Ramadhan 1437: Part 2

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My previous post titled Ramadhan 1437 was originally made to share my experience fasting, sahur, and iftar-ing in Utah. Dunno how melencong ke tempat lain pulak 😅 but that’s okay. I still have too many things to share. Not just on Ramadhan, but on summer too. And one more post is never a bad thing.

Ramadhan di bumi asing (acah je 😜), tipu laa if i said there wasn’t any difference. But honestly, the differences that I expected was just less food, i mean no bazaar and air jagung (corn juice) and roti john right, non-berjemaah tarawih, longer extra hot day, and… that’s it. Which after several monologue and pujuk diri, I was capable to make up my mind that it’s gonna be okay. It is, so far. But little did I know, the test wasn’t that easy.

Ramadhan this year, doesn’t feel like Ramadhan that much. The vibe I mean. You know when it’s few days or weeks to Ramadhan and we already start counting, on tv, media social and everywhere, and there’s already ads on baju raya, kuih raya, ribena, and whispers of yusoof taiyoub, especially yusoof taiyoub, and we’re sooo excited like we’ve been waiting all year long for this guest to come? I didn’t feel it. You know the feel of wanting to do good and improve yourself all the time, to grab all the goodness and multiple rewards? I didn’t feel it that much. Also, the feel of going to bazaar, seeing all the food and people, preparing iftaar, in masjid, home, restaurant, or just anywhere? I. DIDNT. FEEL. IT. 😭

Sorry, I’m not trying to be a whiny 7 year old kid here, mengeluh je. I’m not 😔 It’s just kinda sad that I’m missing all the Ramadhan vibe and it’s … Ramadhan kot! But it’s not all day all bad in here. Life is a balance, we lose something, we get something.

Almost everyday Janah and I had our iftaar in alia/sahi/hanna’s place. And they’re awesome cooks, tip top! Tak tipu. From nasi tomato, nasi ayam, kuey teow ladna, steak, pizza, buah melaka, kuih ketayap, cheesecake, chocolate moist cake, roti jala, buttermilk chicken, spaghetti garlic sauce, soto, you name it. There’s none of their food that I haven’t said “sedapnyaaaa” thirty times while eating. I should make a video of them cooking and baking one day. I spent so many nights at their place, even the menu I listed for me to cook during Ramadhan had only been crossed three times 😂 (because i’m so malas liddat). After iftar, we stayed at their place, and usually not sleep until sahur. Hence, the eye bag.

That’s one about food. We also had Potluck Iftaar and Tarawih every Saturday. The first one was bbq at the boys’, with spaghetti carbonara by mui, bubur pulut hitam (black glutinous rice porridge) by alia, pavlova by sahi , ketupat sotong by ety, tom yam by syaffman (sedap gila), and so many more. The second one was at Afiq’s with lontong by alia as main menu. Other people brought soto, tauhu sumbat with kuah kacang, roti jala, chocolate moist cake, buah melaka, and so many more. The third will be explained explicitly soon (wink wink). The fourth and last one is coming this Saturday at Ensign Peak 😍 There’s gonna be a little hike, but why not?? I am so excitedly looking forward to that.

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Afiq’s place. Sahi’s snapchat. Teleng laa kepala tu kalau nak tengok 😜

We never had a chance to experience tarawih in masjid/surau yet. But Afiq has been iftaar-ing with us for eight days straight before he went back to malaysia. Having someone to lead us in maghrib and isyak (and sometimes subuh too!) is good enough. He has been such a nice awesome abang for the past few weeks, and I seriously almost cried when sending him to airport as he finally gets to go back home for good. (He wiped a corner of his eyes too, I believe, when we’re not looking 😏)

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Anyway, Ramadhan here is not entirely about food. It’s also about finding and disciplining yourself. Here, like I said, the Ramadhan vibe is weaker, especially when the Muslim community is not that big. So it’s all up to you to train yourself, and keep being motivated to read the Quran, to not sleep all day long 😂, to find ways to get closer to Allah. It’s a hard work I tell ya, not to say that I succeeded. But I also found that it’s not that hard actually to be good, and do good. I find it easier to follow the whispers in your heart in doing good deeds, and refrain from bad ones. And for once I believe that my little syaitaan (which everyone has in their hearts) might also has been chained along with the big big ones. That it’s possible to make the other part of my body to bow down to my heart, as long as my heart yearns and is full with the right thing.

Other than that, Ramadhan has been swell 😊 I’ve been asked by Ben (my co-worker), Jeanette (my landlady), and few other non-Muslims regarding Ramadhan and fasting, which makes me feel so good to be surrounded by people who are open minded and not ignorance.

In the end, Ramadhan turns out not so bad after all.

Ramadhan 1437

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Alhamdulillah, we’ve given the chance to meet another Ramadhan this year, and hopefully yours have been better than last year’s. I always remember on my senior year in high school, some other girls and I will say to each other “Next year, raya overseas eh”, macam mantra that yeah, we’re gonna fly off right after spm. Naive 17 years old me. But only three years later am I be able to actually experience Ramadhan and In shaa Allah, Eid outside Malaysia.

Today marks the 21st Ramadhan, and I should be 21 times better than last month, according to my Ramadhan project 😅 But even without syaitaan and iblis around, I still think I can do better. Ramadhan has different meanings to each of us. While fasting increases our taqwa, Ramadhan should make us closer to Quran. This can be done in thousands of ways. I won’t list my goals, because maluuu laa i’m not ready yet 🙈, but I’ll list some ideas to help you around:

  1. Read more Quran, have a niat to khatam at least once this Ramadhan.
  2. Memorize at least Juz Amma.
  3. Read the translation.
  4. Read the tafseer. Here’s a complete pdf of tafseer ibn kathir: here or here
  5. If you don’t have that much time, you can listen to the tafseer by Brother Nouman Ali Khan, which can be downloaded here. These are only tafseer of several surahs in the Quran.
  6. Watch a playlist of Get to Know series, which explains the layers of meaning and context of thirty Surahs from the Quran also by Brother Nouman Ali Khan. The videos range form 10 to 25 minutes.
  7. If you still don’t have that much time, watch Quranic Germs on Youtube (link here), which explains some ayats (not all) in each Juz in less than 10 minutes. Everyone can take ten minutes off their daily activities to understand words of God’s, right? C’mon, ten minutes guysss.

Those are some of the easy things that can be done to make us closer to the Quran this Ramadhan. I am easily distracted with tv, videos, and animated things, so the most efficient way for me (in getting closer to Quran) is to watch videos on youtube. You, on the other hand, should find your own ways using resources that you already have to keep you motivated and istiqamah in knowing the Quran. If you like to read, there are plenty of books on Quran to read about, some include the Quran of course, the tafseer above, and Khowatir Quraniyah. This one is in Indonesian, but it explains about the meaning of surahs in Quran using simple words, which makes it easier to understand and digest, and highly recommended. No pdf of it though, sorry 😦

By the way, although it is good to improve ourselves during this holy month, please, don’t make it because of Ramadhan. Quoting alia, “bertuhankan Ramadhan ke Allah ni?“. Which means, jangan laa jadi baik sebab Ramadhan, betulkan niat, for Allah, and Allah alone, in shaa Allah 😁

And here’s a video of fasting and taqwa:

I know I should post this at least 20 days earlier. But hopefully it helps someone for the next 9 days of Ramadhan. May our Ramadhan this year makes us better than before, closer to Quran and Allah, and be among the mukminin 😊