Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Friday, October 7, 2011
Today, two persons close to my heart would be leaving Malaysian soil, heading for the Middle East... One, is a sister I have met and we sort of "adopted" each others family since the year 1974... while the other is my young cousin who is working in Doha, Qatar. He would resume his duties there and taking home a new addition to his family, little Dzain.
My "sister" is holding a gathering since breakfast time this morning and by 10.30 p.m. tonight, she would be leaving her house to join the rest of the pilgrimages and shall be leaving for Mecca by 5:00 a.m tomorrow morning.
Why am I left behind?
Someone from the Rayhar Travel Agency had called me a day after they have made confirmation who could go and who couldn't.
An unfamiliar number showed up and obviously lighted up on my mobile. Without hesitation I accepted and an unfamiliar voice was on the receiver.
"Assalamualaikum Madam. I am Mr.Rahmat fom Rayhar Travel".
"Assalamualaikum Madam. I am Mr.Rahmat fom Rayhar Travel".
"Wa'alaikummussalam Mr.Rahmat", said I.
"I am so sorry that your name and another lady in your group were not selected, our quota is much reduced this year and we only have such a limited number to accommodate", went this apologetic voice on the other end of the receiver.
Calmly I replied:
"Sir, may I know why we weren't selected?"
"Says the Haj Pilgrimage Board, both of you were only registered last year, and by right, your eligibility is in the year 2033 " said he.
"Okay, I understand. And Sir, don't worry. This is not their work, neither yours. Not your choice, neither them. This is the work of Allah. He knows who should go now, later or even at the vary last minute just before the "Wukuf Day". I am honestly "redha" with this as this is Allah's choice and decision and not yours."
"I am happy you could accept this decision in this "strange" way. Had other people answered like you do, it would surely have made my job easier, Madam". He continued.
"Sir, I knew there are elderly people who should perform the Haj this year, there are those who have registered themselves years before me, there are those whose chances have been "taken" by others before this and Sir, this is indeed the work of Allah. He knows best. Perhaps he wants me to attend more Haj courses and get myself better equipped with better acknowledg and most of all... He knows when and with whom I should be going" , I went so lengthy with my answer.
Silently, during my Zohor prayer, I prayed with a heart feeling so calm, asking Allah to INVITE me to HIS House at an instance - He so grant me with the right timing, the right Mahram and the right mode - for a pilgrimage at the time He already determined.
But somehow, this vary instance... deep inside me, there's a lump in my throat, I feel so remorseful for some reasons am to depart with these two special people in my life. To them both I shall pray for their safe journey and safe landing .
One, to go home with his family, where he belongs to serve the Qatar Oil, while the other : a safe journey and safe landing in Mecca. I too pray for her good health, high in Iman, Taqwa and Faith, to perform the Haj well so that Allah accepts her ibadah, to have surmountable patience, to eat and sleep well and come home safely. To Min, may you have a successful career, a family safe from any evils, pray for good health, wealth and happiness.
Amin Ya Rabbal'alamiin.
Draconid Meteor OutburstOct. 4, 2011: On October 8th Earth is going to plow through a stream of dust from Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner, and the result could be an outburst of Draconid meteors.
"We're predicting as many as 750 meteors per hour," says Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office. "The timing of the shower favors observers in the Middle East, north Africa and parts of Europe."
Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner in Nov. 1998 photographed by astronomers at Kitt Peak. [more]
"Most years, we pass through gaps between filaments, maybe just grazing one or two as we go by," says Cooke. "Occasionally, though, we hit one nearly head on--and the fireworks begin."
2011 could be such a year. Forecasters at NASA and elsewhere agree that Earth is heading for three or more filaments on October 8th. Multiple encounters should produce a series of variable outbursts beginning around 1600 Universal Time (noon EDT) with the strongest activity between 1900 and 2100 UT (3:00 pm – 5:00 pm EDT).
Forecasters aren't sure how strong the display will be, mainly because the comet had a close encounter with Jupiter in the late 1880s. At that time, the giant planet's gravitational pull altered the comet's orbit and introduced some uncertainty into the location of filaments it has shed since then. Competing models place the filaments in slightly different spots; as a result, estimated meteor rates range from dozens to hundreds per hour.
Comet dust stream models suggest a succession of peaks in meteor rate between 1600 and 2100 UT on Oct. 9th. Click here for details. Credit: MSFC/Meteoroid Environment Office.
"A Draconid gliding leisurely across the sky is a beautiful sight," says Cooke.
Unfortunately, many of this year's Draconids will go unseen. Draconids are faint to begin with, and this year they have to complete with an almost-full Moon. Lunar glare will reduce the number of meteors visible from Europe, Africa and the Middle East by 2- to 10-fold. The situation is even worse in North America where the shower occurs in broad daylight—completely obliterating the display.
That isn't stopping a group1 of middle school and high school students from Bishop, California, however. They plan to observe the shower from the stratosphere where the sky is dark even at noontime.
Black skies at high noon, photographed from a high-altitude helium balloon on Sept. 3, 2011. Credit: Earth to Sky, a student group located in Bishop, CA.
"The students are going to attempt to fly one of our low-light meteor cameras in the payload of their balloon," says Cooke. "I hope they catch some Draconid fireballs for us to analyze. They could be the only ones we get."
Stay tuned for results after Oct. 8th.
Author: Dr. Tony Phillips | Credit: Science@NASA