Friday, October 31, 2014

Ramadan in Indonesia

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Ramadan in IndonesiaIf there's no sudden change of schedule during this week time, it'd be my first Ramadan (spelled in Bahasa either Ramadhan or Ramadlan) in Indonesia after so long time doing adventurous brouhaha in India during which I hadn't returned home even once. Strangely during that "meditation time" I occasionally got time to met alll my sisters neither in Indonesia nor India. It's in Saudi Arabia, instead.

So, now once again I have a look and feel of conditions preceding the month of fasting for Muslims which are typically Indonesia: price hike of certain commodities, controversies surrounding the start and the end of Ramadan all of which are unknown outside Indonesia which means that the fast of Ramadan has a lot of meaning to Indonesian Muslims.

For the benefit of non-Muslim who might never heard of or hardly understand this term and its significant to Muslims, here's some meaning and definition of Ramadan:

Muslims are prohibited from eating, drinking, smoking, and engaging in sexual intercourse between a husband and his wife from dawn (fajr) to sunset (maghrib). One of the principal aims of fasting is to sympathise with those less fortunate ones who do not always have food and drink readily available. Also one must try to avoid cursing and thinking evil thoughts. Fasting is also viewed as a means of controlling one's desires (of hunger, thirst, sexuality, anger) and focusing more on devoting oneself to God.

During this month of Ramadan besides observing fast mentioned above, Muslims are also expected to do the followings:

During Ramadan, Muslims are also expected to put more effort into following the teachings of Islam as well as refraining from anger, envy, greed, lust, sarcastic retorts, backstabbing, and gossip. They are encouraged to read the Qur'an. Sexual intercourse during fasting in the day is not allowed but is permissible after the fast (when referring to sexual intercourse, it is intended to mean with one's spouse alone, as all pre- and extra-marital relations are strictly forbidden in Islam). Obscene and irreligious sights and sounds are to be avoided. Purity of both thought and action is important. The fast is intended to be an exacting act of deep personal worship in which Muslims seek a raised level of closeness to God. The act of fasting is said to redirect the heart away from worldly activities, its purpose being to cleanse the inner soul and free it from harm. Properly observing the fast is supposed to induce a comfortable feeling of peace and calm. It also allows Muslims to practice self-discipline, sacrifice, as well as sympathy for those who are less fortunate, intending to make Muslims more generous and charitable.

In addition to fasting, Muslims are encouraged to read the entire Qur'an.

Despite month of Ramadan is regarded as a holy month, some people of prominent are trying to make it political by creating unnecessary controversies. This is especially true in Indonesia, particularly between two largest Muslim organisations such as Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah. The differences largely concerning how to decide when the Ramadan should start and end.

The "capablity" of Muslims to make a big differences out of small issue, like that of Ramadan starting day etc, actually symbolizes the larger issue the Muslims are facing: their potent incapability to see everything in a larger picture, that is to prioritize in the essence to make Muslims united in developing Indonesia. Muslims constitute the majority in Indonesia meaning this country will never progress economically as well as socially unless and untill the Muslims are matured and well-behaved in dealing with big and small issues both concerning their internal differences as well as in dealing with their brethren from other faiths.

Putting too much emphasis on unsubstantiial and insignificant issues only indicates our short-mindedness and short understanding of the spirit of Islam as the blessing for mankind (QS 21:102); and that respect for others within and without the community is part of important teaching of Islam (QS 49:13 and 2:256).

Muslims will grow up if (a) the leaders stop trying to politicize everything for their personal or organisational interest and or (b) Muslims get more independent mind and understanding; this will only be achieved if they are more educated something the Mulims leaders need to work out. No less important, Muslim should show their magnanimity in dealing with minority community. We are all Indonesia after all.

Speaking of Ramadan, so when does Ramadan 2007 start? It's either Wednesday (12/09/2007) or Thursday (13/09/07).

Anyway, wishing you all Muslims Happy Ramadan. Selamat menunaikan ibadah puasa Ramadhan bagi seluruh umat Islam di Tanah Air dan di manapun berada.

Indonesia Blooks (Book from Blog)

Photo: Cover book of Tristania Anggina blog
Some commenters on my previous posting on Blooker Awards help me in knowing Indonesian blogs which turns into book (blook). A. Umar Said's "blog", an Indonesian expats in France, has also published his book last couple of year (2004). And the latest in line is Tristania Anggina.

All are in Bahasa Indonesia, unfortunately. So, non-Indonesian readers/blogger couldn't take a peek to their blogs. The only Indonesian blog in English which turns into book is A Jar of Pickles (poems onthology) written by three Indonesian poets in which Tjipoetat Quill has contributed to it.

