Ramadan, the holy fasting month for Muslims, is back to greet Muslims now around the globe.
For Indonesian Muslims, this Ramadan paves the ground to take a moment to sigh over the country’s dynamic development. It gets more spiritual as they define themselves as contributing people, not just the haves.
Erich Fromm, a key figure in psychoanalysis, identifies human beings based on their mode: having mode and being mode. The former refers to those who liken their happiness to what they have, while the latter deals with anybody considering that their delight is closely linked to what they give to and share with others. Civilisation would be pinnacled, according to Fromm, when people engage in great contributions to their society and nation rather than accumulating wealth for their own sake.
Ramadan, basically, fertilises farmland of contribution to Muslims. Thanks to dietary restrictions imposed during the month, one’s psychic faculty becomes more robust marked by better listening skills and a judicious way of seeing. When one is abstaining from food, drink, and sex during the daylight hours of Ramadan, he or she will have more chance of being creative owing to the fact that the creative mind hails from the abundant power of the soul going beyond excessive physical need such as disproportionate food consumption.
Creativity flows and can only be achieved if one is physically and psychologically sound. That is why, for example, scores of important events in the history of Islam took place during the holy month of Ramadan. The success of Muhammad Al Fatih (1431 – 1481), aged 22, in conquering Constantinople in 1453, along with his spiritual closeness to Allah, is also to do with his creative strategy of war as he ordered the Ottoman navy to be carried over land to bypass the chain in the Golden Horn. Over one night, 72 ships were carried over land and put into the Golden Horn, threatening Constantinople from the north.
Moving any further, Muslims would turn into people of being mode when they control their knack for listening and ability to discern, which are highly encouraged during Ramadan. Tragedy comes into view by the time one races to talk and is not used to listening to someone else. A family becomes split or separated as either husband or wife prefers talking to listening to his or her spouse, which in turn results in acute egoism and deep misunderstanding. Talented executives in various companies reach a deadlock as they are more preoccupied with their own notions than listening to each other.
Fasting prompts Muslims to have a strong psychological feature called itsar, meaning to put the interests and needs of others even if he or she really needs it. Listening to people with alacrity plays a momentous role in contributing to the betterment of society. The more we listen, the more we hear, and the more we learn. On the part of those who are listened to, self-confidence becomes prevalent heedless of social status and economic background. With most of the society members holding their self-confidence, there is no doubt that people with diverse strength points will make their best contribution to the country and mankind without being asked.
One’s willingness to listen to others, however, should be also defined as his or her eagerness to heed “the best words” such as the Koran, hadith (the sayings or actions of Prophet Muhammad), and good advice along Ramadhan. Together with its emphasis on one’s soul growth, it is very efficacious in reducing stress levels.
Also Read An Alternative Ramadan
Ashley Montagu, a British-American anthropologist, attributed strong reliance on mass media to one of the modern dehumanising causes. Heavy viewers are apt to view the world as more insecure and stressful than light readers. In a bit to cope with stress, according to Montagu, one must lessen his or her dependence on mass media and switch his or her focus to an optimistic view, good advice, and a book. Social interaction leaves greater room for people of being mode—contributing people—so long as they build their character through integrity instead of sensation.
While integrity is forever despite the coming and going of success, sensation only causes much gossip. Reza Rahadian, one of the country’s leading actors at the moment, has proved that his integrity is a testimony to his wonderful career path, letting his credibility on screen and stage speak louder to the public as opposed to sensationalising his private life.
Fasting in Ramadan, therefore, blocks Muslims from being scandalmongers and turns them into a more connected society. Those actively involved in this sort of society will likely possess meaningful multitasking attributes following their readiness to leave their comfort zone. In a connected zone—where care, forgiveness, and sharing become rampant—Muslims will be driven by a great sense of service and dedication no matter which role they are assuming, treating those who have little or nothing as a part of their family.
Happy fasting and have a blessed Ramadhan!