Life Journal

When Far Away From Home

I woke up in the silence. There was no Mom that wears mukena (long clock covering women’s head and body while praying), hurry us to go to mosque for Eid pray. There was no Dad that with his baju koko (Muslim clothes for men). There was no smell of ketupat  (square packed rice) and rendang (spicy meat dish) from the kitchen. There was no outburst Takbir that I used to love in the Eid morning in Indonesia.

I found myself in the empty small apartment room at residential college, in the heart of Singapore, which I’ve just lived in the past 2 weeks. Ramadhan was over, but why something is missing? Completely blank, I grabbed my laptop and streamed for the local radio.

“Allahu akbar.. Allahu akbar.. Allahu akbar… Laa ilaaha illallahu Allahu akbar.. Allahu akbar walillahilhamd!”

That’s it! That’s the sound that I missed. The remark of Eid. My soul craved for the forgiveness. My heart crawled for the contemplation with my Creator.

I cried effortlessly. The whole of my 20 years in my life I spent for being majority. As the country that has the biggest number of Muslim majority, In Indonesia we got everything granted. Mosque is everywhere, Adzan is echoed 5 times a day trough the loudspeaker, Halal food is guaranteed. Life is so easy.

Everything has changed when I travelled to USA under the Study of U.S. Institute program at my first week of Ramadhan. My first experience fasting far away from home started. Summer made the day longer, so does the iftar (break the fast at sunset) at 8 or 9 p.m.

Yet there, I found some ease when meet other Muslim all over the states. They were everywhere. Praying collectively on the Central Park grass, work passionately on the New York street pavement, fasting under the heat of Indiana summer sunshine. All of sudden I felt tremendously ashamed of the weakness I showed. Being the minority and still be able to exercise our religion should made us proud, stronger. Thus I learnt something from this journey.

Then I flew to Singapore for extending study. Still far from home. Still being part of minority. But there is something in this lonely Eid that I am grateful for. It’s about the chance, to met new people, to internalized new persepective, to be confident of living in diversity.

It takes land far away to hit the nails on my head. How precious the privilege that I had, how easy to exercise the religion when all people in my surrounding doing so, and how much commitment that I need to walk in the pathway that I choose since the very first beginning.

The sparkle light of this mega city tempts me to open the window. As the wind blow, I whisper, Eid Mubarak!


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