As a Muslim, we have to visit Makkah and Madinah, if we have the capabilities (time, financial, health, safety), in order to learn, see and appreciate more of the Islamic history and practices in these holy lands. These are the places where Prophet Muhammad saw was born, lived and died. Furthermore, during Haji or Umrah, we could meet thousands of other Muslims and we can learn different styles and cultures of Muslim coming from all over the globe….Muslim is more than just Malay or Arab.
It has been a while since Ma'arof s family members’ visit Tanah Haram except for our recent Hajj and Umrah and Ayah Su’s umrah performed last 2 years (with arwah Asri Rabbani), other than that, the Hajj or umrah have been hard to come by. Anyway, Haji Ma'aroff died in Makkah in the late 1940s and was buried at Perkuburan Maa’la in Makkah.
Tok Abah had been contemplating to go on umrah after being there the last time in a few years back. He also plans to bring Pak Teh, who has never been to Makkah, although he has travelled near and far. Tok Mama wanted to follow as she last went to Tanah Haram some 10 years back, and many things have changed since then. But she was worried of Pak Su, so we offered to look after him while they are gone so then she decided to follow the Group. We have planned for a holiday trip with Pak Su and that could be an interesting training session for us brothers.
Initially, we wanted to join the umrah trip too but since we had just returned from Hajj end of last year, we decided to send Faiz as this will provide him with the exposure and experience of doing umrah with the grandparents and uncles and more importantly in the absence of his parents. He was happy to have had the opportunity.
The Group just got larger when Mak Ngah decided to join in. She has never been on a long haul flight or travelled out of the country….so this is her break and this could be her new experience and exposure. Later Isnariah (Ibu’s office mate) decided to join too as she had initially planned to performed Umrah on her own. Futher on, Kak Long, Tok Abah’s cousin and neighbour) and her husband decided to join in, similar stories to above but at least she had experienced flying when she was a teacher in Sabah, but never had a long haul flight. A few weeks later, Tok Jae (Kak Long’s younger brother) also decided to join the Group. They were driven by the fact that their mother had gone for Haji last year and their late father never had the opportunity to visit the Holy Lands during his lifetime.
So in total there were 9 people in the Group and many of them were first timers to the Holy Lands, some first timers on long haul flight, some first timers on flying and some first timers for visiting other countries.
We were tasked to coordinate the trip in KL and after reviewing the umrah packages of several travel agencies, we decided that the Group will visit the Holy Lands from 30 Mei 2011 until 12 Jun 2011 / 26 Jamadil Akhir – 10 Rejab 1432H, with YHA Travels & Tours (based in Ampang Point). The selection was based on suitable travel dates, overall costs, track records, hotels in Makkah and Madinah, air carrier (Malaysia Airlines) and direct flights to either Makkah / Madinah (MAS only to Jeddah).
So when the actual day came, Tok Abah, Tok Mama and Pak Su flew into Subang via Fireflyz from KB on Saturday 28 May 2011. Hibatullah sent them to KB airport while Pak Teh fetched them from Subang airport. The same morning, we had to attend IQKL’s Hari Ihtifal at UIA, where Faiz took part in the drama. We organized a small majlis solat hajat and dinner that night at our house in Gombak, attended by all the 8 "bakal tetamu Allah swt" (except Isnariah who had her own doa selamat at her kampung in Kuala Lipis).
On Monday 30th May 2011, we gathered at KLIA to send them off. Dini had flown into KLIA that morning via MAS since she had just completed her school program earlier that morning. Pak Su didn’t create any problem and we finally said goodbyes to the Group when they checked into the departure hall at about 1 PM.
Alhamdulillah, all went well and they arrived safely in Jeddah on time, didn’t have to wait long for immigration clearance and then on to Madinah. We hope everyone will benefit from the trip and we also hope that more trips to the Holy Lands will be made by Hj Ma'aroff's family members. Semoga perjalanan mereka dipermudahkan dan amal ibadah mereka diterima dan dikurniakan umrah yang mabrur.