Holy month of Ramadan means hassles for some Turkish non-fasters
The holy month of Ramadan is among the most joyous events of the year for Muslims, but for members of Turkey’s non-fasting minority, it can be a time of intolerance and annoyance instead.
“Do not even get me started about the ezan and the Ramadan drums,” said Yusuf, a young writer living in Istanbul, referring to the five-times-daily call to prayer and the peripatetic percussionists who bang out pre-dawn wake-up calls to fasters during Ramadan.
Like most other people who said they find Ramadan an unpleasant experience, Yusuf did not want to give his last name. More than by the sleep disruptions, he said is he upset at the social pressure and disapproval he experiences during the holy month – the cashier who gives a customer buying beer the cold shoulder or the bus driver who starts an argument about the coffee in a passenger’s hand.
Ozan, a ceramics artist living in İzmir, said he is not disturbed by Ramadan practices in the Aegean city, though that was not the case when he spent time in the eastern province of Ağrı a few years back. “All the places to eat were closed. You could not smoke outside,” he said. “Once, I was about to light up and this guy hanging around his store interrupted, telling me, ‘Brother, if you light up, [people] will beat you.’”
Zeynep, an event organizer in Istanbul, shared her mother’s response to Ramadan-related hassles: “I carry on with my own life in its normal flow; I am not interested in other people’s lives.” For her part, Zeynep said the only thing she finds bothersome about Ramadan is the rush-hour traffic as people race home to break their fasts with the evening meal known as iftar after abstaining from food or drink from sunrise to sunset.
Busy traffic is also the main Ramadan complaint of Salur, an engineer from Ankara. “When the idea of fasting is planted, it should be thought simultaneously that mastering your temper and communicating joyfully is as indivisible a part of the fasting activity as mastering your hunger,” he said.
Journalist Erdem from Istanbul expressed similar sentiments, saying, “I am sure tolerance is not a stance Muslims practice only toward each other.”
The pre-dawn drumming is a source of irritation for many non-fasters, including Onur, a French instructor in İzmir who said he has been disturbed by the drummers “all his life.” Though he is pro-secular, Onur said the drums would bother him “even if I was someone who fasts 30 days in a row.” He said the traditional wake-up call is unnecessary in this day and age and as problematic as the “mosques that turn up the speaker volume to the limit and play a pre-recorded ezan.” Calling the drumming a pretentious act to appear religious, he said the drummers are just doing it for money and added that he thought they should be banned.
The social pressure Ozan and Yusuf described is another hot-button issue, especially for women. Communications specialist Pınar said she recently visited her mother at her family’s summerhouse in Southeast Turkey, where the conservative neighbors complained to her mother about Pınar returning home from the beach wrapped in a towel, saying their neighborhood is not a “nudist colony.” Pınar said her mother also told her not to walk around in a bikini because people were fasting.
“I did not make changes to my clothes because of this and I did not get angry at the ‘morality police’ either,” Pınar said. “They will learn not to get angry at me, too. They will, at worst, get used to me.”
Pınar’s discomfort is shared by Ayşe, an advertiser in Istanbul who said she “feels the peer pressure when [she] wears low-necked tops during Ramadan, [though] not an intolerable amount.” Another woman, singer Sanem, said she is disturbed by people staring at her because she is not fasting, and may even be smoking or drinking. “We can be much happier if everybody would grant [everyone else] the right to be,” she said, noting that she respects others’ beliefs and is not disturbed by “drums or anything.”
The tables are turned, however, for Merve Şebnem, who runs her own investment company in Istanbul. Though the businesswoman does not wear a headscarf or other outward signs of piousness and enjoys a drink every once a while, during Ramadan, she is a fasting Muslim who does not consume alcohol – something she said her friends find strange. “I receive a lot of questions like ‘You have been drinking for 11 months, and didn’t for one; what type of Muslim are you?’” she said. “I tell them, ‘My [religion] is just like yours; you get to be a Muslim without practicing.’ They do not understand.”Merve said people also judge her in other ways. “If I lose my temper and get angry, people say, ‘We told you, one should not fast in this heat,’” she said, adding that she tolerates people who make such comments because she believes they mean well. “But, how can they not empathize when I [am empathetic toward them] and mind their own business?” she said. “That is the sad part.
