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Canon Buff ~ Papparazi Wanabe
By: Marizan Nor

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Wednesday, 5-Oct-2005 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Makkah & Medina

Praise be to Allah, I had a fulfilling Omrah.

" Wishing all, the Blessings of Ramadhan and Eid ul Fitr "
26th Ramadhan 1426. 30th October 2005

Tuesday, 4-Oct-2005 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Medina #8

how on earth ...
do these baboons ...
survive ....
View all 6 photos...
Last leg of the Journey

After the last customary visit to the Prophet Mohammad's Mosque, I left Medina. The feelings were hard to describe. Most, shed tears at this goodbye.

The journey to Jeddah took 4 hours by coach. As sleep was a luxury in Medina, I slumbered soon after I boarded. I was awakened by a fellow passenger when the coach stopped at a rest service area ( RSA ). Like before, this RSA had no name. It was some 2 hours from Medina, in the middle of the barren desert. Most passengers managed to grab a bite at the not-so-enticing café.

I was contented trying to get some fresh (hot) air, until a baboon on a boulder caught my attention. It was hard to believe that I was seeing a herd of desert baboons. I had learnt on the National Geographic (a favourite channel, of course) that the desert baboons are an endangered species. They are usually found in Yemen in the south of the Arabian Peninsula. To be sighted near Jeddah is rare. It was a bonus for me. In no time I got my 300D to work.

Besides the baboons, the lone tree was also a sight. The green colour of the leaves overwhelmed the browns of the desert background.

Monday, 3-Oct-2005 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Medina #7

... dead oops.. date trees everywhere ...
... even on road dividers ...
... ripening bunches ...
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Date Palm

Dates grow on palm trees. The tree is no different in appearance from the Oil Palm trees found in abundance in Malaysia. Both have fruits in bunches. Both dates and oil palm fruits turn a yellowish-deep red in colour when they ripen. The taste and texture of the fruits however differ. Dates have soft outer flesh covering the hard inner seed. Oil Palm fruits have the inner flesh (kernel) surrounded by the outer shell and oil-saturated husks. Dates are eaten fresh or dried but Oil Palm fruits are for extracting palm oil. Perhaps the Beluluk Palm variety is closer to the Date Palm.

This was my last day in Medina. I toured a date plantation as my last itinerary before leaving for Jeddah Airport. Time did not allow me to witness the harvesting which I am sure would have been very interesting.

I believe it is not beyond science to aid the possible cultivation of dates in Malaysia. MARDI (Malaysian Agricultural Research Development Institute), in view of the tons of dates consumed by Malaysians, should take this up.

Sunday, 2-Oct-2005 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Medina #6

... the archers' hill ...
... graves of the Uhud martyrs ...
... the battleground & Mount Uhud ...
View all 9 photos...

In the first year after Migration (Hijrah), Mohammad (pbuh), as a prophet and society leader, dedicated his efforts towards consolidating the systems and governance of Medina. A constitution was drafted. This became the first recorded state constitution in the world. Medina gradually prospered.

As Medina grew in importance in the Arabian Peninsula, the significance of the Makkan Quraish began to dwindle. Its economy suffered as they could not trade with the Syrians (as-Shams) in the north and the Persians (Iraq and Iran) in the east. Medina was the gateway to these routes. This heightened their hatred towards the Muslim state of Medina .

In the second year after Migration (circa 624AD), the Quraish of Makkah attacked Medina. War broke out at Badr (the Battle of Badr), south of Medina. Although the Muslims were outnumbered 313 to 1000, they defeated the Quraish of Makkah. The Makkan leadership regrouped and in the third year after Migration (circa 625AD), they reattacked Medina. The battle took place at Uhud (the Battle of Uhud), 5km outside Medina. The Quraish came with an army of 3000 well-armed soldiers. They were led by Abu Sufyan and Khalid ibn Walid was one of the commanders (both were non Muslims then). Medina was defended by 700 men (and women). The battle was fiercely fought and again the Makkans finally retreated in defeat. However, about 70 of Mohammad’s (pbuh) companions were martyred at Uhud including his uncle, Hamzah Abu Talib. Mohammad (pbuh) was also injured in the battle.

Till today, the graves of the martyrs are preserved at the battle site of Uhud. Omrah pilgrims are recommended to visit this place to remember and pay respect to the sacrifices made by this first generation muslims. Seeking intercession from the martyrs however, in my humble opinion, is not an Islamic practice.

p.s. Abu Sufyan and Khalid Ibn Walid embraced Islam in 8th & 7th Hijrah respectively. Khalid became a renown general of the Muslim armies.

Saturday, 1-Oct-2005 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Medina #5

... the rijal ...
... jabal at tamar ...
... the nisa' ...
The Companions ~ Sahabah

In my mind, Medina is also synonymous to Mohammad’s (pbuh) Companions. Wherever you go in Medina, there will be something or some place that remind us of them. They were Abu Bakr, Omar, Uthman, Ali, Abd Rahman Auf, Abdullah Jash, Zubair Awam, Abdallah Rawaha, Abu Huraira, Hamzah Abu Talib and many more.

They were first generation Muslims and therefore hold a special place in Islam. They were there when the Quran was revealed over the 23 year period ~ to be embraced as a complete way of life. With them, Islam grew from a band of secret worshippers to an open government and later to a powerful empire. They battled for Islam when attacked. Many gave their lives. They came from all backgrounds; rich, poor, tribal heads, slaves, artisans, ordinary men, women and children. They became the pillars of Islam. For the next century after the death of Mohammad (pbuh), they spearheaded the spread of Islam outside the Arabian Peninsula into Persia and India, Central Asia , Russia and China, Northern and black Africa and Europe.

If not for their pioneering efforts, my ancestors would have remained animists, the predominant belief system in the Malaynesian society then.

Mohammad (pbuh) was a prophet and like all prophets before him, his thoughts and actions were divinely guided. The Companions were however mere mortals ~ like us. But they have lifted their status in God's eyes through their piety and contribution to Islam.

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