I have yet to enjoy true Puasa.
But Puasa in Malaysia I enjoyed the LEAST, because of it’s “Pesta Makan” and all the culture/adat/common practice things.
When I just came back from the US, I was invited by a relative for a small Majlis Berbuka Puasa. After breaking fast, it was up to us if any of us wanted to pray Maghrib. Then there was a DVD Movie show.
After that I totally avoid Majlis Berbuka Puasa until today.
The one I enjoyed the most was when I was working on the road that covered all over the south east of USA (the company, Integrated Instruments, sells, services, and calibrates pipettes) from one medical centre to another. In early 1994.
We would sahur and break fast in hotel’s room most of the time. But the tarawikh at Masjids were the ultimate joy.
The first tarawikh was in Houston. 300 people. I was very fortunate that my first experience watching a Hafiz performed, he was a great hafiz. Excellent reading, a natural, everything. Hakeem Olajuwon was among the makmum. Other hafiz I met afterwards were all downhill compared to that one in Houston. Especially the one that ran in Permatang Pauh.
There was also a dinner at Arlington with Bosnian war refugees. Just bread and some vege. Those refugees would die in shock if they ever saw Malaysians breaking fast! Most Malaysians just don’t get the point!
I ended up visiting and performed tarawikh at 17 different masjids during that time. Met a lot of people. Many kinds of Arabs. Malaysians, too. Tablighs. Etc..
At Texas A & M University in College Station one Friday, during Friday prayer, a guest senior Imam from the Middle East (also a hafiz) gave the khutbah in Arabic. Between the two khutbahs, another Arab stood up to give translation. But he didn’t say anything. Then he sat back down and cried. Another Arab stood up and gave the translation.
That morning during Subuh prayer, our Muslim brothers were slaughtered by the Israelis using machine guns inside Masjid Ibrahim in Hebron, Palestine, while performing the Subuh prayer! Then we (non-Arabic speaking makmums) realized why the first Arab couldn’t translate for us. Our sadness and anger were beyond words. After the Friday prayer, everybody didn’t say much. A lot were crying softly. Too overwhelmed. Some of those who died were their blood brothers and close relatives. My working partner was also from Hebron. He knew some of those who died.
Then someone stood up announcing a collection for the bereaved family. Immediately, EVERYBODY would reach inside their pockets and actually gave money! Some would take out their checkbooks and wrote down checks. I’ll never forget that.
Then I moved on to Atlanta, Georgia. The land of Coca-Cola, CNN, among others. To protest the Hebron massacre, the Muslims there organized a calm public demonstration in the middle of Atlanta downtown, complete with banners and PA system. Escorted by the police, it was on a Sunday. The parade ended with the Asr prayer on the Green, led by a Black Muslim. I think I was the only Malaysian there. Atlanta is a huge city.
During the Friday prayer there, an Indian Muslim was the Khatib. Talking about the massacre, he said “to me I am a Muslim first, Indian second. That’s why when a Muslim is murdered, I feel the pain. If I were an Indian first, a Muslim second, then I will not feel that pain when a Muslim is killed. Instead I will feel the pain when an Indian is killed.”
So today I walked on this earth a different man than when I was when I first step foot on that “land of the free.”
Like a friend once wrote, “perayaan sebenar adalah Ramadhan.” Hari Raya Aidil Fitri is only one day. Shawal is one month. And Hari Raya is supposed to celebrate the success of performing the fasting. How successful are we in performing the fasting? Did we reach the ultimate goal of fasting?
So what is PUASA? Khurma? Zakat Fitrah? Majlis Berbuka Puasa? Balik cepat? Langsir baru? Open House?
Ceria selalu? Rasulullah s.a.w. pernah bertembung dengan para sahabat yang sedang berbual dengan berketawa. Rasulullah s.a.w. pun berkata, “Andainya engkau tahu apa yang aku tahu, tentulah engkau tidak akan ketawa, tetapi menangis.”
Tepuk dada tanya iman.
That’s all too much for this first Friday morning Ramadhan 1425H.