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This blogspot is a medium to share my thoughts and adventures apart from promoting my books. Below are the books which have been written or authored and published by myself.


"Berpetualang ke Aceh: Mencari Diri dan Erti".

ISBN 983-42031-0-1, Jun 2006


"Berpetualang ke Aceh: Membela Syiar yang Asal"

ISBN 983-42031-1-x, May 2007


"Berpetualang ke Aceh: Sirih Pulang ke Gagang?"

ISBN 978-983-42031-2-2, November 2007


It is interesting to note that while these books were written in Malay it has gained enough attention to merit being part of the collections of the American Library of Congress and National Library of Australia. Look here and here.


While the first three books were published by my own company, the fourth titled "Rumah Azan" was published in April 2009 by a company called Karnadya with the help of the Malaysian national literary body Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka. It features beautiful pictures along with stories behind selected mosques which could be related to the history of Islam and the Malays alongside the formation of the Malaysian nation. Look at the article A collaboration of old collegemates - the book "Rumah Azan".


My fifth book "Ahlul Bait (Family) of Rasulullah SAW and Malay Sultanates", an English translation and adaptation of the Malay book "Ahlul Bait (Keluarga) Rasulullah SAW dan Kesultanan Melayu" authored by Hj Muzaffar Mohamad and Tun Suzana Othman was published early 2010. Look here... My 5th book is out! Ahlul Bait (Family) of Rasulullah SAW and the Malay Sultanates... . For more information check out my Malay blogspot CATATAN SI MERAH SILU.



Like my fourth book "Rumah Azan", the sixth book "Kereta Api Menuju Destinasi" is also a coffee-table book which is published by the company Karnadya with the cooperation of Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (the main Malay literary body in Malaysia). Coming out January 2011 it features pictures and stories on the adventure travelling by train to all of Peninsular Malaysia along with the interesting places which could be reached this way.


My seventh book "Jejak keluarga Yakin : Satu sketsa sejarah" in turn is a coffee-table book which is written, editted, designed and has pictures taken by me. Coming out of the factory October 2011, this book which combines family history with history of places such as Singapura, Johor, Batu Pahat, Muar and in fact the history of the island of Java and England has been reviewed with me interviewed live in the program Selamat Pagi Malaysia at RTM1. Look at the article Siaran langsung ulasan buku "Jejak keluarga Yakin : Satu sketsa sejarah" dan temu ramah di Selamat Pagi Malaysia. Some selected contents have been featured in Sneak peek "Jejak keluarga Yakin : Satu sketsa sejarah".


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The "Berpetualang ke Aceh" series of novels could be obtained in e-book form. Enter http://www.e-sentral.com/, click general novel and go to page 4. You can also type the word "Aceh" at the search box. Or click straight Book 1, Book 2 and Book 3.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Views on top of Gunung Jerai... Enter Padang Tok Sheikh. Is it?

Continuing the current run of pictorial stories based on views on top of this or a looking around that (whatever) places... let me now present some pictures taken on top of the 1,200 metre plus high Gunung (mount) Jerai, the highest peak in Kedah. These pictures were taken the following day after the ones featured in the last posting here Views on top Alor Setar's telecommunication tower... , so it is definitely a continuity of the current streak of stories on Kedah.

Now, a few months ago I have featured pictures taken at the same mountain made in a previous trip a year ago. You can still have a look at these pictures by clicking Gunung Jerai calling out loud... and On to the summit of Gunung Jerai to close a chapter... Only then I didn't reach a certain part of the mountain known officially to the public as Padang Tok Sheikh, literally translated as the field of the venerable religious man or master. For the record this is my third time up the mountain.

My first trip up Gunung Jerai was made in 1997 using a big bike, during a month-long solo trip covering almost all of Peninsular Malaysia. There's a quite comfortable but small road going up to the top and as I was then on the way from Sungai Petani heading to Alor Setar, I might as well check what's up there.

But then I didn't realised the road actually led all the way to the top. I just got up to the resthouse which lies on one of the highest peak but is still some 2km shy from the actual summit. I didn't even check the Perigi Tok Sheikh (the well of Tok Sheikh or the venerable religious teacher) which was only some 200 metres away as I didn't realise then the significance of the place. I thought I already made it to the top as far as the road allowed and I was raring to continue my travel to Alor Setar...

