Assalamualaykum wr. wb.
(This story is translated in english based on the narrated and written version of his autobiography by the Habib on his personal blog)
In memory of the late Habib Munzir Almusawa ( Goodbye my best friend , the disciple of our best teacher AlMusnid Habib Umar Al - Hafidh , may we soon follow you to meet the Prophet [peace Upon Him] )
Praise be to God, in his tausiyah [message], Habib Munzir Al Musawa said that he would meet the Prophet before he reaches of 40 years.
Habib Munzir open his message after saying greeting as follow:
"May Happiness and His tranquil Grace be overshadow your day today .... "
Dear my respected Brothers:
I was considered an overindulgent child by my father as he used to pamper me more than the others. However, once reached puberty, I instead dropped out of school. All of my siblings inaugurated and my mom and dad were proud of them, but disappointed in me , because I was lazy at school. I preferred to attend Mawlid [a gathering to praise the prophet Muhammad PBUH] of the late Al-habib Umar ibn Hud Alalttas, as well as thursday afternoon study in Bogor. At that time the teaching was lead by the late Al-habib Hussein bin Abdullah bin Muhsin Al-Attas who taught Fathul Baari.
The rest of my days was spent by reciting shalawat a thousand times each day and night, saying dzikr thousand times, performing the fasting of prophet Dawud, and long hours of evening prayer. I was unemployed and had made my parents embarrassed.
My father had spent ten years in Mecca to study. His teacher was the late Allamah Alhabib Al
Alwi Al Maliki, father of the late Assayyid Allamah Muhammad bin Alwi Al Maliki (a scholar at Mecca's Masjidil Haram). My father also studied in US, where he got his bachelor degree in Journalisms at New York University in NYC.
My father was embarrassed, as he was well educated in religion and nonreligion, but I was not.
He once said to me: "What do you want to be?, If religion is what you want to pursue, then learn and seek knowledge overseas (become an expert), if you want to pursue the world's living then (also) study abroad. But, my advice is you seek religious knowledge. I have learned both of them , and I found no benefit of what people are flattering of western states. Even though I've graduated from New York University, still I could not be successful in the world without deceits, greed, or mutual hanky in the department, and I avoided them all"
My father lived simple life in town of Cipanas, Cianjur Puncak in West Java. He was happy to be alone, away from the capital, and to raise his children, to teach his children to read and recite Al-Qur'an, to recite Ratib, and to perform congregational prayers.
I seemed to have disappointed my mother as well, as she once be said : "Neither (be successful) in this Dunya (world), nor in the Akheerah (the day after)".
But I truly loved the Messenger of Allah, crying to see him, and often times were visited by the Prophet SAW in dreams, where the Prophet always comforted me when I was sad. In one of my dreams one day, I was kneeling down in front of him and was hugging his knees and said:
"O Messenger of Allah, I miss you, do not leave me again, let blind my eyes so I can see you, or let me off as I am tormented in this world ..."
The messenger SAW patted my shoulder and said: "Munzir, calm down, before reaching 40 years of your age you will meet me"
Then I woke up .....
Eventually my father retired so my mother built a small 5-room inn in the spacious front yard we had and let good guests to spend some nights there for us to make a living. I then became a busboy or the bellboy of our family's inn"
I rarely slept at most nights, sitting at simple reception area filled with furniture of chairs and a small table which look more like a security booth while waiting for guests to come. I did tafakkur, contemplate, daydream, dhikr, or cry while praying or performing night prayers. From one night to another I passed it like this.
One day while doing fasting of prophet Dawud I fell sick due my severe asthma which made my parents were even more frustrated. My mother said: "People say, in having children there must be one who fails, but I don't not want to believe in this, but isn't a truth?"
I continued to be a waitress at the inn to greet guests, to install sheets, to sweep rooms, to clean toilets, to provide meals and beverage ordered by guests, either it is a cup of tea, coffee, water, white, or sometimes my mom's fried rice if any guest orders it.
Once all of my big brothers and sister graduated from universities, I became excited to stay at an islamic boarding school. I then went to a boarding school of Habib Umar bin Abdurrahman Assegaf in southern Jakarta's Bukit Duri, but only for two months as I couldn't stand it and fell sick easily because my asthma continued to relapse. I went back home.
This disappointed my father furthermore and saddened my mother. I just took some private lessons such as Arabic language courses at Assalafi under the leadership of late Habib Bagir Alattas, whose his son Hood Alattas now often comes to our class at Masjid Al-Munawwar.
I had to go back and forth between Jakarta and Cipanas twice a week, which takes about 2-3 hours to commute one way, and had to pay the fare by myself, where I earned the money from wage as result of working at the Inn.
I was always present in Maulid at the place of Al Arif Billah Alhabib Omar ibn Hood Alattas where was in Cipayung at that time. When I didn't have money to pay for bus ticket, I rode in truck and often get wet in rain.
