Thursday, February 02, 2006

al-aQra3 adventures : Hajj

Sorry folks, no picture.

I was going to put a comical picture, but in light of the recent events with Denmark, I think its best if I didn’t… I don’t want the Muslim world to boycott this blog.

Anyway, I’ll try to be as funny as possible without jeopardizing the integrity of the subject. I promise.

Awwww… Screw it… Here's the picture.

(Now here's someone who knows what he's doing)


Today is the day. I woke up terrified. Why was I terrified? Was it because of the anticipation? Was it fear? Fear of not getting what I expected to get out of Hajj? Ok… What are my expectations? To spiritually connect with the divine? To be awed by the magnificence of this holy event, this ritual that, give or take the small changes, has been passed down to us generation after generation? Am I fearing disappointment? I heard so many things about how one can’t help buy cry as he or she repents from his sinful life. And how if you don’t feel forgiven and clean after your Hajj, then that reflects just how impure one is. What if I don’t experience these things?

Or… am I afraid that this pillar that my faith is greatly built upon would fall, crumbling down by the foolishness of man, by the idiocy of man (For all you feminists nodding, by Man I mean mankind) following a regime just for the sake of their insecurities, like sheep being shepherded into an abyss…

* * *

Chapter 1

Why so many people? I’m here in Madina, visiting the resting place of the Prophet (S) and I begin to ask myself what could be the motivational factor behind all those people here? Could it be their love of anthropology? Are there really that much Indiana Joneses in this world? Could it be that they are seeking closeness to the Prophet? I have nothing against that, but correct me if I’m wrong (actually don’t correct me, my ego is fragile as it is), if those people want to feel closer to the Prophet, they seek a kinship, a bond with the Prophet, maybe they could act a little more like him, maybe! What good is it to touch the grave of the Prophet and 2 weeks later when you’re back home, in the grocery store, you cut in line and disrespect all those people abiding by the rules? (Oh sorry, no that’s totally different… Why? There were no grocery stores and grocery stores’ lines in the old days… Yeah sorry, forgive my ignorance!)

Anyway, I asked myself why I was there and I guess I was there as a witness.

* * *

Chapter 2

“If you didn’t visit Hamza (the Prophet’s uncle), then you didn’t visit the Prophet, and if you didn’t visit the Prophet then blah blah blah blah” (I zoned out right about here)…

It’s brilliant how they tie and entangle everything together. It’s like a chain, and if you gulped up a single piece of the chain, you’re hooked! That’s it. All they have to do is reel you in like a fish that swallowed the bait.

There was a phrase I heard somewhere (I think it was the X-Files show… I know, I know my credibility just took a dive, but it doesn’t matter where I got the phrase… anyway)
It goes along the lines of “the best place to hide a lie is between two truths”. Now I’m not pointing any fingers at anyone, calling them liars, but something is wrong here.

The continuity of this whole belief gives me the willies. “They” come to you and ask you this simple question,

“Do you believe in God?” (Fact 1)
“Yes” I reply simple-mindedly
“Do you believe in the Prophet?” (Fact 2)
“I do” Unaware of what is to follow, I answer

Then Fact 1 is linked to Fact 2 and Fact 2 will be linked to Fact 3 and Fact 3 to Fact 4 and so on… The next thing I know is that we’re talking about, well actually, they are talking and I’m listening, jotting down instructions on how to peel a banana and eat it properly. What the heck?!! I try to retrace how it got to this but the chain is set. Fact 124221 which is linked to that great chain that leads back to Fact 1 clearly states that to peel a banana you have to be wearing non-American jeans… (I’m exaggerating a bit, but I think the point I’m trying to convey is clear).

And the minute you try to question the chain or the regime, they put you back into place with “after-life threats”.


Kitkat Break
Let me just explain the term “after-life threats”. We believe that there is a Heaven and Hell correct? And that this life on earth is but a short life and the eternal, everlasting life is actually the one after this life. So if someone is pointing a gun at you, in this life, and demanding that you do something or else he’ll rob you from your life by killing you, how different is that from someone demanding you do something or else you’ll be robbed out of your next life, which is actually more important, and everlasting!?

