~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe~
This year denotes the second time I spend a full Ramadhan (inshaAllah) in Malaysia. Still, it could not be compared to the years I spent in Dunedin.
The season. The food. The people. The environment. The feeling.
It was because of Ramadhan I met the best of people there. Having Iftar at the mosque itself strengthened my bond with other Muslims from different backgrounds. Since Iftar at the mosque is based on donation, every day there would be someone volunteered to cook, hence the variety of food every night.
I didn’t miss the opportunity to cook for the mass, of course with the help of friends. The last two Ramadhan in Dunedin, I’d had helped from my Iranian friends. Rather than a 100% Malaysian dish, it became a combination of Malaysian and Iranian delicacies.
Furthermore, the Iftar is not only for Muslims. Non-Muslim friends were also invited, to exposed them to the beauty of our religion.
There was also a time when it snowed heavily, making it impossible for others to come due to the danger in driving. So the Imam combined both Maghrib and Isha’ prayers, and we had an early Tarawikh prayer that night. (Tarawikh there is normally led by an Imam from Saudi, and it will be 1 juzu’ per night).
When I worked at ADInstruments, it was also during Ramadhan. The office hours were from 9 to 5.30 pm. Since it was winter, the Iftar time would be at around 5ish. So I had to break the fast at the office, then rushed home to get my car and drove to the mosque. Luckily Sister Arien was kindly enough to save a plate of food for me every day.
Well, there were also other moments worth remembering. Like this one year where I decided to go back to Malaysia for Eid, and a night before my journey my purse was stolen. I lost my cash that was supposed to be used for my cab fare to the airport. For that year itself, I actually arrived in Malaysia on the morning of the first Eid, reached my hometown at noon, and spent the rest of the Eid sleeping till evening 😀
Ramadhan is not just about Iftar, right? There’s suhr as well. Normally I had suhr by myself and in 2012, Ramadhan fell at the same time as the Olympics. Because New Zealand is located at the rightmost position on the world map, I could watch the live telecast as early as 6am, and witnessed the amazing run of Usain Bolt who broke another world record.
Those were all precious memories that would never be forgotten.
Given a chance, one day inshaAllah I would love to experience those moments again in my beloved hometown, Dunedin.