نحن قوم أعزنا الله بالإسلام ، فهما طلبنا العزة بغيره ، أذلنا الله

We are the people whom Allah honoured through Islam, so whenever we seek honour other than it, Allah will disgrace us.

The blog is under slow transition to http://specifichumidity.wordpress.com

Thursday, January 05, 2006

First class trip to Oxford

**excerpt from the narrator's mail (not me):

Indeed I wrote sometime early this month that I will not be able to take anyone with me to Oxford up until end of January. But a 'menyayat hati' whimper from one of the juniors caused me to have sympathy, and with a blunder I suggested that we made the trip to coincide with the moonsighting of Dhu al-Hijja.

The day started bleak, weather was cold and promising to rain. After a long night burning the midnight oil trying to finish a certain essay, I managed to wake up late, much to everyone's chagrin, and feeling absolutely bad myself, needed something to boost up the spirit. Luckily, I had my Forward vouchers in the daypack, and flashing it to the train manager, we all bundled onto our respective First Class train seats. Yes, we did take pictures to later on show off to friends, lest anyone doubt us, teeheehee.

As usual, when we arrived there had already been some guests at Sidi Afifi's house. The two students of Syeikh Nuh had stopped on their way to meet the brethren in Birmingham. One of them is a long-time-no-see acquantaince, who immediately blurped, 'Are you coming for a dars?'. This is a particularly sensitive question. Many had been waiting at Sidi's door for his 'class' to start, and had I said in the affirmative, there would surely a revolt soon in the British Isles, demanding classes as well. But as our formal had long been stopped, I explained that we were here on a whirwind visit to Oxford, and stopped to visit the teacher and to later on sight the moon. An obvious sigh of relief could be heard.

Also as usual, the non-Malay guests of the teacher normally do not hang too long. Only the Malays normally stay until after Isya', and knwoing such tradition, I chose to ignore Zaki's signal to the watch. I had good excuse anyway; I had managed to snapped my glasses just before the attempted sighting.

For four long hours we sat as quiet as a mouse to Sidi Afifi's elaboration on his takmila of his Mudafi' al-Mazlum. This takmila, the Completion, is in the form of the ra'i, one of the famous Islamic poetic style. Consisting of 6 pairs of lines, it basically summarizes the whole risala. I listened in awe as he related to us the inspiration behind each line; these are more interesting than the more apparent linguistic styles. The takmila would appear in the revised, second edition of the Risala, tobe published by Aqsa Press, and may accompany those publications in Dutch, Turkish, and Malay etc which are yet to be published.

Over a quick session of tea, the almost obligatory stimulating drink, the cure of all sickness and ill, we sang some Burdah, in the traditional style much copied by Ahmad Jais, and the Solawat Adnani from the Sharaf al-Anam.

That ended our visit, we took the last train back to Bristol, arriving just a few minutes before midnight. The Bristoleans shouted cheerily to the display of firecrackers. We like to think they did it to celebrate our return.

**i woke up rather early that day, and i was the first person from our group to be at the train station. but then, the narrator was still in bed. he made it up though by upgrading our seats to first-class.

**i was signalling, not asking for the syaykh to stop, but wondering if the narrator knows what time the last train to Bristol is. the narrator was not sure of the signal either.. he broke his glasses, and could not see what i was trying to communicate very clearly. Indeed, we nearly miss the last train to Bristol.

**pictures to follow...

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