I will always be proud with this friend and will mention his name without any alteration. His name is Alef bin Ahmad. I do not know whether he would reach here but I want you to know Alef. You are my brother in this world and hereafter. I believe that if people love you, it is surely because Allah 'Azza wa Jalla loves you. If people hate me, it is because Allah 'Azza wa Jalla hates me and I deserves it for what evil that I had committed. This friend of mine was not so fortunate because his father passed away due to sudden "heart-attack" while working at their village and he was still in the first year studying in the university. He is from Yan. He is still living with his mother and siblings back there in Yan.
Yan is a district within our state but by our state standard, it was actually a region with few feudal lords just like other places in our state. Most of feudal lords and chieftains were actually of Arab descent but there were also native feudal lords from the native court. By today we have 12 districts but before 18th century we had few other districts or regions which is now in the lower of Myanmar, separated as a different state with its independent king and in Southern Thailand. One of our district in Southern Thailand is known as Satun which was separated into Thai administration under the governance of a royal member known as Ku Din bin Ku Meh while another which was made a state by its own right is Perlis. The king of Perlis now is of Arab descent of Jamalullayl Sayyid clan who happened to intermarry with Kedah female royal members.
Alef was one of my hostel mate but not my course mate. We were quite close back then when I was in Aman hostel in the Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM). The hostel has so many memories for me before I went further my postgraduate studies. I have no picture with him nor any other friends at that time so people might think I am a lone-ranger at all the time. Alef is among my friend and he is my compatriot Kedah national. Our religion and faith which is Islam and the state, Kedah Darul Aman where we share the same regional language and cultural traits bonded us together as very close brothers though our state is very diverse in term of ethnicity and cultural traits by its regions. I used to watch TV with him other than with Amir. During Ramadan, we would talked about various issues whether it is about religion, daily life and politics. We became even more closer after I visited him but I just tried to avoid talking anything about whatever I did because I don't want him to feel grateful to me. I did that as a responsibility to comfort him and his family. I do not want any return and anything that I donated is not of myself but from Allah 'Azza wa Jalla. It was his property once he received it and it's not so much because I just donated what I can. If I have that much then that much is donated for unfortunate brothers and sisters. That's all.
I used to visit him and his family just after his father passed away. I did not have any vehicle back then and I saw that those Kelantanese hostel mates had left for Alef's father burial. Other compatriots had left me alone with Amir without informing us. I just hit Amir with a message and trying to see whether he is interested to visit the poor family and pay respect to the deceased. I guess Amir did not understood me. I felt so sorry that I cannot pay respect and help in burial process of Alef's father. After a week, and we were still in long term holiday. I prepared a rucksack and took buses for Yan from Penang. I immediately reserved some RM300 (USD 98.70) from my personal account for Alef's mother and buying few stuffs for condolence donation under the da'awa banner because of Allah and started to travel for Yan. I understood how Alef felt especially I had just lost my beloved grandmother where I cried like a crazy little kid and losing appetite for weeks. It was very difficult to access the rural area while I was alone. There was only one or two route of buses from Sungai Petani to Alor Setar through Yan. When I arrived in the rural area there was no bus anymore and by the time it was near Maghrib prayer service. I never informed Alef anything about my visit. I know Allah 'Azza wa Jalla was with me. Then I chartered a taxi at the little town and I cannot remember how much it was. When I arrived at the village only I called Alef just to inform him I am visiting his family because I cannot help with burial lest saying condolence. I feel so ashamed of myself because the matter of death is very important for me and it reminds me on how helpless I am before Allah if He does not sustain me with His precious Mercy.
After long, Alef had gave me a text message wishing me for Aidul'adha greetings. I am actually so happy to receive the message from him. I do not make many friends in my entire life and I am always grateful to Allah 'Azza wa Jalla for few friends and acquaintances that I have though we cannot see each other often. They are actually my pride as our beloved imam Ali r.a said: "The most helpless among men is he who cannot find a few brothers during his life time. But still is more helpless is he who find such a (good) brother but loses him". That is why I always feel afraid to be closer to newly-known brothers or friends. If they leave their footprints in our heart, we would feel like dying when the "time" ends. I do not care whether a "brother" is a Muslim or non-Muslim. The definition of a brother or a sister is very broad for me. Once they are considered as my "brother" it means their blood is also my blood. I would have to protect them like protecting my self. If they are sad, I would have to comfort them like I comfort myself.
I called Alef when he miscalled me. Just talked with him like around 20 minutes and we talked about we missed each other and other friends while we were living in the hostel. All of friends had left us and we had lost contact. I just said to him I am grateful that I do not lost his contact. We talked about job and I could sense that he feels low self-esteem. I just told him the truth. I am a "da'awa cadre" but I never appear like one because I need to be alert with the situation and condition of society. I did postgraduate studies and it seems like I am pursuing it for career advancement but the real meaning is that I am doing this postgraduate studies to reconcile the gaps between traditional Islamic sciences and other fields. Nobody understood me even my younger sisters said that I am a "chowder-head" when they saw that I never grab any opportunity to further anything or getting good jobs for myself.
I began to understood my destiny and facts of life when I was in Holy Mecca while I sat alone in the desert and pondering myself in al-Haram al-Sharif. And I felt so sinful that when I returned that I tried to return to the "responsibility" again. This is actually a very painful situation I think one would rather stabbed their heart with knife than to feel stuck like this. I told Alef to be patient and take a good care of his family. Do not worry about worldly affairs as we have faith in Allah 'Azza wa Jalla. He had already prescribed our fate in His tablet and our sustenance is within His wisdom. Just do not feel low and to strive hard to perform worship to Allah 'Azza wa Jalla. Learn more about kitabs and try to increase knowledge through religious discourses in his state. He still messaged me after we end our conversation and saying thanks for not forgetting him though he lives in the village. I just dropped few tears after reading that because it is me who should be thankful to him... I wish you happy Aidul'adha and in the Day of Atonement may our sacrifice brings us closer to Allah's Compassionate Mercy and Love. I am not good with words but you can feel it when I am closer to you, dear friends and brothers. I am just a nobody since I honor you as blessings of Allah for me :')
I wish Allah 'Azza wa Jalla to have mercy on me because I am afraid Allah would throw me into the torments in the hereafter if my intention is wrong. I do not intend to tell anything here as something to boast nor getting names. I even mildly scolded Azren, who lived in the same hostel last time when he told his friends about my visit to Alef's house because that is not my intention to boast around instead I did it alone and not inviting others. I am doing that for Allah 'Azza wa Jalla and it is our traditions to comfort brothers and sisters who are in sadness. This is just a memory with Alef. He is one of my pride and I wish him to be among the da'awa cadres propagating His Names and teachings of morality by understanding the spirits which determined me to visit his house last time and why I keep them in my prayers :')
Dedicated to my beloved prophet Muhammad s.a.w, his progeny and his companions may Allah always be in contact with them, bless them and be merciful to them. I also dedicate this post for brothers and sisters in faith and brothers and sisters in humanity. No matter where you are... Those who had been in contact with me are actually kept safely in parts of my heart. Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'ala aali Muhammad wa sahbihi ajma'in.
Sealed with prayers for mercy, peace and love, amin!
Sealed with prayers for mercy, peace and love, amin!