Nevertheless, I'd like to congratulate Tristania Anggina and Tjipoetat Quill. May the publication of your blog into book could motivate other bloggers to continue blogging and writing whatever topic they enjoy writing, in English or Bahasa Indonesia

Blogger of the Week ala Tempo Interaktif

Nothing can make me happier than to see a mainstream Indonesia media like Tempo now is taking initiative to introduce blog and blogging into the 'conventional' audience or in other words it acknowledges the growing influence and popularity of blogging so much so that it can no longer ignore it as a temporary trend.

The news came yesterday night when blog-indonesia.com founder told me that Tempo Media will make a new feature in its online edition entitled Blog Pekan Ini (Blogger of the Week). Once I have time to browse I did find what he said. In its introduction, the Tempo online editor says

TEMPO Interaktif, Jakarta: Mulai pekan ini, Tempo Interaktif menampilkan rubrik baru Blog Pekan Ini. Kriteria pemilihannya adalah adalah Blog -- berbahasa Indonesia, Inggris ataupuan daerah ... (From this week, Tempo Interaktif will show a new feature i.e. Blogger of the Week. All Indonesia blogs written in English, Bahasa Indonesia or local dialect will serve the criteria to be reviewed)


It's still unclear to me whether the reviewed blog will show up in its print edition as well.

I am so happy upon Tempo initiative at least for two reasons:
First, it means the mainstream media have seen blogs not only as a kid playing ground or an IT-geek-testing field. They starts if not already see Indonesia blog and its content as part of people voices that need to be paid attention for. Because people voices have --one way or another-- people power, whatever this term means.

Second, it will spread the blogging culture into speedier pace. When it happens, when all people who can access the internet are interested to blog, something big will happen: the turn-around of a culture. From tradition of talking into the culture of writing. When you desperately want to blog or write something, you cannot avoid another: reading. No one can make a decent writing without reading anything. So, if that happens, let's call it a 'green revolution.'

From the above two points, I need to congratulate the editorial board of Tempo Media for taking the first initiative. And from the same token, we, Indonesian bloggers, are waiting for other mainstream media like Kompas, Gatra, Republika, Media Indonesia, etc to play a more active role towards implementing the "green revolution." :)

Lastly, I think Budi Putra must've played a significant role on this. If that's right, thanks so much from me and from other Blogger Indonesia who agree with my point of view.

Indonesian Blogger Ministers

Indonesian Blogger MinistersIndonesians are known for their laid-back attitude, a sort of a "very-busy" mindset, so to speak. Of course, with some few exception here and there, that's those who have successfully reformed their personalities.. That's why it's amazing to find some (very) few Indonesian ministers who are engaged in blogging activities. Though not many of the so-called blogger ministers it's worth noting as they are a rare breed we should encourage and appreciate the new phenomenon to blossom. Here is the list of the Blogger Ministers of Indonesia:

1. Juwono Sudarsono, Minister of Defense
Blog URI: www.juwonosudarsono.com
See my review on his blog here and here.

2. Yusuf Asy'ari, Minister of Housing
Blog URL: www.yusufasyari.com
See my review here.

3. Anton Apriyantono, Minister of Agriculture
Blog URL: www.antonapriyantono.com

4. Lukman Edy, Minister of Minister of Development
Blog URL: www. lukman-edy.web.id

Apart from that there is also a blog run by Yusril Ihza Mahendra, the former Minister of State at http://yusril.ihzamahendra.com/

The current president Presiden Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) (www.presidensby.info) and vice president Jusuf Kalla (JK) (www.setwapres.go.id) of Indonesia both are having a website, though cannot be called a blog as they are written by their staffs instead of themselves. A blog is NOT merely a personal website using CMS (Content Management System). It should have a personal touch and feeling. A website which uses wordpress, movable type, blogger or any other blogging platform, to me, is not automatically deserves to be called a blog--thus, the one who runs it is not automatically a blogger-- in its widely understood sense of the term.

Idul Adha, Christmas and New Year 2008

Idul Adha, Christmas and New Year 2008

Eid al-Adha or Idul Adha (Arabic: id al-’Adha) is a religious festival celebrated by Muslims worldwide as a commemoration of Ibrahim's (Abraham's) willingness to sacrifice his son, Isaac, under the order of Allah. It is one of two Eid festivals celebrated by Muslims, whose basis comes from the Quran. ... It is also called the "bigger" Eid because it is considered more important than Eid el-Fitr or Idul Fitri [1]


This month of December coincides with at least three important events: Idul Adha for Muslims, Christmas and New Year for Christians.

Nothing I'd say but to wish you all a Happy Idul Adha for Muslims, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year for Christian community around the world.

