Chapter 21: Precious Memories

I used to own a light orange Mazda 929

Ayub, hurry up. I’ll be late for Syeikh Muhammad ‘Ali Thani’s class!” Zul yelled, calling his brother from inside the car. The used Mazda 929 that Zul bought when Khairul just registered to Islamic University Medina helps them to travel around. Zul’s driver? It’s definitely his newly arrived brother, Khairul. Khairul has always been Zul’s driver. It started ever since their younger days together in their exploits around the village of catching betta fish in the trenches of the paddy fields until now, where Khairul is still a loyal driver who drove Zul around in Medina. The car has travelled to Nabawi Mosque for halaqahs there. Zul has gone to bookstores in and around Medina in that car.

To download the thesis, compiled into a book at

In that same car, Zul went for the doctor of philosophy viva of his teacher Syeikh Muhammad bin Muhammad Mukhtar al-Syinqiti. The Doctor of Philosophy viva session was titled Ahkam al-Jirahah al-Tibbiyyah wa al-Athar al-Mutarattibah ‘alaiha iand it was held for approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes and attended by many great scholars. At the time, Zul just managed to sit cross-legged on the floor cramped with the others for all the chairs prepared are full. It was conducted by Syeikh ‘Atiyyah Muhammad Salim, the Main Syariah Court Qadhi in Medina and Syeikh Dr Umar ‘Abd al-Aziz, a lecturer at the Islamic University of Medina. [1] Zul also had the opportunity to attend the viva session of Syeikh Abd al-Aziz al-Sudais, the brother of Syeikh Abd al-Rahman al-Sudais, the imam and khatib of Masjidil Haram. Syeikh Abd al-Rahman al-Sudais travelled all the way from Mecca to the Islamic University of Medina to morally support his brother. When it was time for prayer, both insisted the other brother be the imam and lead the prayer in the mosque of the Islamic University of Medina out of respect for each other.

“Eh…Aren’t you suppose to have an exam tomorrow? Why are you going for the talaqqi class?” Khairul asked, confused. Usually, if there’s an exam the next day, students wouldn’t go anywhere the evening and night before, busy revising and studying for the exam. “It’s fine. The exam is tomorrow. I can manage to go to this evening and night talaqqi classes. It would feel like such a waste if I didn’t go…” Zul answered as he’s reading the book Fath al-Bari and Sahih Muslim that he brought along with him. Whenever Zul enters the Nabawi Mosque for a halaqah, Khairul would usually sit at a nearby pillar revising his memorization of the Quran as he waits for his brother.

The Mazda 929 which I used to own is in light orange


From afar, the small stature of a man in a white jubah and turban can be seen sitting alone near raudhah. Zul approaches him carefully and greeted him. “Tok Guru[2]. I’m sorry for bothering you while you’re performing I’tikaf in the prophet’s mosque. I’m Zul, a Malaysian student studying here in Medina. I’d like to get your advice and opinion…” Zul said politely. He has immense admiration and respect for the person in front of him. The spectacled man nods his head slowly and smiled, looking straight at Zul.

Tuan Guru Nik Abdul Aziz in his youth

Tok Guru, I’d like to ask your opinion on the religious education system in Malaysia now?” Zul asked Tuan Guru Nik Abdul Aziz. During that time, the Tuan Guru was just appointed as Kelantan’s Chief Minister after PAS successfully took over Kelantan once again since they lost the previous election in 1978. The 8th General Election which was held on 21st October 1990 was a significant incident that truly changed the Malaysian political landscape.

“What’s your name again? Zul?” Tuan Guru Nik Abdul Aziz asks as he shifted his position and sat comfortably. He inhaled deeply and said, “Tok Khurose once said to my late father, if you want to be a scholar, you can’t study in Malaysia. You have to study in India or in one of the Arab countries. Since you’re already studying, that’s great. Study well…” he patted Zul’s shoulder. A sudden sense of pride crept inside Zul when the Chief Minister didn’t mind spending time and talk to him who is just a mere student there.

I visited the late Tuan Guru Nik Abdul Aziz’s grave in February 2015

Once, Zul was informed of a sermon by Tuan Guru Nik Aziz at Surau Kelantan, Jiyad Hill, Mecca. Malaysian students throughout Medina and Mecca as well as Malays living in Mecca travel and came in droves to listen to the Kelantan Chief Minister’s sermon. There, Zul got acquainted with the Kelantan-Malay and Pattani communities that live in Jiyad Hill. Among the respected Malay teachers in Jiyad Hill are Abe Li Chaya, Ustaz Husin Sirat, and Tuan Guru Abdul Karim Palembani. There, Zul gets a chance to meet Syeikh Muhammad Abdul Qadir al-Mandili, son of the renowned scholar, Syeikh Abdul Qadir al-Mandili. While walking down the hundreds of steps down Jiyad Hill, Zul loves to enjoy the beautiful breathtaking night panorama of Masjidil Haram together with his friends Aziz Pendang and Li Bukit Debu who stopped over and stayed at Jiyad Hill. Time passes pleasantly as Zul sipped and finishes his tamarind juice.