Oh anyway, above is a picture of the signboard to Padang Tok Sheikh, just besides the road to the highest peak or summit. The highest point itself is off-limits to civilians. Guarded by no less than the military, it houses a big telecommunication tower and who knows what else...


The path to Padang Tok Sheikh. Back to the story-telling...

My second trip up Gunung Jerai was made about a year ago. I came alone Thursday afternoon and reached the foothills late after 6pm. I was then on the final leg of a series of travelling which actually covers a wide range of locations in the East Coast, the South and the North in about 2 months. Thus I was dead tired but can't help the urge to go up... And I wanted to save money... I could have chartered a van from the foot of the mountain but after deliberating what to do for a while, I decided to walk.

To cut a long story short, I've walked alone in the dark for more than 8 km uphill and as the clock struck almost 9pm, then only I managed to hitchike a car, a lone one. The driver (and some passengers) sent me a further 4km to the resthouse. But I thought I want to bunk at the well or Perigi Tok Sheikh...


The way towards Padang Tok Sheikh. In front is an elderly friend known simply as Pak Chak. Behind him is Badrul or Bad from Ipoh. Bad and me were bunking at Pak Chak's place in Kampung Ruat, Yan, Kedah, some 20-30 km away from the point of entry for the road up to the mountain...


The path goes on... When I look back at this picture, the tree on the left looks just like a rubber tree after it has just been tapped... Honest!


Bad negotiating an uphill path. Back to what happened on the climb up Gunung Jerai last year...

I thought I wanted to bunk at Perigi Tok Sheikh. There's a nice little hut there but with no walls. After making my abolution and then conducting my prayers in the dark (thank God it was not pitch dark. at least I could still figure my way around...), I sat at a corner on the cold tiled floor.

Now, I usually have my trusty jacket along in case of cold. But this time, I've lost it somewhere on the way from Tanjung Dawai to Alor Setar... That is more than a week before making the climb up.

After an hour sitting in the hut with no walls, the mountain winds began to get to me... There's no way I could have a good sleep that night, I thought. So I ended up walking back to the resthouse and rented a room there. So came the story as told in Gunung Jerai calling out loud...


After going uphill, then a bit of going downhill.

In the climb made last year, I wanted to find the way to Padang Tok Sheikh and another spot known as Batu Sajadah, the prostration stone. Oh, we kept on going about this Tok Sheikh, the venerable religious teacher. So who is he really?

Well, both Kedah legends and history mentioned a certain pious man by the name of Sheikh Abdullah who came from the middle-east to convert a king of Kedah to Islam. They say, the king was Sultan Muzaffar Shah, also known as Sultan Muzzaffar Shah I (as there were a few more Kedah rulers with the same name. Do have a look at Sultan Muzaffar Shah, the first king of Kedah?).

It is believed this had happened more than 800 years ago, close to 900. Whatever, Sheikh Abdullah also known as Tok Sheikh is said to have spent much time in solitude or with his followers up Gunung Jerai and that's why there's places associated with his name... They said because he actually utilised this place for his convenience and meditation...

Now, I believe that this Sheikh Abdullah also has certain ties to my forefathers. So after finding out about the places associated with him, I thought I could make a certain spiritual link that would complete my years of sour-searching. That's why I called the relevant story On to the summit of Gunung Jerai to close a chapter...

At last, the place known officially as Padang Tok Sheikh... Last year I couldn't find it as I missed the entry point beside the road up to the highest peak... I got disheartened when I walked all the way up almost to the very top only to meet high fences and be told by the military that the area is off-limits. And then I had to rush back down and out as I'm supposed to attend a meeting of friends in Lumut, Perak the next day...

It took my third trip to Gunung Jerai before I'm actually here. And that happened after I've visited the tombs of Tok Soh (see Makam Tok Soh di Kedah dan kaitannya dengan Merong Mahawangsa (The tomb of Tok Soh in Kedah and its relation to Merong Mahawangsa)... ) and Daeng Parani (see Makam (tomb of) Daeng Parani ) at Sungai Petani on Monday, the tomb of Sheikh Abdul Qadir (see Sebuah makam berumur 1,100 tahun di Kedah! (A 1,100 year old tomb in Kedah!) ) in Langgar and Datuk Maharaja Khadi Abdul Jalil (see Makam Datuk Maharaja Khadi Sheikh Abdul Jalil ) in Jitra on Tuesday, making this trip up Padang Tok Sheikh on Wednesday feeling complete indeed!


