24 October 2014


It does not take long to realize that one has indeed performed the fifth pillar of Islam, i.e RUKUN ISLAM KELIMA DENGAN MENGERJAKAN HAJI JIKA BERKEMAMPUAN. That was what my wife and I did in September and Oktober for 45 days in 2014. A moment to cherish and once in a life time. And we did it in the most simplistic but through some challenging and difficult environment amidst the background of Saudi Arabian desert. More so when your mind was boggling by tradition, history and modern set-up of  the land of the "Arabian Nights". 

Before we left for the "Tanah Haram" we were doubtful whether we would be able to face the challenge. We took advice from friends who had been there and gave us the pros and cons how to arrest the doubts that run deep in our mind.. A friend reminded me times and again that I must not be too complacent and over-confident because that would endanger "your mission". Physically there is the  Arabian desert to conquer, the historical myth of facts and figures with regard to religious belief that has entrenched in your mind since the moment you are born a Moslem. Some people might have questioned your "ketaqwaan dan keimanan". Are you pious? Are you the devout and never have an inkling in your mind that you are "indeed a true believer since you were born a Moslem? All these questions would have to be answered once you are there, right in the midst of performing The Hajj. It is a terrible thing to imagine. But my wife and I made a solemn promise tht we would take the risk one at the time. We were resolute to face the challenge and we believe that we could do it. We believe  that  it is our solemn duty to Allah if we have the means. More so when we are in a situation that our faith (keimanan) of a born Moslem is deep-rooted in the crevices of our hearts. "Ok, lets do it," I told my wife in 2013 and applied for candidacy even though we have registered as earlier as 1990s  with Tabung Haji. 

We felt dejected when we received news that our application for the 2014 Hajj intake was not successful, and instead we received word that our turn would be around early 2020s.  However we appealed mentioning age and physical fitness and needed and earlier date. By Allah's Will our names were selected at the last minutes, but in time to attend the two-day Hajj "Kursus Perdana"  at Masjid Shah Alam, Selangor. My wife who has knee problem and sometimes uses wheel chair going around, was elated. She honestly believed that her payers to Allah had been answered. In fact both of us were very happy with the answer from Tabung Haji. We strongly believed that Insya-Allah we will be in Masjidil Haram in 2014. And we were told that the 2014 Hajj would have been  "the Haji Mabrur" year. Insya-Allah!

And so the story goes and I have made notes on the day-to-day basis of our plight in my facebook "Catatan Dari Tanah Haram" I managed to scribble 20 notes daily for the last 20 days of my Hajj routines, accompanied by pictures which I presumed interesting to view, especially among our non-Moslem friends. Thanks to Allah, The Most Merciful, we landed at the KLIA on 21 October 2014, Tuesday at 9.00 pm, allaying fears that we could not have performed the Hajj smoothly and to the best of our physical,mental and spiritual capabilities. Forty-five days ago my wife and I were just named Rubiyah Suleiman and Ahmad Fadzil Yassin and after the last "Tawaf Wada'" on 20 Octover 2014 hours before our flight by Saudi Air to KLIA from Jeddah  some of my Jemaah friends in the bus on our way to Jeddah have started calling me "Haji" and "Hajah", especially by the newly-found friends whom I met since the days of Medinah on 8 October like Hj. Kamari Zaman Juhari, Dr. Kamal, Dr. Abd. Halim Sulaiman and the most energetic and helpful young Jemaah Mohamaed Nasir Bahruddin. We were  almost together from Day 1.
Medinah: The four Jemaah who become good friends.

Preparing to shift bae from Medinah to Mekah

Madinah: Masjid Nabawi, a five-minute walk from our hotel Al-Haram

Madinah: Taking along my wife in her wheel-chair to Masjid Nabawi

Madinah: Meet my young friend, an Arabian, showing me what he learns today in the Mosque

Muzdalifah: A half-night stay to collect stones for the Jamrah throwing the next day for four consecutive days

Mekah: We were greeted by cousin Kintan Othman (second from right) and her two siblings on arrival at Land Premium Hotel from Medinah

Arafah: When two newly-found friends met  in the afternoon heat of Arafah - Kumari Zaman Juhari (right) from Kuala Pilah, married to a Rembau woman.

