“I bet Zul had a lot of fun he went to visit and go sightseeing in Jordan,” Sarah suddenly interjects when Grandpa Aki was telling his story. Grandpa Aki reaches and took the corn fritters and eats them. “Of course, it was fun. The more places we go to, the more experiences we’ll have,” Grandpa Aki replied. “Zul visited many places during his stay in Jordan. Let me tell you all about it…,” Grandpa Aki then continues his story.
Throughout his travel, Zul was astonished by the customs of the Arabs in Jordan for it is different from the Arabs in Medina. The Arabs here also dressed differently, where they are more modern and rarely, you’ll ever see anyone wearing jubah except the few old men in mosques. Generally, they are disciplined will always queue when they are boarding the bus. “If you want to buy European shoes, I’ll bring you to Abdali later,” Din said to Hazman. Hazman nodded his head while his eyes are still glued to the window of the car, taking in the scenery outside.
Together with them, that day was Nazri, who also acts as the “tour guide”. He is among the most knowledgeable students when it comes to Jordan and its history.
Allah SWT states:
سُبۡحَٰنَ ٱلَّذِيٓ أَسۡرَىٰ بِعَبۡدِهِۦ لَيۡلا مِّنَ ٱلۡمَسۡجِدِ ٱلۡحَرَامِ إِلَى ٱلۡمَسۡجِدِ ٱلۡأَقۡصَا ٱلَّذِي بَٰرَكۡنَا حَوۡلَهُۥ لِنُرِيَهُۥ مِنۡ ءَايَٰتِنَآۚ إِنَّهُۥ هُوَ ٱلسَّمِيعُ ٱلۡبَصِيرُ
“Exalted is He who took His Servant by night from al-Masjid al-Haram to al-Masjid al-Aqsa, whose surroundings We have blessed, to show him of Our signs. Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Seeing.” 
“Actually, there is more than one mosque in this area. Most people thought that the building with the gold dome is al-Aqsa Mosque. Others thought the one with the silver dome is Masjidil Aqsa.” Nazri explained the history and background of al-Aqsa Mosque. Zul had done his own light reading on al-Aqsa Mosque. Hence, it wasn’t hard for him to follow the brief given. The al-Aqsa Mosque Complex is around 144,00 square metres. The whole area within the walls is actually al-Aqsa Mosque.
The opening of al-Aqsa Mosque begins way before, in the era of the Caliph Umar al-Khattab. It was recorded that he departs and headed to Jerusalem where he met and discuss with his companions regarding a specific request from the people of Iliya’. Saidina Uthman ibn Affan stopped Umar from going to al-Quds but Saidina Ali bin Abi Talib suggested another idea of which was later accepted by Caliph Umar al-Khattab which is to hold a general meeting with the people of Iliya’. During the time when Caliph Umar al-Khattab was gone to Jerusalem, he has appointed Saidina Ali bin Abi Talib as his stand-in, bearing the responsibility of the Caliph in ensuring the welfare of the people of Medina is taken care of. The appointment is a suggestion from Saidina Uthman to Caliph Umar Ibn al-Khattab.
Here, is the starting point of the glorious story of the history of the opening of the city of al-Quds bu Caliph Umar al-Khattab. He was given the title al-Faruq and was praised by the Prophet PBUH in the saying:
إِنَّ اللَّهَ جَعَلَ الحَقَّ عَلَى لِسَانِ عُمَرَ وَقَلْبِهِ
“Allah has placed truth upon Umar’s tongue and heart.” 
Caliph Umar al-Khattab didn’t go to Bait al-Maqdis with a military entourage, luxury clothing or grandiose of his empire. According to one narration , he went there only on a camel taking turns to ride it with his assistant. The main lesson that from the journey of Caliph Umar al-Khattab to al-Quds is a truly humbling story.
