Jaihoon’s journal on Journey to Muscat
Jan 16 & 17 2014
Some journeys are worth for their destination. While others appeal for those accompanying in the travel. Yet there are others which fulfill both. This travelogue is related to the third category.
As planned earlier, I rushed to the airport from the workplace. My co-traveler too arrived in no time. In short, we were more than early for the counter. By the time we finished the prayer and plate, we realized that there were not many behind us in the queue for the flight. Time is a treacherous thing as thinkers theorized. And I realized they were not wrong.
We both carried books to read during the flight. As the lights dimmed in the flight, my co-traveler switched on the reading light. He exclaimed that light was such a profound blessing of Allah for humanity to learn. People of olden times had very little access to light generation in their dark rooms. One wonders how little they could afford to read books, forget writing them. Albeit, almost all the classical books we absorb today were perhaps painfully composed sitting beside a faint lamp.
We safely reached Muscat, a rather quiet and humble airport. Simplicity was its grandeur. We were given a warm welcome from the host who had been employed with the Omani royal family for more than two decades.
After dropping by the hotel, we hurried to the speech venue. The crowd was huge and we were greeted with nasheed songs and performances by children. There was a festive mood all over the hall.
This is not the first time I felt that the overseas Keralites’ organizing capacity be made the subject of a doctoral thesis. They are successful in amassing large numbers of their fellow ethnic brothers and sisters to almost every ordinary event.
Of course, this was no ordinary event. Angels would be overcrowding this hall enumerating the names of the participants here. For, every attendee here was no less than a VIP in the sight of the Lord. They had assembled here to celebrate and commemorate the praises of His Beloved Prophet (Sallallahu alahi wa sallam).
No community perhaps endears their religious orators as much as Keralites. They can infinitely wait, even if it’s incredibly late, without any fatigue or fault finding.
As I sat with the guests pondering about this august assembly, my co-traveler, who happened to be the keynote speaker at the event, began his enlightening speech to my surprise with my poem “Like never before” which I had written on the eve of Rabiul Awwal 12.
Nightingale’s song today is melodious like never before
Rose’s cheeks today blushes like never before
Sun’s rays today shines like never before
Wind’s dance today is graceful like never before
Heart’s joy today hyper like never before
Mind’s moves brighter today like never before
Sleep taken flight today like never before
Eyes exuberant today like never before
Women won rights
Kids given care
Poor got their dues
Beasts granted compassion
Mustafa was born when
All but God changed like never before
Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam
Fragrance is in no need of advertising. Then what about the blessed one from whom fragrance borrowed its scent? Yet we are extolling him to perfume our own souls with the mercy and compassion he showered on humanity and others.
The speaker eloquently eulogized the Holy Prophet for two hours and yet the audience felt it was not enough.
As I stepped out of the hall and stepped into the car, I realized that this was only the beginning of the Milad parade we had just commenced. It was 0000 hours and we were heading to destination two called Seeb.
In the darkness of the night, all I could see was the humble leaves of the Date palms. Roads were narrow and we were heading to a countryside locality.
But as we arrived at the scene, all my sleep and fatigue fled seeing the energetic crowd. The event was in an open hall under a tent. It was twelve plus early morning and kids were still performing Milad speeches and songs. Students who topped their Madrasa exams were given prizes and trophies.
The adjoining Madrasa here was inaugurated by late Sayyid Muhammad Ali Shihab Thangal as he recited the Fatiha chapter from Quran to the newly enrolled seven children in the institution.
As the program ended, it was 130 am. We returned back to Muscat.
After a desi breakfast, we geared up for the Friday Congregational prayer. Following Juma prayer, another talk was organized at the Masjid. ‘Prophet did not come to Madina by coincidence. It was meant to be his eternal home considering his both parents were buried in Madina. And that it’s a harem only for the reason related to Holy Prophet. (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam).
Janaza prayer was held for the deceased from Kerala. List of almost 40 names were pronounced. One man had died due out of electric shock while in a Milad function and another man when a car hit the Milad march in Kerala. The Imam prayed that their deaths be accepted as martyrdom.
After the Masjid, we proceeded to a Mawlid recitation at a home in Muscat. A sweet drink was served during the eulogy session. Arabic Qasidas were recited sitting and standing. The recitation was followed by a heavy Keralite lunch and then a sweet vermicelli drink.
A prominent NRI businessman hosted us for the afternoon nap. After Maghreb, tea and snacks of Thalasery flavor was provided at the residence of a jeweler tycoon.
He then proceeded to a family upbringing related session where my friend highlighted the importance of child – family relationship and that both spouses are role models for one another. In the talk that lasted around 2 hours, he reminded the packed audience that children should not be let alone to play infinitely with their gadgets and therefore a time limit should be set for such entertainment in order to preserve their social and spiritual well-being.
The preach parade didn’t end there.
Our final venue was at Al Khuwair Masjid where a small crowd was patiently waiting to listen the praises of the Praiseworthy. It was inside the Masjid and the speaker chose to recollect the incidents related to the death of Holy Prophet Sallallahu alahi wa sallam. The Blessed One chose death instead of long life for the fear that his prolonged stay in this world would be a cause for more and more rulings on the people.
At certain moments in the talk, the orator could not articulate well from the overwhelming affection for the topic. Many were seen wiping their eyes. It was a rare and tearful moment for many.
After dinner, we hurried for the airport. It was late too.
This third-kind journey also happened to offer me the opportunity to meet several ‘Jaihoon’ friends including the talented Nafih Wafi and energetic Zahir Ramadan. Also received a Jaihoon reader from Calicut who’d read at least three books.