An eight hours journey by The Royal Jordanian from KLIA was very smooth. The flight touched down in the wee hour of the morning at Queen Alia International Airport. Upon touching the ground, my heart was also deeply touched. Unlike the other trip or journey that I took before, this one was very special. It was my first experience in the land of the anbia'. The unfamiliar feeling was deeply rooted and mixed with other emotions - the feeling that no word can describe. That was only the beginning. It was the beginning of a journey to discover one's iman and the believe of whatever happen (good or bad), Allah knows the best. He always gives the best to us.
At the start of the journey, Allah S.W.T had already tested the iman of the whole Jemaahs. One hundred and five of us. The flight was scheduled at 2200 hrs and by 1900 hrs when the check-in counter opened we were still looking for the travel agents with no ticket and passport at hand. Many had already thought of the inevitable. I just pressed myself hard and prayed that everything will be fine. 2100 hrs - with everybody panicking and things became very chaotic suddenly the agent appeared with the documents and we started to check in in the most haru-biru manner. With half an hour left for departure, we had to virtually run to embark the plane from the main terminal to the satellite building through the immigration, security point, aerotrain and toilet in between. Our big group mostly consisted of special people, people with special illnesses modern medicine will normally dismiss as nothing wrong. The trip was partly for that special reason. Treating the special people.
In the nick of time, I jokingly said to my wife :
"macam explorace kita ni"
With 15 minutes to spare, we finally sat ourselves comfortably but anxiously in our seats. Suddenly it was dawned to us things could turn from bad to worse. There was no Ustaz Malek (group leader) or any travel agent among us. One of the jemaahs in front of me then revealed an sms saying that fourty five Jemaahs could not make the trip as there was not ticket for them. As cool as I am, panic started to creep into me. My wife had broken into tears. As we had only a one way ticket to Jordan, we could be stranded in the far and barren land of Jordan...
But all those things had made this journey very sweet, colorful and memorable.
Deep into the Jordanian valley, 55 km from Amman is the Dead sea. A grim reminder to us from the inhabitants of Soddom and Gomorrah of whom were destroyed by Allah S.W.T for their disobedience to the preaching of Prophet Lut. It was their abominable sin of homosexuality that lead to their extinction. "When morning came, God turned the cities upside down, and rained down on them stones hard as baked clay, putting an end to the lives of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah once and for all" (Al-Hijr : 73-76). On the other side of the water, bordered by the hills is Israel.
Being the deepest hypersaline lake in the world with 33.7% salinity, no aquatic life can flourish in this harsh environment. A tourist demonstrates the unusual buoyancy caused by high salinity. Nobody will drown in this lake I suppose.
The sight of half-clad bodies covered with black mud is a norm around the Dead Sea. This place is the lowest (elevation) health spa in the world. The Dead sea contains high concentration of salt and minerals which gives its waters the renowned curative and therapeutic qualities to many ailments.
The Bolehland Jemaah didn't want to miss the opportunity to experience and get a closer encounter with the Dead sea. On the far right of this spot, part of the section was reserved to the Westerners or perhaps Israelis.
That was not 'orang minyak' who terrorizes Malay virgins in kampungs (the recent sighting was in Kampung Laksamana, Gombak). But a so-called friendly brother from Libya who persistently insisted me to take his photograph for no obvious reason. I purposely add this rear picture of him into this blog as the frontal profile was a bit...errr..to put it mildly, undulating!
Salt crystal deposited on the rock along the coastal or the Dead sea. They are in abundance. Some Jemaah collected the salt deposits in many kilos and surprisingly the airport customs (in Jordan, Jeddah and Bangkok) didn't even ask or flip their eyes on the x-ray scanner.
There are many opinions on the exact location of the Cave. Some say the Cave situated in Jordan, Syria, Yemen, Turkey, Afghanistan and even in Spain. But we went to Jordan to see the Jordan version of the Cave. At the entrance of the cave, the group leader Ustaz Abdul Malek briefed the Jemaah on the significance of the Cave. With him is his youngest daughter - also the youngest member in the group.
Qitmir, the sleepers' loyal dog was buried in the cave together with the sleepers. The lady-in-black is obviously not Qitmir but my significant half, standing beside the grave of the dog. Two holes were drilled (it was reported done during the Ottoman empire) so that we can have a peek inside the grave.
Bone remnants of the dog - Qitmir, inside the grave. They slept for 309 years. The Ashabul-kahfi lived to teach the world many lessons. One is the possibility of resurrection by Almighty Allah S.W.T.
A new mosque - Al-Kahfi mosque was built very recently beside (left site on the hill above) the Cave. The site of the ancient mosque was at the front the Cave. The mosque was very quiet during our visit but buzzing with housekeeping activities by the mosque workers.
Propher Shuaeb mosque. Prophet Shuaeb were sent to the Madyan. The Madyan was greedy people, gave short in measurement, lied to the customers and most of all did not believe the existence of Allah S.W.T. Just like the other non-believers, the Madyan perished.
A cat posing for my camera in front of the Prophet Shuaeb mosque. The cat knows, even long after the Madyan gone, the spirit of the Madyan still lives and besieges the very heart of current business dwelling. I can see the Madyan linger freely and happily in the Bolehland.
SubhanAllah.. may Allah give me chance to feel the same experience for me..
teringin nak ke sana with abah n bunda.. InsyaAllah.. ada rezeki kami nnt...
Kalau dah pasang niat tu, Insyaallah.
السلم عليكم ورحمة الله
Moga saudara dan sekeluarga sihat hendaknya...
Apabila melihat gambar-gambar yang saudara pamirkan, mengingatkan kembali pengalaman saya menjejak kaki di bumi Jordan. Semuanya jadi kenangan.
Waalaikumussalam sahabat. Bumi anbia' menyimpan berbagai cerita dan rahsia bagi kita mentarbiah diri.
Semoga sahabat nun disana juga berada di dalam ingatanNya.
Oh the Dead sea!
I remember reading somewhere about the dividing section for jewish orthodox community over there... like you can't take their pictures etc...
A good experience for you Dr!
To Jews and Christians, places surrounding The Dead sea have religious significance similarly to the Muslims. But as you pointed out, they have special privileges given by the local authority.
The Al-Aqsa mosque on the other side of the hills is probably less than 20 minute drive from where we were. It was very tempting, but without a proper documentation, it is a risk I am not willing to take. I've just to be contented and make it into my wishing list.
subhanallah.. great journey..!!!
Alhamdulillah. they journey had been very enlightening to me. So many thing to ponder and muhasabah.
...remind me of the same journey back in 2001.
nak pergi lagiiiii!!!
Nice to see that you made the trip there, Doc. I hope to be able to visit Jordan in the near future. Mudah-mudahan dikurniakan rezeki dan kesihatan oleh Yang Maha Esa.
Almost 11 years now. Perhaps it is a good idea to revisit the place and take note on the changes, if there is any. And share it on this blogosphere.
Alhamdulillah Allah gives me the change to experience that wonderful journey. Mudah-mudahan segala niat yang suci serta doa dimakbulkan.
I am sure I came around a long time ago when I learned about you being at KUSZA a long time ago. This time here I see your posting about your visit to Jordan, the Cave, the dead sea etc. I remember my visit there. The beautiful mosque had not been built yet. I am sure the ease of travelling these days is drawing many visitors to visit these places which are very special to Muslims. This entry itself is a good advertisement.
Yes Pak cik Al-Manar, you did left a good comment on my entry reminiscing my teen-years in KUSZA. You are right about the mosque near the Al-Kahf cave. It must be a new addition to the historical site.
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