Ramadan Fasting and Consciousness Education

Ramadan Fasting and Consciousness Education

Muhbib Abdul Wahab

Lecturer at FITK Postgraduate Program at UIN Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta, Vice Chairman of Pesantren Development Institute PP Muhammadiyah

This year's Ramadan fasting is a bit different from previous years, because Indonesian Muslims have just held a five-year celebration, a democratic party, in the form of legislative elections and direct presidential elections. The presidential election last February left many residual national and community problems. According to a number of experts, including Eep Saefulloh Fatah, Ikrar Nusa Bhakti, Rocky Gerung, and Faizal Assegaf, this year's presidential election was the worst, most fraudulent, full of money politics, and the most dishonest and unfair, because the election organizers (government, KPU, Bawaslu, Police and TNI), were considered not neutral, took sides and were involved in (and became part of the success team) winning one of the candidates. 

Moreover, before the presidential election was held, ethical and constitutional violations had already occurred, with the passing of the vice president Gibran Rakabuming Raka by the Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court, Anwar Usman, the President's brother-in-law and uncle of the vice president. MKMK has decided that there is a serious ethical violation regarding the age of the vice president: 36 years old is allowed to become a vice president, with the condition that he has experience as a regional government leader. The Election Organizer Honorary Council (DKPP) has also convicted the Chairman of the Indonesian General Election Commission (KPU) Hasyim Asy'ari, and six other members of violating the code of ethics in accepting the registration of Gibran Rakabuming Raka as a vice presidential candidate for the 2024 elections. In other words, one of the contestants, legally and ethically, is considered ethically flawed and should be disqualified, especially when the presidential election process and vote counting found a lot of evidence of violations, fraud, money politics, intimidation, and other desecration of democracy in a structured, systematic, massive, and malicious manner (TSMJ).

The question is, is the practice of disobedience and democratic evil in the form of TSMJ election violations carried out with full awareness (realized, intended, planned, and executed in such a way), not accidentally? The simple answer is that it is impossible for TSMJ fraud to be carried out without awareness, without consideration of common sense, without planning, and without deliberation. Again, it is impossible, because the events were not just one, two or three cases. The events were massive, with honest people testifying that they had received social assistance with a picture of one of the candidate pairs, received many dawn attack envelopes, and were intimidated to vote for a particular candidate pair.

This article does not intend to discuss election fraud, as valid pre-election evidence is already represented and can be witnessed in the movie Dirty Vote. No one disputes the movie's substantive truth. In fact, according to Jusuf Kalla, the movie only revealed 25% of the election fraud, which was already fraudulent, deceitful, evil, and against the constitution and democratic morals. However, this article seeks to answer the question: "Why does the mental and moral consciousness of human beings seem not to function to fortify themselves from committing fraud by justifying all means? The further assumptive question is "Can Ramadan fasting function as a builder of mental, spiritual, moral, and social awareness to form a tough and temptation-resistant person not to disobey Allah, including not cheating and being evil to others?" 

In other words, this paper will test a thesis that Ramadan fasting carried out with îmânan wa ihtisâban functions transformatively in fostering personal awareness that produces (hope in the form of) a pious person to Allah SWT. In simple language, the pious person has a fear of sinning so that he does not (want to consciously) disobey Allah. Let alone sinning and disobeying, a pious person during the month of Ramadan can control himself not to eat, not to drink, not to have sexual intercourse (husband and wife) during the day, even though eating, drinking, and having sex is the original law is halal. So, Ramadan fasting is a high-value physical, mental, spiritual, moral, and social worship in the form of awareness education that is very effective to actualize the mission of holistic and integralistic prophetic education, namely liberation, humanization, transcendence, and self-actualization.

Consciousness as a Driving Energy and Self-Controller 

Humans are basically a consciousness entity, because Allah SWT made them as ahsan taqwîm, the best and most perfect creatures of software and hardware. In addition to being equipped with an upright, balanced physical form and flexible body organs, humans are endowed with senses, reason, fitrah, and conscience plus sharia (revelation) delivered through the Prophet and Messenger. With all that, humans become virtuous, cultured and civilized beings. To become virtuous, cultured, and civilized, humans must go through a process of education. In other words, humans must optimally utilize the function of their consciousness because consciousness (al-wa'yu) is the driving energy of the soul to behave, think, and act in accordance with the radiance of conscience.

