COMMENTARY: Why I love Ramadhan

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PRESIDENT QUIRINO, Sultan Kudarat (MindaNews/25 July)– It’s Thursday morning, 25th day of July 2013, and the sun has just risen over the Mindanao horizon. I’m in the municipality of President Quirino, province of Sultan Kudarat to have some time with relatives on my mother’s side. My father, mother, and I arrived here in Barangay Sinakulay on Friday, six days ago, and we stayed at my uncle’s place.

Fasting this holy month of Ramadhan has been great for me. We started fasting on the 10th day of July and I spent my early days of the month in Barangay Labangal, General Santos City. Unlike the past Ramadhans, although we do not have much financial means this time, we did not run short of foods. Although not very abundant as may be the situation in the kitchens of rich Muslim families, foods still stream into our table. For this I say Allah is great, and there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is a messenger of Allah.

It feels like ages since I last wrote for a publication. For some reasons I refrained from writing . To some degree I even abhorred or detested the idea of writing a single article for publication. I entertained the idea of writing a book but then you can’t write a book if you don’t write articles for it. There are some ideas in my brain but after having my personal computer damaged, I forshook the idea of writing anything altogether until my cousin lent me her computer.

Friends say “move on” or “get over it” but how can you get over your ideas when they keep haunting you? Somewhere in my brain, a whisper says “get a grip” or “have some focus.” This Ramadhan has been blissful to me and to my family, having spent — and still spending — some time with relatives from both sides of my family and mingling with them to some level after what felt like ages of silence. And as the sun peeks above the horizon, I thought I already did forget, but it always comes back to me, how lovely Mindanao is. I once did some travels across Mindanao. From General Santos City to Cotabato City, to Davao City and its splendid hotels like Marco Polo Hotel and Apo View Hotel, to Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi.

How many reasons are there to love the holy month of Ramadhan? Four? Five? There are many to mention. Like the holy month of December for Christians, the holy month of Ramadhan is one which we as Muslims hold dear close to our hearts.

And we will go on loving it whether it’s beautiful today, tomorrow or not. For although it is a month of fasting, in essence it is always considered a month of blessing at which we seek forgiveness in all forms, not a month of suffering. (Norodin Makalay previously worked for the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society or CBCS, a network of civil society organizations advocating peace and human rights in Mindanao. You may reach him at [email protected])

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