Mina: Meeting my daughter, Izanul Fazliah (centre) at the Tabung Haji Hq after my Jamrah throwing.

Mekah: Me at ease be ease before the Isya Prayer at Masjidil Haram. A shot by a Bangalore Jemaah from India who just return from his recent visit to Langkawi.

Madinah: A shot taken after the Morning Prayers at Masjid Nabawi.

Madinah: Masjid Nabawi at dawn.

Madinah: After the morning prayers it was breakfast at  the roadside.

Mekah: the awesome Mekah Tower with its hotel surrounding on the outskirt of Masjidil Haram.

Jeddah: Awaitng for the flight to KLIA on 22 October morning 0f 2014.

Mekah: Relaxing our muscles after the seven-round Saie at Marwah Hill.

Mina: With Dr. Abd. Halim Sulaiman, lecturer at Universiti Malaya (left). We became friends  since we first stayed in the same room in Medinah.

Early birds at the Jamrat for the stone-throwing

Arafah: Jabal Nur, the meeting place of Prophet Adam and wife Hawa.

Muzdalifah: Kumari Zaman Juhari (right) with wife "Midah" after collecting enough stock of pebbles for the Jamrat throwing.

Mekah: A-24 hour live telecast of what's going in the Kaabah, with the background of Al-Quran recital and the subsequent calls for Azan.

Mekah: The Jemaah from Colleges of 88, 89 and 90 stayed in this Land Premium hotel with afternoon and evening meals supplied by Tabung Haji.

Mekah:  Land Premium Hotel provides excellent Cafeteria which operates 24 hours, but eventually it closes at about three in the morning.

Arafah: The young Jemaah who accompanied his mother to Haj, Muhammad Nasir Bahruddin (right) - He is almost everywhere in case you need assistance.

Mekah: Two high-ranking Tabung Haji Officials waiting for the arrival of Jemaah from Medinah in the wee hours of the night.

Mekah: the daily ration provided by Tabung Haji.

Mekah: Jemaah returning from the night prayers for a night rest at their respective hotels.

Mekah: Jemaah saying their prayers after the solat Sunat ahead of the Azan call for the evening prayers.

Mekah: Malaysian Ambulance vehicle waiting for the handicaps to be transferred to Tabung Haji HQ about two kilometer away in preparation for the Wukuf Day at Arafah the next day.

Jeddah: Getting ready for the morning Payers at the Jeddah Airport before boarding the Saudi Air en-route to KLIA.

Mekah: The first floor of Land Premium Hotel which houses the Jemaah was converted to make-shift surau to accomodate the five-times a day prayers. The Jemaah on this floor were mainly from the Imam and the JKKK groups all over Malaysia.

My constant companion, the yellow bag,  all along the 45 days in Medinah, Arafah, Mina and Mekah.



  1. Very informative. I like it.

  2. I wnder when will you make a new posting? Long time overdue.

  3. Come to think about it sometimes one may wonder whether staying more days in the Holy Land may give the peace that some may need most. Just looking at the majestic Masjidil Haram and staring at the Ka'abah I for one would not want to return home and forever will stay put for whatever reasons you might have had in your heart.

  4. Lucky you my Muslim Brother.



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What Other People Say...

"A.F.Yassin dalam cerpennya "Dendam" berjaya menghidupkan ceritanya dalam bahasa yang berjiwa; sesuai dengan pertentangan-pertentangan yang dialami oleh Salim atau oleh Yanti sendiri. "Plotnya bersifat sorot pergi sebagai satu gaya untuk mengembangkan kisah pada satu detik tetapi menghimbau kisah itu kepada kisah lampau dan juga kisah akan datang. Latarnya di Indonesia. Cerpen ini hidup kerana tidak dibiar berkisar di luar persoalan. Olahan cerpen bepusar keseluruhannya pada watak Yanti..." (Dato' Shahnon Ahmad, Mingguan Malaysia, 14 November 1976.)