A better world for humanity in the years to come! Amin

Keith Ellison the First American Muslim Legislator

Keith Ellison has made American political history. As the victorious Democrat in Tuesday’s mid-term elections for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, Ellison is the first African American Congressman from the Midwestern state of Minnesota and the first Muslim legislator ever elected to Capitol Hill. It was, however, neither race nor religion but social issues that were the focus of his successful run for Congress.

His win along with many other democrats have made a historic turn-around as far as American politic goes: (1) He’s the first Muslim to be ever elected as American legislator; (2) Democrats controls the House of Representative after 12 years.

For us in Indonesia, where Muslims are in majority, having a minority personality to occupy high level offices is not an issue at all even during the authoritarian rule of Suharto. Benny Moerdani, a devout Catholic, for example, got the Defence Ministry portfolio during Suharto’s regime, something unthinkable ever happen in America or Britain, the forefront campaigner of democracy.

Marie Pangestu, a Chinese origin and an economist is now holding Trade ministry office under Presiden SBY (Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono), the first directly-elected Indonesian president, and there are many more who belongs to non-Muslim communities who hold important executive portfolios.

So, to see the brouhaha over the election of Keith Ellison, and mind you he’s elected ’only’ as legislator and NOT as minister/secretary of significant post, is ludicrous from Indonesian Muslim perspective.

One main idea of democracy—and why I wholeheartedly support it— is the concept of equality and pluralism. Every single individual should be seen on his/her personality, capability and skill and what one can do and contribute to the nation. Any prejudiced or discriminatory act on personal preferences —be it a religion, ethnicity or political leaning—should not be a hindrance to occupy a certain important government offices. Post-independent Indonesia has done just that.

America, as a nation many other countries look up to as dynamic precendence of democracy, should encourage many other ’Keith Ellisons’ to be elected and occupy important duties. Right-wingers honeymoon for the time being is over. I’m looking forward to seeing America as a friend of the world under Democrat and I’m looking forward to seeing another ’Clintons’ not ’Bushes’ sitting on the oval offices.

The main problem with the Republican post-9/11 is the pre-emptive action policy meaning that you will be invaded and destroyed, just like Iraq, if you’re dreaming of or conceived to be dreaming of, attacking America. And as it happens to Iraq, no parties involved in the quagmire; neither Iraq nor US, are safe. Not now, nor is it in the foreseeable future. America should heal the wound quickly and make reconciliatory gesture to the world before everything comes too late. American people, by electing Democrats, should be seen as stepping in to the direction of reconciliation. We, however, still need to see another verdict in two years time whether they (American people) will make another ’Bush’ or ’Clinton’ as their special envoy to the world peace.

Abu Bakar Bashir

profil abu bakar baashirProfile of Abu Bakar Baasyir (Ba'ashir)

Name: Abu Bakar Ba'asyir bin Abu Bakar Abud, or Abu Bakar Bashir (in Western or English speaking media)
Other name: Ustadz Abu and Abdus Somad
Date of birth: 17 August 1938
Place of birth: Jombang, Jawa Timur (East Java), Indonesia
Religion: Islam / Sunni Muslim
Ethnicity: Arab origin.
Nationality: Indonesia
Occupation:

Founder and Director of Pondok Pesantren Islam Al Mu'min, Ngruki, Jawa Tengah (Central Java), Indonesia along with Abdullah Sungkar.
Leader of Majelis Mujahidin Indonesia (MMI)
Leader of Jamaah Anshorut Tawhid (JAT)

Education:

Pondok Pesantren Gontor, Ponorogo, Jawa Timur (1959)
Fakultas Dakwah Universitas Al-Irsyad, Solo, Jawa Tengah (1963).

Organisation:

Himpunan Mahasiswa Islam (HMI) Solo chapter
Secretary at Pemuda Al-Irsyad Solo
Head of PII or Pemuda Islam Indonesia (1961)
Head of Lembaga Dakwah Mahasiswa Islam (LDMI)

Controversy:

1983, Abu Bakar Ba'asyir was arrested along with Abdullah Sungkar. They were suspected as mobilising people to reject the unified state principal of Pancasila.
He was also suspected to be part of Hispran (Haji Ismail Pranoto) movement -- one of DI/TII leader from Jawa Tengah (Central Java). In court, both Abu Bakar Bashir and Abdullah Sungkar were convicted and jailed for 9 years.
11 Februari 1985, when his case on court appeal, Bashir and Sungkar were under house arrest. That was the time when they escaped to Malaysia.
In 1993, according to US government, Bashir and Sungkar set up Jamaah Islamiyah (JI) organisation in Malaysia with the aim of establishing an Islamic caliphate extending over the Muslim areas of south-east Asia. Bashir succeeded Abdullah Sungkar as leader of JI on Sungkar's death in 1999. An allegation Bashir denied.

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[1] Wikipedia


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