Ramadhan Culture in Indonesia and Middle East

Ramadhan scene, first 10 days in Ramadhan 1434 H. Ramadhan spirit still beneath us. I want to write about sort of my experience. Well, finally i have a chance to write this after I finish all my bustle and hustle, especially the thesis thingy. I’m so lazy to write by my tablet although I have installed WordPress in there. Before that, I don’t mean for arrogant or whatever, I just want to share my experience, maybe one of you interesting 🙂

Back to 3 years ago, Allah was so kind enough to give me and my family chance for Omra in last 10 days (not full 10 days actually) in Ramadhan. Alhamdulillah. Before went to Saudi Arabia, I stayed in Dubai several days because my parents lived in there. I felt sort of different atmosphere between there, middle east and my hometown, Indonesia. For me the different was very significant. Shalat schedule different, which caused the different of adaptation, life style, and the religion atmosphere of course. Whether the different is positive or negative, it’s depend on your point of view. I just present and write what I think. For me, some of Ramadhan culture in middle east is reciprocally with what Islam told us to do worship regarding time.

  1. The time people looking for dinner. In middle east, Mall and restaurant would be start crowded after Isya. No wonder the restaurant will be closed over night. In Indonesia, mall and restaurant would be crowded in breakfasting. In term of Ramadhan obligation, I’m surely agree with the middle east culture.  Call me cynical, but Ramadhan is very special month compare with eleven other month, isn’t it? And we just want to waste it like it is like other month? The point of view with breakfasting together with your friend in the name of silaturrahmi, and then you just waste your time for tarawih even sadly, missed your tarawih, missed your Al-Qur’an reciting, pray, dzikir and so on.
  2. Masjid Imam and his recitation. The requirement becoming Masjid Imam in middle east country is one of the hardest requirement among other jobs. The Imam candidate must be indigenous arabic race and an Al Quran hafizh (the people who remember all surah in Al Quran). Masjid Imam is expensive paid by the government. Due tothe requirement, no wonder if you do shalat in one of masjid, you will find yourself in the middle of confused. Confused determining what verse, what surah, what juz do the Imam read. They seldom read juz amma. Not just in tarawih, even in fardhu shalat. In Ramadhan, it is so common the imam will read one juz one night in tarawih. Moreover, in Masjidil Haram Imam will finish his Al Quran recitation during the tarawih before the Ramadhan over. In Indonesia, unfortunately the government do not pay attention to Mosque caretaker and Imam.  The recitation during Tarawih mostly in juz ‘amma. High speed recitation even Al Fatihah in one breath *sigh*.
  3. Breakfasting in Mosque. There are soooooo many generous people in middle east country.  Abundant ifthar, everyday in whole month of Ramadhan. Towards breakfasting time, people, especially road worker and pauper fulfilled the mosque. Mosque near apartment in Dubai served Briyanni rice in very big plate. on plate for around 3-4 people. Because of this, my brother always prefer breakfasting in mosque rather than in home .__. In Indonesia, a lot of generous people too, but the breakfasting food in mosque is more simple. Hehe. Water, dates, small cakes as the common.
  4. The Last Ten Days of Ramadhan. We all know about I’tikaf, spending your whole day in mosque for worship to Allah. Since we know previously that government in middle east country pays serious attention to mosque, they also facilitate and fund for the mosque. My brother who did his i’tikaf when he was in Dubai said he found mattress (yes mattress!) in mosque, to facilitate people who want to do i’tikaf. AND FREE! Yes it was free because the government gave the fund. And of course, the I’tikaf people would not worry about breakfasting and sahur food. The number of people in mosque for last ten days was absolutely increasing exponentially. Well, especially for Masjidil Haram. You can say that again. In Indonesia, just several mosque will facilitate i’tikaf people. There is a fee, but affordable. I guess this is plausible because the fee we pay is just for us too. The number of people, humm, less through the day 😦
  5. 1 Syawal. In middle east country, people have point of view that they had spent their energy for I’tikaf and worship in last 10 days of Ramadhan. So after Eid’l Fitri Prayer, they will come back to their home for take a rest. Suddenly the town will be quiet. I don’t know the time the pay visit to their relatives. Maybe in mosque before Eid’l Fitri prayer or maybe several days after 1 Syawal. In Indonesia, it’s the culture that we pay visit to our relatives in Ramadhan. In my Sumatran family, it takes around 2-3 days. But I don’t know in Java tradition, when I came back to Java in 1 Syawal, we didn’t do like in Sumatra.

So, 5 points I write. Perhaps someone will clarify or revise this? In my humble opinion I like living in middle east country more for Ramadhan month, especially for point 1-4. But for 1 Syawal? I prefer in Indonesia, of course 😀

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