This year’s Idul Adha was a bit different. For the first time ever, I celebrated it in a Malaysian kampung. The previous Idul Adha celebrations since I got married had been in Australia/Germany/Singapore/Malaysia (PJ)(a few times), but never in a kampung in Malaysia where there were padi fields and free roaming cattle and whatnot.
When we went to Kampung Lonek in Negeri Sembilan to take Sarah for her Kampung Homestay last month, our host, Makcik Badariyah, a retired teacher who runs the homestay program there told us to ‘buatlah kampung ni macam kampung sendiri ye’ (treat this kampung like your own). Aik, macam orang ngantuk disorong bantal. The city person in me, apa lagi? Pantang dipelawa. Dahlah tak ada kampung halaman sendiri kan? Ada ‘kampung batu’ di Tampines saja. Pendekkan cerita, memang (dengan tak malunye, heh) buat Kampung Lonek ni macam kampung sendiri. So since Idul Adha was coming a month after we left the kampung after that first visit, I managed to convince the husband to do his Qurban in Kampung Lonek instead of in PJ.
So we invited another AFS student, Svenja to come along as she had never been to a kampung before and as she is staying with a Hindu family, it would be an opportunity for her to see what Idul Adha is all about, the Kampung Style.
We started late on Thursday on the eve of the Eid, which was on Friday. Reason? Car in workshop for a major overhaul and monsoon storm. The car was sent the day before but they couldn’t finish it on time on Thursday, which was a blessing in disguise because the monsoon storm was hard and mean from afternoon to around 6pm. It would be too dangerous to drive. After dinner at about 7.30pm, when the rain had subsided a bit, we started out. Us, with two teenagers at the back, who were entertaining themselves with tongue-twisters and their games.
The jam was terrible.
Everyone had the same idea as us apparently, which was to leave after the storm had subsided a bit. The first jam was in Subang, and then on the entrance of Seremban. It didn’t help that it was raining still so all vehicles on the road were inching or not moving at all. When we were finally on the road to Kuala Pilah, the jam was beyond terrible. By then, the four of us had exhausted our supplies of ghost stories which we were taking turn to tell each other and other strange stories we have heard or read about. It was midnight, the only driver, the husband, was exhausted as he was working the entire day earlier on. We saw cars turning back, giving up on the jam. We had to make a decision. Bear the jam and reach around dawn, all of us exhausted. Or turn back, find a hotel at Seremban-which was the nearest next town and rest there for the night and continue the journey after dawn the next morning. Hubby chose to turn back.
Not ten minutes after we turn back and entered Seremban, Svenja spotted a hotel from where she was sitting at the back.
We didn’t think twice and stopped outside it, asked for two rooms and we crashed. Well, at least hubby and I crashed. The two girls, as we found out the next morning, were playing games till 5 am. Ahh the energy of youth, we no longer possess! The next morning, after fajr prayers at about 6.30am, we checked out. Then we waited for our dua orang anak dara to come down with their baju kurungs. Alahai.
Both of them were wearing my outfits. One before, one after. I gave Sarah that blue baju, my most favourite one from my wardrobe– a size M, which basically tells the story that I was once 52kg when I moved to Malaysia. I gave it to her before I left for the Ramadan Umrah and she asked, “Don’t you want it back?” to which the husband was quick to whisper to Sarah that, ” She won’t be able to fit into it anymore even if she wants it back.. so just take it!” to which I heard, and ada orang sedaaap kena cubit. Svenja on the other hand is wearing my baju kurung which I got earlier this year. Size XL. The evidence what good Malaysian food had done to me. Svenja too asked, ” Don’t you want it back?” Well young lady, take it, I told her, as I can’t fit into that anymore too. (Ok this is an Eid posting, why am I ranting about my weight gain, again? sorry, sorry, distracted sey). Anyway, they look sweet in them. Anak dara sunti, the Malays would call them.
It was a good decision to turn back and drive in the morning because we were rewarded with a beautiful drive, especially upon entering the kampung. Svenja kept going “so beautiful! so beautiful!”
We reached just in time to hear the takbir berkumandang from the village mosque. Sungguh sayu. And just the way I imagined, raya in the kampung. Sangat-sangat syahdu.
We met up with Makcik Badariyah, our host and joined the rest of the kampung folks walking to the masjid for solat Idul Adha. The girls went for a walk around the kampung entertaining themselves. I went to the ladies section and joined in the takbir. Ya Allah, sayu nyer. Teringat detik-detik ketika berada di Makkah dan Madinah. Sungguh sayu. Bila lah dapat sambut Idul Adha di Arafah ye? Insya Allah satu hari nanti. Then I smsed bapak and whatsapp mak. I was so tired that I fell asleep sitting down during the sermon and woke up in time just to hear the part where it said, “we must constantly view our relationship with others, in our efforts to bring ourselves closer to our Creator” and “we must deeply reflect upon the theme of sacrifice in our lives” .. aik, Ya Allah, ku dibahasakan ke? Heh. The sermon was in Malay of course, kampung Malay. Sedap sangat mendengar. Bahasa lembut.