" The former editor of a publishing house, A.F.Yassin, recently put out Sembang Sastera: Bersama Orang Persuratan (Fajar Bakti, 1998,310 pages), in which he talks to 64 Malay writers and literary activists of varying stature, who muse on their lives and what they have been up to. Chatty. Frank, nostalgic, irreverent, these conversations are light, in response to A.F.Yassin’s equally casual probing. His target is largely a small and shrinking group of people aged around 60 and above, loyal supporters of the Jawi-scripted Utusan Zaman, in which most of these Sembang-Sembang first appeared.

"Now that these Sembang-Sembang have been romanised, and packed in a handsome hardcover book, more readers , especially literary researchers, local and foreign, can be expected to benefit from them. Of course, the information ranges from the revealing to the trivial, but the book is pertinent as it provides insight on what went on in the world of Malay letters.

"…Sembang Satera is invaluable, especially to students of contemporary Malay literature, because it provides a cauldron of tidbits, with which to spice up the perennially long-overdue assignment.” - (Zakaria Ali, "Notes on Local Literature, fortnightly with Zakaria Ali, New Straits Times, 27 January, 1999."

"Yassin merupakan penulis yang berilmu dalam dua bidang dan seterusnya melibatkan diri dalam tiga dimensi. Bidang-bidang keilmuan dan keahliannya ialah komunikasi dan sastera, sementara kegiatannya dalam bidang penulisan kreatif dan deskriptif dan serentak dengan itu, turut kreatif dalam penghasilan dan penerbitan buku sesuai dengan profesion terkininya." (Asri Affandi, Mingguan Malaysia, 27 Disember 1987.)

"A.F.Yassin dalam bukunya Etika dan Wartawan berpendapat, pemberitaan akhbar di negara ini boleh dikatakan hanya berpandu kepada etika sejagat dan norma serta kebiasaan hidup masyarakat majmuk. Ketiadaan kod etika kewartawanan juga seperti yang ditekan oleh A. Samad Said telah menjadikan akhbar mengamalkan dasar swaying with the wind, bukan merupakan agent of change, serta cenderung menyuarakan dasar dan strategi pihak penerbit suratkabar itu sendiri." (Harakah, 31 Mei 1993.)

Tidak tahu kenapa dia meninggalkan lapangan guru dalam tahun 1962 kemudian sanggup pula menjadi seorang Juruteknik di sebuah kilang tekstil di Johor Bahru. Apakah dia memikirkan kurangnya anak Bumiputra berminat dalam lapangan teknikal atau kerana mula nampak bintangnya lebih mengerdip jika dia meninggalkan lapangan guru?

Yang ternyata sewaktu berada di Textile Corporation of Malaya Berhad Johor Bahru, dia telah dapat mengikuti latihan teknikal di Nagoya, Jepun selama enam bulan dalam tahun 1969. Di Jepun dia baru dapat melihat perbezaan zikap dan tingkah laku manusia pekerja Jepun dengan bangsanya sendiri. Setelah menimba pengalaman di Jepun, tercetus pula keinginannya untuk menulis rencana bersirinya di Utusan Malaysia, Utusan Zaman dan Mingguan Malaysia. Semuanya menceritakan pengalamannya di Jepun.

Kemampuan menulis telah meransangnya menapak ke bidang kerja yang lain. Dia menjadi Penyunting Berita Harian dalam tahun 1971. Semasa di New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd., dia banyak pula menghasilkan cerpen. Dia terus melanjutkan penulisan fiksyen apabila dilantik menjadi Penolong Editor dan kemudiannya meningkat sebagai Editor majalah Dewan Masyarakat.

Melihat kemampuannya menulis artikel dan cerpen di tengah-tengah kesibukannya sebagi seorang Editor, jelaslah kepada kita bahawa seorang editor yang sibuk tidak semestinya tidak boleh menulis. Pokoknya dia tidak mengenal erti kelelahan dan kesibukan bila dia diransang untuk menulis. ("Karyawan Bulan Ini", Dewan Sastera, Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, Kuala Lumpur, Mac 1983).