Ramadan adalah bulan yang istimewa bagi orang Islam, hanya kita semakin terlupa keistimewaannya kerana kesibukan kita dengan urusan kehidupan duniawi kita.
Ramadan mempunyai sekurang-kurangnya 5 inti asas: ianya bulan puasa, ianya bulan Qiyam (sembahyang malam), ianya bulan yang mengandungi Lailatu al-Qadr, ianya bulan al-Quran, ianya bulan bermurah hati dengan bersedeqah
Beruntunglah sesiapa yang dapat menghimpunkan kebajikan yang belbagai pada bulan yang mulia ini, sebagaimana yang terbayang dalam maksud hadith yang diriwayatkan oleh Imam Muslim: Rasulullah bertanya "siapakah di antara kamu yang pagi ini berpuasa?". Abu Bakar menjawab ; "saya". Rasulullah bertanya: "Siapakah di antara kamu pada hari mengiringi jenazah?". Abu Bakar menjawab : "saya". Rasulullah bertanya; "siapakah yang bersedeqah dengan sesuatu sedeqah?". Abu Bakar menjawab : "saya". Rasulullah bertanya: "siapakah di antara kamu yang menziarahi orang sakit?". Abu Bakar menjawab :"saya". Rasulullah menyatakan ;" sesiapa yang menghimpunkan perkara-perkara ini akan memasukki syurga".
Setiap amalan-amalan yang ditanyai oleh Rasulullah itu mempunyai kelebihan yang ketara. Apa lagi terdapat tokoh-tokoh dari kalangan salaf yang brusaha meraih kebajikan yang banyak dengan sengaja menjemput golongan miskin untuk sama-sama berbuka, untuk mendapat kebajikan memberi makan, apa lagi untuk berbuka puasa kepada golongan yang kurang.
Bulan Ramadan adalah bulan al-Quran, Imam Ibn Rajab al-Hambali menyebut yang kitab-kitab samawi, seperti Suhuf Ibrahim, Taurah, Injil dan al-Quran diturunkan di dalam bulan Ramadan. Saiyyidina Umar telah mengadakan tiga imam untuk mengimami terawih, baginda menyuruh Saiyyidina Ubay bin Kaab membaca 200 ayat dlam serakaat, mereka habis sembahyang hampir kepada fajar, sementara dua imam lagi masing-masing membaca 25 ayat dan 20 ayat bagi setiap rakaat,
Sementara Imam Malik memakruhkan bacaan yang kurang dari 10 ayat bagi satu rakaat, Imam Ahmad mengatakan memandangkan kedaifan ummah untuk bersembahyang panjang maka bacalah apa yang sesuai semada 5, 6, 7 ayat bagi setiap rakaat agar dapat dikhatamkan al-Quran pada malam 27 Ramadan.
Golongan salaf membaca al-Quran dengan banyaknya dalam sembahyang dan di luar sembahyang pada bulan Ramadan. Imam kita as-Syafie dan Imam Abu Hanifah mengkhatamkan al-Quran sebanyak 60 kali dalam bulan Ramadan, Imam Malik akan berehat daripada majlis pengajaran hadith dan ilmu yang lain di dalam bulan Ramadan kerana menumpu kepada al-Quran. Begitu juga Sufian at-Thauri yang akan meninggalkan ibadat lain di bulan Ramadan kerana menumpukan kepada al-Quran.
Sekarang ketika terdapat di kalangan ummah yang merasakan Ramadan adalah bulan yang membebankan dan bulan pengacau; routine mereka terganggu, maka bagi kita tuntutan ke atas kita untuk menjejaki amalan generasi salaf semakin menjadi keperluan. Kisah-kisah kesungguhan mereka menjadi peransang untuk kita terutama ketika masyarakat semakin kucar. Ya Allah , Engkau yang memegang ubun-ubun kami, hadapkan kami kepada keredaan Mu.