Monday, November 30, 2009

Hajj 1430 - Part 1 - Rabigh to Jeddah

As I’ve mentioned before in my previous post, I went to Hajj for the past week and had just returned to my house exactly yesterday in an extremely smelly, famished and fatigued condition. In fact, while bidding our last goodbye towards everyone in the same Hajj group, I was afraid that I might lose control and puke all over their hands.

Yeah…well, I’ll get back to that later.

Anyway, reminiscing the memories...

Let's start from the very beginning.

We were supposed to gather in front of the Al-Mi3ad's office on 24 November (7 Dzuhijjah), 10PM, but since we live fairly far away from Jeddah, my father decided to depart early, and by early, he meant after 3sar, and by after 3sar, he meant right after 3sar—3.30PM.

Yeah well that was because our Malay neighbors (who introduced us to Al-Mi3ad but decided to go with another group from Yanbu at the very last minute, which was weird, but whatever) expressed their concerns on how leaving after Maghrib (6PM) is too risky—you might miss the bus.

Sure, anything could happen. Traffic jams, bla bla bla, bla bla bla…

Anyway, because of that, we had no choice but to oblige to his command, but my mother has a pretty loud opinion you see, so she tried to convince my father that 3PM was too early. After a couple of words throwing and whatnot, my father finally capitulated, and decided to reschedule to 5PM.

Which was still too early, if you ask me.

But then our neighbors were far earlier than us in terms of departing—they went after Dzuhur. But apparently they were going to Makkah first instead of Mina, so that is plausible. It would be nice if we could perform our Tawaf and Saie at Makkah first as well, but alas, we were not the one who made the schedule.

So, after confirming with my father's colleague to come and pick us up to Jeddah (he made a living of sending people off to wherever we want as well—wait, scratch that, I think only Jeddah, maybe), we started to pack.

Yeah…my parents are extremely last-minute.

So pack pack pack, and then hon, hon, hon—

My father’s colleague had arrived. :O

You know, we wanted to take loads of pictures before departing, but he came too soon. >.>

Or we were just too slow. XD

We still managed to capture a photo though, so that’s better than nothing.

So off we went, nicely clad in our ihram clothes, pure and things like that. The driver stopped at the miqat and we proceeded with our niat…

And the Hajj had begun!

Whoo…exciting. :D

This shall be continued in another post lol I’m too tired to concoct a simple sentence already D:

But I want to blog so badly lol

Toodles :D

P/S: Oh wow, this post is messy lmao

Monday, November 23, 2009

Names names names...

Continuing the topic…

How many of us, particularly the Malaysian, or Malays even, who heard of the name Malik, and instantly thought of the king?

How many of us, the Malaysian, who heard of the name Comel, and automatically thought of a cute girl? (or cat, but no, I’m talking about a person here)

How many of us who liked a name not for the meaning, but just because the name has a certain ring to it that sounded melodious to the ears?

Observing the Malay communities nowadays, it’s amazing how children’s names are rapidly growing, flourishing into a unique concoction of names that could no longer be fit on a school’s name tag. Not only that, the distinctive spelling adds some spice to the name, resulting in a very, very creative name indeed.

However, in the end, real names are neglected, nicknames are adopted, since of course, you can’t possibly be calling the full name of someone in full blast. Unless you’re angry. But who does that aside from parents anyway?

Frankly, I didn’t think that calling a certain person by a nickname is a bad thing. In fact, it’s positively endearing, announcing to the world on how great of a bond you have with your friends. Not to mention how nicknames, most of the time, are cute and feisty.

Despite how nicknames thoroughly crashed the original intention of giving a person an exquisite name with beautiful meanings and all that, it was not as if we were thinking of all those beautiful meanings when we call them by their real names either.

Sure enough, the image in our head when we call a friend by his name would be the image of his persona. Not this, not that, just plainly him. Purely him.

Yet what if someone’s nickname is Pendek, would you think that he’s short?

That’s a no-brainer, for sure.

But what if you don’t know Malay, would you think of that?

Probably no.

Which brings to my point.

Here in KSA, everyone seems to have the same name. The most common would be Muhammad and Abdullah.

Of course, back in Malaysia, almost every boy was named as Muhammad as well, but since Muhammad was such a common name, most people didn’t call them by that; they prefer to use the second name.

But not here, as far as I know. Everyone is either Muhammad or Abdullah.

Truly, back in Malaysia, I never gave it much of a thought. But standing here, looking through their perspective, I come to realize that when people called his name, Muhammad, the thought of Prophet Muhammad came to mind.

When they called him Abdullah, the servant of Allah floated in their brains.

A little confession if you may—I was quite indifferent to the name Amir and Amirah, because like Muhammad and Abdullah, those are common names as well.

But when I learned the true meaning behind the commonness, listened at the grandness of the word, I was overwhelmed with a new judgment.

