Unlike the previous Ramadhan month in 1441 H/2020 M, Ramadhan this year seemed to feel a bit different. As many Muslims in the world already believe, they performed and conducted the obligation to do fasting throughout the month of Ramadhan. Three aspects that I observe from my eyes might seem to engage me into something complex from within myself to the way I view the whole world. The three aspects are: 1) from personal to community and society; 2) from the individual self to the community self; 3) from the local area to the whole world.
From Personal to Community and Society
This small observation is started from the way I looked at the definition of community and society. Every individual in the world belongs to a certain community and society at one point in their life. Someone could belong to more than one community. I learned that there is a link between an individual to the community. People who share something in common can make a good community, but it should also be understood that a community might serve good purposes for other communities at large, or it simply stands for what the community needs to claim and do. The obvious community that I have is the Islamic community. Given the fact that I might have a different type of personality from other members of the same community, then other members in the community cannot be represented by me. If members of other communities outside the Islamic community view me, then they should see me as a basic group member of the Islamic community. I do learn and read the Arabic to read the Al-Qur’an, but that does not mean that the Jannah will be promised for me. Allah SWT has the right to allow me to enter Jannah or, scary enough, to push me to jump to the burning fire in Hell. That’s one thing I like about Islam. None can determine where your destiny in the Hereafter will be: Jannah or AnNaar / Hell. As long as I commit something good, there is a promise that I would enter Jannah. There’s a price for that.
Talking about community and society, I notice that certain labels are existing. These labels sometimes drive you to lose your sense of self. I remember when I worked as an English lecturer at a private college. I stopped working there, not only because I eventually see that it has a toxic culture (not necessarily related to Islam or Minangkabau culture), but it has an obvious scene of being obnoxious. Since I was a student in high school, I often joined competitions. Sometimes I won, and sometimes I lost. Things felt different at a working place. I wish that I could see a working place like home, where I could feel being accepted for who I am, and I could feel being cherished for the work performance that I did and gave to the workplace. As wise words said, “Even in a pool, there are so many fish” Constantly, you end up doing negotiation and negotiation from the person you to the community. Labels hurt at this point. Who would judge on your level? Of course, nobody. However, who would judge you based on your community and society? Yes, every member of the group. I have learned that no matter how good you tried your best, when there is a little fire (gossip and backbiting about you in a false informal peer talk) that turned good attention to you from the community to something bad about you, then you end up having only two choices: losing yourself or losing your community. Losing yourself simply means that you are accepted in the community while losing your community means that you have yourself but you do not have any acknowledgment.
As a Muslim myself, I always believe that,
“Whatever happens, keep doing good. You do good things, some people still do not like you. You do bad things as they want, some people still talk about you behind your back. Just, do good. Allah SWT sees all your deeds, to your community, yourself, and to whoever comes in your way. If they throw you thorns, just wipe them off. Don’t throw the same thorns to them. The world will see, either you as the good side, or the thorns throwers that are bad.”Syayid Sandi Sukandi
From The Individual Self to the Community Self
There is a video on the TED channel that I watched a few days ago. It talked about, “How not to take something personally” I watched the video and listened attentively. There was a word in my mind after watching the video and taking a lesson from it and the word was: Ignore. As part of a larger community, I am an individual self. Just like you, you bring yourself to the community, or the community invites you to join? In my case, I am the one who brings myself to a community. With one condition, in every community that I join, I always simply be me. That is what I define as the individual self.
On the other side, the community self means that the community in which you join has its colors and a sense of direction. It is good to see that a community has its purposes. However, one thing that should be taken note of at this point is that the individual self that we bring to the community. Will we follow the community standards until we lose our sense of self, or we simply neglect our self just to be accepted in the community? Of course, everyone is given the right to choose which one is better for them to choose. The community self simply means the form of the collective consciousness of the community. Every self in a community consists of an individual self, so each community should have proper guidelines to be used as directions to maintain the existence of the individual self.
From the Local Area to the Whole World
Wherever you are, wherever you live, and wherever you might read my writing, you must be located and situated in a local area. In the place where you live, there are different sets of people, situations, and circumstances. As the wise words said, “the world is just a place, but you and your mind.” I often reflect that sometimes we bring what we have in ourselves to the world. Although we might in London, for instance, things that we have in our local area might somehow relate to things that happen in various places in the world. On the basic level, we run our life simply for good purposes that might not be related from one person to another. However, the local area is the place where things might happen. From the small things to bigger things, it is started from the local area.
In brief, we might agree to say that everything is started with ourselves. When we see the world from our eyes, we begin to see the world we live in. As such, it is important to view that the decision made by a leader will somehow project what and how this world they view. If they view this world as an important place to grow, for everyone to live peacefully, I am sure that leaders will take responsibility within themselves to pursue what is best for everyone. Other than that, we might end up feeling abused and neglected. Everyone shall receive respect, and space to grow better within their capacity and circumstances. It is from ourselves to the nearby community, and then to the world.