In the context of the importance of awareness, the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) explains six meanings of awareness, namely: (1) shared knowledge, (2) internal knowledge or belief, (3) a mental state that is aware of something (awareness), (4) recognizing one's own actions or feelings (direct awareness), (5) personal unity, namely the totality of impressions, thoughts, feelings that make up conscious feelings and (6) a state of being awake / awake normally. Pawlik (1998: 187) explains that there are two formulations of consciousness, namely (a) the functional aspect of consciousness, in the sense of attention and awareness and (b) the phenomenological aspect of consciousness, in the sense of self-awareness and self-consciousness which describes internal awareness of one's self-conscious experience. 

K. Pawlik (The Neuropsychology of Consciousness: The Mind-Body Problem Re-addressed. International Journal of Psychology, 1998 (3): 187) distinguishes three formulas of consciousness, namely: (1) consciousness (C1) shows a person's ability to be aware of his subjective experience , a person's ability to perceive variations in mental states (consciousness in the narrow sense), (2) consciousness (C2) shows the access used by the conscious system to get to its parts or to its own mental processes (consciousness in the sense of awareness), and (3) consciousness (C3) refers to a non-physical being (descartes' immaterial mind).

A. Zeman (Consciousness. Brain, Vol. 124, No. 7:1263-1289) explains three main meanings of consciousness, namely: (1) consciousness as a condition of being awake/awake. Consciousness is generally equated with the waking state and the implications of the waking state. The implications of the waking state will include the ability to perceive, interact and communicate with the environment and with other people in an integrated manner. This understanding describes levels of consciousness, namely from waking, sleeping to coma; (2) consciousness as experience. This second understanding equates consciousness with the content of experience over time: what it is like to be a particular person now. This awareness emphasizes the qualitative and subjective dimensions of experience; and (3) consciousness as mind. Consciousness is described as a mental state that contains proportional things, such as: beliefs, hopes, worries, and desires.

From this description, it can be emphasized that as an integral part of psychological studies, consciousness is the potential and strength of the soul (al-quwwah an-nafsiyyah) which is bestowed by Allah on humans, functioning as software which is the driving energy of human life, including belief and driving will. to become a devout servant through fasting. Without awareness, it is impossible for someone to have noble intentions to become an obedient servant of Allah. Without awareness, it is impossible for humans to feel ashamed to disobey Him. Mental awareness allows him to think rationally, act maturely and proportionally, while acting responsibly and with integrity and high morality.

Thus, if there is a leader who acts fraudulently, is deceitful, arrogant, and feels that he is arbitrarily powerful, even though he violates the constitution, is against the law, and is against the ethics and civility of democracy, then such a person has no conscience. His life orientation may have been controlled by lust, ambition and a desire for power that exceeded the limits of Pharaoh's, so that Prophet Musa AS was instructed by Allah to advise and remind Fir'aun's consciousness not to be unjust, arrogant, tyrant, dictatorial, totalitarian and lawful. all means to remain in power (idzhab ila Fir'auna innahu thaghâ, QS Thaha/20:24 and an-Nazi'at/79:17)

Apart from being a driving energy, consciousness is also a power of control and self-regulation (self-regulation), because human consciousness can give considerations about what is reasonable or unnatural, appropriate or inappropriate, good or bad, obeying or breaking the law, providing benefits and benefits or bringing harm. and mafsadat. Unfortunately, humans are often deceived and subdued by the desires and temptations of Satan who provoke or even make deviant actions seem beautiful and delicious. By lust and Satan, committing adultery is provoked as a "golden opportunity" and a good deed is just as good. Corruption is definitely driven by lust and stimulated by Satan as an "aji mumpung" to get rich quickly without having to work hard.

Therefore, consciousness should ideally function as a controlling and self-regulating energy so as not to violate the law, violate the constitution, violate morals, act evilly, harm other people, let alone commit disobedience to Allah. The obligation to fast in Ramadan is a call to faith; The verse begins with "Ya ayyuha al-ladzina amanu", O you who have believed. This means that fasting must be based on and driven by faith, starting from a strong and sincere intention because of Allah SWT. The call to faith is the essence of awareness education, because people who do not believe, do not believe in the truth of the fasting law, will definitely not answer and respond to the call with an attitude of sami'nâ wa atha'nâ (willing to learn and practicing the truth, implementing the propositions of truth, not just arguing and justifying his deeds which are not necessarily true).

Ramadan Fasting: Lab. School of Strengthening Awareness

In my opinion, in order to function as a driving energy and self-controlling force, humans need to understand their self-concept holistically. This can be done through understanding 5 forms of awareness, namely: (1) self-awareness, (2) awareness of theology and eschatology, (3) awareness of regulations, (4) awareness of relationships, and (5) awareness of ecology. This categorization of five forms of consciousness is inspired by humans' relationship with God, fellow humans, the universe, worldly life, and life after death (afterlife). In this context, Ramadan fasting is actually a laboratory for strengthening positive and constructive awareness for believers who fast.

