Ramadan by Kamila Delart – Langkawi

by Mark

RAMADAN

By Kamila Delart

It’s still dark outside and I wake up hearing the melodic voice of a Muezzin calling to the morning prayer. As opposed to last year when I used to pull a pillow over my head in order to reclaim my sleep, I walk out on my terrace and wait for the sun to rise – hoping to absorb the unique energy that is all around. The holy month of Ramadan began…

I didn’t know much about Islam when I came to Langkawi a few years back. And I have to admit that apart from reading a couple of books on the subject, I didn’t make much effort to truly change that. But Muhammad’s teachings have a way to get underneath your skin – whether you are aware of it or not. Especially if you live on the outskirts of a traditional Malay kampong…

Apart from my landlord jokingly offering to lower my rent if I became Moslem ;-), nobody ever advised me to follow any religious rules or implied that I should consider joining the Islamic faith. The women in a village compliment my summer dresses rather than suggesting that I cover my hair, and I never feel judged when enjoying an occasional cocktail.

And yet, as I spend time with my Malay friends, it’s impossible not to become intrigued. I watch them remain calm despite their homes being flooded, talk without anger about those who hurt them, wait with patience when their endeavors don’t lead to the desired results, offer a helping hand and expect nothing in return… It’s such a humbling and inspiring experience.
And so I keep asking questions, trying to understand more. About the virtues Moslems embrace, the religious rituals they practice, and about the meaning of special celebrations. Often fascinated by what I learn…

My conversation about Ramadan was triggered by a close friend sharing how much he is looking forward to it. Since I associate the holy month mainly with the sacrifice of fasting, his statement was rather confusing to me. Trying to make sense of it, I suggested that he enjoys the evenings spent in the company of his family and neighbors, joyfully sharing the well deserved evening meal, Iftar. But my assumption was wrong.

To Moslems, Ramadan is so much more than just a time of frequent prayer and bodily cleansing. Although considered healthy, not eating and drinking during the day has much more to do with one’s strength to resist temptation.

Capable of refraining from food, drinks and tobacco for thirty days, a Moslem is reminded of the inherent power of will and of his capacity to make the right choices. By avoiding any gossip, unkind remarks and foul language, by helping those in need even more than during the rest of the year, one purifies his mind and soul.

Dedicated to reflection upon the holy words Allah sent for the guidance of humanity, Ramadan is a time of self-examination and spiritual renewal. An opportunity to let go of destructive habits, and welcome in one’s life joy and happiness.

Although Ramadan celebrates the Islamic faith, the practices Moslems embrace during this month are universal – leading to a state of contentment regardless of one’s religious background… Replacing excess by moderation, putting the worldly pleasures and our ambitious goals aside for a while, stepping back and taking the time to reflect upon what truly matters may be the best thing we have all done in a long time. So when you hear the melodic voice of a Muezzin again, listen closely. On some level, his song may speak to you, too…

 

You may also like

Leave a Comment