Today is Tuesday, 23rd of August. It is the 23rd day of Ramadhan. There is more or less 7 days before Ramadhan comes to an end. Indeed, Ramadhan is the month of peace and serenity. Ramadhan is the month of personal change. Ramadhan is a blessed month of all. It is a national celebration for Muslims in Malaysia and international celebration (ihtifal) for the Muslim citizens in the world.
The blessedness of Ramadhan is felt by everybody, regardless of age, status, religion and ethnicity. Kids are the happiest ones, especially when the iftar comes. They just squeeze themselves in to join the iftar with their parents even though they are not fasting. The orphans and the poor are among the fortunate. Since our economy is doing fairly well, many corporate companies hosted iftar for the orphans. Some rich companies gave them pocket monies to spend on during festive day. The poor also is blessed with God’s providence. I watched tv the other day, there is one old man who was literally cried after receiving some monies from these companies, thanking them profusely while the tears of joy flowing down the check.
Most interesting of all is non-Muslim. Non-Muslims in Malaysia also welcomed Ramadhan with great anticipation and enthusiasm. This is more noticeable when you visit eateries and restaurants. They just don’t want to miss the opportunity trying assortment of foods and dishes specially prepared for iftar. They do join the iftar with other Muslims… hey, they don’t eat OK… until the call of azan is heard. They follow the ritual: when there is azan, they take the date first, that’s the funny part, then drink the water and do the rest of the routine-wolfing down the foods till finished.
I have chances witnessing this event myself. One was in the Double Three The Intermark and the other experience was in Putrajaya Cruise. In fact, the number of Muslim and non-Muslims having iftar there were almost equal. This is an interesting feature of our great country. We do live side by side, respecting each other, tolerating differences, and above all enjoying the great foods coming from the Above.
Above all, Ramadhan is a serious month for a serious Muslim who is determined to have personal change. It is the time we stop every “bad attitudes” we used to practice and replace with “positive and more Islamic attitudes” lacking in our selves. Apart from the fasting itself, we should beautify the Ramadhan with the prayer of tarawih, at least 8 rakaat, then recitation of Qur’an, zikir, istighfar at least 100 times a day, and most important one is qiamullail every night if possible. I always believe that the beauty of Islam lies at how it organizes Muslims life. There is no other religion in the world as far as I know, that made fasting compulsory for the whole month. The injunction is every adult Muslims must fast with exception for the sick, the expectant, the breastfeeding mother, the travellers and lady with menses. So, Ramadhan creates a kind of celebratory mood in the entire nation, and welcomed by all people from all walks of life. Even non-practicing Muslims would have felt the presence of Ramadhan! It touches the heart of every living mankind.
In our Tradition, Ramadhan is ended with the coming of Syawal; Hari Raya Aidilfitri. Syawal marks the end of Ramadhan as well as a celebration for our success in completing the injunction of Allah, the fasting. For Imam al-Ghazali, it is a symbolic day, the day we meet our Lord in the Day of Judgment and we are granted His greatest forgiveness (maghfirah) thereafter attaining the success of entering the jannah. Thus, Syawal is the month of offering forgiveness, precisely mutual forgiveness. Even though the act of forgiveness is not confined to only this month, yet it becomes more profound and urgent in this blessed month, the Syawal.
Therefore, to all friends known and unknown, close and afar, I would like to ask for your kind forgiveness for anything I have done openly or secretly, something that might offend or hurt you in any way, either by act, spoken word even by simple gestures. Please do forgive me. Life is much easier when the painful pasts or the hurtful words are replaced with forgiveness if not complete banishment from the thought. Forgiveness eases pain, unburdens heavy heart and dispels emotional and spiritual toxicity polluting our peace of mind and heart. Indeed, Allah is the Most Forgiving. Prophet is teaching forgiveness even for someone who wants to kill him. We as the Prophet’s ummah, let’s spread forgiveness to the whole mankind.
Wallahu’alam..with love, Nur Izzati Shafii