Those names are definitely, definitely luxurious. All around, people are calling you as the prince, the princess. And they actually meant that. It doesn’t get any better than that.

I remembered how back in Malaysia, those people who were named Puteri (Princess in Malay) were considered high and mighty.

But not Amirah.

Because Amirah is a common name and all.

Because not everyone knows the meaning of everyone’s name.

However, now that you know the meaning as well, you can’t deny that Amir is certainly a high status name. I’m beginning to see them in a different light now.

In fact, when I opened my friends’ list on Facebook and saw their names, I was suddenly drowned in an overwhelming typhoon.

They have such magnificent names.

Back then, I used to judge a name by how good it rolled on my tongue.

Now, not anymore.

It’s all kind of awesomeness. The name is like a personal doa. Muhammad, they said. With the thought of the prophet in their mind. Amin, they said. With the thought of safe in their mind. They unconsciously want us (and by us, I mean those with Amin as their name) to be safe, silently praying for a blessed life.

But then, what if someone decided to give you a nickname? For instance, Amin became Min?

It wouldn’t give much trouble I guess, since min in Arabic does mean ‘from’—or in some dialect, ‘who’— so it doesn’t really matter, because they certainly didn’t mean to say ‘who who’ to him anyway. They have his persona in mind when calling him, that’s for sure.

But what if it was something greater than that? What if his name was Shahrir, and people called him…Sharir?

Truthfully, I didn’t know the exact meaning of the name, Shahrir, but I am aware of a handful of people bearing that name.

So what if they were unconsciously being called Sharir? Wouldn’t that be bad? Since Sharir means evil in Arabic and all?

I have no doubt that Arabians would never make that mistake since they concentrate really hard on their pronunciation and you would certainly hear them calling you ShaHrir instead of Sharir, but Malaysian’s tongue, including me, are not very much so. Our pronunciation is at the tip of our tongue, not in our throat.

No doubt, once in a while, someone will slip and call him Sharir. In a hurry, for instance.

Wouldn’t that be bad?

But still, we didn’t have evil in our mind, so it doesn’t really matter, doesn’t it? But the thought is frightening nonetheless.

Reminds me of a story once told by my cousin, on how her friend’s name is Nabila Huda. And others called her La Huda.

Their religion teacher heard of this, and quickly ordered them to not call her that anymore. La Huda might sound chic and glamorous to our ears, but it actually means ‘Not the right guidance.’ That story made me shiver.

Imagine hearing people calling you that for your entire life.

And here’s another story that I heard, this time from my sister. Apparently, a Malaysian named Akma wanted to apply citizenship in Japan. But Japan wanted her to change her name.


Akma in Japanese is pronounced as Akuma.

Akuma, in Japanese, means the devil.

According to my sister, Akma didn’t want to change her name, because really, Akma (leader in Arabic) is a perfectly good Muslim name! Why should a non-muslim order her to do something out of her will?

Fine theory, really. The name certainly is a Muslim name, undeniably beautiful and blessed by God, but take it this way. If someone’s name is Iblis, and he’s from who knows where, claiming that his name has an absolutely beautiful meaning in his language, sure sure whatever, but in our mind, wouldn’t we feel slightly uneasy of calling his name aloud?

Because we have the thought of iblis in our minds.

Same could be said to the Japanese. It’s not their fault that they are secretly thinking of you as the devil in their minds. Some things couldn’t be helped. You don’t want them to secretly wish you of being a true devil, don’t you?

And so, I’ve come to the conclusion, that if I were to name my own children, I wouldn’t just pick a name based on how good it sounded, but by the beautiful meaning behind the name as well. I wouldn’t care about the commonness of such names. Because it’s the meaning that matters the most.

Now, whenever I heard the name of my brother’s daughter, Zahra (flower), I’m reminded of a dainty, fragrant flower, blooming beautifully in the garden of roses.

Yeah I had no idea.

It just brings you to a whole different level.


I'll be going to Hajj tomorrow! :D

May Allah bless and accept our Hajj, amin.

So...enshallah see you next week my lovely blog!

Saturday, November 21, 2009 update! :D

Oh the land of Saudi,
How I love thee.

In the midst of gathering thoughts for a quick update on this blog, I found nothing particularly inspiring to jot down for my own enjoyment. Sure enough, I should’ve had ton of things to share, what with my splendidly wonderful place, the beginning of my new life, the amusing culture, the bla bla bla bla, the la la la, the na na na, and more of the blahness, but needless to say, I wasn’t that motivated. Perhaps I will give my blog more justice after my hajj pilgrimage next week, so here’s hoping that my enthusiasm will still have its sparks by then. (*^^*) I’m extremely anxious for hajj now. The thoughts of…well…you know…agitates me.

I’m not sure you know exactly what I meant.

Anyhow…moving on.