(I just want to point out that when I stated about how we believe about Heaven and Hell, it seemed like another chain right? My Fact 1? Well you can question anything and everything I write. So there you have it)


Well my answer to them would be that even Fact 1, the fact that there is a God, God himself (herself… doesn’t really matter does it?) dared his (again, her) followers in the Holy Quran to question. And when they do question, they will see the truth… Without daringly questioning everything, one cannot reach the truth.

* * *

Chapter 3

The criers… O’ man o’ man o’ man… How I love the criers. What is it with the crying? Is it really their sense of loss towards whatever cause they believe in? Or do they have problems and need to vent? I’ve seen people lose 3 kilos (6.6138 pounds) just from crying (not really… but that would be funny wouldn’t it?). I think Kuwait really needs to change its views towards shrinks and therapy. We need to accept it and support it.

Is there a connection I missed out on? Is it a rule of thumb that to be a good believer you have to cry? What’s behind those tears Jack? What’s behind those tears Jane? Is it fear of Hell? Is it Love of God? Or is it the next payment on the car due in 3 days?

It feels terrible, being in the middle of so many criers. Mourning and crying all around me and I’m staring at the ceiling counting cracks, or thinking about lunch, looking left and right, and if my eyes unintentionally crossed paths with another person, I’d nod in an apologetic manner to try to express how sorry I am in not being able to join them in their mourning. And they'd nod back, and I’m sure they’re thinking “insensitive jack-ass”

And in turn, I'd nod back… I'd nod back…

* * *

Still to come…

Chapter 4 - God’s Credit List
Chapter 5 - Braveheart (tentative release)
Chapter 6 - Hajj now. Hajj back then
Chapter 7 - Anger Management
Chapter 8 - Throwing Stones
Chapter 9 - Literally vs. Figuratively


Shurouq said...

Al Aqra3
That was hilarious!

Keep them coming please

Temetwir said...

that just goes to prove it's really all in the perception

o ma te7taj something annual like el7aj to see that.. 3endek el salat 3amood il deen ely ehy 5 marat belyom

etha ent b ta7sebha bas reko3 o sejod o telawat ba3th ayaat el quran, akeed ment 7as eb shay

fa ma balek bel 7aj

متفرغ said...

7aj mabroor oo thanb ma9'foor, y36eek il3afya, waiting for the next chapters :)

Mother Courage said...

hehe agree with some, disagree with others

but im kind of interested to know wether you're sunni or not ?

coz i've heard that shee3ah must use a roadster if they're not walking by foot because they must expose their heads to the sun. !

such tiny restrictions can make a big difference sometimes !

waiting for the other chapters

Mohammad Al-Yousifi said...

همم شوف يالأقرع

أعتقد أننا نحن كبشر نختلف عن بعضنا البعض بكل شيء و أي شيء

بمعنى أننا نختلف بخلفياتنا الاجتماعية و التربوية و التعليمية و البيئية و الثقافية و الحسية و الجدية و العصبية و و و و و

المهم الهدف من توضيح و الاصرار على أننا مختلفون هو أنني أود أن ابين انه عندما نكون مختلفون فأكيد هذا الاختلاف سينعكس على مدى استجابة كل منا لما يعرض عليه من معلومات و طقوس دينية

فهناك من يقتنع من المحاضرات و هناك من يقتنع بالنصيحة و هناك من لا يقتنع الا بالقراءة و هناك من يقتنع عندما يتعرض الى صدمة و هذا شيء طبيعي
أكيد عالم الذرة أو الدكتور لن يقتنع بنفس طريقة اقتناع الطفل الي باولى متوسط و أكيد البنت الي عايشة بأمريكة ما تقتنع بنفس الطريقة مالت البنت الي عايشة بصعيد مصر و هلم جرا

فلذلك أنا شخصيا اتقبل هذا الاختلاف و لا اتعامل معه بدرجة تهكم عالية قدر المستطاع

و انشالله مقالاتك هذي ما تزعل أو تجرح أحد و ياخذونها الشباب بروح رياضية

Erzulie said...

Waiting :)

Anonymous said...

One word Aqra3: Allah yahdeek

Erzulie said...

