Monday, May 2, 2011
Ma'salamah Jeddah, October 1937
How different they were, like the sky and the earth! The son with his mind floating in dreams of liberation and the father with his feet firmly grounded on the tenets of the religion. And how those feet must have frozen when Haji Yusoff was told by his dear wife, Hajjah Aishah, that their first born son had packed up his clothes and travelling documents into a slim luggage and slipped away through the side gate of their walled compound.
Why, hadn't they just unpacked their belongings a few months ago when they arrived in Makkah? Couldn't he have at least asked for their blessings before he took his leave? Where was he heading for? There were so many questions rushing through his head. Had he been too strict with Aji Din? Should he have spared the rod when Aji Din was a child?
That was his father's instruction when he delivered the young Siddi to his mua'lim. And how Siddi had memorised the content of the Holy Book by rote learning, his feet numb from hours of sitting on his soles and joining his bony knees to the fleshy joints of his ustaz. He thanked Allah for blessing him with a sharp mind that there was hardly any need for his teacher to pick up the thin rattan strip that was always by his side.
"There IS god, and that's Allah; not there's NO god but Allah."