I often came to his place friday night in a soaking wet just to get expelled by his house guard for fearing to stain the habib's clean thick and expensive carpet. I did not want make them dirty and wet, so I had to stand alone seeking a shelter under a tree outside the house until the rain stopped falling and after many guests had arrived. Once there was rain no more, I just sat outside on the terrace with wet shirt and fear of rebuked by the guards.
I often visited the shrine of Al Habib Husein bin Abubakar Alaydrus at Luar Batang (a place in Jakarta). One day I forgot to bring my skull cap, because I came directly from Cipanas. I thought to myself, "O God, I come this far as a guest of Your friend, it would be unrespectful if I'm in a pilgrimage without cap. I'm very hungry but my money is barely enough (to buy food). if I buy a cap, I cannot eat and I will not have enough money for bus fare to bring me home".
So I decided to buy a green cap, which is the cheapest one sold by a street vendor nearby.
I bought it and get a pilgrimage while reading surah Yaasin chapter of the Koran.
I mourned my life due to full of uncertainties, disappointing parents, and always away from family relatives, as always bullied. They said: "All your big brothers are successful. Your father is a graduate of Mecca and New York University, how come you're just being a busboy at the inn?".
So I started avoiding relatives, even during Eid I rarely dare to come, because it would continue terrorizing me with bullies and fear of scorns. Consequently, in tears I also thought to myself,
"O Allah, I am your guest, I buy a cap to pay respect to your pious custodian (Wali), surely you are the most generous and glorify your guests. I'm hungry and do not have enough money to buy bus ticket to go home"
Then in my stare, a group of friends which I'd known them from the boarding school of Habib Omar bin Abdurrahman Assegaf came with a car. They were happy to see me and I immediately was offered food for free. I immediately thought of this must be a blessing for doing a good manner at the shrine of the saint.
I was asked whom I came with and where to go. I told them that I am alone and just want to go my mother's relative in Pasar Sawo Kebon Nanas (an area in South Jakarta). Then they said:
"Come together with us, we will drop you in Kebon Nanas." . So I immediately thanked to God, because certainly I did not have enough money to go back to Cipanas. I arrived late at night at the residence of my mother's aunt in Kebon Nanas. The next day I was given enough money to go home. I immediately returned to Cipanas. One moment later I prayed, "O God, please bring me to a teacher that most beloved by your messenger".
Not long after that, I went to boarding school of Al Habib Nagib bin Hamid bin Sheikh Abubakar in East Bekasi. Every time I came for Maulid and during qiyam I wept and prayed to God that I miss the Prophet saw, and ask to meet with teachers and followers of the Prophet saw. A few months later, came a teacher, the Noble Al-Musnid Al Allama Al Habib Omar bin Hafidh, to the boarding school. That was his first visit which was in 1994.
After delivering his lecture, he glanced at me sharply. I just cried staring at the serene face, and when he was up onto the car with the late Al-habib Umar Maulakhaila, the noble teacher called Habib Nageeb Bin Hamid Sheikh Abu Bakr and said that he wanted me sent to the city of Tarim, Hadramaut in Yemen to learn and become one of his disciples.
My teacher, habib Nagib bin sheikh Abubakar said that I was not yet ready, did not know Arabic yet, just a new student and does not know any islamic studies, and asked him if he might be mistaken. The noble teacher pointing at me: "That young man who wears green cap..! , yes, he’s the one I am looking for..." .
My then teacher, habib Nagib, then called me to meet the noble teacher who then asked from the inside car where the door was still open: " What is your name ? " He asked in Arabic, of course. I could not answer it because I did not understand. My teacher Habib Nagib said: "You are asked what is your name... ". I told him my name, and the noble teacher smiled.
The next day I met the noble teacher again at the residence of the late Habib Bagir Al-Atthas. Many of the habaib and scholars offered their sons or students to be students of the noble teacher. The honorable teacher nodded a few times while in quandary being besieged by the mass. The noble teacher saw me in distance , and he said to the late Sayyid Omar Maulakhaila : " That young man.. make note .. do not forget. That one wearing green cap ..! "
Once the Noble teacher had returned to Yemen, I immediately was old by my teacher Nageeb bin sheikh Abubakar: " Munzir, you should get ready to prepare and study very hard, you're asked to leave, and you will not leave before completion (of your study)... "
Two months later came the late Sayyid Omar Maulakhaila to our boarding school and asked Nageeb: "Where is Munzir son of Fuad al Musawa? He should depart this week , I am tasked to embark him". Habib Nageeb said that I was not ready yet, but sayyid Umar Maulakhela insistently replied: "I do not want to know, his name is listed to have to leave , this is a request of Al-Habib Umar bin Hafidh. He should leave in two weeks, along with the first group .. "
I prepared my passport etc., but my dad was hesitant. He said : "You get sick easily. I won’t be worry if you go to Mecca , because a lot of my friends there, but to Hadramaut? with no contacts, and i a barren land, what if you are sick?, Who will be your guarantor? "
I went to late Alhabib Al-Arif billah Habib Omar bin Hood Alattas, which was already very old at the time, telling my father’s concern. He said : " Tell your father, I will be your guarantor. Go on! " I told my father and my father was just silent. In his heart, he was still reluctant to allow me to leave. When I was about to leave to the airport, my dad did not want to see my face, throwing her face away and would only give his hand without looking at my face. I was disappointed but I kept stepping toward the shuttle bus I was going to ride. Once I got on and the bus was going, I felt the urge to turn back, I saw from distance my dad was still standing there at our house’s gate and crying ... Watching my leaving, he waved to say goodbye, but apparently he still acquiesced, but not because he did not let me go, but because I was loved and an indulged kid, he had hard time to separate from me. I left with sad tears.