Isn't that two words?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

insensitive jack-ass you really are...............sorry..................just kidding

Mohammad Al-Yousifi said...

أخ طلاسم
حياك أخوي, خذ راحتك حط بعد كومنتس؟؟
البيت بيتك؟

Anonymous said...

gawakom allah! 7aj mabroor o thanb ma'3foor inshallah. this is going to be one long comment, so kaifkom ...

if it turned out to be true, that ur fearing disappointment, don't be! kuz u can expeculate n feel as much as u want about how allah is feeling about u, but that meens nothing. moo shar6 that if u felt nothing means he didn't 4give u. what if there isn't anything to 4give to begin with?!

chapter 1:
they had grocery stores, so u're not ignorant, smillah 3alaik

chapter 2:
as a former إإتلافية that never bought that chain rule and always mannaged to brake it (which made me former ;p) i tell u the secret in it ... b4 they start giving you that "after life" threat, you need to brake the chain with proofs that they are talking nonsence from the same sources they are using (i.e kalam rab el3alameen o kalam rasoolah 3alaih e9alat wesalam)
oh! and it does matter.
الأصل في أسلوب الإشارة هو (هذا, هو, هم). لكن بسبب أن بعض الأنواع تنقسم لجنسين مذكر ومؤنث, ظهرت الحاجة لاستخدام أسلوبين لكل واحد منهما, بس الظاهر والله أعلم إن الناس ما كان لها خلق فاشتقوا أسلوب تأنيث لكن المذكر استخدموا نفس الإسلوب الأصلي. وبما إن ربك هو فرد بروحه فتستخدم معاه الأسلوب الأصلي (اللي يصادف إنه نفسه المذكر), لأنك غير جذي
you sound as if ur wondering is He a he or a she. so there u have it ...

chapter 3:
lol ... thumb rule?! i didnt c ur profile but i can only guess that you are in engineering or science.
yeah ... the same happened with me during elJyam in the last ten days of rama'9an, quite sad n funny in the same time.

p.s if u want to save urselves from long comments, allow me to suggest that u publish one chapter at a time ;p
God bless u

Mohammad Al-Yousifi said...

مس بيكر

مشكورة وايد وايد وايد عالمدح و انتي أول من حط كومنت بهالمدونة ولو انه زياراتك نادرة

عموما مو أنا الي كاتب هالبوست فالمدح كله يتجير حق الأخ الأقرع هو الي كاتبه و الشكر الجزيل لك اختي المحترمه

الزين كله
خوش كومنت و عادي طولي ماهي مشكلة و ننطر ردود الأخ الأقرع

و الشكر موصول للجميع

Abdulaziz said...

wow... Let me just say, I'm speechless... I'm without speech...

I'm not in Kuwait at the moment, so that's why I haven't been around to respond to the comments. By the way, I think your comments are as valuable, if not more, as my post. I just hope I'm worthy of them.

Now... here it goes.

Will do, thanks ;-) here is the next chapters now.

That is what I'm saying, if everyone figured that its the perception that matters... you know the rest :P

Thanks and I'll post now.

Mother Courage:
About my "label" ;-) I was reluctant to answer that but it doesn't matter really... so,

Genetically, I'm Both 50/50.

By family, I'm she3e.

As far as how I personally practice and view Islam, Sunna tell me I'm not one of them, and She3a tell me I'm not one of them either...

So what does that make me? ;-) Blessed I guess. lol

Kila Ma6goog:
You are right. Simplicity is KEY.

Thanks, your wait is over :P

Umm Bader:
Allah yahdee el jamee3 Inshallah, why did you just stop at me? :P

Stop stop... you're admiration is pampering me :)

register as a User :p

Thank You! :) try to catch the series LOST. Its amazing.

No, actually I loved your comment. It was insightful :) And I'm glad you commented.

Kila ma6goog and ms.baker:
Its ok, it's no big deal to whom the comment goes to.

Anonymous said...

al-AQra3 said : God, God himself (herself… doesn’t really matter does it?) dared his (again, her) followers in the Holy Quran to question.
i say : shut up !!!
هو الله الأحد الصمد
can`t you understand arabic ?