It is 8:49 a.m. in Dubai. We just had our first flight from JFK and are now waiting for the next one to Jakarta. Me, Syifa, and Lodang are still trying our best to fast through the flight, which I found to be quite hard for the airplane did not serve scheduled meals for the fasters. It surely is more challenging to fast in travels.
Sarah just told me that she felt apologetic for bringing up food talks at times while some of us are fasting. I said to her that I did not find those talks disturbing at all, and I doubt any of the fasters would feel offended as well. For me personally, being around those kinds of distractions, around lots of foods and heated arguments, serves as the main point of fasting. It teaches us to control ourselves in any situations and not to give up to our biological urges. It makes us aware and trained to have full control of ourselves, which in turn, makes us human.
Sarah’s statement reminded me of the debates on food selling that constantly happen in Ramadhan. When it comes to Ramadhan in Indonesia, there are always some groups that debate on whether or not it is appropriate to sell foods and drinks in public. There had been some governmental agents that got raid for selling foods on the streets, though a few years ago there had been a regulation passed on the topic. It was said that food sellers can still operate in public in Ramadhan, but they would have to put up curtains to cover the food sold. There had been a case recently in which a woman got raided for selling food in public, which is actually kind of sad.
For some people, though, the matter does not even need to be debated. It goes back to our faith. Some people may feel that the existence food sellers in Ramadhan is disturbing, but they do not have the right to ban people from selling stuff using tolerance for the fasters as an argument. The ones who give up to their urges and break their fast for that reason is simply the ones who do not have enough intention and self-control to fast, which go against the principles of fasting. We cannot blame our failures of self-control onto others, for the conditions are set to train our beliefs.
Fasting is hard, but that is just the way it is. If we consider it to be a part of our training to gain full control of ourselves, every part of it will be enjoyable, including the afternoons. It is not merely an obligation for Moslems.
Lintang Cahyaningsih – Universitas Gadjah Mada