Dream is full of nothingness that leads to hopelessness. Every time we dream of something, the mind extenuates the hopes and promises that far from reality. We dream of a perfect world with good people smiling beautifully to each other, strolling in the park among the leafy greenery with family and friends. We dream of all nice people living harmoniously without conflicts and confrontations. We dream of the world beyond reality. Then there were people whom would wake up and realized it was just a dream; while others would wake up and live up to their dreams. You can find the latter ones among the members of Al Arqam. When I was in a secondary in Kelantan, we had a biology teacher who followed Al-Arqam. We never treated him as deviant but, on the contrary, as the one highly respected. He never preached the teachings in the class but we were persuaded to join his usrah. I respected him a lot and fascinated with his life; so simple but full of happiness.
with Zulkifli Abdullah, Cikgu Baharom (My Biology teacher) and me in 1981
That was my naïve judgement of a teenager towards the teacher he loved so much. On a biology trip to the beach of Semerak, he brought along his wife wearing the purdah and all. I had never seen a woman covered like that in my life so was quite surprised. I saw in them the perfectness of life as a Muslim. The relationship grew warmer and my friends and I never missed his usrah. The seniors in the school saw our close relationship with the teacher and showed their growing concern. They explained what Al Arqam is and the teachings that they practiced. They even brought us to meet Ust Uthman El Muhammady so we could seek detail clarifications. At that time Ust Uthman was in Tal Tujuh ,Pasir Mas where he headed a dakwah group as well similar to Al-Arqam. He was a friend of Ust Ashaari and due to conflict of ideas they departed and went separate ways. Apparently Ust Uthman knew Ust Ashaari and his teachings very well. But for me Al-Arqam was bigger than life. I attended a program once with arwah Ust Muhktar, once a strong man in Al-Arqam. They had ceramah, selawat and nasyid. The nasyid was fantastic but it seemed so strange to me at that time as we don’t sing in the mosque but how come these people made it like it’s all okay. It was mind-boggling but the confusion left some pride in me that Islam is good; it provides space for someone like me. But as we all know, the story ended sadly with the ban in 1994. For some the struggles continue but they can never been the same anymore.
Started off my 2010 reading with this book.
A couple of days ago I had a chance to sit in a kuliyah given by Ann Wang Seng. A prominent Chiness Muslim preacher. He’s written a book entitled “ Rahsia Al- Arqam”. The book “reveals” the open secret of Al-Arqam. The interesting part is not about the revelation but the nostalgia that has brought me back to the good old days. I flipped through the pages and history started to unfolds. They were sweet and defining moments that shaped my thoughts and taught me the meaning of life. The bits and pieces of life.
ps: looking for “Ummi dan Abang Syeikhul” novel by Shahnon Ahmad. anyone?