21 September 2008

Paradox in Ramadhan Fasting

Two appearances of a billboard in Senayan Jakarta, satirizes fasting paradox (Pics are courtesy of Junarta Taufik, Jakarta)

Every Ramadan, the ninth month of Islamic lunar year, Muslim worldwide practice fasting. Obviously, one objective of Ramadan fasting is to share thirsty and hunger suffered by the poor, while they still have to work and do daily activities for life. Under this premise, shouldn't the fasting month be a period to practice daily life modestly and more thriftily?
Undoubtedly, modest and thrifty are intimate way of living of our poor fellows. Avoiding the variety of tasty meal, they have to struggle for livelihood from early morning till evening on daily basis. What such a family will have for dining depends on what is earned by the householder who had leaved home since dawn.

In contrary to this situation, there are paradoxical implementations of the values in the fasting month and the consecutive Idul Fitri feast. At these events some people are likely promoting a tourism culinary month. Dining tables are full of various courses and dishes. Even some inobedient Muslims consume wine or beer. In celebrating Idul Fitri many also like to renew or change clothing and furniture, even their second car!

No wonder if consumption and expenditures of households might be doubled or more during this season. Reciprocally, secondary consumer goods also flood the market in concomitant with extraordinary seasonal demand. Therefore, government predicts that the situation will increase inflation in September 2008.

Back to the fasting that aims to build faithful mankind's piety, it is very important to Muslims to reform the praxis values and implementation of the fasting. To change traditions having been considered as righteousness is surely not that easy but as an agent of change, a Muslim can start with straightening perception about fasting and next step is to implement properly values contained in fasting objectives and wisdom.
As a modus of character building, fasting can be utilized to set values namely apprehension, modesty, brotherhood, and thrifty out to family and society. If a family usually breaks the fasting at dusk is similar to “Culinary Adventures” in TV, it is necessarily shifted to be “minimalist” and applying Prophet Muhammad’s conduct: “Cease eating before full".

The success of this reformed habit implemented among all the family members depends on parental conducts and behavior in generating motivation. A youth who is naturally a trencher-human being, is possibly able to refrain from gorging to break the fasting in regard to values conveyed and the sluggishness in night praying. Energy of kids who love being active even though in fasting, is positively canalized to study and do many things else. These principles are necessarily cultivated to children since early in order to avoid a premise that fasting month is a month of culinary festivities and allowed to laze along the month.

When the month is over, the following Idul Fitri feast is essentially the day to thank God that those who just finished fasting are success and passed a crucible so that free of sin like a new born baby, called fitri.

It is understandable if people celebrate the happiness with parents and families but not to fall in debaucheries. To share the happiness and support the poor at the feast, one has to had settled up her or his tithe called zakah fitrah one day before. Moreover, it is also suggested to do fasting for six days between the second day and the end of the consecutive month Syawal that is rewarded as if a full year fasting, in order to keep values and benefits of Ramadan fasting in mind.

In conclusion, it is very important for Muslims to inspect and keep Ramadhan fasting being on the right track and free of paradoxical practices and values. Beside modesty and thrifty, it will bring about more real benefits of the fasting to implement continuously for good. A Muslim will achieve the piety through perfect Ramadhan fasting as stated in the Quran in the famous verse 183 of Al-Baqarah.

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