Alhamdulillah we have finally reached the blessed month of Ramadhan this time which starts on 28th June in Singapore.
I’m always excited for Ramadhan because this is the month of the Quran! What do I mean by that? Well, Muslims believe that the Holy Book of Al-Quran was sent down from God onto Earth on the night of Lailatul Qadr, which falls in Ramadhan. In addition to that, the first verse that was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (may peace and blessings be upon him), verses 1-5 in Surah Al-‘Alaq, was also revealed in the month of Ramadhan.
So this is why in Ramadhan, we are encouraged to spend more time with the Quran, be it in recitation, contemplation, listening, memorizing and most importantly increasing our understanding of the content of Al-Quran, which can be said as God’s love letters to us His humble servants.🙂
On top of that, Muslims will fast from dawn to dusk, having our morning meal before dawn and breaking our fast when dusk arrives. Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam and every Muslim of age and health are required to fast in Ramadhan. The purpose of fasting is to clean our bodies, purify our hearts and soul. With an empty stomach, sometimes the body and mind performs better compared to a full stomach. But God does not mean for us to “starve” ourselves, that’s why we are encouraged to do our morning meals, or “suhoor”. Fasting also reminds us of humanity around the world who do not get to eat as much as we do on a daily basis.
Ramadhan is also an opportunity to do more good deeds. The solat taraweeh, an additional sunnah prayer that is only done in Ramadhan is an activity after iftar that I look forward to every year. Done in as little as 8 and usually as much as 20 sets of 2 rakaats each, accompanied by 3 rakaats of witr prayer to conclude the taraweeh prayers. This sunnah prayer can be done individually or as a jemaah. For motivation, usually I like to do it in a mosque especially since I live within walking distance of Masjid Alkaff Kampung Melayu.
The magical thing about Ramadhan is that every year, despite the similar activities and good deeds we are encouraged to do, every Ramadhan is actually very different from another. Of course for me one of the main differences is that I’m spending my first Ramadhan as a wife, and so too for my husband. InsyaAllah I will write another post about this. For now, I am enjoying all the goodness, the rahmah (mercy) that Allah is presenting this month SubhanAllah.
Let me share an incident I encountered this week on the beginning nights of Ramadhan that so embodies this to a T.
Just last Monday as I was doing my Taraweeh in Masjid Alkaff, there sat next to me were 2 sisters – one about 11 years and the other about 5 years old. Such adorable ages! But the thing is I did not notice them until after we were done with the 8th rakaat and the “Ya Tawwab” zikr has finished. When the Imam got up to continue doing the 9th rakaat, I heard the 5 yo girl said to her sister (in a very audible voice nonetheless), “Diorang solat lagi???” (They’re praying again???) Apparently she had thought it was over because some mosques end their Taraweeh at 8 rakaat, but for Masjid Alkaff the 8 rakaat set is only done on Saturday nights.
The big sis then turned and asked me about it, with a confused look on her face. So I explained to them the above, in which she then asked me. “Mbak ikut?” (So will you be continuing to 20 rakaats then? Also, that’s when I knew they were Indonesian; In Singapore Malay language we would refer to a sister stranger as “kakak” but in Indonesian she is referred to as “mbak”) In which I nodded and smiled, and I saw that they then decided to stay and pray until the end of 23 rakaats.
Oh MashaAllah.. Suddenly, I had the strength to continue until 23 rakaats! Even though I had decided to stay, just a couple of minutes ago I was already counting down to 20 hahaha but seeing them decide to leave or to stay, and deciding to stay because there was an older sister beside them (me) who was going to continue on… made me feel so touched and even more motivated. We gather strength from each other…
At the end of the 12th rakaat, big sis asked me, “Masih kurang berapa?” (How many do we have left?” In which I answered that we had 8 more rakaat to go followed by 3 rakaats of witr prayer. At the end of the 18th rakaat with only 2 left to go, I thought I’d encouraged them, “Lagi 2 sahaja!” (Only 2 more left sisters! We can do it!). And then as we had finished 2 rakaats of witr with only 1 rakaat left, I saw the younger sister gesture to her big sis and holding 1 finger up as if to say “Only 1 more left right kak?” Awwww I swear that moment was just the cutest moment ever. Their semangat despite their struggle was really touching for me. So we finished it together, me and my 2 younger sisters in Islam. It was such a beautiful moment for me. Alhamdulillah.
Afterwards, they waited for me to pack up my telekong (praying garments) and we headed to the exit together. Alhamdulillah for these moments. Alhamdulillah that I was able to motivate them to complete the full 23 rakaats, but in fact in motivating them, they were actually the ones motivating me to finish, even if they might not have realized it. MashaAllah, truly Allah is the Subtle and the Knowing.🙂
Have a blessed Ramadhan this year to my brothers and sisters in Islam🙂