Belajar dari Keberagaman (1)

Sudah lama sebenarnya ingin menulis ini, tapi entah kenapa selalu tertunda. Tema ini bagi saya sangat menggelitik. Sesuatu yang mungkin tidak kita sadari saat tinggal di tempat yang homogen, tetapi sangat terasa saat berada di lingkungan yang sangat multikultural. Keberagaman alias diversity. Kata yang akhir-akhir ini seringkali di dengar, entah karena zaman yang sudah mengglobal, semakin tipisnya jarak antarbudaya, atau karena paham-paham pluralisme. Meskipun baru populer, bukan berarti keberagaman baru saja terjadi. Oh no! Sejak zaman dahulu pun, manusia sudah tersebar di seluruh muka bumi, berbeda-beda.

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْناكُمْ مِنْ ذَكَرٍ وَأُنْثى وَجَعَلْناكُمْ شُعُوباً وَقَبائِلَ لِتَعارَفُوا إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ أَتْقاكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ

“Hai manusia, sesungguhnya Kami menciptakan kamu dari seorang laki-laki dan seorang perempuan dan menjadikan kamu berbangsa-bangsa dan bersuku-suku supaya kamu saling mengenal. Sesungguhnya orang yang paling mulia di antara kamu di sisi Allah ialah orang yang paling bertakwa di antara kamu. Sesungguhnya Allah Maha Mengetahui lagi Maha Mengenal”. (Qs. al-Hujurat: 13)

Yak! Di Al Quran pun ada loh, ayat yang membahas mengenai keberagaman. Berarti, ini adalah suatu hal yang niscaya, hal yang pasti adanya dan manusia perlu belajar darinya.

Ngapain sih Za, bahas ini? Pertama, saya ter-trigger oleh percakapan-percakapan kecil dengan seorang anak mengenai dirinya yang berbeda dengan teman-temannya. Maklum saja, saya dan banyak orang Indonesia lain yang tinggal di UK ini kan menjadi anak rantau, diaspora, yang tentu berbeda dengan orang-orang asli UK. Namun, yang berbeda bukan hanya kami. UK adalah negara multikultural. Ada banyak sekali ras, agama, budaya, dan warna kulit yang beragam. Jadi, di negara ini, keberagaman adalah suatu hal yang kasat mata. Berbeda tentunya dengan kondisi di Indonesia yang orang-orangnya pun secara fisik tidak jauh berbeda. Istilahnya, di UK kami terpapar keberagaman eksplisit, sedangkan di Indonesia kita terpapar keberagaman implisit. Ya, kan? Secara fisik mirip bukan berarti tidak berbeda.

Lalu, beberapa waktu terakhir ini saat sudah memasuki bulan Ramadan, si anak kecil ini berkomentar ‘ih, kan nggak boleh ya makan siang hari waktu Ramadan. Orang lain kan ada yang puasa? Nanti yang makan ditangkap’. Jiahaha…. Namanya juga anak-anak, kan? Konsep saling menghormati, otoritas moral, dan perbedaan masih jadi suatu hal yang sangat vague. Saya jadi ingat teori mengenai perkembangan moral-nya Kohlberg yang mengatakan bahwa anak-anak (dan banyak juga orang dewasa yang tidak berkembang penalaran moralnya) masih berada di tahap membedakan benar dan salah karena ada otoritas dan peraturan. Segalanya diterjemahkan secara literal sehingga tidak ada proses berpikir lebih dalam. Jadi, wajar toh si anak berkomentar seperti itu? Penalaran sederhana dan berdasarkan pengamatan. Lah? Memangnya di UK ada aturan orang yang makan siang saat orang lain puasa harus ditangkap? No. Mungkin si anak belajar dari perkataan orang dewasa lain? Mungkin juga ia belajar dari pengamatan bahwa di Indonesia, makan dengan terang-terangan pada saat siang hari di bulan Ramadan adalah hal yang tabu dan perlu mendapatkan semacam ‘punishment’. Terbukti kan, tindakan penutupan warung makan secara paksa berakar dari penalaran pendek macam anak-anak, merupakan bentuk ‘punishment’, dan menurut saya, bentuk nyata dari kurangnya kesadaran akan keberagaman. Bahayanya, masyarakat luas, bahkan anak-anak, lalu belajar dari perilaku mereka dan menginternalisasi penalaran pendek.

Saya sangat bersyukur mendapatkan kesempatan untuk hidup di sebuah negara dengan kultur yang berbeda dengan Indonesia. Saya juga bersyukur bisa merasakan hidup di lingkungan multicultural, dimana saya adalah minoritas. Yah, kita tidak akan selamanya jadi kaum mayoritas, kan? Apa rasanya, Za? Rasanya… saya jadi selalu diingatkan untuk terus menerus menyadari adanya keberagaman dan perbedaan dan untuk terus menerus berusahan untuk menghargai orang lain dan bertoleransi. Yang berbeda belum tentu buruk, yang berbeda belum tentu salah. Slogan ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ jadi ucapan yang tidak hanya ucapan, tapi berusaha untuk dipraktikkan.

Terbayang nggak, kalau di negeri minoritas Muslim ini orang-orang yang makan di siang hari saat bulan Ramadan ditangkap? Bisa-bisa perekonomian mati dan tinggal segelintir orang yang masuk sekolah, kantor, dan tempat-tempat publik lainnya. Lalu, apakah jadinya terbalik, justru umat Islam yang harus bertoleransi terhadap orang-orang yang tidak berpuasa? Well, toh orang-orang non Muslim disini yang mengetahui bahwa kita berpuasa pun menghargai kok. Setidaknya dengan mengucap ‘Ramadan Kareem’ atau dengan meminta maaf saat harus makan di hadapan kita.

