Sunday, 18 December 2011

..the death..

..death, when it comes, comes easy in the Holy Land..and to the least expected...

...of course, given the choice one would choose to die here in the Holy Land, like my room mate, Tok Wan, who died on a Friday, 28th October, 2011, 12 days after arrival...but death is not a matter of choice...for when the time comes, it will not be delayed a second  or hastened a second...but, of course, we all pray for that extra time on this earth...that we may make it safely back home after the haj to our family and pets, such as it were...

..the hearse that carried Tokwan and the rest of us to Haram
and later to the burial grounds in Shiraya..

..like pakmat, Tokwan came with his wife..but unlike pakmat, his wife was ailing and generally not in the best of health...Tokwan, jovial and jolly in his own quiet ways,  was hale and hearty when we both checked in room 533, Luat Al-Tawheed, Misfalah District, Mekkah...there were five of us - Pakmin, an Education Officer from Kota Bharu, the youngest and healthiest at 46...he was with his ailing mother, leaving his 7 months pregnant wife at home in Kubang Kerian with their 6 children...Pakhin, 63, soon to be a bed-ridden asthmatic, Pakman, an Imam of a surau in Alor Bakat, Bachok, slow moving but healthy... and pakmat, retiree, the eldest and, without a false sense of modesty, trailing behind Pakmin in health and energy...

..Pakman, who sat at the back, could not make it into Haram..he just
could not keep up with the pace and the guards would not let
him in..we met later at the hotel...
... we learnt to tolerate each other after a few nights and managed to adjust to each of our idiosyncrasies and habits......Pakmin, being knowledgeable on religious matters,quickly became the ustadz, Pakman the imam and pakmat the bilal and, later, the penghulu...Pakhin's asthma worsened and he became a wheezing and coughing, bedridden man soon enough,  while Tokwan became weaker as he gradually lost his desire to eat...

..solat jenazah..brown is the colour for Malaysian's dead..

..after a few visits to the Maktab's clinic where he was given the mask-treatment, Pakhin's condition deteriorated and we forsook the use of the air-conditionaing... but it was Tokwan who was warded...and died after isyak that fateful Friday...Pakmin messaged me the news and upon our returned from Haram, pakmat and Pakmin helped broke the news to his widow...and helped called his children in Malaysia...I called and messaged my children, too...for it could be anyone of us who died that day...

..the lobby of Muhajereen's Mosque..
..upon death all bodies were sent to a Mortal Services Benevolent Mosque where they were prepared for solat jenazah and burial...needless to say, sleep was not an option that night...Pakmin accompanied the widow for a last view of the deceased...by 2.00am, we gathered at the lobby...mission: to collect the body from the Mortal Services Benevolent Mosque and accompany the deceased for solat jenazah at Haram and later for burial...we went by car, a Honda Accord year 2000..the driver, Robik, sped and promptly lost his way...

..Tokwan's final resting place...the grave is a concrete  cubicle  four by six
feet wide and six feet deep..pakmat used a steel ladder to get down...bodies
are not buried...

..it was a few minutes after three, by the time we found it..Al-Muhajereen Mosque Benevolent Free Mortal Services, situated somewhere on the outskirts of Mekkah...along the way and back, pakmat got to see suburban Mekkah, the Holy City...

...as we approached Haram for solat subuh and solat jenazah..


...as we went into its spacious lobby and waiting area, we were promptly asked, 'Wuduk?..' and was shown to the rest area, complete with coffee/tea making facilities and an adjoining toilet for gents where we wuduk'ed, a requirement for all those handling the dead...

..plot 26 of burial grounds, Shiraya, Mekkah..
about 20 km from Haram..
..it was not long before I realised that the three of us, Pakman, Pakmin, and me, together with petite Ustadz Nor from the board, were not strong enough to carry the jenazah of the late Tokwan, an almost 6 footer and weighing more than a hundred kilos, during his time...we struggled as we carried him into the Toyota/hearse...

