Communal food: Muslims at Istiqlal Grand Mosque in Central Jakarta to break the fast and perform mass prayers during Ramadhan on July 10. (JP/Ricky Yudhistira)
More than any other month, pious Muslims all around the world are naturally motivated to spend more time performing religious duties during Ramadhan.
However, balancing work with religion during the month, when Muslims believe that rewards from God for every good deed will be multiplied, is not a simple task for most people working in the capital.
A member of the National Research Council, Tiktik Dewi Sartika, conceded that performing religious duties, particularly sunnah (non-obligatory) ones, on weekdays was quite a challenge for her, especially as she is also struggling to complete her thesis to get a master’s degree from the Bandung Institute of Technology.
“I have to adjust my daily schedule as I need to get up in the wee hours of the morning throughout the month to prepare sahur [predawn meal] for my family and I rarely reach home in time to break the fast because I’m still on my way home from the office then.
“I also hardly perform tarawih prayers at the mosque on weekdays because of that,” she told The Jakarta Post recently, adding that achieving a particular target in performing religious duties during the holy month was beyond her capability because of her work.
She has not given up though.
“After having sahur, I don’t go to sleep but recite the Koran until before I leave for work. On weekends, I go to the mosque for mass tarawih prayers,” Tiktik said.
Things are even harder for Kurnia Sari Azizah, a kompas.com journalist, who finds the workload for reporters during the month is no different than during regular months.
“The workload is just the same. However, I manage to share it with colleagues who are not Muslims. For example, they will cover events for me that are held when it’s time to break the fast,” she said.
“Honestly, I didn’t set a certain target for religious achievements. To be able to perform obligatory duties on time is more than enough for me,” she added.
Language consultant Ardi Wirdana is a bit more ambitious.
“I did set a target for religious achievements during this month. I stuck it on my closet. I want to complete reading the Koran during Ramadhan and memorize three surah [chapters],” he said.
Ardi also stopped watching TV and using social media so he could be more productive.
To support Muslim employees during the month, many businesses in the capital provide facilities for mass prayers. Some also invite an ustadz (Islamic preacher) to deliver a kultum (seven-minute sermon).
Indradhi, an IT officer at the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), said he always attended the mass prayer held in the office building if he was on the premises at the time.
“An auditorium in my office building is used as a temporary mushalla every pray time, so I always make time to attend the mass prayers,” he said.
“I realize that achieving a religious target during Ramadhan is not easy for people who work in the capital, but I expect myself to do it no matter what so I can be a better person year by year.”