Marhaban Ya Ramadhan
"O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self restraint - a taqwa". (sura al Baqarah or Chapter 2: 183 of the Qur'an).
The month of Ramadan is the one in which the Qur'an was sent down - right Guidance to mankind, and clear signs of Guidance and Distinction of truth from falsehood. Those among you who witness it, let him fast therein. Whoever is sick or on a journey, then a number of other days. God desires ease for you, and desires not hardship. Thus may you fulfil the number of days assigned, magnify God for having guided you, and perhaps you will be thankful". (Chapter 2: 185 of the Qur'an)
The Islamic month of fasting calls as Ramadhan has just came. It is the month that the believers await with eagerness. Writhe of the fasting month has been appeared in the Muslim society here in Indonesia too. Muslim fast for the sake of Allah (God), refrain from eating and drinking as well as to perform more prayer than usual. It is intended to teach Muslims about patience, discipline, integrity, sincerity, humility and spirituality. In this month the Qur'an was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.
Fasting is prescribed for Muslim in order to become a "taqwa". The word taqwa in English is not actually only means self restraint, more deep than that. It combines many feelings, such as fear of God, heeding, something that can be closer to the God and above all being God-conscious.
One's "taqwa" (just calls pious) can be directly proportional with the ability to manage self performance at an optimal level. For the pious people there is not any day without doing any act that will generate benefits for themselves and others. In this context the role of soft skills have a significant contribution in the improvement of the productivity of their work. We know that a lot of qualified human resources in this country. Our students are not less to win the competition or contests in science and technology disciplines, achieved international recognition in the world forum that will acknowledge the intellectual superiority of our students. However, the fundamental question is why the advantage of "hard skills" (academic or intellectual competences) have not been able to raise the level of welfare of common people in Indonesia? In fact, there are still many poor people in this Republic. If using the United Nations' poverty standard which equal with U.S. $ 2 / day or equivalent to Rp 600 thousand / month, then the number of poor people in rich countries are still more than half of the Indonesian population. We can't imagine there is great poverty in a country that has immense natural wealth. Unfortunately, it can be observed in everyday life that our elites or leaders who have high academic ability and intellectual remains unable to solve this problem properly. Some of them even become part of the problem.
In recent years, the community and the nation of Indonesia is often affected by various problems, such as natural disasters, violence, corruption, unrest, famine, plague, and other bitter cases. National problems actually should be handled with a wise and responsible. However, the reality speaks difference; there is not empathy and lack of sensitivity of elites.
Benefits of Ramadhan
Month of fasting for Muslims is forged to improve the quality of one's own personality, especially raise social sensitivity, discipline, motivation, initiative, creativity, sincerity which are domain of soft skills. Fasting, prayer, almsgiving and other worship in this holy month, if executed with great humility (tawadhu) will bring Muslim improve his soft skills. As a pious person, he/she will never be despair, pessimistic, lazy or hopeless.
During Ramadan the believers get busy seeking Allah's mercy, forgiveness, and protection from Hellfire. This is the month for renewing our commitment and re-establishing our relationship with our Creator. It is the spring season for goodness and virtues when righteousness blossoms throughout the Muslim communities. It will succeed if Muslims are the majority in this country provide a good role model and believe that the benefits of Ramadan in shaping the pious individual. When we achieve the level of self-restraint, patience, and the like then, the benefits will be perceived not only for ourselves but also others and our environment.
As the majority, Muslims are required to provide sublime morality exemplified by the Prophet. Written in the Qur'an that Prophet Muhammad had a noble spirit, sublime moral and lofty (Sura al-Qalam: 4 or Chapter 68: 4). The Prophet is a role model for any Muslim in this world. We spend our time during Ramadan to do various ibada (ritual) as mentioned above to get more closer to God as exemplified by the Prophet.
During Ramadan we deprive the body to uplift the soul. This is all simple and familiar. But we can understand its significance if we remember that the message of the materialistic hedonistic global pop culture that has engulfed every Muslim land today - just like the rest of the world- is exactly the opposite. It says that body is everything. That the materialistic world is all that counts. That the greatest happiness - if not virtue- is in filling the appetites of the body. This message produces endless appetites and consequently endless wars to fill those endless appetites through endless exploitation. It produces endless frustrations since the gap between desires and achievements can never be filled. It produces endless chaos and endless oppression. Yet this trash comes in such beautiful and enticing packages that we can hardly resist it. We equate this slavery with freedom. We consider this march to disaster as progress. And with every movement, we get further and deeper into the mire.
Therefore the presence of the holy month of Ramadan is expected to be an important moment for Muslims to improve themselves in order to increase devotion to God and realize the social piety (pious) through morality and away from moral reproach. When Ramadan ends, while the quality is still our soft skills not changed significantly, then of course we have wasted the momentum of this Holy month. On the other hand, if the quality of our soft skills improved and there is betterment, then we are included into the level of people who win within auspicious Ramadhan. Happy fasting 1433 Hijriah.