...minyak boxing..ointment that pakmat used to rub
Tokwan's back before his death..
..I chided the officer of the board for not giving us prior warning...'If you had told me earlier I could have brought along more people'...he ignored my chidings and I could not imagined how were we to carry him into Haram...may the Lord give me the strength, I prayed...but the Lord has His ways of taking care of His guests, as I was to find out later...

..the concrete cubicle/grave was then covered by  concrete
slabs...with the edges filled with grass and sand..
..we approached Haram from the eastern wing, of which I was quite unfamiliar..but as our vehicle approached along with the pilgrims on their way for solat subuh, I gave in to my worries...how were we to carry him?..we were so puny...but as the back door opened, and as we reached out for Tokwan, burly hands from burly fellow pilgrims were there giving a helping hand...they quickly carried Tokwan high above pakmat...and pakmat could only cried out, 'Allah huAkbar..Allah huAkbar..Allah huAkbar..' whilst trying to catch up...hands barely able to hold on to Tokwan...I was unaware of my tears as I followed Tokwan from underneath him...I hardly knew him..and my heart cried out for him....my kin and brother...

....Sheikh AbdurRahman Al Sudais was the imam...not too tall, abit stocky..bearded but with a voice of gold...and that morning I prayed like I have never prayed before...Lord..You who created Death and Life..that You may try us....unto You we shall returned...forgive him, Lord....and forgive me....


12 comments:

Chenon Ishak said...

Pakmat it never fail to amaze me ...your writing ...thank you so much for sharing with us your experience...alfatiha to tokwan

Anonymous said...

Assalamualaikum,

Thank you for sharing - it was a lovely read.

Kadang2 tertanya kenapalah kita susah sangat nak ingat yang semua orang Islam ini bersaudara?

Keep healthy, Pak Mat - it's not something anyone should take lightly - this gift of good health.

A

Oldstock said...

Sesungguhnya Allah swt itu maha mendengar.... when we have faith, God will show us the way out. Thank you for sharing this story.

pakmat said...

..salam Chenon...sometimes it surprises even me..:)take care..

salam A..tq, A..and here's wioshing good health to you, too..take care..

salam Oldstock...in the beginning, it was this faith that pakmat was lacking...cheers

Haslina said...

pak mat, this entry brings tears to my eyes. yes, who are we to question Him? When bad things happen, we tend to lose our faith and start blaming the fate, but Allah knows what's best for us.
You write so well in your blog, pak mat and it's a talent that many IT-Illiterate people will miss. I think you can be a good novelist, pak mat.. why don't you give it a shot. remember awang goneng and his GROWING UP IN TERENGGANU? he started from a blog too...

cek moon said...

pak mat,

thank you for the story ....

cek moon

Al-Manar said...

That is a beautiful short-lived comradeship in Tanah Suci, Pakmat. He is gone without a grave for the loved ones to visit, an irony in life. And I live to wonder how my late beloved mother was during her last moments. She too was buried there and none of us was around to witness and to tell. Such is life.May Allah bless your friend's and my mother's souls.

Nur Misnan said...

Assalamualaikum Pak Mat...
Al Fatihah untuk arwah Tok Wan. Let him rest in peace...

Thanks for sharing d story here. take care

Wan Sharif said...

Subhanallah and jazakallah for sharing this short- lived friendship... Any story from Haramain will always amaze me.. Coming from you ..exquisite.. May I continue praising Allah for receiving you as His guest, my friend

Kama At-Tarawis said...

brought tears to my eyes reading this, pak mat.. may Allah bless his soul..

Gembo said...

Salaam Pak Mat
My wife showed me your blog, and I happened to read this. Takziah to you for losing a new friend, May Allah bless Tokwan and his family.


I also enjoyed your posts in general, very well written and so 'selamba' yet very profound. I am assuming you used to be a teacher or lecturer?

Take care & Salaam
Gembo

jamilah said...

AlFatihah to Tokwan...sob..sob..sob..
:(