Bye! :)

Not all farewell is sad. Just like what Chloe had taught us from this video.

She gave a joy to the farewell. She’s just too sweet and adorable!

Bubye!!

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Ramadhan Abroad

About two months before Ramadhan, I realized a shocking fact: I will be fasting for almost 19 hours. And it will be in summer. And it will be during my exam month.

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I was so worried. Even when I was still in Indonesia, 14 hours (and still have to work) was sometimes quite tiring. Plus 5 hours? I imagined I will feel so powerless everyday, not being able to concentrate in class and participate in discussion. Because when I’m hungry I just can’t think properly and I believe talking will just waste the energy I save so carefully to make it through the day. In conclusion, I will undergo a transformation, from being a passive student to an even more passive student, hahaha.. Seriously, guys, I thought I can’t make it. It’s too long. I almost thought that it is impossible.

Fasting Time Around The World

My other muslim friends also felt the same way. But we consoled and cheered up each other telling that we can make it. What else can we do? On the other hand, my non-muslim friends were even more shocked to this fact.

“… Sorry, how long again?”

“19 hours.”

And they gave me this face:

“At least you can still drink, right?”

“No, not even drinking.”

Then I got the same face again.

Thankfully, a relieving news came from my Egyptian friend. He told us that the Islamic leader in his country issued a fatwa concerning this issue. Briefly written, Muslim who will be fasting for more than 18 hours can adapt the fasting duration of Mekkah. So, instead of 19 hours, we can do for just around 15 hours. The justification was based on the research, finding that fasting for more than 18 hours for a month is not good for the health (probably because of the dehydration possibility). My friend stressed that the goal of fasting is to make us healthy not sick, so this fatwa is very reasonable.

I felt relieved but not quite convinced with his argumentation because of this ayat in Al-Qur’an Surah Al-Baqarah 286.

Translation:

Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity. It will have [the consequence of] what [good] it has gained, and it will bear [the consequence of] what [evil] it has earned. “Our Lord, do not impose blame upon us if we have forgotten or erred. Our Lord, and lay not upon us a burden like that which You laid upon those before us. Our Lord, and burden us not with that which we have no ability to bear. And pardon us; and forgive us; and have mercy upon us. You are our protector, so give us victory over the disbelieving people.”

Allah won’t burden us with something beyond our ability.

The different fasting time in Ramadhan has been considered to our body’s ability to bear it. So, deep in my mind, I think actually people can make it, or in this case me. But, because at that time I haven’t experienced 19 hours (or even more just like our Muslim brothers and sisters in more northern part of earth this year) Ramadhan day yet, I just kept this fatwa in my mind if later, in fact, I’m not strong enough to finish fasting in 19 hours.

Then I told my parents about how Ramadhan will be here. I told them about the 19 hours, the summer, the exam and the fatwa. My father just reminded me not to force myself because I will need energy to study. Maybe I can just pay fidyah (some kind of ‘compensation’) later. My Mom then corrected that fidyah payment is only for old people, pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and sick people . And I’m not one of them. (As I told you in a few post before, my parents correct each other in religion thing) My Mom then said that she’s not convinced at all with that fatwa, because fasting time is fixed, as stated in Al-Qur’an Surah Al-Baqarah 187.

Translation:

It has been made permissible for you the night preceding fasting to go to your wives [for sexual relations]. They are clothing for you and you are clothing for them. Allah knows that you used to deceive yourselves, so He accepted your repentance and forgave you. So now, have relations with them and seek that which Allah has decreed for you. And eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct to you from the black thread [of night]. Then complete the fast until the sunset. And do not have relations with them as long as you are staying for worship in the mosques. These are the limits [set by] Allah , so do not approach them. Thus does Allah make clear His ordinances to the people that they may become righteous.

So, from Fajr until Maghrib. No other negotiation.

I was a little upset after my Mom told that. I thought that it’s easy for her to say that because my Mom is not living here and will not be fasting for 19 hours. She reminded me to eat well, make sure that I get good nutrition everyday and take vitamins during Ramadhan. Then have strong will and have faith, Allah will help me. She believed I can do it.

Out of the blue, 2 months had passed, and Ramadhan was just there, appearing in front of me.

First day sahur, I made sure that I applied my Mom’s advice. I cooked some dishes with balanced nutrition. Then I pray my sincerest will.

Different from what I expected before, I could make it through the day without any difficulties. Yes, it was much longer but I was not feeling hungry at all. And instead of feeling powerless, I just feel so fresh and positive! I can concentrate better in class and participate in discussion (Strange, I even felt more tired during my Ramadhan in Indonesia with less hours). This goes on to the following day, then next, and next.. Alhamdulillah, in the end I really enjoy my 19 hours Ramadhan here. Allah really helps me.

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Some of my friends were using the fatwa and having iftaar earlier than me. It’s okay, I think it depends on each person’s will and ability. Allah had set some rules, but if people still can’t make it though they had tried their best, I think Allah will still forgive.

