Marhaban yaaa Ramadhan.
The Holy Month of Ramadhan is here and again, my family and I are blessed to have the opportunity to enjoy the best month in the whole year in our religion.
This will be our fifth Ramadhan here in New York City.
I have been wanting to have my Ramadhan for 2018 at home in Indonesia, always specially prepare this festive yet spiritually solemn month, but apparently that's is not the case.
So we are ready to enjoy this special month in the Big Apple, observing longer days at the end of spring and beginning of summer.
When we arrived in NYC in 2014, we started the fasting month in July. As the Islamic calender is shorter than the lunar year, we approximately have 13 days shorter every year. That’s why the beginning of Ramadhan is always changing every year.
We started our shaum or sawm or fasting with early breakfast or meal before dawn, at 3.15 AM and stopped at 4.07 AM, when Adzan for Fajr, our first praying of the day, commenced. Later on we will break the fasting when the sun sets, or maghrib, at 8.05 PM at the first week of Ramadhan and up to 8.38 PM at the end of it.
Some of you might have questioned what Ramadhan is.
Why it is important and special for Moslems and what exactly we do during Ramadhan.
One thing for sure, Ramadhan starts by the first confirmed sighting of the new moon and it lasts for about 29 days.
Ramadhan itself is the ninth month in the Islamic Calendar, coming after Shaban and before Shawwal.
In Ramadhan, moslems are expected to be a better, faithful worshipper by implying self-restrain. We are trying to get closer to Allah SWT by fully observing His teachings and avoiding unnecessary physical and spiritual 'toxic' of the world.
Shaum or fasting itself is one of the pillars in Islam, which consists of, first the declaration of faith to Allah SWT, 5-times-a-day prayers, fasting in Ramadhan, paying zakat fitrah or charity, and performing pilgrimage or hajj in Mecca.
I know we have been exposed to so many sad and shocking news related to Islam and moslems in different parts of the world. With terrorists' attacks here and there, including in my home town. Some of them try to link it with Islam, but as a moslem myself, I cannot justify any violent acts taken in the name of religion.
That is not Islam, which teaches us peace, compassion, patience and peaceful coexistence with others as well.
One thing for sure, I take Ramadhan as the perfect time to purify my soul.
To be a better person, for myself, my family, my community and eventually to the world.
I hope this holy month will bring us peace, kindness and compassion.
I will be sharing more about this Holy Month and see you on the next post.
And for all my moslem sisters and brothers wherever you are, Ramadhan Kareem.