Thursday, 12 November 2009

The power of prayer

Over the past few weeks, many of us have said farewell to friends who are headed towards the Holy Land to perform the Hajj or pilgrimage. It is custom for the pilgrims to seek forgiveness from relatives and friends before they depart. In return, we wish them a safe passage, ease in performing the required rituals and hopefully blessed with a haji mabrur, and finally a safe journey home.

Some of us would take the opportunity to request a small favour of our friend, and that is to pray (doa) on our behalf when he/she is in front of the Ka'abah. It is said that the Masjidil Haram in Mecca is the preferred place on earth where The Almighty listens to his subjects and grants them their requests. It is also mentioned that, within the mosque itself, there are a few spots where such prayers are especially heard and have a good chance of being answered. No doubt, such places are highly sought after by all pilgrims and one must really be brave to compete with the crowd to secure such a spot, especially during the Hajj season.

One such place or tempat mustajab as we say it in Malay, is the small zone of the Ka'abah wall between the door of the Ka'abah and the corner of the black stone called Hajarul Aswad. I was advised by a learned man that if I can squeeze my way to a spot on this wall, I should then spread my arms and place my chest flat against it as if in attempt to embrace. And then I should fully open my heart and reveal to Allah swt all that I have longed for all this while.

My first visit to Mecca was during hajj season many years ago. I wasn't brave enough to fight the crowd for this coveted spot. However, at my next visit a few years later for umrah, I managed to find a place on the Ka'abah wall after solat subuh and draped myself on the holy house of Allah for a precious few minutes.

It was one of the most moving experience in my life... with my chest flat against the wall, the house of Allah can feel my every heartbeat. It is as close as you can physically be to the symbol of your Maker.

In such moments, what do you pray for? What do you actually ask of God? You are there as his guest and you feel so humble. Would it then be proper of you to be asking of so many things?

Yes, it is... for Allah swt is All-Listener. And hence, there I was, embracing the Ka'abah with my eyes closed and pouring my heart out to the One and Only, seeking forgiveness, asking for compassion and requesting for help. After some minutes of saying my personal prayers, I continued with prayers requested by some friends back home. Among these is a doa by a female colleague who was still childless after being married for a number of years.

The first few years after my return from umrah, there wasn't any sign that the Almighty is answering her prayers. She was still childless... until one day, someone came to her with the news that a baby is available for adoption. She and her husband decided to take the baby.

We may well say that God has not actually answered my friend's prayers yet... but to me, seeing that the child has become the light of her life, it is a wish that was granted.

Perhaps the point of my story here is to say that we should never give up hope. Some of us may be facing problems that are so complicated that they seem insurmountable. Even after putting in all the effort to try this, that and everything else, the solution is still not in sight. In times like these, when there is possibly nothing else we could do, the only thing left for us to fall back on is the power of prayer.

If we can afford to travel to Baitullah in Mecca, then do so. If we can't, then do not despair. If we know of a friend who is going there, then do ask their favour to say a prayer on our behalf. Good friends would be glad to do it for us.

27 comments:

pakmat said...

salam oldstock..
..this old man has long since realised that when the chips are down, there is nothing else to do but to fall on your knees in prayer and seek His help and guidance..advice I normally give to those who have stories of woe about erring husbands and such..seeking my lead to bomohs and such..:)

Tinta Mustika said...

I love reading this one. I believe whenever we say our prayers, Allah The Almighty knows the best.

Sometimes what happened in life in not like what we wish for. Still, we must hv a strong believe in qada' and qadar.

As you know, she didn't get mumtaz in her PSRA. She only managed to get jayyid jiddan with 84.6%, 5.4% more to score the mumtaz.

She cried and apologized to me.
The truth is, I am not mad. But the fact seeing her get frustated with the 5.4% is what hurt me the most.

I really pray that tis will not be a fulstop for her to pursue her islamic studies. Insya Allah.

matahari said...

Teringin nak pegi, tapi takut sbb banyak sgt buat benda lagho...

madam gold said...

Salam oldstock,
I tried to get to Hajral Aswad,during both my umrah and haj,but failed. I was pushed and squashed on the way(til my legs were lifted up from the ground),so finally I gave up.
But I know GOD does listen and answer my prayers even if I berdoa at other spots in Masjidilharam, humbly and sincerely.And if my prayers are not answered, I would just redha for I know GOD knows what s best for me...

mamasita said...

What a very soothing entry..beautiful post..you really know how to touch one's heart about your Kaabah prayer.
Thanks Oldstock..I'm not that pious but the hope of being a MakAji soon is in the horizon.
Thanks for sharing your Haj story..

Lili said...