Last weekend, my Professor invited my class to have dinner in his house before our departure to the second year destination. It’s almost the end of our 1 year study in Germany. I can’t believe the time flies so fast!

The dinner started at 7PM and I still have about 3 hours until the iftaar time at around 10PM. He began to ask what we would like to drink. By the time he asked me, I refused politely and explained that I still do my fasting though some of my friends had had their iftaar. I wasn’t sure if he’s being serious or not when he told me that he had asked his Muslim friend and it’s okay to eat when you receive an invitation. Fyi, he is so intelligent, had studied theology and I believed to be befriending also many intelligent friends, so I was a little shaken by his statement. Really? Is it better for me to have an earlier iftaar in this condition?

Then he said other things,

“You’re a traveler after all so it is okay to eat now.”, which then supported even by my other Muslim friends.

“Yes, we are traveler!”

Really? I think I am not. I am living temporary here, but I have resided for almost 1 year. It is not traveling anymore, though I don’t know about others.

The opposing arguments were just about to burst from my mouth, but I don’t think arguing will help settle this thing, so in the end I just keep my arguments and smile. Just believe in your own belief, Mia. I reminded myself and felt more convinced to continue fasting until the end. Thankfully, my kind Professor, his kind wife and my kind friends gladly waited until 10PM so I still got the opportunity to enjoy the delicious dinner his wife cooked for us.

This week I’m not fasting because of the certain constraint single Muslim women got regularly every month (I don’t need to explain further). I started to join my friends again in lunch. They were so surprised because (Fyi, they think I’m the most religious one compared to the other Muslim in my class. Such a baseless thought, haha..) they think I am being rebellious and ‘betray’ the Ramadhan.

One of my kind friend stand up for me, and said,

“It’s reasonable for her. This week we had full workshop and she needs enough energy to make it to the end.”

I was touched by her statement though she defended me for an imprecise reason. Doesn’t matter, I will leave it that way.

I don’t need to announce it to the world that the reason I am not fasting is not because of workshop but because…

Oh, wait, I just announced it! haha..

 

 

After 2 weeks fasting, then suddenly have to stop temporary, I realized that I have started to enjoy Ramadhan here. I feel more vulnerable when I’m not fasting, just like today, I feel like I need food all the time. When I’m fasting, I eat just enough, no greed for many foods. Mm, what my cousin said is true. Ramadhan is the religiously-rewarding-diet.

 

Okay, that’s about the fasting. Now, about the tarawih.

Because Maghrib is at around 10PM so Isya, and that means also tarawih, is almost at midnight. Sometimes, I already feel so sleepy but I know I can’t sleep well until I finish my sahur and do Subuh prayer at 3PM. This time is when I miss my family so much. I miss having Ramadhan with them at home. Hearing adzan, going to the mosque together, competing against each other to finish reading Al-Qur’an, cooking for iftaar and sahur, having a road trip to our hometown a few days before Idul Fitri, gathering with our beloved big family, and celebrating Idul Fitri. I especially miss my strict Mom who always reminding me to keep my shalat in early time, read Al-Qur’an often and do more good deeds.

No one keeping me on track this year. Idul Fitri will also be lonely this year.

Anywaaay, stop being sad!

The happy news is 1 more month to going home, but 2 weeks more to the end of Ramadhan. What have I done so far?

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Ok, sad again.

So, dear readers, take advantage of Ramadhan to its fullest!

Happy Ramadhan!

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#PrayForGaza

In the middle of World Cup and Indonesia’s Presidential Election euphoria, today’s Facebook timeline are suddenly filled up, again, with saddening news from Gaza, Palestine.

Israel, for only God knows how many times they have been, bombards Gaza again through airstrikes. At least 85 Palestinians, most of them civilians and half of them women and children, have been killed since the three-day offensive to stop militant rocket fire on Israel began (The Times UK, 10 July 2014).

Newspapers and online media show us numerous pictures of Gaza’s terrible condition after the aerial attacks: ruins of after-bombed buildings and houses, the dead bodies of children lying bloody in the streets, family members left behind cry and grieve for the death of their families, hundreds of people doing jenazah prayer for the victims, and many others heartbreaking pictures, which are just too cruel. (You can check some pictures here.)

I am here, doing my Ramadhan fasting in a safe environment and adequate condition, while Palestinian people has been facing the terrifying terrors everyday for such a long time, in Ramadhan or any other months in year. They had forgotten what is life comfort. Their daily activity is struggling for their rights and they are determined for it. They show no fear. They welcome death warmly as it will reward them heaven.

All I can offer to help is just prayers. May Allah gives protection and strength to Palestinian people.

Dear all readers, kindly #PrayForGaza. May Allah repays your kindness.

