I am writing this while overhearing the beauty of adzan from a mosque located not far from where I live. You’ve been here, I am sure you can imagine. The night has just arrived and I could feel stronger energy through the salawat sung by ummah, young and old, male and female. The last night of Ramadhan, everybody seems happy for a successful one-month journey. Yet, I could feel how they start to miss the holly month already.
Fatima, you know that I do not fast. But I have been exposed to the full month of Ramadhan and I have been learning a lot. You know, I come from a place where mosque is inexistence. I have lived in a land where adzan and shalawat are mythical. I spent almost the entire of my life in a place where Islam can only be learned from bad news on television and social media. My encounter with Indonesia introduced me to a different face of Islam and my meeting with you has completely changed the way I see the world of Islam.
Fatima, do you remember when you took me to see a Masjid for the first time in Jogja? The smile of Pak Bejo was my first real introduction to Islam. I had known you a long time before but I thought you demonstrated the universal face of kindness, love and intellectuality. I did not know that it was also Islam. The smile of the old man then confirmed everything. That to be kind to people, you don’t have to be friend with them.
I don’t read Koran but I can tell its beauty from Mbak Sum, the lady shopkeeper next door. Her dedication and smile to every single customer tell everything. Her willingness to help Mbah Tugiyem every morning when she came to buy porridge for her dying husband is a living verse of Koran, I am sure. I also learned the beauty of Islam from Pak Bono who ‘secretly’ took me to a room during a long meeting and gave me delicious lunch while everybody else, including him, was fasting. You are also the Koran that I know, through your caring attitude towards others, irrespective of their religion and believe.
Fatima, I am seeing your culture and religion right here from the heart of your beloved country. You know, it was not easy not to wake up at the dawn when the calling for prayer arrived much earlier than my own wake-up alarm. It was not easy to enjoy the chanting from teens of loudspeakers around my place, especially when I don’t even know the meaning of any single word coming out of them. It was not easy not to get cranky when all of those, in fact, stole my sleeping time after all my hard work the night before. But now I see it differently. This is the true meaning of tolerance. Tolerance is when I wake up at the dawn due to adzan, even though I don’t do any salat, and keep smiling, hoping that Allah will hear and embrace your prayers. Tolerance is when you demonstrate understanding and respect in silence, far away from celebration and spot lights.
Eid Mubarak, Fatima. Thank you for showing me the beauty of Islam. Thank you for teaching me without preaching, that life is colorful. We might not always love every single color but at least we realize how nice it is to see those different colors forming a mosaic of beauty. I imagine, how dull our life will be if we have only one color. May Allah bless you and your family.