I guess, writing this piece must have set you in 'that' nostalgic mood. Am I right? That 'rindu Baitullah'... I hear it every time when the Hajj season comes.
I always believe in the power of prayers and am grateful that I was brought up to never give up on Allah if our prayers are not answered. He has ways in granting our wishes and pleas, especially during our trying times.
Thanks for sharing this story.

Justiffa said...

The sedih part is, that connectedness to the AlMighty is not a given. most days we get ourselves in a rut and our solat become 'soul-less', our zikir mechanical, our duas tak bersungguh. tapi in our times of need, when we turn to him stripped of all our pretenses.. thats when we feel HIS presence the strongest.

Nak maintain that humility & sincerity yg susah tu especially when ur iman is as rapuh as mine, and your heart as black. but no choice, must slog on & bersangka baik with HIS plan :)

Nurie said...

"When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them). I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calleth on Me; Let them also, with a will, listen to My call, and believe in Me; That they may walk in the right way. [Surah Al-Baqarah: Ayah 186]"

Oldstock, perasaan berada di hadapan Kaabah memang susah digambarkan..till now I could not find the words to express how I feel..I guess it is one experience that humbled you the most.

Chahya said...

Hj Oldstock,
Everytime I read on posts like this I feel that longing to go there. I agree, when one has kept enough to be able to do pilgrimage or umrah, that should be a priority.
Ditto, prayers are answered in many ways.

masterwordsmith said...

Thank you for sharing this very surreal and spiritual experience in such a sincere and pure manner. We are blessed to be inspired to draw near to the Almighty the way you have described so beautifully in this post.

drwati said...

my younger bro has been fighting nonHodgkin's lymphoma since he was 19. Few yrs ago he was bedridden, as white as ghost, his tumors bleeding and full of maggots, and at one time drifted in and out of consciousness while all of us gathered and recited yassin to him.

Miraculously he slowly gained strength and as soon as he could eat on his own he asked to go to mecca. We all chipped in and sent my parents and him to mecca, he was on wheelchair. My father had to wheeled him around for tawaf and saie.

Their prayers were answered and today he is doing his masters in structural engineering in univ of Leeds :)

Zendra said...

Salam Tuan Haji, hubby and I did our hajj together 27 years ago while I was 4 months pregnant with no. 1. Year 1999 we took all 5 kids to umrah. Now 2009 I should be planning for a second hajj, given my eroding focus (sigh). We have signed up, though LUTH says 2017 the earliest! I'll pray for an earlier arrival, thanks for reminding.

Oldstock said...

Salam Pak Mat,

Good advice that... especially to those who still believe in bomohs and such. You stay healthy Pak Mat.

Oldstock said...

Tinta Mustika,

Give you daughter all the support. Tell her it is not the end. There are other ways she can go to pursue Islamic studies. She is an intelligent girl and I am confident she'll do well, insyaallah.

Oldstock said...

matahari,

A small tip if I may :

Simpan rasa teringin dan buang rasa takut.

Oldstock said...

Salam madam gold,

If trying to get close to the Kaabah would put us is in harm, then better not do it. As you said, there are other spots that are equally good too.

Oldstock said...

mamasita,

Piety is only for the Almighty to judge. I wish your intention to becme a Mak Aji would be fulfilled soon, insyaallah.

Oldstock said...

Lili,

Yes, you are right. When we see off our friends who are bound for Mecca during each hajj season, we cannot help but feel nostalgic about our own trip. And we always hope that we can get the chance to go there again.

And when we meet them after the trip, we enjoy listening to the various stories all over again, although we have heard similar ones many times before.

Oldstock said...

Justiffa,

Betul tu... tapi kan, apalah kita ini selain dari manusia biasa. Yang selalu alpa dan tidak jauh dari kesilapan.

Oldstock said...

Noor,

Thanks for that petikan ayat dari Surah Al Baqarah yang sungguh berkaitan.

Oldstock said...

Chahya,

May your wish to be a guest of the Almighty be granted soon. Mudah-mudahan.

Oldstock said...

masterwordsmith,

As always, thanks for your very kind thoughts.

Oldstock said...

Dr Wati,

Alhamdulillah! May your brother continue to receive Allah's blessings and be successful in his studies. It would be good if his story can be written and shared with others who face similar predicament.

Oldstock said...

Salam Puah Hajjah Zen,

You are one brave lady to be performing the hajj while berbadan dua.

Insyaallah, panjang umur dapat pergi lagi.

Snakebite said...

a story i heard, betul tak betul tak tau.

someone prayed he wants to be a millionaire when he was in mecca. came back, his company transfered him to indonesia. gaji juta juta rupiah tu bang....

Oldstock said...

Snake,

Could be true, heheheh...

That's why, bila berdoa depan Kaabah tu, kena spesifik. Takleh nak mintak secara umum je...

HLiza said...

Just like others..I wish to be there before I get old..