 

Note: For some of you who still learn about what has been happening in Palestine (just like me), you can check the graphics from Visualizing Palestine providing informative and impactful information to understand the Israeli-Palestinian Apartheid here and an article written by Ferrari Sheppard titled ‘I Traveled to Palestine-Israel and Discovered There is No Palestinian-Israel Conflict’ published in Huffington Post web page here. After reading both articles, you won’t be blinded by the wrong sayings that this is a conflict over religion. NO, it is NOT.

Welcoming Indonesian New Leader

July 2014 has come.

It’s time for Indonesian people to choose the new leader for the next 5 years.

5th July for voter abroad and 9th July in Indonesia.

For this past few months, my Facebook timeline has been flooded by various posts about both presidential candidates from their supporters and non-supporters. The post trend is started from ‘good’ campaign by each candidate supporter, followed by different sort of promotion such as a default profile picture frame supporting one candidate and circulation of noble stories of how one candidate wanted to improve nation’s dignity. Then the tension heaten up, each supporter started to speak ill of each other and ended up arguing with one another. Facebook had been filled by negative vibe ever since. Some then stated their sickness of how their timeline had turned quite unenjoyable because everyone hating each other for supporting different candidates and their fight had became more and more personal. However, a week before election, all supporters had reflected their attitude and (also because of Ramadhan) they became wiser. For final status, they once again stated their support to one candidate and wishing all happy election.

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Personally, i really hate argument. Therefore, I skipped many hateful political campaign posts from my Facebook friends and just scrolled down quickly to find some happier personal post. But, numerous political argument in this case is actually a good sign for my country. Previously, politic is a hateful thing to talk about. People hate the authority because they don’t care about the people. Consequently, people become apathetic when election come. Many even chose not to use their vote because they don’t see how our country will improve with the candidate offered. But this year, people become so enthusiastic to welcome the election because they see promising candidates with great track records. That’s why they promote their candidate non-stop to encourage people choosing wisely.

In the midst of all commotion happened in Facebook, i just watch and assess both candidates silently as I feel that I have no right to join the argument and show my support to certain candidate. The sad fact is, I won’t be participating in the election and I regret it a lot. I came to Dortmund without any contact, help or information from Indonesian people living here before me. All administrative matters was assisted by student assistant and done together with the whole class. I just found out that I have to register myself in the Embassy 6 months later (while I would only stay here for 1 year). Actually, I didn’t need to come directly to the Embassy in Berlin or Frankfurt, the registration could be done by post and would take around 2 weeks. But at that time I was too busy spending my time traveling outside Germany and need to bring my passport all the time. By the time I realized again that I need to register asap so I can participate in the election, my cousin informed me that the embassy had already closed the registration for voter abroad. So, here I am now, can only watch and monitor the news with hopeful feel.

After 1 year studying in international environment, I realized that my fellow friends from so called ‘developing countries’ (fyi, after 1 year, too, we, the ‘developing countries’ citizens, turned up to really hate this term) also face the same problem in their country. Most of the people in their country also turned apathetic to the authority because of the same reason. During class, we shared our frustration to our country’s condition but can do nothing except studying (since we are currently student) and wishing that the authority or probably us later can change our nation to a better condition. Thankfully, for my country, as I mentioned before, this year’s presidential candidates are quite promising, but I don’t know about theirs.

In relation to country’s problem, earlier today, we had a colloquium on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Agriculture. It was a very interesting lecture! Strange, because I don’t usually enjoy colloquium that much, haha.. The speaker was from Welthunger Hilfe, a German NGO engaged in food security issue. In the lecture, he explained how FDI can become a blessing or curse for the country. Positively, FDI will boost technology and capital transfer, resulting in higher value of natural resources, job creation for local labor force and spin offs for other local businesses. As the impacts, economic growth will start, state revenue and general welfare will also improve. However, If we take a closer and careful look, the benefit and value added from FDI in agriculture sector is created outside the country. The same goes for mining sector. Government gives land lease to mining companies for tens of years just to get what they thought a big compensation but turned out to be so small and damaged environment which can not be repaired. This is what currently happened in Indonesia, as well as many other ‘developing countries’.

During the campaign, one or both presidential candidates probably had said one or two things about evaluating the mining contract so the benefit for the people is more visible and environment becomes less-damaged. But, don’t say that the mining companies help them campaigning in this election. Then it’s a meaningless promise, as numerous unfulfilled promises from numerous politician we all know before.

You can say that this is a selfish wish from ignorant citizen, but I hope all Indonesian people will choose the good leader in behalf of me. Whoever our president later, I hope he can solve the problems I mentioned before and many other problems remain in the country. I don’t say that being a president is an easy job, but I hope at least he can provide a better foundation of many countless efforts later. I hope he will work hard and sincerely for the people and the country. I wish him health and protection if he does so.

While it’s Ramadhan, let’s pray together for the better future of Indonesia!

And last but not least, I wish my Indonesian people happy election!

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Update 10 July 2014: The election was done and the quick count results are already available. Both candidates claim the win since different survey agencies said so. Ridiculous! And now my timeline is filled again with negative vibe coming from both supporters. The official result will be announced in 22 July 2014.