Friday, April 13, 2007

Missing the F1 Grand Prix, and feeling good

Last Sunday was F1 day in Malaysia. From what I heard, it saw the biggest turnout ever since SIC started hosting the race.

After a first-hand experience of the F1 in 2001, I got hooked.

So it would be normal for me and the boys (my sons, Syafiq and Anas) to "ambush" the living room on Saturday and Sunday afternoons and take control of the television set whenever there’s a race on (that’s when the ladies of the house would be banished upstairs, to use the old and tiny television in the bedroom…).

But last Sunday I didn’t catch the F1. Not even for a minute.

It is not for the lack of a ticket. Even the night before Pakchik Bakar had called offering me one.

The reason being is that I had committed myself to a gathering for “hujjaj” at the Suria KLCC Mosque.

“Hujjaj” is Arabic for “pilgrims”. In this case, it’s a gathering for those who had performed the pilgrimage to Makkah.

The year 2006 is a monumental one in my life. For it is when I undertook the greatest journey of my life. Or, as some would say, the ‘journey of a life-time’. How true.

I might have spent almost a decade of my life staying overseas. And as a town planner, I have been to see so many cities in my travels. But nothing quite compares with this spiritual journey. The journey in answer to the call of my Creator, Allah.

The gathering at Suria KLCC Mosque was aimed at strengthening sillaturrahim amongst fellow pilgrims who had gone to perform the hajj together.

It was a good program. It not only served to strengthen our friendship, but – for me at least, it managed to bring back memories of being in the Holy Land.

No. Its more than that, actually. It managed to stir up a certain kind of feeling in my heart, during, and after attending the program.

You see, performing the hajj tends to bring one closer to God. It is a totally purifying experience for the soul. It brings an indescribable experience which one does not have the luxury of going through very often. Thus, causing one to be left longing, hoping, and forever more searching for much of the same feelings and experience.

To be sure, being at Suria KLCC – and on an F1 day to boot – cannot bring those feelings back completely.

Nevertheless, listening to the talks, as well as the soothing rendering of nasyid and zikir, did enough to remind me of my pledges to Allah whilst being His guest in the Holy Land.

So, although I missed out on the F1, and despite getting a teaser-of-an-sms from my brother, Azman, from Sepang (right in the midst of the program!...sabar je la…), I can still live with that. After all, it’s only the second race of the season, with 15 more to go.

And if I had to choose again? I’m afraid F1 would have to take a back seat once more.

No hard feelings, Bernie Ecclestone. For I have made my choice, and its crystal clear in my heart.

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