Self-awareness is a form of internal (personal) awareness of humans by believing that they exist because someone created them, Allah SWT, and that their creation was not accidental, but by design and with purpose. Self-awareness starts from recognition (recognition) as well as belief (belief, faith) that Allah created it with a noble purpose, worshiping Him (QS adz-Dzariyat/51:56). Self-awareness necessitates being aware of potential and being aware of position. Humans are gifted by Allah with extraordinary potential (ahsan taqwîm), surpassing all His creatures. The potential for thinking allows him to become a seeker, formulator and developer of knowledge and civilization. The potential of dhikr makes people grateful and patient in responding, living and providing solutions to their life problems. The potential for self-awareness makes it capable of developing the quality of oneself and one's life optimally.

Meanwhile, position awareness is a person's personal awareness in interpreting his life. He realized his position as a servant of Allah ('abdullah) and as His caliph on earth. As His servant, he must realize the importance of worshiping in accordance with His Shari'a, behaving sami'nâ wa atha'nâ, Meanwhile, as His caliph, he understands his main duties and functions (tupoksi) in the form of 'imârat al-ardhi (building and prospering ) the earth and its contents. In other words, self-awareness combined with awareness of potential and awareness of position makes humans have a positive self-concept by actualizing themselves as His servants and caliphs on earth optimally, trying to spread benefits and benefits. So, if the leaders of the people and nation are self-aware, they will not think of destroying the generation, country, democracy, or even think of bankrupting the country and nation by allowing the practice of KKN (Corruption, Collusion and Nepotism) and continuing to "mount" external debt. country.

Being aware of theology is closely related to faith in Allah as the creator of the Shari'a. All acts of worship, including fasting, in Islam must be faith-based. Therefore, the Prophet SAW said: "Whoever fasts because of faith and hopes for a reward (pleasure) from Allah, his past sins will be forgiven." (Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim) Carrying out the Ramadhan worship must be based on and capitalized on by strong faith, faith that moves, becomes positive energy with the spirit of seeking Allah's high approval, in order to achieve the goal of fasting, namely becoming a person who is devoted to Allah SWT. . So, imânan wa ihtisâban is a theological awareness that makes believers feel called to follow the commands of Allah and His Messenger.

Theological awareness requires the integration of eschatological awareness, belief in the existence of the last day, reckoning in the afterlife, and retribution for good and bad deeds, heaven and hell, so that all behavior and actions are truly realized and can be accounted for before Allah SWT. This theological and eschatological awareness has implications for the emergence of fear of sin, fear of disobedience, fear of violating the law of Allah and His Messenger, so that believers always try to show good performance (good deeds). Ramadan fasting educates believers to have high theological and eschatological awareness, so that they always fastabiqul khairat (compete in goodness). Theological and eschatological awareness are the keywords that open the gates of piety.

Ramadan fasting educates shaimin and shaimat to be aware of the regulations by fulfilling the requirements, pillars and kaifiyat. Because Ramadan fasting must begin with sincere intentions for Allah from the dawn of shadiq and end when the call to prayer at maghrib resounds. Discipline when starting and ending fasting is a conscious implementation of regulations. Likewise, carrying out obligations, recommendations (sunah), and abandoning all prohibitions in fasting Ramadan is also a regulative awareness. In other words, being aware of regulations requires shaimin and shaimat to obey principles, obey rules, obey legal norms, and so on.

Being aware of regulations requires literacy regarding the applicable rules of the game (norms, legal system, sharia). Ideally, Muslims must understand fiqh ash-shiham so that Ramadan worship can be carried out optimally. Being aware of regulations necessitates the importance of being aware of relationships in the socio-cultural system. Following the example of the Prophet SAW, fasting teaches us all to intensify sunnah practices, giving charity, giving alms, giving alms, and sharing goodness for humanity. “Whoever willingly does good deeds, that is better for him. And fasting is better for you if you only knew.” (QS al-Baqarah/2:184)

True relational awareness requires shaimin and shaimat to build and develop a spirit of friendship, affirm and strengthen brotherhood and unity of the people and nation. The congregational spirit during Ramadan is a reflection of the importance of being aware of relationships. Ramadan ends with Eid al-Fitr which is full of messages about the importance of forgiving each other and staying in touch with each other. Ramadhan educates shaimin and shaimat to continue to think strategically in optimizing social and humanitarian networking which results in a progressive civilization.

