But where is our 'home' exactly? People say, home is where the heart is. If that is the case, then I am blessed to have a few places which I could dearly call home.
We went home to Muar this time. The plan was to stay in Muar until Sunday, then we would be leaving home to Shah Alam before heading home to Ipoh. After a few days in Ipoh, we would be leaving back home to Shah Alam.
That was the plan.
However, Allah is the best planner.
We left to Muar as planned, and on the second day of syawal, we visited an uncle, a younger brother of my father. This uncle had just recently lost his young daughter in law (during ramadan). She left behind a four month old baby, her first child. It was definitely not the usual cheerful mood of hari raya as we listened to my uncle and my cousin describing the condition of the illness that she suffered before her demise.
In the midst of our conversation, my brother received news from a cousin about another uncle in Ipoh. This uncle, who is the eldest brother of my mother had suffered a mild heart attack the night before, and his condition had now turned critical after having a second heart attack this morning.
In my mind I was contemplating on changing our hari raya plan. I must visit this uncle at the earliest time possible. Time could be running out.
But within minutes we received the sad news that our uncle had succumb to his condition. Innalillaahi wa inna ilaihi raaji'uun....
Plan had to change. Our uncle nodded quietly as we informed him of the news. He understood our urgency to leave. As we headed home to my parents' I asked my nieces and nephews in the car to recite Alfatihah. While on the way to visit the uncle before, they were happily singing some patriotic songs and I was surprised to know that they could memorize the wordings so well. And now when I asked them to recite Alfatihah, they were able to recite it better than the song. Alhamdulillah..
The recitation sounded so sincere, coming from the pure souls of children aged between 4 to 8 years old. May Allah accept their prayers.
After some hurried but thoughtful discussion, seven out of my nine siblings decided to visit the departed uncle in Ipoh. It was heart breaking to see my mother cried as we were about to leave. We knew that she would like very much to come along to pay a last visit to her beloved brother, but my father's condition did not permit her to leave him. The journey would be too far for him.
Traveling in a convoy of five cars, we tried to beat the second hari raya traffic on the PLUS highway. The smooth traffic from Muar to Kuala Lumpur slowly became rather congested after that. And sadly we missed the funeral.
We reached the quiet graveyard about one hour after the funeral. My brother lead the prayer for the demise (solat jenazah) and continued on with Yaasin recitation.
As we sat there on the ground, I looked down and watched some insects moving and crawling amidst the dry leaves; ants, bees, millipedes, spiders, caterpillars.... with the sound of birds singing in the background... I suddenly realized, it was my birthday today. I don't really celebrate birthday, but this time it evoked a sobering realization that with each birthday, my days are numbered. One day, I would be lying down, surrounded by these crawling insects, alone, six feet underground. Ya Allah.. am I ready?
We then spent a couple of hours at my auntie's house.
She looked calm while sharing with us her gratitude for our visit. I told her that uncle was very fortunate, Allah had called upon him right after a month of worship in ramadan. Hearing that my auntie smiled and nodded," Yes..Alhamdulillah.. he was able to perform the night prayers, qiamullail, every night until the end... Alhamdulillah.."
Her answer made me envious. I sincerely hope and pray that uncle had gone with all his sins forgiven. Amiin..
Of the five cars that traveled to Ipoh, two went back to Muar, one went to Klang, one went to Kota Damansara, and we stayed in Ipoh. Ipoh is another home for us.
As ramadan ended, we celebrated syawal.
Eidul fitri means a celebration of returning to the state of fitrah and a celebration of the achievement of enhanced piety.
Thank you Allah for the blessing and mercy.
Thank you Allah for honoring me with another ramadan.
Thank you Allah for reminding me, as ramadan ended, that one day my life will end too.
One day I will definitely return to You.
I shall be going home.
Sept 11, 2010