As I had written in my last post, I have a couple of weeks' breather. When it was hectic, I didn't even have the time to lurk into other blogs, let alone pen a few words in mine.
Much has happened in the last month or so -- birthdays and deaths, plus the ubiquitous weddings. Alhamdulillah. Many of my colleagues took the last school hols to do some globetrotting with their children. Who says there is an economic slowdown? Quite a few friends and family have gone or are going for umrah. Heavenly! What I'd like to do is go for ziarah; ie: umrah in Muharram, right after the umrah season. My brother and sis-in-law went early this year and they got to visit Mada'in Salleh -- where Prophet Salleh and his people settled. There are still traces of their civilisation, which was quite advanced, with underground water tunnels and such. Amazing. Of course, his people did not accept Allah's orders and were wiped out from the face of the earth.
I'd love to travel to Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the world; but I heard from friends who have lived and are living there by choice; it's beautiful. Not just in the scenery, but in its people who are more than welcoming. AHS and I, however, have not taken the opportunity to visit them. What a shame, I feel, but we have to prioritize. From those friends, we were told that the remains of Queen Balqis' (Sheba) reservoir can still be seen. How long ago was it built? It was Prophet Sulaiman's time!
Travelling is interesting, especially if one has the luxury of staying in a destination of choice for, I feel, longer than a week or two. Then, one is able to have meaningful exchange with the locals, rather than do the touristy rituals.
A colleague was quite excited to embark on her maiden umrah journey (15th April), asking for tips on what to do and bring with her. I also shared with her this snippet about Makkah; namely Jabbal (Mount) Qubis. Jabbal Qubis is an incline just outside of Masjidil Haram. If you face King Abdul Aziz entrance of Masjidil Haram from outside, it is that hill to your right. It used to be bereft of vegetation or building, but now it houses the King's Palace. I suppose it was very much higher than it is today. It's got, what to me is very exciting history, which keeps me amazed every time I think about it.
Well, Haj was not ordained first to Nabi (Prophet) Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) and his people. In fact, Nabi Ibrahim was earlier ordered to do so. Whether the rituals were similar to Nabi Muhammad's, I'm not certain. Nevertheless, Nabi Ibrahim was asked to get the people in the whole world to Makkah to perform the Haj. How Nabi Ibrahim did it was by calling out to people from atop of Jabbal Qubis. Just by using his voice. And everyone heard him! I honestly do not know whether people heard his voice physically or spiritually -- but nothing is impossible to the Messenger of Allah.
Oh, the reason for building the palace on Jabbal Qubis was to halt khurafat (practices against Islamic teachings).