Solat Hajat in Yangon, Myanmar

July 6th, 2009:

Today is a public holiday in Myanmar. One of my staff printed something about this holy day and put it on my table, when I asked her what is the fullmoon day of Waso. I have not seen what she printed. So I cannot tell you what this public holiday is all about. In the meantime follow the link to know all fullmoon days in Myanmar. Yes they have a lot of fullmoons, at least one per month.

It rained the whole day with intermittent somewhat clear sky. Cannot blame the nature. It is monsoon season in Yangon, which means water is everywhere. It will be a wet, wet life for the next kapla months.

Unable  to make it to the fairway for a round of golf, I turned on the dumb box and watched “AQaeda Ambush” on NGEO channel.   Boredom ruled after that. I booted up the PC to work on this website, having just migrated to wordpress from blogspot, and many things still not working properly. Coppermine photo gallery — guest user could see my entire albums. WordPress theme plaintxtBlog — the title’s  font size still the same despite I have already changed the style.css file.  Cpanel — do not know how to delete the folder in the cpanel file manager. You see, I have so many things to do. Bear with me. This post is under category Rambling, so let it be.

The phone rang. Haji Shafien was on the other side. “Saya buat solat hajat malam ni kat rumah. Datanglah!”.

His apartment is at the other side of Yangon, in Mingalar Taung Nyunt township, to be exact. Near Kandawgyi Lake, if you know Yangon. So I called my driver to pick me up.

We started with yaasin, tazkirah, solat maghrib, solat hajat, dinner. In that order.  Most guests left after dinner, but I stayed on for solat Isyak and a cup of teh tarik (lempeyek in Myanmar), knowing very well that nobody was waiting for me at home, save that merciless wordpress problem.  Tazkirah was delivered by the host in English, translated to Burmese by Haji Kamaruddin. He said the objective of this gathering is to perform solat and doa in jemaah, so as to attract Allah’s attention faster. Ukhuwwah or brotherhood and solidarity are key to the success of this  ummah. Our brothers are fighting kafiroon in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, sacrificing their lives, but we did not even move a finger to help. Forget about Jannah, he said. The talk was simple but full of message. It moved me.

I admired Haji Shafien for his down-to-earth people approach and seamless assimilation with local Myanmar people. For this solat hajat, he also invited his masjid friends. They introduced themselves using moslem names. It is not their real names as per registration card. Here everyone must maintain their Burmese name, regardless of their belief. Burmese names are not easy to write, to pronounce, let alone to remember. I found myself struggling even with my local staff names. Haji Jalal is a retired civil engineer with the government agency. He has a son — a hafeez — in Penang, Malaysia. Haji Yunus is a maulabi (religious teacher). Haji Kamaruddin is staying near masjid in Mingalar Taung Nyunt. Mr Mohideen is a traditional medicine man at Mingalarze market. Mr Ibrahim just came back from Malaysia four months ago, where he worked as roti canai (prata) maker at Taman Melati, KL. Haji Abdullah is a driver with my company. I could see his wife and lanky daughter running about in the kitchen, helping and serving.

Looking at their faces, you can tell they are simple, humble and sincere. Mr Ibrahim spoke in Malaysian better than I did, having spent 14 years in Malaysia. I did not have their photos, unfortunately. They are my friend’s friends, therefore my friends also. They are my brothers in Islam. Allahuakbar!

I left his apartment at about 9:30pm. My driver was waiting downstair with umbrella in his hand.  Gusting wind accompanied the rain now, picking up momentum.  Just before he dropped me at my apartment lobby, I shoved 3000 kyats into his hand. I gave him the white plastic bag given to me by Haji Shafien’s wife just now. ” Take it home to you wife. I think it is rice and chicken curry”.

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