Living the Muslim Fasting in a predominantly non-Muslim country is not easy. Muslims must endure hunger and thirst in a community with different customs until it is time to break the fast.
Not only that, the discrepancy in the time of fasting and cultural differences sometimes become a factor that makes it difficult to carry it out easily.
However, this is not an obstacle for Indonesian Muslims abroad to continue their worship and celebrate fasting in the holy month of Ramadan.
An Indonesian citizen (WNI) who stays fasting abroad is Rini Sitompul, mother of 4 children who emigrated to Mexico City in 1993.
For this beautiful woman, of Javanese descent, this is the twenty-sixth time she celebrates fasting in the country of the hat.
For decades Rini has lived happily with her family in Mexico, and has never had a difficulties celebrating the holy month. However, this year (2019) the situation is very different for Rini and her four children, as it is the first time they will spend Ramadan without the head of the family. Three months before, the husband and beloved father, Alm. Wilson Sitompul, passed away.
Rini admitted that fasting without having one of the family members is not easy. The deep sadness is added to the feeling of loss, and inevitably some habits disappear along with the one that has left. For example, each Ramadan was the husband who acted as Imam, when the family performed the tarawih prayer at home; now Rini hopes that the eldest son will be willing to replace the father as leader of family at praying times.
Memories, Prayer Tarawih Together (Foto: Private)
But life must continue. Despite being now a single mother and being far from family and country, Rini continues to rise to defend the future of her daughters and sons.
Before Ramadan began, Rini and her four children visited the tomb of the head of the family. After that, like the other mothers, Rini prepares what is necessary for the Sahur and breaks the fast with her family.
Although the husband has left, the family maintains a series of habits, the family routine during Ramadan. A custom they have is to eat the Sahur and break the fast together. "Although the boys are busy, they always try to break their fast at home," Rini explained.
Memories, Breaking Fasting Together (Foto: Private)
For Rini, family union during fasting is very important. Fortunately, the time when Sahur is celebrated in Mexico, its just before the fast begins, coincides with the start of their children's activities to go to school. Therefore, eating Sahur is at the same time breakfast for them.
Living fasting in an environment where Muslims are a minority is not easy for the children of Rini Adry, Katie, Anggie and William, who were born and raised in Mexico, whose population is predominantly Christian. But this is not an obstacle to fasting, since they started doing it from the age of 7 years. "They only fasted half a day, until they were 9 years old, after that they fasted the whole day," Rini said.
Rini added that she and her late husband always offered an explanation of the obligation to fast during the holy month of Ramadan to their sons and daughters. They understood it and continue with the cult once a year.
At school, friends understand the reason for fasting, and due to a feeling of solidarity, some joined the act of not eating during the set time.
But a funny incident happened to Rini, in the school of one of her children. The director, without knowing the reason, reprimanded her for not allowing her kids to eat or drink during recess. The director was concerned that not eating would make her children sick. After explaining to him about the obligation of fasting for Muslims during Ramadan, the director understood, and until now, everyone has continued to fast without interruption.
Although in Ramadan this will no longer be the husband and beloved father, that does not diminish the spirit of Rini, Adry, Katie, Anggie and William, because in this blessed month they continue to strive to approach the Creator, while continuing to pray for their beloved father. (Eti)