Ramadhan in the UK

Finally, after thousands of reblogs (lebaaay), I got my urge to write back. I’m going to write in English now – again, finally after some mixed language entries, LOL. So, according to the theme nowadays for Muslims all around the world, I will write about Ramadhan.

This year’s Ramadhan is quite different for me, and probably my family as well. Why? Because we are separated! I am fasting here in the UK, my sister is fasting in Thailand and my parents are in Indonesia. Well, but I am grateful because I can have this kind of new experience to fast alone, far from home. Yeay! Anyway… how’s Ramadhan in the UK?

First of all, Ramadhan is Ramadhan. I mean, wherever you are, the essence will always be the same. So, although UK is not a Muslim-majority country, Muslim people here still fast and try to be close to Allah more than any other months (well, as long as I know). If you look at the mosques here, it’s almost the same with mosques in Indonesia. They have different kinds of programs for Ramadhan, they also provide ifthar and held tarawih prayer. The point is that in Muslim community, Ramadhan is still Ramadhan and we do what we usually do in Ramadhan with no difference (actually, this year’s Ramadhan must be better than the previous one!).

BUT, again as a non Muslim-majority country, Ramadhan here is different than Ramadhan back in my country, Indonesia. What’s different? LOTS! LOL. I am exaggerating. Okay, here’s the differences…

1. This year’s Ramadhan is in the middle of summer. Yes, you’re right! If you live in tropical areas, you may not experience the seasonal different which affect like your whole daily life. In here, in this Ramadhan, we fast in the middle of the summer in the UK and as we have to fast from the sunrise until the sunset, we have like around 19 hours to fast. Is it difficult? Well, if you think about it you will think that it is. However, if you do it… it’s not that bad, really… It is manageable.

2. As Ramadhan is in the middle of summer, it is HOT in here. It’s not like super hot as in Indonesia. At least I’m not that thirsty. But it is still hot. The temperature nowadays is more to over 20 degrees Celsius. If you’re Indonesian and live in Indonesia, you may think that WOW, that’s not hot. But trust me, when you spend months in the UK, over 15 degrees Celsius can feel really really hot.

3. Again, related to summer, the night time is very short. We have around 5 hours of night time that we have to use to pray and be close to Allah. Yes, I heard that we have to spend the most of our Ramadhan night to pray. So, within 5 hours you have sooooo many things to do from ifthar until suhoor. I personally choose not to sleep at night because I’m afraid I’ll sleepover. LOL. I don’t want to miss suhoor because it’s a barakah time and I want to pray Qiyamullail. So, in these past few days, I didn’t sleep at night and I slept later during the day. Your daily life literally flipped around! It is quite easy for me because I don’t really have to work everyday, but if you are working in the UK with like certain office hour… I don’t know what to do. Haha

4. The atmosphere.  Of course, different place has different atmosphere. As not so many Muslims in here (well, comparing to Indonesia), the Ramadhan atmosphere isn’t really obvious. People live their life as usual, there’s no difference with any other months. It’s neither positive or negative as I don’t really care about it but sometimes I miss the Ramadhan atmosphere in Indonesia. Anyway, it’s rather out of context but it is nice that this year, Channel4 have a special Ramadhan program everyday (Ramadhan reflection) and every week (Ramadhan in UK). So, at least we still have Ramadhan TV programs here. LOL (no Para Pencari Tuhan, though)

5. I am alone. This is personally about me. If you’re in the UK with your family then it’ll be alright. For me, I live alone here so I have to fast and arrange my Ramadhan alone (poor me, wkwkwk). For me, I am still getting used to the way I have to arrange my Ramadhan by myself. You know, life is so much easier in Indonesia regarding Ramadhan. I mean, in terms of food and you needs. You can just buy things anywhere, whenever. People even open their restaurants for suhoor. What a life! Here, you have to arrange it by yourself. I have to cook, think what to eat, think what to do and when I have to do that. I’ve learned a lot. I am lucky though because someone just moved in to my house and she is a Muslim. It’s nice to have someone around during ifthar and suhoor because our ifthar is at around 9.30 when everyone’s already having their night out or ready to sleep (I don’t think they’re asleep though) and the suhoor is at 1.30 because Subuh time is at 2.30 when people are asleep or still drunk in bars. Plus, I also have some Indonesian friends here so I can still come over and get together with them.

That’s pretty much all, I think – except the fact that we cannot have the ‘Ramadhan foods’ like in Indonesia (well, we can if we want to cook it by ourselves which… I don’t). See, Ramadhan is still Ramadhan, in whatever situation you are. What we, well I, have to do is to make the most of it; strive to conquer (caelah bahasanyaa) all obstacles to be a fully taqwa person at the end. Insha Allah.

Happy Ramadhan, everyone! Taqabbalallah! 🙂

Jul 13, 2013