I arrived at the residence of the Noble teacher in the city Tarim in Hadramaut in Yemen. He checked the attendance list and when we got to my name, he looked at me and smiled beautifully.
Soon after, a civil war broke between northern and southern Yemen. We’re in southern Yemen and with food supply reduced and was scarce, with no electricity, we used to walk as far as 3 to 4 km to class because even though our noble teacher had car, in this war the gasoline supply was minimal.
One day my noble teacher glanced at me and said, " Your name is Munzir ( Munzir = a person to give warning) ". I nodded. He then said: " You will give a warning to your congregation later!"
So I was pensive and echoing his speech: " You're going to give a warning to your congregation later ...? I will have followers?“
I was so poor even to wash clothes I did not have any money to buy detergent. I'd washed my friends’ clothes in exchange that I could borrow the used detergent , but I was rebuked: " your wash is not clean! Let others do the laundry." So I had to reuse the water flowed past their laundries, reusing the soapy water to wash my laundry.
Day by day the noble teacher got busier, so I began to serve him, and even chose to help his students’ issues, like their food, drink, places to stay and all the their household problems. I kept loyal to help their generous teacher so I could see him more often.
After two years in Yemen (1996), my father fell sick and called me. He said from the the other side of the phone: "When do you come home, my son? , I miss you". I answered : "After two years, insha'Allah, father.” My father replied sadly: ".. Duh .. still a long time ", and he hung up. Three days later, my father died.
I cried. Sad. Really, if I had known the last time I saw him would be when I was leaving him. Even though he threw his face away when I kissed his hand , he apparently still followed me out of the room, out of the house , and stood at the door of the house while waving his hands and shed tears.... , O father.. If I knew that was the last time I saw him.
Sure enough, I went back to Indonesia , precisely in 1998 to begin missionary (da'wah mission) in Cipanas, but it less evolved. I then began preaching in Jakarta. I lived and and kept moving from house to house of my students, which also my companions. The assembly every Tuesday night was still from house to house. The students were older than me , and they’re mostly laymen (grass-root), so even though I was sitting down to teach, they’re yet to come. I was just waiting for them to come. Only tens of them came and upon their arrival, they said : " Take it easy Bib, let us smoke first, let us slurp our coffee first... ?". I had to wait until they’re done and satisfied.
The congregation grew bigger, not enough from home to home , we then also moved from a mosque to another mosque. There were more worshipers, and when a mosque was not enough it started moving to another mosque.
One day when I opened a session, I began to settle on every Monday night at the Al Munawar mosque. While the number of people in this new congregation only filled the quarter size of the mosque, I said, "The congregation will be bigger and bigger, the mosque will be half full, then full and people spill outside. The mosque will be very full, Insha Allah". People said ameen.
Letterhead stationery started being produced, invitations were sent to many people, but yet the organization had not been given a name, and I felt no need to have a name for the organization. They suggested I name it “Pengajian Habib Munzir”, but I refused, and settled with the name “Majelis Rasulullah” instead.
Majelis Rasulullah now has millions of followers, in the Jabodetabek (Jakarta, Bogor, Tangerang, Depok, Bekasi), West Java, Banten, Central Java, East Java, Bali, Mataram, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Papua, Singapore, Malaysia, even to Japan. One of them yesterday was present at our Haul Badr forum at Monas, a Professor from Japan who was an associate professor over there. He came to Indonesia not only to study the social culture, but also because he desperately wanted to see me. He was one of my loyal visitors to our website, in particular the English version.
God is so great awards on those who love the Prophet, who missed the Messenger of Allah ...
That early start by this sinful slave, until we got this great forum and place. I am now 38 years (in 2010) of age if calculated in Hijri (Lunar calendar), and 37 years old in AD calculation (solar calendar). I was born Friday morning on 19 Muharram 1393 H , or February 23, 1973 M.
The prophet and messenger 's message (as he told me in my dream) says that I would meet him right before I reach 40 years old. Now 1431 H, probably before 19 Muharram 1433 H I would meet him, but what God will add to this sinful age ..?
Allah knows best.
The deepest longing greetings to you .
Note from translator:
40 days later after the Habib's death, his old aunty followed him at age 90 years old to face to their Creator. His aunty's name is Halimah Assa'diyah binti Hasyim Al-Musawa. When her aunty was dying, the habib's youngest sister dreamed, where in her dream she saw his brother, the Habib, was holding his aunty's hand and they were walking to somewhere.