Bagi saya, toleransi adalah two-way interaction. Kalau dulu di Indonesia yang mayoritas penduduknya adalah umat Islam dan berasal dari ras Melayu, maka bukan berarti hanya yang minoritas yang harus bertoleransi pada yang mayoritas. Saat yang minoritas bertoleransi dengan tidak makan di area umum, maka yang mayoritas pun harus bertoleransi dengan memahami bahwa ada orang yang tidak berpuasa dan harus makan. Ya, nggak? Sama juga seperti saya di sini. Ketika saya bertoleransi dengan mereka yang tidak berpuasa dan harus melihat di depan mata orang-orang tersebut makan dan minum, mereka pun bertoleransi dengan menghargai keputusan saya untuk berpuasa. It goes around.

Mungkin kita semua harus lebih banyak lagi terpapar keberagaman sehingga bisa belajar lebih banyak lagi tentang toleransi. Suatu hal yang saat diukur, mungkin tidak ada titik tertingginya juga. Oleh karena itu, kita, terutama saya, harus lebih banyak lagi berefleksi, menghayati, mengalami, dan mengamati sehingga bisa menjadi orang yang lebih bijak dalam menghadapi perbedaan.

Selamat berpuasa, selamat tidak berpuasa, selamat berlatih bertoleransi.

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At the Near End of Ramadhan

I wrote something in the beginning of Ramadhan. And now it’s nearly the end of Ramadhan. After almost a month fasting and experiencing the Ramadhan life in here… well, I can say that this is the most memorable Ramadhan for me!

How can I say that? First of all, I am quite sad. In my opinion at least, when you are sad and feel like you are going to miss something, then that thing must be precious and special… And because you miss it, you must have a pleasant memory about it. I am sad that Ramadhan this year is going to end very very soon. Time flies, really…

And, when you expect that the Ramadhan feeling in here is not that strong as in muslim majority country like Indonesia… well, it isn’t that strong. But I think, the condition of being in a country where most people don’t fast or even know anything about Ramadhan makes muslim people a lot closer to each other. I don’t know because I wasn’t that diligent to go to the mosque during Ramadhan in Indonesia, but I feel like the mosque in here (well, in the university) is so much alive. It’s like the centre of muslim people’s (well, some of them) life.

In addition to that, for me, the mosque feels like home. The university mosque here is small. Don’t even try to compare it with MUI. It’s too small. But I really like it here. Again, because there are not that many muslim people, we gather in the mosque almost everyday. Well, for me it’s more like not too many days and for some it’s more like everyday. The environment is very comfy. We have our ifthar here, pray Maghrib together, eat dinner, up to tawarih together. It is so much fun! The ifthar is free by the way and it’s nice for single fighters (anak kos) in here because there’s always some more food left so we can bring it home for suhoor. And the prayers were very very nice. It’s not too long or too fast and you won’t even notice that you’re in the UK.

Moreover, as it brings muslim people together, I have so many friends. You know, people that you see sometimes in the mosque when you pray… now you get to know them. You know their name and where they live and you feel like you’re a family. Seriously…  Well, again this writing is not generalisable. It is my opinion and own experience so please read it with this awareness in mind although I think there will be a few people who share the same idea as me.

So, it really has been a great Ramadhan for me. Although I’m far away from home, I’ve found a new home. LOL. To be honest, I like the Ramadhan here more than in Indonesia. In my own experience, I can focus more on doing Ramadhan deeds and I think the obstacles – as in going to the mall or doing unimportant things – are less in here. I am sad, really… that Ramadhan is going to end soon. Anyway, it’s a pleasure that I can experience Ramadhan in here and I think I won’t forget this moment. Make the most of the last few days of your Ramadhan! 🙂

 Aug 06, 2013

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

The Garden of Heaven

Eid Mubarak!

Yes, it is late but Syawal month hasn’t end yet. The Holy Ramadhan month had passed. I am satisfied with what I did during the Ramadhan. Anyway, I experienced something unusual last Ramadhan when I did i’tikaf.

I’tikaf means staying in a mosque. It doesn’t have to be at night but because of the chasing of Lailatul Qadr night and the best time to be close to Allah is at night, people usually do i’tikaf at night. Last Ramadhan I did i’tikaf once. It was fun and nice. What I notice when I first came was that most of the people there was old.

I think it is quite common that those who are diligent to pray, coming to worship places, and religious are old people. What I am amaze of is their spirit. They are so excited to pray. Really… Praying in Ramadhan needs a lot of energy, not to mention the staying in the mosque all day long part. It can be really tiring. However, they looked so happy. I was kind of embarrassed.

During the night, we did Qiyamullail. We prayed at the end of the night, at about 3.00 am. People were tired and sleepy. We were half awake. Guess what, the old people, the grandmas are all wide awake and psyched to pray. Wow! Then I heard a grandma said something. Something beautiful that made me realize that praying is not what you have to do but something that you like to do, that energize you, that makes you happy. She said, come on wake up. Let’s visit the garden of heaven.

Praying is not a burden, not something that will make you tired, not something that you can choose not to do it. Praying is visiting the garden of heaven. It will make you calm, it will clear your head, it will do nice things to you. Maybe, just maybe when young people realize that as the old people do, then there are more and more young people who are diligent to pray.

 Sep 12, 2012