three of us (me, sister R and our guide) started climbing up the road leading to the bottom of the mountain. OMG!! The road was even steeper than the mountain! We (me and my partner minus the guide!) huffed and puffed our way to the bottom of the mountain after stopping about 10 ten times. The road leading up to the mountain was only about 200 metres!

Anyway, we posed for the camera, all smiling before the climb up and we begun. I tried to imagine what it was like during the Prophet(s) time, climbing the steep rocks to get to the cave. I can't say that I was tracing the footsteps of the Prophet(s) because we were told that the route we were taking is an easier route and the route that the Prophet(s) took was actually on the other side of the hill and way much steeper. Sister R and myself looked at each other and said, "what?! steeper than this?" We concluded that our Prophet(s) was indeed, a mighty man, to be able to such a steep mountain.

The climb was not easy, I have to say. I must have stopped about 100 times before reaching a quarter of the way! Luckily I was wearing niqab hence people could not see me sweating like a donkey! They could only see my eyes and thank God eyes don't sweat! At one point a time whilst I was perching on one of the rocks to catch my breathe, an old turkish lady with a walking stick, zoomed past me!I stared at her in disbelief. Seriously ????!!!! Boy! was I unfit!

Half way through, sister R told me that she was ready to strangle me for suggesting the climb. hahahaha! too late!

As we continued climbing, I was beginning to feel excited. I couldn't wait to get to the top and was even willing to pay anyone, who would be willing to give me a piggy-back ride all the way to the top ASAP. Somewhere along the way, sister R over-took me and was almost reaching the peak. What?!! How did that happened?

Finally, after seemed like an eternity, I reached the top. I had to sit down for a spell to catch my breathe. I looked up and saw that I could almost see the whole of Makkah from up here. The view was breathtakingly beautiful. Sister R and myself, then took the steps down leading down to the entrance of the cave. Lo and behold! There it was, where it all started! This is the place where our beloved Prophet(s) received the first revelation whilst meditation alone. This was where Angel Gabriel first appeared before Prophet(s) squeezed him so tight and asked him to read. Prophet(s) told Gabriel that he was not a reader as he was illiterate. Then Angel Gabriel asked Prophet(s) to read again and Prophet(s) said that he could not read so Gabriel squeezed Prophet(s) again and after the third time, Angel Gabriel revealed the 1st verse to Prophet Muhammad SAW.

“Proclaim! (or read!) in the name of thy Lord and Cherisher, Who created-
Created man, out of a (mere) clot of congealed blood:
 Proclaim! And thy Lord is Most Bountiful,-
 He Who taught (the use of) the pen,-
 Taught man that which he knew not.”

Surah Al-Alaq 96:1-5

 It was surreal! I felt that to be able to see the cave with my own eyes, after hearing about it for so long, is truly priceless. 

We didn't enter the cave because there were too many people pushing and jostling to get into the cave. The cave was very small and it was just enough to admit a single person in. Even though I couldn't enter the cave but seeing it with my own eyes even from afar, seems to make everything real for me. Learning about it in history books is one thing but seeing it with my own eyes is something else altogether. I felt that I am one step closer to knowing our Prophet(s) personally and that I have conquered the impossible. Even though Prophet(s) passed away before our time but somehow seeing Hira’ Cave made his spirit came alive somehow. I always have trouble connecting with history. I mean, you can’t feel connected to people whom you have never met or known personally but that day, at Hira’ Cave, I finally felt connected.

After we have taken our fill of the view, we started our journey down. Going down was easier somehow and it was faster but we had to be careful as one false move, we could be tumbling down rocky terrain. Oh, did I mention the monkeys? You must also watch out for wild monkeys as they can be a little bit rowdy and they do bite. If you want to take pictures of them, make sure you stand quite a distance away, otherwise you might find one of them running away with your camera and never to be seen ever again.

For those who are planning to perform umra or hajj in the near future, I would strongly suggest that you climb up Jabal Nur and I assure you that you will not be disappointed. For both sister R and myself, we are expedition...Thur cave, insyaAllah....