Start by looking at this picture... Jeng jeng jeng!!! Who would have thought in this no man's land in the state of Kelantan lies such a magnificent mosque... Come on, who would have thought, the beautiful mosque inside the area of Rong Chenok (Although it is beside Danau (the lake of) Tok Uban, the immediate locals say Tok Uban is on the other side), province of Pasir Mas was built by the Sultan of Brunei, the individual once said to be the world's richest man! Before his position in the list of wealth was taken over by Bill Gates, the owner of Microsoft...
Look at the inscriptions above (in Jawi)... The Mosque of Brunei Darussalam... At once I remembered the old kingdom of Samudera Darussalam founded by Sultan Malikus Salih in Aceh in the 13th century AD... Is there any connection?
What is sure, in the world history of Islam, the first place to use the name Darussalam is Madinah Darussalam, after it was ruled by Prophet Muhammad Rasulullah SAW... And in the Malay Archipelago, Samudera Darussalam is the first to be known with the name Darussalam which means abode of peace, also because the populace embraced Islam without being forced or having to wage war against. Then only came Pattani Darussalam, also Brunei Darussalam.
So what is the connection between all these? Enough if said, all these Darussalam places involve the presence of Ahlul Bait, the offsprings of the Prophet as competent rulers and administrators also as Islamic missionaries who brought peace wherever they go!
For information, not many people know the mosque even existed. The road to get there is also rather difficult meandering through backwater villages, quite far from any main road. To get inside is already a problem... Why go through all the trouble to built such a beautiful mosque in such a place? Even the name Rong Chenok sounds very funny, almost sounding like tenuk, the Malay word for the rather funny-looking animal known as tapir.
Oh... For those who don't know about Danau Tok Uban, do have a look at Now, Danau Tok Uban...
There... The mosque's commemorative plaque written in Jawi... Try to read it yourself.... I can only clarify the Brunei Darussalam Mosque was built in 1992 along with a religious college (the mosque is within a Quran learning college yard) in the name of the late Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin, father to the present Sultan of Brunei. And it was officiated by the Sultan of Kelantan!
After studying the plaque, there came the urge to put up the "Berpetualang ke Aceh" poster here! In fact it was left up there as long as I was at the mosque until noon the next day. Who on earth would look at this poster when the place is so off the beaten tracks and hardly receive any visitor?
It happens that when I arrived Friday afternoon, a group of school-teachers, their families and students have just arrived for a small dining function at the college-owned rest-houses beside the mosque. You can say, it was the first time most of them stepped foot at Danau Tok Uban although all of them came from Pasir Mas!
At the same time, one can see small children running up and down happily exploring every nook and cranny of the mosque. That's when I realised there's a spiralling staircase to get to the top... What do you expect I did... Like a monkey given a tree to climb do I become... Hehe!
The mosque's tower as could be captured with a cheap digital camera without wide view...
The jetty besides the mosque for Danau Tok Uban seen from an angle which could only be taken by 'monkeys' like me. Others who saw where I was then immediately felt queasy... What the heck? Is this guy mad perching up like that at the corner of the mosque??
Praise be to God! It's obvious Danau Tok Uban looks much more beautiful seen from the Brunei Mosque compared to from the other side!
Oh... Forgot to tell. Actually, as soon as I saw the Brunei Mosque from the taxi taken at Pasir Mas, immediately I felt a kind of electrical current rushing through the body. Ah... I had another deja vu... The overall design of the mosque, its surrounding, in fact the small gates also the rest houses besides have already been seen in a dream or a vision long ago... Not sure when but I did saw all of these although physically, that is the first time I got there!
What is the meaning of all this? Ah... Relax... Let there be a bit of suspense... Haha!
The mimbar (small building for giving sermons) with the dome above reminded me of war headgear worn by Muslim warriors of old... Maybe there is a connection here?
As it is, that night, one of the college's religious teacher came with a student to see me. They want to find out who I really was... Lawyer? Magistrate? Or just Kasim Selamat! (Sorry, only those who followed the Malay movies acted by P. Ramlee would understand the pun). Because the visitors (the Pasir Mas folk who rented the rest-houses) were worried with the presence of an unknown figure... Are they scared I might be a thief or a gangster?
Ah... I am used to all these. In fact along this current travel, many thought I was a member of the police Special Branch from Bukit Aman, some even thought I was military intellegence who came in disquise to observe the going-ons around... Even if I say I'm not, some of them had already made their conclusions... Where does exist anyone so brave the way I look with confidence and all venturing deep inside other people's territories alone all by himself unless he is connected to the authorities?
Whatever, the teacher was relieved after examining my identity card and making a little interview. What is interesting is the interview made at another level using spiritual means... It seems the young religious teacher who might not have reach his 40s is not just a nobody. Of course... Would you sent a 'zero' to meet a stranger who could be dangerous to you?
In our conversation, I was frank enough to admit I like to visit the graves and tombs of saints, royalty and related places all to study the Malay Islamic history especially those related to family. I know the teacher was also verifying me spiritually to see if I'm telling the truth or not...
What's interesting is when the teacher admitted, the mosque in fact the whole Danau Tok Uban is situated within an ancient walled city which could still be seen using the spiritual eye... Hmm... Can't talk much about this. Enough if it's said inside Danau Tok Uban, there's plenty of treasures of old, plenty plenty... Said the teacher, there are those who tried to pull out the treasure with no success. What's interesting, he knows that the treasure is meant for the expenses incurred for the end of times war... Hmm... Enough...
Oh, to answer questions by readers especially from Kak Tim, what is the relationship betwen Brunei and Kelantan... La... Thought most already knew... Isn't the Sultan of Kelantan said to have originated from the offsprings of Sayyid Hussein Jamadil Kubra, the head of the group of Wali Tujuh (the seven saints) who came to the Malay lands in 14th century AD? The Sultan of Brunei dsecends from the Sharif of Mekah whose genealogy reaches up to Saidina Hassan, the eldest granchild of Rasulullah SAW! Each came from the blood of the Prophet Muhammad SAW... Allahumasali ala Muhammad wa ala ali Muhammad!
Now think what is the relations between all these... Where did the progenies of the Prophet met in the Malay Archipelago such that the Sultan of Brunei was called to built a mosque here after experiencing a dream... Another story said, there's an old folk in Rong Chenok who had the same dream three days in a row and so sought ways to meet the Sultan of Brunei just to relate the message from the dream.
Whatever, the mosque was built after someone (maybe many?) had a mysterious dream full of questions. What is sure, the existence of the Brunei Mosque in this backwater place raised much curiousity and so became the reason and excuse for some parties to meet and get to know each other here. Fuh... Suddenly the name Tok Kenali came to mind... (The nick-name of the famous late Kelantanese saint rhymes with the Malay word for getting to know, that is mengenali)
OK... Enough ya... I've spent plenty of time writing this... Must go and leave Alor Setar soon... Suddenly came to mind the teacher who interviewed me and his student, both originated from Kulim. As if asking me to go there next (which I did as I'm writing this English translation in Kulim at night!)... God willing, we'll meet again another time. Peace!