Note to readers: This post came about as a result of my reading “Ramadhan in Malaysia” at Rocky’s Bru. This is possibly the top socio-political blog in Malaysia (The owner is Ahirudin Atan, who is a former editor of Malay Mail; and who is currently being sued by the NSTP media group). I had started on a comment there, but then ran out of time. So, I’m starting a new post here and hope to continue with it later. (Written on the first day of Ramadhan 2008)
“The wonders of Ramadhan. In the name of Allah, the most merciful and the most kind, may we feel the magic and have the answers to our questions, too.” (Quote from Rocky’s Bru)
I like those sentences so much that I’m quoting them here.
Let’s delve a bit into things spiritual – There is “a certain power” to your sentences, Ahirudin, for they have gotten me into a retrospective mood. I feel that I have to write something … leave a trace of “I was here”, and use this as the main substance in a post at my own humble blog (less than 300 clicks).
I’m leaving anything and everything about politics and whatever else “that are not important” and write a bit about the above.
This is Ramadhan 2008 … I’m purposely using the Roman calendar instead of the traditional Arabic even if it might be `more proper’ (whatever that means).
“The wonders of Ramadhan … may we feel the magic and have the answers to our questions, too.”‘
YES, I have witnessed it, and have felt it a few times during my life!
And the surprising thing is that, I was supposedly in `the wrong places’ then!… in PRISON and in a PUSAT SERENTI! Ramadhan 2005 and Ramadhan 2006 … How I still remember the two, and yearn for the moments again.
Ramadhan 2004 and those before – They came and went just like that, for during those moments, I was at or near to “spiritual brankruptcy”. There couldn’t be much spiritualism inside me – or anyone else too for that matter – when the self was filled with drugs or alcohol.
In that state, Ramadhan was the month “to be feared” … hoping that it’ll just end “fast enough” so I could go back to eating, drinking and smoking publicly as before. Ramadhan was such a “big obstacle” and “nuisance” … The were even the thinking and feeling at times of “Damn those non-Muslims; they can eat, drink and smoke anytime they like!”
What an ignorant dolt and munafiqin I had turned into – of having become a “spiritual derelict”. In 2004, I didn’t fast at all – not even for one day! The years from 1999 to 2003 were almost similar too; of fasting for maybe four days at the most. Ya Allah, how could I have turned into such?… of menzalimi diri sendiri (doing wrong to one’s self)?
But Ramadhan 2005 was different – I was in the third month of remand at the Pengkalan Chepa prison, which many say is the harshest prison in Malaysia.
However, `something’ happened to me on the eve of that Ramadhan: I made the decision to change my self and life for the better. It wasn’t “a moment of inspiration when `something’ clicked”. No, for me it was more of my making the conscious and purposeful effort to think about it, and force myself “to be willing” … of surrendering to God. I no longer wanted to continue to be “the master of myself” – let God be The Master.
I’m probably confusing those who are reading this. I don’t know how to explain this, really. It might seem like “leaving things to God and not doing anything”. That’s not exactly right – It was more of “You, God, know what is best for me; so please let things be as such, and NOT what I want now” (which might not actually be the best deal).
To reap the magic from Ramadhan, specifically in fasting, one must also not neglect the five compulsory daily prayers. And the latter was something that I had neglected to do too.
I remember the guy who got me to think and make the decision – Kashah, a guy from Langgar, Kota Bharu in his early 30’s (he was later sent to Pusat Serenti Raub). In that room of 40 people (classroom size), like me, he didn’t pray too.
On that afternoon, he came over and smilingly asked: “So, how will this puasa be?” I answered that, Yes, I WILL fast. Then he asked: “But what about praying?… There’s no `kemanisan’ (sweetness) when the fasting is not done with praying too”.
Kashah, THANKS for coming up to me that day, and getting me to feel guilty and THINK. And spurring me to do something about it.
And the decision that I made was … I will start to pray five times daily AND fast. This decision – and implementing it – went a long way in making Ramadhan 2005, and the following Ramadhan 2006, memorable months … there were magical moments, and I had the answers to some of the very important questions concerning my life. (Have to stop. Might continue with this at my blog later).
But THANKS, Ahirudin, for coming up with those sentences – They have a magic of their own!