The signboard set up by the officials say we have arrived at Padang Tok Sheikh...


The stony clearing known as Padang Tok Sheikh...


Pak Chak and Bad then proceeded slightly downhill to another part of the mountain...


There, a nice view of the padi plantations north of Gunung Jerai flanked by the waters of the Straits of Melaka...


A closer view shows this island, can't remember the name... On a clearer day, one could see quite a long bridge leading to the island although it does make one wonder why the need for such a bridge when there's hardly life there. Or is it?


Walking back towards Padang Tok Sheikh...


As we got back there, an elderly man who was early seen praying on the portion of rock known as Batu Sajadah have just completed his due. The rock is called Batu Sajadah (the prostration rock) because it is supposed to be the place where the legendary Sheikh Abdullah or Tok Sheikh was supposed to have done his prayers and plenty of prostration...


On the west of Padang Tok Sheikh is a short path leading to an edge of the mountain...


The view from the edge...


From there one could see the telecommunication tower that stood on the highest peak of Gunung Jerai. The Padang Tok Sheikh we saw stood just about 10-20 metres lower, I think...

Anyway, let me set the record straight. While officially, the stony clearing featured here is known as Padang Tok Sheikh with a sign-board set-up by the authorities to support the claim, some people familiar with the jungles and the way here swears that this is not the real Padang Tok Sheikh. The real Padang Tok Sheikh they said is more than a mile away at another peak of Gunung Jerai... And it is grassy, not stony...

Nevertheless, the Batu Sajadah at the place known officially as Padang Tok Sheikh is the right one used by the Tok Sheikh. And the stony clearing has been used by the venerable master and his followers to conduct many prayers and meet up. So whatever, I have arrived at a place strongly associated with the man and thus I feel this Kedah journey is now complete. Oh... I've taken a picture of the Batu Sajadah but decided to used it for my next posting in the blogspot CATATAN SI MERAH SILU , coming... So there...

As for the real Padang Tok Sheikh mentioned by the people who knows, God willing I will go there one day. Besides, I've unwittingly arrived at that place in a dream about a year ago but that is another story. Cheers! :]


3 comments:

fadz said...

slm, saya diberitahu oleh seorang tentang G. Jerai itu sebenarnya bukit siguntang yang dikenali sebagai tempat Wan Empu Wan Malini. Oleh sebab zamna dahulu manusia lebih tinggi, maka kerananya gunung bukan gunung tetapi 'bukit'. Wallahualam..

fadz said...

sila ke kelantan suatu hari nanti: http://fadliakiti.blogspot.com/2008/05/melawat-kelate-negeri-bersejarah.html

.::::::KhaLiFaH NiZaM::::::. said...

Salam,
Sebenarnya gunung jerai ni banyak menyimpan 1001 macam kisah misteri. Boleh dikatakan setiap minggu saya akan pergi ke Padang Tok Sheikh. Diharap sesiapa yang pergi kesana agar memberi salam dulu sebelum memasuki kawasan itu kerana kawasan itu adalah sebuah masjid. Batu-batu disitu mempunyai garis-garis seperti saf-saf dan mengadap kearah kiblat. Di bahagian sebelah bawah yg mengadap selat melaka itu adalah kawasan Masjid Putih(ghaib)..dibawah kawasan Masjid Putih itu terdapat sebuah gua dinamakan Gua Gajah(tempat bersuluk/khalwat/bertapa) mengabdi diri kepada Maha Pencipta) seperti cerita Ashabul Kahfi dalam al-quran. Sebenarnya sebelum Sheikh Abdullah Yaman sampai disana, Tok Sheikh Qadir telah sampai ke situ terlebih dahulu. Di depan gua sebelah kanan juga terdapat batu kapal...memang menakjubkan...sebiji macam bentuk kapal. Inilah bukti-bukti bahawa tempat ini sebenarnya telah didatangi orang 1000 thn sudah. Sebenarnya terdapat lebih 200 buah gua di gunung jerai. Sesiapa yang berhajat nak lihat sendiri gua gajah itu boleh hubungi saya di 0135844722.Tq