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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Our Nusantara Way

Last Saturday afternoon whilst I was preparing a pot of sup ekor, a fellow architect friend from Oxford rang my mobile.
"Salam Tok, pekaba?", he greeted.
"Alhamdulillah macam biasa, kau amacam?", I replied.
"Aku pun alhamdulillah. Tok... ni ada call of duty ni", he said.
"Call of duty apa pulak?", I asked.
"Sheikh Afifi personally requested you and Abg Saad to come for terawih kat sini malam ni", he said.
"Apa hal? Kita orang sini pun buat terawih jugak... and Saad tak boleh lah, pasal dia imam sini", I said.
"Adalah... citer panjang, kau datang je lah. Datang awal pun takpa, pasal kita buat berbuka sekali hari ni. Kalau tak, Isyak/terawih kita start around kul 8:45 gitu", he added.
"Mmm... okaylah, nati aku call Abg Saad, but aku rasa dia tak bolehlah, nanti takde imam pulak kitaorg kat sini", I agreed.


15 mins after that, Sheikh Afifi himself rang me.

Anyway, I decided to enjoy my sup ekor and made my way to The Buttery, Wolfson College, Oxford Uni after iftar.

Sheikh Afifi had actually been ‘away’ from the community for the past three years, engulfed in his doctoral thesis. Alhamdulillah, it’s all finished now (thesis submitted was in 3 volumes!) and he’s back on his normal schedule; we used to have classes, qasidah, tarawih etc years ago.

Oxford Nusantara Tarawih (as Sheikh Afifi calls it), make its return this year, after three years of absence, as a showcase… illustrating the way we conduct this Ramadan practice to the (international) fellow Muslims in Oxford. In fact, it has been Sheikh’s consistent goal for all these years to show (and educate) our beautiful Nusantara ways of performing ibadah to others.

The jemaah that night was also informed by one of the Wolfson College Fellows that Sheikh Dr M. Afifi al-akiti has been conferred, last Friday, as a lecturer at Faculty of Theology, Oxford University (where one of its staff members is the prominent thinker Prof Tariq Ramadan). For the past few years, Sheikh Afifi has also been running a Classical Arabic course at Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies.

Alhamdulillah, there was about 60 pax (male, female, kids) last Saturday of which the non-Nusantarans clearly outnumbered the Nusantarans. I was there to add the the voice; non-Nusantarans were given a copy each of the usual tasbih and salawat we the Nusantarans are all familiar with.

Below was the email Sheikh sent to many at the beginning of this month:

To those who are in and around Oxford, assalamu 'alaykum:In addition to the various Tarawih congregations taking place at the many mosques and musallas of Oxford this Ramadan, alhamdulillah the Nusantara (inc. esp. the Malay) community wishes to participate and add to the barakah-ness of this Ramadan by hosting yet another local Tarawih.

This once a week Tarawih is open to all sufuf: men, children and women; and non-members of the University need only ask at the Porter's Lodge of Wolfson College to be directed to the Buttery where the event will be held on the four Saturdays of this year's Ramadan.

This is an "old-style" Tarawih where in this version, the Imam reads selectively from the Qur'an for the 20 rak'as, and selected invocations are recited by the jama'a after the respective pair of rak'as for the Tarawih, which include the full Tasbih, various Salawat and the Du'as of the Tarawih. This kayfiyya, which has prevailed - and still survives - in various parts of the Muslim world today, and which has been accepted from generation to generation by Muslims of South East Asia, for example, follows the manner of the old Meccan Tarawih (Tarawih Makkiya - as opposed to the Madani or Egyptian version) and is traced back through the riwaya of many of the past masters of the Shafi'is of Mecca, including Mufti Zayni Dahlan and Imam al-Kurdi (may Allah be pleased with them all!).

The majlis starts with the Isha adhan (which varies according to the week - see below), and is completed with the "moreh" (food snacking) made up of "pot-luck" contributions from those attending. It will end exactly at 23.00 every Saturday. Various ulama (see below) have been invited to honour the majlis each Saturday.

Further particulars:Venue for weeks 2, 3, and 4: The Buttery, Wolfson College(Linton Road, OX2 6UD), Oxford University.

Week 1: 6 Sept., 21.00 (Isha adhan), Dr. Akram Nadwi (venue: Private Dining Room, Wolfson College)
Week 2: 13 Sept., 20.45 (Isha adhan), Ust. Tanveer Husain
Week 3: 20 Sept., 20.30 (Isha adhan), Dr. Usama Hasan/Ust. Talal al-Azem
Week 4: 27 Sept., 20.30 (Isha adhan), Dr. Usama Hasan/Ust. Talal al-Azem

There will also be a majlis for the Takbir on the eve of 'Id al-Fitr, which could either fall on Tuesday 30 Sept. (30th Ramadan)--the likely date for the matla' of UK--or Monday 29 Sept. (29th Ramadan).

For further details, please contact the architect Nashrul @ 07766253525.

With best wishes for the blessed month, and from our family: we wish all our friends a Ramadan Karim!

bAriklLAhumma lanA fI ramaDAna

allAhumma innA nas'aluka khayra hadhA sh-shahri wa-khayra mA fIhi wa-khayra mA ba'dahu wa-a'Udhubika min sharrihi wa-sharri mA ba'dahu Amin!

Dr. Afifi al-Akiti,
5 Ramadan 1429
5 Septermber 2008


Comments:
Salam Atok,

Glad to hear abt the return of Sheikh Afifi. I've heard abt him fr SK & you.

That's what I missed abt iftar in UK. The chance to meet reverts fr all sorts of background. Most of the time, I feel reverts are more knowledgeable than born Muslims, who took a lot of things for granted.

Selamat menyambut Nuzul Quran to you & Salam Ramadhan !
 
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