Very Fulfilling Trip
I felt so blessed to be part of the Qurban Tour team. There were 14 of us in the group. I do not know any of them but the fact that we are all Singaporean, I felt comfortable and managed to adapt to each other’s behavior and character.
Upon arrival at Zhaotong airport, 45 minutes flight from Kunming (Capital of Kunming) we were received by our host, a Chinese Muslim couple and friends who helped us with our luggage and transportation. From that moment, our journey started entering into the world of China Muslims. We went to the MaoHuo Jie Mosque and the biggest Madrasah in the town, broke our fast for “Arafah day” with the officials and students from the Madrasah and tasted the sumptuous local dishes. Our host was very friendly and very pleasant, what a pity we do not speak each other’s language. Thanks to Sis Mariah for being the facilitator.
Next morning, I was thrilled to join the EidAdha celebration. The mosque was full of men, women, young and senior citizens dressed in their best clothes joining the procession to the mosque chanting“Takbir”, together we did the Solat Eid Adha and witnessed the Qurban of cows and goats. While we prayed and listened to the Qutbah, it strike my mind that I am not alone though I am in a different community. Thank you Allah for giving me the opportunity to be among so many Chinese Muslims.The Qurban went very smoothly under the supervision of the professional Imam and volunteers and the students from madrasah were eagerly helping in any way they can.
The following “Tashrik days”, our group went to other Muslim villages in the rural areas, visited more Mosques and witnessed some Qurban. Along the journey we met many villages pulling their own cows and goats for Qurban. I was then sharing my thought with a friend, Masha Allah, they have such strong faith in Islam to do the sacrifice when they are not from a wealthy family. Every Mosque we visited, the Imam and their management welcomed us and invited us for lunch and dinner. We were very lucky indeed to taste arrays of special dishes. It was really a privilege to join this tour, an “Ibadah Tour”.
Qurban meal at every masjid we visited! Alhamdulillah!!
The Kampong Spirit
During the Qurban, families staying in the village voluntarily came to the Mosque to help. The brothers helped in the slaughter, skinning, cutting and clearing the mess while the sisters helped in the kitchen, preparing and cooking food for all. Like the old time days in Singapore, the kampong spirit still lives on.
It was nice to see the children running around playing in the courtyard and the very seniors chatting with friends catching up on old stories.
Though the Muslim brothers and sisters are dressed in their modern costumes with additional “songkok” for brothers and “tudung” for sisters, they still have Chinese buttons and Chinese knots sewn to their clothes.
They eat using chopsticks and having their rice in bowls served with varieties of typical Chinese dishes, very yummy, yummy and not to forget the Chinese tea.
Our tour leader was a Chinese Muslim young man. He read the Quran verses with an Arabic lingo, so fluent that no one could tell he is Chinese. He played QuCheng (Chinese musical instrument) very well and he performed for us a medley of songs from the Tang Dynasty period.
Amazingly, they are Chinese in nationality but Islam in religion; they uphold their culture, appreciate the Chinese arts and have strong faith in their religion. The trip is really an eye opener!
This trip gave me the best experience and sweet memories. Every day I was exposed to new environment, the people, the foods, the market place, the roads, the highways, the houses, the mosques, the madrasah, the apples, chilli and corn plantations, the beautiful sceneries, the hills, the fresh air….the list can never end.
I have personally been to many big cities in China, but this was a very fulfilling trip. Every minute, whereever we were, I felt touched and pleased with the hospitality of our hosts and seeing the good deeds Sis Mariah had done to the mosques and madrasah in line with Islam teachings and in the name of Allah.My sincere thank you and big hugs to Sis Mariah for arranging this wonderful trip and May Allah bless and protect you always.
By Alimah Ibrahim, Tour participant