As soon as Caliph Umar al-Khattab arrives in al-Quds, he went through the tents of the Muslim army which was led by Abu Ubaidah bin Jarrah in Jabiya. When Abu Ubaidah saw the irt and scratches on the feet of Caliph Umar al-Khattab due to his long journey, with pure intention Abu Ubaidah suggested to Umar to let him escort to the main gates of al-Quds. Caliph Umar al-Khattab gaze into Abu Ubaidah’s eyes for a long time, with a stern face, Umar then said the following famous words of his:
أولو غيرك يقولها يا أبا عبيدة، إنكم كنتم أذل الناس، وأحقر الناس، وأقل الناس، فأعزكم الله بالإسلام، فمهما تبتغون العزة في غيره، أذلكم الله
“If it wasn’t you who said this O Abu Ubaidah (surely, I’ll punish you to teach you a lesson). Indeed, we are all the most insufficient of humans, and you are honoured by Allah with Islam, if we go and seek honour other than in Islam, surely we will be disgraced by Allah.”
In Jabiya, Caliph Umar al-Khattab delivered a sermon to the Muslim army:
أيها الناس أصلحوا سرائركم تصلح علانيتكم، واعملوا لآخرتكم تُكْفَوْا أَمْرَ دنياكم؛ فمن أراد بحبوحة الجنة فليلزم الجماعة فإن الشيطان مع الواحد، وهو من الاثنين أبعد؛ ولا يخلون أحدكم بامرأة فإن الشيطان ثالثهما
“O people, correct and improve the hidden flaws in you for sure then the apparent will get improved, work for your hereafter so that your worldly matters will always be sufficient; whoever wishes for paradise should be in jamaah, for indeed the shaytan is with those who are alone and distance himself from two people; but don’t be with just the two of you with a woman, for shaytan will be the third in your company.”
He then continues his journey leaving the Muslim army tents in Jabiya. A Jew man suddenly stopped him and greeted him, saying:
يا أمير المؤمنين، إنك لا ترجع إلى بلادك حتى يفتح الله عليك إيلياء
“O Amir al-Mukminin, indeed, you’ll not return to your state (Medina) until Allah opens to you a victory in Iliya’ (another name for Jerusalem).”
Umar halted his camel when he arrives city gates of Jerusalem. The eyes of people are focused on the leader of the ummah. It was a singularly surprising sight throughout the history of the great Roman and Persian empires. They thought Caliph Umar al-Khattab will arrive with an impressive royal entourage consisting of gold, throne, queen, concubines and others. However, what they saw in front of their eyes was quite the opposite. Caliph Umar al-Khattab officially received the key to the holy land from the people of Iliya’.
Interestingly, in Jordan, there are numerous compelling historical remnants. Zul was taken to see the city of Jerash. According to the historical records, Jordan was colonized by several great forces of the world beginning in the stone age until the tile of the Romans, Byzantines and lastly, it was ruled by the Turk Uthmaniyyah Caliphate.
“It’s really great that we manage to arrive here at 9. It’ll be difficult if we arrive late. It will take us about 3-4 hours to go about the whole city of Jerash.” Din informed Zul. It is also said, if we are in the city, we will have the choice of exiting from one of the three exit gates which led to either Europe, Palestine or the Holy Land of Mecca.
“Did you see people come and talk here just now? Why don’t you try and speak here,” Din invited Azli Khalid to try one of the ancient technologies in Jerash. There was various interesting ancient technology that can be found here. Among them is the loudspeaker system. Anyone can use it by standing in the middle and on top of a marked dot there. “Asslamualaikum…,” Azli tried. His voice is amplified and it echoed as if he was talking into a high-tech speaker. Such is the magnificent of loudspeakers of the past. Its design enabled our voice to be amplified as though it was a loudspeaker.
“Qubbah al-Sakhra was built during the time of the Caliph Abdul Malik bin Marwan. In it is located the stone which is the last mark of Rasullullah PBUH before he departs to the heavens during his mi’raj mission. On our right over here, is the original location of al-Aqsa Mosque which was opened by Caliph Umar al-Khattab. It was formerly built with just wood. Now, there is an underground space when the mosque we are standing in right now, which is the Qibli Mosque was built during the time it was ruled under Caliph Malik ibn Marwan. Over there, near the old al-Aqsa Mosque is the Buraq Mosque. It is also located underground. It is said that this is the location of the Buraq of which the Rasullullah PBUH ride when he stopped by in al-Aqsa during the Isra’ incident. On the left side of the Qibli Mosque is the al-Marwani Mosque. It is also built during the time of Caliph Malik ibn Marwan. It is the location where the tomb of the Prophet Sulayman is and also the place where Mary found refuge before she gave birth to the Prophet Jesus AS.” Nazri give a long explanation of the place they are at. Zul was mesmerized by the beautiful architecture, although it was all just built with bricks. “How did the architects of the previous times manage to build such monumental structures? They are so amazing, right?” Zul asked Din. Din just chuckles and shrugged his shoulders, for he too didn’t know the answer to the question.
