Hot and Challenging Ramadhan

The Holy month Ramadhan this year come in difficult time. In Ramadhan Moslem are required to fast for a full month which take 29 or 30 days in a row. Islamic calendar, Hijri is calculated based on pure lunar movement, if we try to match it with Gregorian calendar we can tell that the beginning of Ramadhan is move forward each year and this year supposedly a difficult year.

crescent of ramadan seen in dubai

Physical challenge

Is physically challenging for Moslems live in northern hemisphere, Ramadhan this year come in summer season , and it takes to the extreme. Ramadhan fasting required us to start fasting by the time of sunrises and we are allowed to break our fast after sunset, this is not an issue if we live nearby in equator line like Singapore or Indonesia or most tropical country, because the season will not differ much. I lived in South Korea years back, and I can understand the fasting hardship when the tough season come.
This year it is reported in South Korea that it takes 15 hours from the sunrise to sunset, it means 15 hours of fasting, not taking anything, drink, meal, smoking, or inhale smokes if it can take your hunger down, except if you have medical condition which said otherwise. And this is not yet mentioned about heat wave, this is real danger and real killer.
Let’s take to further up, 18 and half hours in London in 1st Ramadhan 1433 hijri, Friday July 20 2012. In Norway, it is 20 hours.
And here’s another thing, let say we do the 20 hours fasting means we only have 4 hours window time to have meal, remember before sunrise – after sunset, by the time we have lavish meal after sunset, we might still feel full to take another meal on suhoor, before sunrise, 4 hours later.

To take on this extreme condition and limitation in Norway I spoke to my friend who live in Sandvika, Norway, how he can take 20 hours fasting especially to his family, fortunately a fatwa an Arabic term in suggestion given out by clerics from Norway, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. Dar El Eman, Darul Iman, suggested to use an alternative prayer time, a mixture of sun movement in Norway and praying time in Mecca. We can check it out further in

Political challenge

Political challenge take part of it as well, this hot Ramadhan followed by hot Political situation this time especially in Middle East and Northern Africa. Last year there was so many political and military movement to overthrown ruling government, some is succeed like in Tunisia followed by Egypt, Syria now still in hot turmoil between the government and the oppositions worsened by more party involved in Syria’s chaos like US, Russia, and China.
Time magazine had selected them as Time People of the years 2011, people who take their right back from unjust government, the people power. Their battle still continue and they are not letting their guard down because there is a transition period after overtake old regime in this Ramadhan.

Political Islamic sect  also another things, which there in centuries,  it is nothing new there, mostly it is about opinion and suggestion which get disapproved from one or another. In Syria it was reported that one guy was killed because he come out during suhoor time to waking up people, remind them to have meal for fasting preparation, this was utterly mad.

In South East Asia

“When is the 1st Ramadhan?” was a hot topic in Indonesia,  NU, Nahdatul Ulama, and Muhammadiah is 2 big Islamic organization in Indonesia, usually will have different outcome since the last 5 years on taking new moon phase, which mark on new month. This were come in no surprise because they both use different criteria, one using rukyatul hilal, other using wujudul hilal, both also using astronomical tools and astronomical calculation. This year Muhammadiah had start fasting on Friday 20 July 2012, and NU as well as Indonesian government stated on Saturday 21 July 2012.

In my opinion , both method have their own base, literature references and correct, nevertheless, our clerics and imams should get their head together and have one voice to come up with one conclusion, ego aside. But things are not come easy, wrongly do pray, amal, in certain date would consider baseless and could considered reward-less, or at worst as sin. In this way, I would not surprise with “When is 1st Syawal?” polemic within month.

In Singapore is different this year, it is not about stir up anything, traditionally MUIS, Islamic clerical body in Singapore, use wujudul hilal criteria, the same with what Muhammadiah organization in Indonesia, but not this time. MUIS had attend Penyelarasan Rukyat dan Takwim MABIMS, Musyawarah Menteri-menteri Agama Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, dan Singapura (MABIMS) last June 27 – 29 in Bali and stated to use imkanur rukyat MABIMS. These countries had stated the 1st Ramadhan on Saturday 20 July 2012. This is a good things and I hope we all keep using it years after, what we need is unity.

Good deeds

Ramadhan supposedly a good time to get deeds,  we should keep our emotion, lower gaze, talk only truth, pray in mosque, be good to others, give forgiveness. We have been promised on this holy month with double reward on each good deeds we do. Amar ma’ruf nahi mungkar.
Indeed what has been teach to us is contradicting with what we are facing nowadays, but let’s hope that this Ramadhan summer will move away next year and we will have better situation next Ramadhan. The 33 years cycle, Hijri calendar using pure lunar calendar, it will only have 354 or 355 days a year, it means we will have annual slide forward by 10 or 11 days, let’s hope that we will not facing tougher challenge next Ramadhan, at least until 33 years later?
Our hardship is now being tested, and if we keep the faith and patient with the test come upon us, we hope it counted as good deeds, InsyaAllah.

How we usually practice it is by having suhoor, early morning meal before sunrise, start of fast, and have lavish meal after sunset, not a surprise full month of fasting usually end up gaining weight instead of loosing it 🙂 Mosque will be busy with prayers days and nights and In the end of the month we will pray Ied together with family.

Happy Ramadhan 1433 Hirji.

Ramadhan Mubarak!


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