Rini's Ramadan story

Cultural Heart People of Adelaide

Rini - from Indonesia

City worker Rini was born in Jakarta and is relatively new to Adelaide life, having only moved here with her daughter in 2018. That said, these two are no strangers to the Australian lifestyle.

“My daughter and I migrated to Adelaide in September 2018 as I got a job offered at the University of Adelaide. I lived in Melbourne for 12 years previously, then relocated to Malaysia in 2004. My daughter was born in Melbourne.”
Rini

Below, Rini shares a little of her personal experience of Ramadan in the two countries she has lived – and what she looks forward to with the coming Eid-el-Fitr celebration.


What does Ramadan mean to you? 
“For me, it is the time when I am recharging my spiritual 'batteries', and do a lot of reflection about life. Like other Muslims, during this holy month, I recite the holy Qur'an more frequently and perform more prayers especially at night. During this month, we 're-learn' about compassion and being generous towards others who are less fortunate, regardless of their religion, race and nationality. It is the time to really seek forgiveness from Allah (God) and to seek His blessings as we believe that during this holy month, Allah offers more of His forgiveness and blessings than on any other days.”

What practices do you undertake through Ramada?
“I think there are lots of similarities in how we are observing Ramadan everywhere in the world. We refrain ourselves from food and drink, and anything else that can nullify the fasting from dawn till sunset for the whole month. We have a very early breakfast - before dawn. During the day, we continue to do our daily tasks as usual, as in other days, but usually we would spare a bit more time to recite the holy Qur'an and do extra prayers. However, during the night, this is the most exciting part for me in Ramadan, we usually have iftar (breaking the fast) with our (extended) family and friends and we go to a mosque to offer special congregational prayers. We will exchange and share our meals with friends for iftar. We also give food to others, especially to those who are in need.”

Rini and her daughter

Rini (left) with her daughter

How is Ramadan in Adelaide different to Jakarta?
The only thing that is different is that our family is not with us, they are in Indonesia. We miss having the supper and breaking the fast with them. We also perform the special prayers at night mostly at home instead of going to a mosque.

“The only thing that is different is that our family is not with us, they are in Indonesia. We miss having supper and breaking the fast with them. We also perform the special prayers at night mostly at home instead of going to a mosque.

“I think that the general understanding (in Adelaide) about what we are observing during this special month is very helpful. My daughter's school shows a very good example in supporting their Muslim students. An announcement was made to the school community announcing the arrival of Ramadan, as Muslim students will be observing fasting during the day for one month. Teachers are advised to consider replacing sports with alternative activities for fasting students, that students' concentration levels may be relatively lower, which may affect their learning process and that absenteeism, incomplete work and / or late arrivals may be results of very late nights at communal / family gatherings after breaking the fast and / or special prayers at night during Ramadan.

“The school really provides an excellent opportunity for students to share their beliefs and celebrations. If similar understanding can be found in workplaces, it will be very good in supporting diverse belief systems in Australia and promote further harmony and understanding in the community.”

Eid with mom

Rini during Eid with her mum.

How have you adapted through Ramadan with the COVID-19 restrictions?
“It is a very unusual Ramadan this year. It is kind of sad because we miss the gatherings, our family, friends and mosques. We can only meet each other virtually. Nevertheless, we are able to use our time to focus more on our prayers instead, especially for good health and protection during this difficult time. We also listen to live-streaming and recorded sermons.”

What are your favourite things to break fast with during Ramadan?
“Dates and kolak (Indonesian traditional dessert of bananas and pumpkins in coconut milk - kind of like a ‘sweet soup’).

How will you celebrate Eid al-Fitr?
"We usually will put on our best clothes and perform a special congregational prayer followed by a special sermon, in the morning of Eid-al-Fitr, in a mosque or an open space, then we have meals together. People will bring various delicious foods to share. We also visit our families and friends and invite them to our houses as well. Children usually get presents or Eid-money.

"However, this year we will be performing the special prayer at home before visiting friends. It will not be as festive because we're restricted to small gatherings but we're still grateful to have the opportunity to visit them."