“I know all of you must be starving. We’ll have our iftar at home. I was informed that Ustaz Zin and Ustaz Misbah have prepared a special meal for all of us. After that, we’ll be performing the Tarawih at ‘Abd al-Rahman bin ‘Auf Mosque. We’ll also be performing our Subuh prayer there and attend the Tafsir Sermon by Syeikh Dr Solah ‘Abd al-Fattah al-Khalidi.” Nazri said and ask Zul, Azli and Hazman home.
Zul leaned back on the wall, full and satiated. The Mansaf cooked by his friends in Jordan was definitely such a delicious meal.
“What other delicious meals or food are here? I would like to try them all before I go to Syria.” Zul said asked Din. Misbah who was beside him bursts out laughing. “Ustaz Zul, when I first met you until now, you’re a thin guy. But when to comes to food, you’re always the first!” he said jokingly.
“What do you want to eat? Kunafah? Syawarma? Dalek Karsyak? Hehehe… It’s all available here. If we have time, insya-Allah we’ll go to eat them all before you guys go to Syria. Although I’ll have to warn you, the currency here is higher compared to Malaysia.” Din said as he drinks his ‘Adni tea.
Ramadhan in Jordan is not much different from it was in Medina. It’s just that the ambience and feel in Medina especially in Nabawi Mosque are livelier and merrier. After the Tarawih prayer, there are nasyid performances from Malaysian students under the sponsorship of al-Arqam. Songs such as Ahmad Ya Habibi, Khairul Bariyyah and Ya Nabi Salam Alaik reminded Zul of the Nadamurni concert he attended while he was in SMAASZA. It looks like Arabs in Jordan love Malaysia’s nasyid.
The next day, Zul and his friends attended the Tafsir Sermon which was given by Syeikh Dr Solah ‘Abd al-Fattah al-Khalidi. Nazri kicked Zul’s feet lightly and whispered, “Do you see the person in front? That’s Asri Zainul Abidin. He’s among the closest person to the Syeikh. He’s always at Syeikh’s house. He’s from Penang and a KISAS graduate.” He pointed towards Asri with his thumb who was attentively listening and jotting down notes. Feeling someone’s gaze on him, Asri looked up and glanced towards Zul and Nazri. Asri gave them a friendly smile and nodded his head acknowledging them. It wasn’t hard to recognize another Malay student in the sea of Arabs there. Zul smiled back. Hasrizal was by his side.
The morning of Eidulfitri in Sweileh is joyous with the performance of the band Usrah al-Firdaus. Before that, Zul and other Malaysian students perform the Eid prayer in a field. Usrah al-Firdaus sang their most popular song amongst Malaysian students in Jordan, Tetamu Dataran Syam (Guests of the Syrian Plains). Its lead vocalist is Hasrizal, among the students in Jordan that Zul first met at Ustaz Jamnul Azmin’s house.
Guests of the Syrian Plains,
Stand strong like Abu Ubaidah,
Arid land become lush and luxuriant,
With the blood of martyrs and souls of warriors.
Zul couldn’t pinpoint what is it exactly, but the song touched his heart. It renews his motivation in facing the uncertain future. He was told, the lyrics were composed by Hasrizal and Asri Zainal Abidin.
He was startled when Misbah came to ask him, “The three of you just have a couple of days left here. We have gone to the Dead Sea and Yarmouk. I’ve also brought you to go visit Dr Hammam Sa’id and Dr Abd al-Qadir Abu Faris. Is there anything left you’d like to do in Jordan that we can help with?”
Zul smiled and shook his head. “Thank you so much. There’s nothing left. I’m truly grateful and satisfied with your kind help and service for us here.”
The lyrics of the song Tetamu Dataran Syam is still playing in his head.
Guests of the Syrian Plains, you are our hope,
For the future of our ummah and how we’ll cope,
As scholars and fighters,
Surely, you’ll free Islam.
Welcome, O Guests of the Syrian Plains!
 Surah al-Isra’ : 1
 Narrated by al-Tirmizi, no.3682
 This is a weak narration