Perhaps one of the greatest charms of these Arabian countries is the language. Being a person who has always been fascinated by any language that could reach my ears, there’s nothing I like better than decoding the clandestine message that were thrown about mockingly in front of my clueless face. I hate when that happened, it made me feel left out and as if I’m not thoroughly part of their clique. Because I didn’t get the secret joke, get it?

Thus, I didn’t feel comfortable speaking my own language in front of them. I don’t want them to feel left out either.

Which is—now that I think about it—quite stupid. They need to be exposed to the awesomeness that is Malay language, and gaped at the foreign sound that is our dialect!

But I have the southern dialect which is…like…the typical dialect of them all.

The official dialect of Malaysia.

urgh asdfghjkl >.<

Oh well.

Back to the point, I am fascinated by language, but Arabic language had never gained my attention. True, every Muslim has every reason in the world to learn the language, but I guess the devil’s temptation is extremely absolute on that matter.

For one, most Malays learn Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) in the primary school (but I didn’t, because they haven’t reinforced the idea during the 89 batch) or the religion school (during my time, we started learning Arabic during the 3rd year, but by then, I have already quitted the school for personal reason) or in secondary school (some schools, particularly boarding schools, let you learn a foreign language provided by the school, and I’ve been to one of the boarding schools, but the school appointed me to Japanese language, but then I quitted the boarding school and enrolled in public school, which didn’t provide the foreign language elective subject) or in the total secondary religion school (but I went to a public one…).

With that in mind, you should probably know that perhaps public school students are the humblest of them all. We weren’t extensively taught like those in boarding school, nor were we educated thoroughly regarding Islam like those in religion school. I suppose we only studied what was required by the education government.

I was a public school student, has a lot of boarding school and religion school cousins, and most often, they would share tidbits about their student lives, things that they thought were foreign to me because I was just a public school student. My lack of comprehension towards the Arabic language prompted them to show-off a bit more than necessary, and I truly didn’t appreciate the fact that I was being left out.

Hence the unwillingness of speaking my own language in front of the foreigners. Which was stupid. I know.

Therefore, Arabic didn’t excite me as much, because almost everyone in Malaysia claimed to be an expert in that one, and often enough, they would correct me just because they have formal education and I didn’t.

Way to break a person’s self-esteem.

I mean, if they were right, then I don’t mind. But I was right and they were wrong, but they insist that I was wrong and they were right! How frustrating is that? >.> Like when I said the Arabic word for banana is mauz, and they blatantly shot me down, saying that “No, you are wrong, its mauzun!”, and then I tried to defend myself, “But those people in TV says mauz!,” and then they counterattack with, “You heard wrong!”


Even now, when I’m here, my mother who learned MSA in school also tried to correct me, but I often say, “Mother, it’s the dialect the dialect the dialect!” XD

I mean, when I utter the word ‘mauzun’ here, they gave me confused eyes.

Actually, they looked confused every time I speak Arabic.

I really need to brush my pronunciation a whole lot more. But I will talk about that later. In another post. Maybe.

Anyway, during the first few months in this land, we have no internet in our house but no matter, there’s the TV and the uncountable amount of channels in it.

It’s countable actually but but really!

Isn’t it awesome, I mean, we could count Malaysia’s channels with our hands and feet…figuratively.

They have a lot of Arabic channels that I have zero comprehension due to the thick dialects (and the varied dialects ohh man) but thankfully, they have English programs with Arabic subtitles YAY!

I say, I never watched so many movies in my life, and it was unimaginable but I watched every episode of The Simpsons and American’s sitcoms…certainly not something I would do in Malaysia.

I’m not a TV person. AT ALL.

But I need to gather lots of words in my brain, you see!

Anyway, because of my exposure towards various words, I began to notice a few random things. Like how guys seem to like teaching other guys their dialect while the girls rather teach foreigners (me) MSA. I suppose they didn’t want to cause confusion with the language, slowly letting us have the feel of Standard Arabic, then venture into the dialect realm. But it was weird when this happened.

“Why is limadza.”

“What about lish?”

“Lish? Uhh…limadza is better.”

“Okie dokie.”

But I never heard you say limadza in front of your friends, you only say lish! XD

And it took me a while to find the dialect word of ‘What.’ And that was after doing an extensive research on the internet.

And I’m not sure if I should say the dialect word of ‘what’ aloud. Because they haven’t taught me that yet lol

Once, I uttered a dialect word, and aghast, they looked at me and asked, “How did you know that?”


“Well, I learned it from the TV.”

It didn’t sound appropriate of me to admit that I learned a couple of dialect words from songs, so I answered with the bulletproof answer of ‘TV’.

Technically, it was the truth, I wasn’t lying, I did hear the music from the TV lol

And then there’s this other thing that is constantly in my mind…

But I shall discuss later since this post has unexpectedly grown a foot.

Until then, toodles :D