Sunday, August 23, 2009



Ramadhan is here.
The Fasting Month has just begun

The day is Saturday, weekend.... alhamdulillah. My son Fadhil came back by bus and arrived at 10.30pm Thursday night. Nana arrived at 4.15am Friday morning. Eti arrived at 6.30am Saturday morning. Except for Kak Long who is reading Mathematics in New Zealand, we are whole, and this is important. Celebrating Ramadhan without the children is very bleak.

Allah is very kind to Malaysian. According to earlier weather forcast, Ramadhan will be a sweltering hot month. However the forecast was wrong. It was a cool downcast day and we fasted without much problem. Nana had fancied a dress at the bazaar in front of the Bus Terminal and we went there for a look around (there's no window to call it window shopping!!!) while looking for some stuffs for the Nasi Kerabu In had in mind for the first `Iftar'.

The Iftar was FULFILLMENT in the full sense. In's Nasi Kerabu with Ayam Panggang diced in kuah percik and ikan goreng is sfit for 4 star Hotel. On top of that we had sphaghetti, bubur jagong and kueh puding gula hangus. Of course the starter is kurmah which is sunnah. After that I had a hot mushroom soup to condition my stomach for the heavy dinner after a full day of fasting. At my age my stomach need more preparation that the youngs who could just wallop everything without much problem.

As usual the breaking of fast is nostalgic. I remembered my late mother and brother-in-law who just LOVED Nasi Kerabu for Iftar. I could see their contented faces; savouring In's Nasi Kerabu. They just loved In's cooking and we used to invite them for lunch together when I came back to Kota Bharu. Kak Nab always seemed very happy on such occasions. I loved her so much. She is my second mother; an elder sister in whose house I grew up for much of the time. We are most happy when my brother Nawi and family joined us. Then the gathering would be a large one and ...noisy too...A MOST WELCOMED NOISE!!!

For the first Tarawih we went to Indera Mahkota 2 Mosque near the Pasar Malam. The tarawih was 20 rakaats here but we only finished 8. As usual the first tarawih was full and the imam said he would be very happy is the turn-outs remained through out the Ramadhan... bit we all know that it wont happened. We would be lucky if 1/3 of that turn-out remained. Here at Indera Mahkota 2 Mosque, the muslimah's front section was not curtained off from the muslimin section as of norm. This actually is more in-line to the practices during the Prophet's time.

When bilal recited `Allaahumma solli 'ala' ... signifying the start of Tarawih, hence Ramadhan, the feeling was indescribable... The feeling of the presence of Ramadhan, of being blessed, of the merging of heaven and earth, of the merger of hearts with a single purpose.. to glorify Allah al Mighty the One and Only God...

How can an ibadah, a prayer and not a 'makan' nor an entertainment creates such an atmosphere, such a `joy'.. I always wonder at this...

The imam was a young hafiz and he recited the Qur'an beautifully; smooth, clear, neither too fast nor too slow. The maamum follows; each in his/her own spiritual devotion to the al Mighty Creator punctuated by the imam's `Allaahuakbar' signifying the change in the phases of the solat..

After each solat the bilal recited..`Allaahumma solli 'ala....' and the rest answered .. ' Sollallaah... Wasallam 'alaih..' in unison. It was wonderful... just wonderful... Then the imam get up for another solat and the maamum follow suit.. and the cycle of devotion.. for some who have achieved that level of spiritual height; a cycle of ecstacy...

I remember when a boy we performed tarawih at a nearby `balaisah' (surau). My father lead the tarawih prayer, being a Quran teacher in the kampung except once a week when Wak Amat, a local 'alim lead the congregation. Those days we, the boys competed in reciting the `sollallaah..' on top of our voices. Then we listened for the similiar sound from the nearby 'balaisah' and try to up them. Latter the practice was chastised as 'bid'ah' and we no longer practice this. And in the process we lose that 'competing' and expecting atmosphere that enticed the boys to such ibadah.. The cream of the cake came at the end when light foods were served with sweet dishes. I still remember the 'pengat pisang' made by Mak Teh Mek, tepung bungkus by Wak Siti, cendol also by Mak Teh Mek and the most waited dish was 'lompat tikam' by Mak Da Jara.

After tarawih, we went for Roti canai and teh tarik ( ..apa daaahh.. bulan puasa gini pun mamak juga yang benefit!!!) at the nearby Mamak shop; in kain sembahyang and all... It was almost full. The mamak is having bigger business in Ramadhan by night.

I remember, in my home town of Kota Bharu shops selling pencolek buah / pencolek lauk / pencolek popia or keropok as the after tarawih food were everywhere. Someow, at this time our taste goes for these types of dishes. Having a pencolek after tarawih is so fulfilling, not heavy but enough to quench our thirst for some sweet-sour food for full range of the taste buds having to fast for a whole day. Here I could not find one yet...

After that we came back rest, read some Qur'an and get ready for bed, and to wake up for sahur... That is next in posting..

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