Ramadhan is here again. Praise Allah who has given us the blessing life so that we can experience it again.
This year, I have mixed up feelings about Ramadhan. Of course, I am happy because I get another chance to greet it, but I am also anxious about it because I might not do it justice. Self-pity is also present because it is my first Ramadhan spent far away from my family for this long. Yup, I’m still in Jogja and will still be here until the final days of this fasting month.
Why am I still here? Well, it’s not because of an unpleasant thing, really. I actually have quite a few jobs to do (yay!), among them teaching “English for Midwifery” at a midwifery academy in this city. I am grateful for it and it is fun. However, pleasure comes with sacrifice. I have to teach until late in July and miss out on spending almost the whole month of Ramadhan with my family. Consequence.
Next, I have a bundle of projects at hand including event organizing and my (neglected) arts & crafts projects. Debating and adjudicating is a routine activity. A few articles are pending on my writing list. I also have some books and a magazine to edit. I accepted a request to design a special outfit for my friend. It is imperative to make arrangements for my little brother’s college enrollment. Plus, there is a pile of my student’s homework, assignments, and tests waiting to be marked.
Hence, this blog has nearly reached its final breath. I checked my blog stats and they are atrocious.
So, it is more than appropriate for me to try to get at least half of the above done before I go home, right? It is totally impractical to manage everything from as far as Malaysia where I can’t even make an important phone call to my colleague without getting a headache from the phone bill.
But then Allah tests us in many ways. Fasting far away from the comfort of home (and the prospect of Mom’s delicious cooking) with work and projects to do is a challenge indeed. I have to learn how to teach in a classroom in the middle of the afternoon to inevitably hungry and unenergetic students while gathering the focus to forget my own hunger and be as lively as I can. On the other hand, I get to occupy the free time that I have to be productive instead of indulging myself in laziness while waiting for Magrib – when I can finally eat like crazy.
Waking up for Sahur is also challenging. Mom or Dad isn’t here to wake me up lovingly and patiently. There’s only my annoying and emotionless phone alarm blaring at 3 am in the morning. Then I drag my zombie-like body to make almost the same meal every day. Try having either instant noodles or rice & sardines with a glass of an oatmeal drink every day before dawn. It’s quite a picnic. I curse myself for being so pathetic at cooking. So, don’t ask me why I don’t prepare dinner at all. I go out to buy my meal at a local warung (kind of a small and simple place that serves traditional food) every day, half an hour before Magrib.
Anyway, the description above isn’t actually to complain. I actually find everything hilariously enjoyable. I face the prospect of Sahur with an ironic chuckle and breeze through it with little difficulty. I cherish dinner (even if I still drool at the thought of Mom’s cooking at home) and ravish whatever food I buy, however simple it is. But then again, I almost always finish my food (the exception is when I’m sick), every last grain of rice, even when I’m not fasting. I love food. I learn to cherish it more by fasting and I believe a lot of people get to do so as well.
Allah has promised us so many benefits from fasting: the virtue of patience, the blessing of health, the gift of empathy, the wisdom of charity, and so much more. I thank Allah for being able to fast without much difficulty. It is an opportunity to gain his blessing, achieve his ridho, and bring us closer to heaven (InsyaAllah).
I do hope that I can get all the benefits of Ramadhan and feel the long-awaited and craved sense of achievement from devotion, worship, and prayers. After a whole month of fasting during this holy month, it is said that Allah forgives our sins. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Whoever fasts during Ramadan with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven. Whoever prays during the nights in Ramadan with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven. And he who passes Lailat al-Qadr in prayer with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven (Bukhari, Muslim).”
We get a chance at a blank slate. A chance to renew ourselves. Start over.
Isn’t He indeed the most Merciful and most Compassionate?
Happy Fasting, everyone!