Apart from that, it is also important for shaimin and shaimat to be ecologically conscious, meaning that fasting during Ramadan must be environmentally conscious. Even shaimin and shaimat must have ecological piety by paying attention to environmental sustainability, maintaining a clean lifestyle and a healthy lifestyle. Refraining from eating, not drinking and not having sex during the day during Ramadan is an actualization of ecological awareness. Ramadan fasting is designed so that shaimin and shaimat wake up early to eat sahur. Ideally, we wake up not just to eat sahur, but also to be able to enjoy clean and fresh oxygen which makes our bodies healthy and fit. By waking up early, we can also walk healthily to the mosque for congregational morning prayers. The habit of waking up early, maintaining nutritious and healthy food and drink intake is a manifestation of ecological awareness, in addition to maintaining the cleanliness of the house, ecosystem and the natural environment around us.

Enlightened Consciousness Education

From the description above, it can be emphasized that Ramadan fasting must be oriented towards awareness education, not just lay fasting, fasting on the stomach and below the stomach, because physical fasting is the lowest level of quality, so the Prophet SAW often warned his people: "How many a person who fasts but he does not get anything from his fast except hunger and thirst" (HR An-Nasa'i). This hadith emphasizes how many people fast and succeed in preventing themselves from things that break the fast, but do not get any reward, except only hunger and thirst.

Ramadan fasting must begin with strong and sincere intentions because of Allah SWT. Intending to fast is actually a basis for spiritual mental awareness that can provide transformational value from physical fasting to functional fasting, fasting that produces a devout character and personality, such as: honesty, truthfulness, trustworthiness, istiqamah, discipline, gratitude, patience, humility, forgiveness, benefactor, muraqabatullah, and so on. Thus, awareness education through Ramadan worship must be enlightening, through understanding and appreciating the essence (philosophy) of fasting and self-control.

The aim of fasting in Ramadhan, to form and actualize oneself into a devout person (la'allakum tattaqun), of course cannot be instantaneous, but requires a process and following a road map of piety. Among the road maps for piety, for example, is staying away from prohibitions or things that can cancel the value of Ramadan worship. In this case, the Prophet SAW emphasized "Five things that can cancel the reward of a fasting person: talking about other people, pitting oneself against one another, lying, looking with lust, and perjuring oneself" (HR Ad-Dailami). It is impossible to avoid these five negative values of Ramadan worship without awareness education. Shaimin and shaimat are aware that Ramadan fasting transforms itself from fasting the stomach, fasting below the stomach to fasting the five senses, fasting the mind, fasting the feelings, and fasting the heart (shaum khawash al-khawash) or fasting of the inner and outer body, fasting of totality.

Awareness education can be actualized through Ramadan fasting, if shaimin and shaimat also understand the curriculum (competency standards, content standards, and process standards) by fasting by following the prophetic example. The requirements and pillars of fasting according to fiqh must be obeyed (be aware of the regulations), but the added content of worship is in the form of suggestions and positive habits of the Prophet SAW during the fast of Ramadan, such as: qiyam al-lail, tarawih, tadarus al-Qur'an, i'tikaf, intensive Giving alms, paying zakat, and so on are also important to become a collective consciousness so that the value of Ramadan worship becomes special.

Akhirul kalam, Ramadan fasting is an annual worship (in the month of Ramadan) which is designed, among other things, to provide educational value for awareness based on love of prophetic traditions. The implication is that this awareness education can be a process of liberation, freeing shaimin and shaimat from the shackles of lust, negative traits and characteristics such as irritability, worldly orientation and excessive material things, impatience, vindictiveness, jealousy, negative thinking, and so on. Apart from liberation, Ramadan fasting ideally results in a humanization process, humanizing shaimin and shaimat into superior individuals because they achieve a high quality of piety. A pious person can integrate faith, knowledge and good deeds that are istiqamah in his life. Humanization becomes perfect with transcendence, confirmation of faith (aware of theology and eschatology) which makes shaimin and shaimat always dhikrullah and muraqabatullah, by improving the performance (deeds) of their worship.

Ultimately, Ramadan fasting educates shaimin and shaimat to have constructive mental, spiritual, moral and social awareness with self-actualization, in a sense, the transformation of faith, knowledge, and righteous deeds for the benefit and benefit of human life in order to build a civilization of people and nations that are progressive, just, and happy in the world and the hereafter. So, Ramadan fasting is not just holding back and controlling yourself from everything that invalidates fasting, but also self-actualization to become an authentic pious person, not just a routine, formal legal ritual that is arid of meaning, but gives positive and constructive value to humanity and civilization that enlightens the future of mankind.

(This article has been published in the March 2024 edition of Tabligh Magazine)