Tuan Guru Dato’ Dr. Haron Din in his youth

The land of Medina is also the place that brought Zul and Prof. Dato’ Dr Haron Din together. After the sermon delivered by the professor which was organized by Malaysian Student Association Medina, Zul took the chance to ask him the ruling regarding amputated human limbs. The Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia lecturer and one of PAS’ primary leaders explained in-depth its ruling and concluded that according to the majority of fuqaha’, any limbs or parts from a living human body should be buried without washing or prayed even if they are just nails and hair. [3]

Ustaz Harun Taib

Zul once joined Pak Ayub, Dr Mahmud Qadah’s father-in-law, to accompany and guide Ustaz Harun Taib during his visit to Medina. They were also together with Pak ‘Aq, a PAS activist from Kedah. Pak ‘Aq gave talks passionately about PAS Kedah’s fight, without actually knowing his fellow travel companion is Ustaz Harun Taib.

Alhamdulillah PAS Kedah is growing stronger. Unlike in other places, they are all over the place and lack proper planning! We always refer to the writings of Ustaz Harun Taib in our usrah. Ustaz Harun Taib is a knowledgeable and great person. I’ve never met him before since it’s too far for me to travel all the way to Terengganu…!” Pak ‘Aq declared earnestly, as he discussed the history of PAS kader system during his time. As for Ustaz Harun Taib, he kept quiet and just smiled since their first meeting. Once in a while, he’ll laugh at Pak ‘Aq’s antics, speaking in his thick Kedah accent. “I’ve been talking for so long with you, so sorry, I forgot to actually ask your name. Can I know what’s your name, sir?” Pak ‘Aq asked pointing his thumb at Ustaz Harun Taib. “My name’s Harun.” Ustaz Harun Taib replied simply. As realization dawned upon him, Pak ‘Aq’s face changes. “Allahuakbar… this is so embarrassing. Are you Ustaz Harun Taib? I’m so sorry, I’ve been very rude…” Pak ‘Aq said sheepishly.

In conjunction with the visit, Zul also brought his Egyptian Arab friends from Ikhwan Muslimin to meet with Ustaz Harun Taib. They engage in a long discussion on the issues pertaining to Islamic movements in Malaysia and overseas, PAS relationship with Ikhwan Muslimin as well as future prospects of cooperation between the world’s Islam movements.

Ustaz Fadzil Noor

A year before Zul graduated, he managed to meet Ustaz Fadzil Noor, who was PAS president when he was performing the worship of umrah and visited Medina. On 6th December 1992, the world is shocked by the incident of the demolishment of the Babri Mosque in India by Hindu extremists incited by political leaders, especially from the Bhartiya Janata Party. Numerous Indian Muslims were killed. The news reached Saudi Arabia and became headlines for days. Taking advantage of the presence of Ustaz Fadzil Noor, Zul asked, “Ustaz, FIS in Algeria has been banned after they won the first national round of the election on 21st December 1991. In West Asia, generally, Ikhwan Muslimin is facing pressure from the pro-American regime. Jami’at Islami in Pakistan is also affected when riots broke out as well as the demolition of the Babri Mosque in India. Can I know what is PAS’ stance on the issue of the demolition of the Babri Mosque? What has PAS done in protest of the action?

A sharp question from a spirited young man. Since Zul came to meet him with his Arab-Libyan friend, Ustaz Fadzil Noor give a thorough explanation in Arabic. He said, PAS vehemently objected and rejected the demolition of Babri Mosque and has sent an official memorandum of protest to the Indian Embassy in Malaysia. “I, myself together with PAS Central Leadership went to send the memorandum. We want to convey to India that PAS as the Islamic movement in Malaysia, strongly condemned such savage acts!” That is how stern Ustaz Fadzil Noor is when asked regarding the issue of the Babri Mosque. [4]

The relations between Saudi Arabia and Malaysia during the tenure of Dato’ Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad is very close. Immediately after his appointment as the Prime Minister, he together with the Minister of Finance, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah; Minister of Trade and Industry, Tengku Ahmad Rithaudden; and Foreign Minister Tan Sri Ghazali Shafiee paid official visits to Bahrain, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. The visit and several follow-ups working visits successfully strengthened the economy and trade of the two countries with various forms of cooperation including the approval of a loan from the Saudi Fund worth $ 252.2 million until the year 1984. In the early 1990s, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia had plans to sign the Avoidance agreement of Double Taxation Agreement 1993, Dr. Mahathir then paid a visit to Medina.

Did you get to shake hands with him?” Zaini asked excitedly while chewing his syawarma. Zul shakes his head and snickered, “Nope, I just went to get a look at him from afar. It’s unreasonable for me to suddenly call out his name. There are a lot of policemen guarding him. Hehe…But, Ni, one day, I’ll make sure I get to meet him at his office, insya-Allah…


[1] Listen to the recorded audio of the viva session at

[2] A title used to refer to a highly respected and regarded person in the religious field

[3] See Badai’ al-Sanai’ fi Tartib al-Syarai’, 2/28, al-Mudawwanah al-Kubra, 1/256; Mughni al-Muhtaj, 1/518-519; al-Mughni, 1/88; al-Mausu’ah al-Fiqhiyyah al-Kuwaitiyyah, 30/146

[4] Alhamdulillah, due to an unexpected turn of events, in 2019, the main person responsible for planning the demolition of the dome of Babri Mosque embraced Islam and paid a visit to the Mufti of Federal Territories Office. At the time I was holding the position of the Mufti of the Federal Territories. The visit is a result of my request to Dr Kalim Siddiqi in 2018, asking him to bring the individual to meet me. Honestly, I can see he has become a changed man and become a great Muslim who’s obedient and respectful of his syeikh.

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