The Sacred Journey: 10th SOULidarity with Nur Factory

Sembreak Series: part 1 of unknown number of parts yet.
October 26, 2013
  
Brothers and Sisters listening to the lectures
After some months of absence, finally Alhamdulillah, I was able to attend this month’s SOULidarity conducted by the Nur Factory last October 26, 2013 at Balay Kalinaw in UP Diliman. This month’s theme is “The Sacred Journey”, and the lectures and discussions we had were about Hajj and the sacrifices that Muslims had done and should be willing to do for Allah’s sake. (To know more about Nur Factory and SOULidarity, read the last paragraph of this post >_0)

Hajj, or the Pilgrimage to Makkah (Mecca), is the fifth pillar of Islam. It is the journey of visiting the Holy place of Makkah and conduct certain religious practices throughout the whole month of Dhul Hijjah (the 12th and last month of the Hijra Islamic Calendar). It is also one of the important pillars of Islam that is considered done “by one’s capacity”, that is: a Muslim is not fully obliged to do Hajj if he is not capable, financially, physically and emotionally. Simply having the intention of going to Makkah to perform Hajj will suffice for those who cannot afford (But not even having the intention is already a low form of iyman/faith!).

Funny as it may seem, but in reality only a few of the whole Muslim population (especially here in the Philippines) knows what Hajj really is: Its history, the rites and ceremonies done while in Hajj,the whole processes of completing the Hajj and the great importance the pilgrimage itself in one’s own completion of his or her deen (religion). We only know that it happens once a year, that we slaughter goats and cows during Eidul Adha; that our relatives going to Makkah would come home with bags full of dates and praying mats and praying beads (Tasbih) and will have a new name and added tag “Apah Hajji” or “Babu’ Hadja”.  Only a few who are really studying in Islamic schools, and those who are actually going to Hajj would learn what Hajj really is. And Alhamdulillah, through the 10th Soulidarity by Nur Factory, I have learned something about Hajj and its importance in Islam and the whole Muslim Ummah as a whole.

Broterh Mustafa Samur sharing the beautiful story of Hajj
The Session started with meeting new friends and introducing to new brothers and sisters in Islam attending the session. Then the proper lecture about the beginning of Hajj was prepared by Brother Mustafa Samur' a Turkish brother whom I have met years before and have been a dear friend to me (and to all of us who knew him :) The Story of Hajj started from the very beginning of creation of the Ka’ba by Prophet Adam (Alayhis Salaam) as the first house in this world, then by the reconstruction of it by Prophet Ibrahim and
Prophet Ismail (Alayhimus Salaam), and finally the third and final rebuilding by Abdulmuttalib, the grandfather of our dear Prophet Muhammad (SallaAllahu Alayhi wa Sallam). The stories about the sacrifices of Prophet Ibrahim (AS), his wife Sitti Hajar and their unmoved submission to their Lord’s commands composed most of the whole processes done in Hajj. I cannot share all the stories here about Hajj for I am not worthy to share something so important. Pls do visit Islamic websites and read along about Hajj and its history.

Me and brothers Ayan and Mustafa
The second part of the SOULidarity is wherein a brother and a sister share their experience during Umra (the lesser hajj) and Hajj itself to the group. Both of them related the unique experiences they had while on the sacred journey. The great learning of how to be more patient and discipline; The principle of understanding and being sensitive to other people’s needs; to be flexible and adapt to an utmost different environment (imagine sleeping in a dessert for a night or two!). And most importantly, the experience their own urge for change, to become a better Muslim, to throw away all the negatives and evil self one may have and lastly the overwhelming experience of Allah’s forgiveness and love to his servants was what made them almost teary-eyed. Even us listeners were silent throughout their sharing; we who had never been to Makkah to do the pilgrimage, even felt that invigorating feeling they felt. And as every minute passed by with us listening to them, our yearning to go to Makkah ourselves grew more and more strong. It was indeed a once-in-a-lifetime journey that they more than willing to do again if given another chance. It was like being reborn like a new born baby without any sins and burdens on your shoulder. It was a feeling of bliss and peacefulness in this world full of sorrows and dissatisfaction.

Brother Mustafa (the other Mustafa) shares his Umrah Story
MashaAllah, how come we dream and prayed that we can visit other famous tourist attractions like Singapore or Paris or even Boracay and Palawan’s Underground River, and yet we had never even asked Allah to give us the chance to visit Makkah on Hajj? It was something each and every Muslim should reflect on. Maybe we are not yet capable of performing Hajj due to our own financial problems or our current social attachments and responsibilities. But we should never cease to pray and pray, to have the intention to in shaa Allah to perform Hajj someday, and to take actions step by step until we reach that day that we see the great Masjidul Haram right in front of us, with our tears flowing with love. And we see different faces of Muslims from different palces around the world, with different skin colors and different status in their community (be them a prime Minister or a mere fish vendor), praying at the same time, bowing their heads and prostrating and asking forgiveness and Mercy from their Creator, Allahu Azza wa Jal.

MashaAllah! Yaa Allah grant us the chance to perform Hajj while we are still young and free of too much burden and responsibilities that prevent us from doing this great act of worship.

Ameen. 

(let us all have the intention to perform Hajj even once in our life in shaa Allah? Let us do it while we are still young :) Bismillah!)
The Nur Factory Brothers with Abdul-Aziz "Robin" Padilla. Yup, My Camera actually betrayed me and took only a third of my face (on the farthest right hehe)

The Nur Factory Sisters
Brother Abdul-Aziz "Robin" Padilla came as a guest and talked about his last visit to Zamboanga and teh importance of unity among Muslim brothers and sisters as one Ummah.
Alhamdulillah, I was indeed thankful to Nur Factory for conducting this SOULidarity session. The Nur Factory is a group of young Muslims hroughout Metro Manila aiming at sharing the great light (“Nur”) of Islam to both Muslims and Nonmuslims alike. The SOULidarity Sessions are monthly sessions conducted by Nur Factory focusing on important topics on Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood, promoting a better and more productive way of becoming Muslims in our daily walks of life. You can join these sessions conducted every last Saturdays of the month. Even NonMuslims are free to attend. PM me on Facebook and I can redirect or refer you to them in shaa Allah.

Salam kasilasa

-Anak Iluh

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