Wednesday, October 12, 2005



My good friend coined the term Ibadah Festival to describe the atmosphere of ibadah in Ramadhan. It is such an apt term. The two-words phrase speak of so many things, amongst them; performing ibadat full heartedly, complete sincerity, no compulsion, state of full acceptance of the religious injunction, and the state of heart at peace with the Creator. It also speaks of obedience in a jovial and happy mood without any hint of reluctance.

Indeed, Ramadhan is a month to inculcate positive values in Muslims. The act of fasting itself is an exercise in patience and a training of the heart to feel the suffering of those less fortunate than us. Fasting is not only abstinence in partaking of food and drinks but also to control all our faculties including the heart from too much attachment to the base instinct or the animal nature of man and to focus on the spiritual side. By detaching ourselves from food and drinks we weaken the influences from our animal nature in order to nurture our spiritual nature. Strengthening the spirit goes a long way in fostering good values that will keep our animal nature in check. This will help bring peace and harmony in the society.

However, Ibadah is normally seen as an obligation to be done. Fasting is one of the 5 pillars of Islam, thus a major obligation for Muslims. Studies and researches have shown many benefits of fasting to our health. However, without the injunction, not many will perform it on their own accord. Thus the spirit of its performance is based on compulsion. However, having a whole community performing the fast together, breaking of fast together with family members or community members at morehs, tarawih prayer in congregation are festival of sorts. The acts conjure community get togetherness. These are rare occasions and foster festive spirit. It only happen in Ramadhan and not in any other month. Thus Ramadhan is a month to celebrate.

So let us celebrate Ramadhan with Ibadah festival. Throw away the burdensome do thy duty attitude and replace it with festive, merry, jovial mood. Get up in early morning feeling good for sahur together and then to the masjid for Subuh Prayer. Recite the Qur’an and go through the day with calm spirit, absorbing all the day’s turmoils and tribulation like the eye of a storm, tongue guarded against utterring of bad or useless words but wet with zikr to Allah, eyes casted down and averted from the onslaughts of provoking animal based desires, heart touched to sufferrings of others and at the end of the day prepare for the breaking of fast with heart full of syukur to Allah for His Nikmah. As a show of thanks giving, prepare for tarawih prayer in congregation at the mosque and participate in tadarrus. Well, that is a festival indeed; a festival of Ibadah that brings joy and strength to the inner spirit as compared to the more transient joy nature of other types of festival….


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Anonymous said...

A different kind of festival; a fresh breath of air.