Lepas tu kita balik rumah Makcik Badariya and makan raya. My makan pagi raya Idul Fitri was a cup orange juice on a Saudi Airlines flight. This time, Ya Allah!… rezeki nikmat dunia… Pulut Kuning, Rendang Minang, Lemang, Sayur Lodeh, Kuah Kacang, Satay Ayam Kampung, Ketupat, Kek Buah dan Kek Mentega. Semua asli kampung. Sarah seems to love the pulut kuning, which she has acquired the taste for since she first arrived, and sayur lodeh and ketupat. Svenja had a go, a big go at the rendang Minang cili padi. The more she perspire, the more she ate. I told her that, is the definition of ‘syiok’.
Towards the end of our meal, Billy arrived. Well, that’s not exactly his name but a billy goat from Kampung Lonek, the husband’s sacrifice for this year, needs a name. So I call him Billy. Billy initially was struggling with his owners who sold him to hubby. It took 4 men to tie him up to the tree. After a little while, he calmed down. Then he sat down under the tree, relaxing, waiting for time his soul would be sent to heaven.
We went back to the house to eat some more and rest while waiting for the Tok Imam of the kampung to come and assist with the slaughtering. Meanwhile, hubby just had, to go and entertain himself by talking to Billy. Billy bo-layan lah. Agaknye si Billy ni cakap dalam hati, ‘Dude, aku dah nak mati, dalam imaaan. Syurga dah dekat. Selamat akuuu. Kao tu jaga diri!’
When the Tok Imam came, everyone gathered around Billy. The girls went up front to where hubby was. They were explained to, the significance of this sacrifice, which Prophet Abraham was asked to do by God upon his son Ishmael. Fully committed to God’s command, he readily wanted to sacrifice Ishmael, as a show of his submission to God’s command. God later changed it to a sheep and Ishmael was let to live and became one of the most renowned prophets in the history of Abrahamic faith. They were also explained the concept of halal meat, that Muslims can only eat meat which are halal. And by halal it means the animals are treated with extreme kindness and compassion throughout it’s life, not hurt or deformed or oppressed in any way, the knife which is used to slaughter must be very very sharp so that only one slit is needed to kill the animal, closest to the vein which won’t cause it any pain. And the slaughter must be done in the name of Allah, the Creator of the universe.
The girls saw all that from where they were standing. On how when Billy cried when he was overturned, the men stroke him, hugged him, whispered prayers into his ears and just like that, he submitted and readily allowed himself to be turned into the slaughtering position, facing the Qiblah. Hubby was called to lafaz the niat for the Qurban. Then the men sang the takbir softly, so sayu.. by then my tummy was churning and I walked away. The girls stood and stared. The Imam came with one helluva sharp knife and with one slit at the right vein, Billy’s soul was sent to heaven and his meat ready for us to masak gulai. What an experience!
Then the men went to clean Billy up while the women folks rewang-rewang preparing the spices to cook fresh goat meat daging Qurban for the villagers. It was meriah lah!
By about 3.30pm everything was ready and people from the village all gathered at Makcik Badariyah’s house where we all feasted for Eid.
Some of those who were there…
We reached home around 9pm that night, after sending the girls to the chapter leader’s house. After a quick shower, I crashed, waking up the next day only at fajr, wondering where I was. I was that dead tired. That afternoon, we went to celebrate Idul Adha round 2 at the Motalas. If the day before was the Kampung Style, this time it was the South African style. Ayesha cooked traditional South African, which was super yummy and we just feasted and talked and talked. The husbands reminisced their long and arduous journey to be where they are now in the faith as the imams of the family and exchanged stories on their ‘zaman jahiliah’ (hilarious) nonsense. One was a deejay in a hiphop club in Johannaesburg with studs and earrings and hippie long hair–who eventually graduated as a medical doctor and now a practicing chiropractor cum jemaah tabligh. The other husband–mine, was an armadillo eating oil rigger in Mexico, who eventually came out of ISTAC half bald and now handling seekers.guidance affairs for Malaysia. And Ayesha was formerly known as Vicky the Jazz Club waitress, who graduated with a degree in Homeopathic medicine from the same university as her ex deejay husband, now niqabi mother of 5 beautiful girls whom I love so so much and myself. Boring ole me. Long arduous journey and here we are, celebrating Idul Adha together in faith in Malaysia. Beautiful or whaat..
While the husbands then went to the surau, Ayesha and myself played Quran Challenge with the girls. It rained heavily outside and we were on the 16th floor of their apartment. Good coffee, good friends, good little girls and beautiful rain outside, I could just say alhamdulillah, my Idul Adha this year was perfect. Alhamdulillah.