Monday, September 25, 2006

Ramadhan in Iceland...

(The Holy Mosque in Makkah During Ramadhan Month)

Marhaban Ya Ramadhan...Welcome, Ramadhan...

I've been wanting to post about this since the first day of Ramadhan. But I couldn't find the time to do it...been very busy lately with all the work. But finally i managed to write something about it.
I was thinking how different will Ramadhan be for me this year since it's the first time outside Indonesia. Actually, I was in Mekkah for 2 weeks a few years ago during Ramadhan (it was the most spiritual experience i've ever had!!!), but it was with my family...and everybody is a moslem there.

In Islamic calendar, the date changes not by midnight, but by sunset..and the first day of Ramadhan in Iceland came by the sunset last Saturday,September 23rd. But the fasting starts on September 24th in the morning. In Iceland, the fasting now starts around 4.30am until sunset (around 7.45pm).

Just 2 hours before Ramadhan came, i was still trying and trying......and trying.....to find if there's any place to pray Tarawih (extra praying in the night; only in Ramadhan) in Reykjavik. But my calls to the moslem place here were never picked up. I also felt that day was just as "Saturday, September 23rd", not as "1st of Ramadhan".
But around an hour or so before sunset, SUDDENLY somebody answered my call and told me a place where i can go to pray Tarawih everynight.

I had some fears in the last few days that I wont be able to "feel" Ramadhan like how I used to experience in the previous years because I'm "alone" this time.But when Ramadhan finally came, I realized that there are no differences...and by that, I mean I actually feel something extremely extremely different compared with how i felt just a few minutes before.Tear of joy, excited,happy,relieve....I just can't describe it. There are no words that can explain it, we need to invent the word first.

I went to the place in the night and met some people from Palestine, Syria, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Iceland, and one Indonesian guy! :-) We prayed together and then sat down and talked for a while, drinking tea.

When i got back home, i started to think that the fact that I'm "alone" this Ramadhan might be better than ever. Because i could explore, reflect, and learn more about the meaning of this month and all its beautiful secrets, waiting to be revealed.

This month is a special month. It's NOT a month of not eating nor drinking during the day.
It's a month of full of reflection
It's a month to read and learn more about the Qur'an
It's a month of forgiveness
It's a month of hope
It's a month of passion
It's a month of caring
It's a month against all bad thoughts
It's a month to feed your soul even more
It's a month full of respect
It's a month when the first verse Qur'an was brought to The Prophet Muhammad (SAW)
It's a month to clean your soul
It's a month full of joy and happiness
It's a month full of humbleness
It's a month of gratefulness
It's a beautiful month.

Marhaban Ya Ramadhan...I hope your spirit will stay with me for the months after Ramadhan and for the rest of my life

still smiling,
ali

"The most excellent struggle is that for the conquest of self"
- Prophet Muhammad (SAW) -

Saturday, September 23, 2006

my yesterday and my rest of my life...

Have you ever read, listened, or watched something that gives you useful information and you think it’s good if you practice it?

But have you ever got that information, and you know that it's good to be practiced, but somehow you just didn’t do it, and after a while you forgot about it?

Yesterday I was reading one of Jingwei's posts in her blog (Got schooled while schooling others), and that 2nd questioned I wrote above suddenly came to my mind.

I know that life is a constant learning process. But yet again, if I know, does that mean I’m actually learning constantly in my life OR just during the times when i remember that life is a constant learning process?

How aware (or maybe alert) am I, to be able to keep on learning and be inspired?

I tried to keep this thought in my mind and promised myself to really put this in practice, and it’s amazing how much I learned just on my way back from the office...!!!

So let me introduce my self again now.

My name is Ali,
I’m studying in a faculty called planet earth,
my professors are everywhere around me,
my university is the universe,
god is the rector,
and I better keep on studying coz I will never know at what age I will get my exam.

with a sincere smile,
ali

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

How Random is "Random"?

(this picture is taken from www.random-art.org, where pictures are made by a computer program. You can check how it works here)

Last night I was having a very random but fantastic conversation with carissa from Switzerland, almost none of the things that we talked was planned, and we actually realized that in the middle of the conversation. One if the things we talked was about the situation that generates us some "random thoughts". And how these thoughts are sometimes become important ideas.

At that point of time, I started to think and searched whether these "random but important" thoughts are actually random or not...So, how random is "random"?

A definition of the word "random" that i found in http://www.wordreference.com/ is "lacking any definite plan or order or purpose; governed by or depending on chance".

According to Geoffrey Miller, a psychologist at University College London, a natural randomising mechanism in our brains could possibly be a very specialised way in generating fresh and new ideas. He said that it might work by increasing the volume of the quantum mechanical noise in synaptic activity.

So it's like how computers generate numbers that for us look random (pseudo-randomness) by feeding the numbers it generates back into a program that is too complex to be done by an outsider.

I think everybody had some experiences with this "random thoughts" that suddenly pop-up in our minds. Thoughts that made you say "hey...what if...." or "hmmm, why don't we...", etc. :-)

Then i thought that these thoughts might come in a specific mood. But then again I remembered my self having these thoughts in a different and or diverse situations. Sometimes when I'm excited, sometimes when I'm tired or lazy, or even when I'm sad.

But i believe that there must be a specific situation (not mood) that stimulates this randomising mechanism in our brains to generate these thoughts. Maybe when we are challenged, or maybe when our brain is under-used so some parts of the brain starts working in its uncouncious ways. In short...I don't know, because this is actually also one part of the "random thoughts" i have, and i just decided to write it here.

If you're still reading what i wrote here (you're an awesome reader!!!), please put a comment and tell me whether you find this post useful or is it just another random (and not important) post?

Finally i want to put a funny quote about the word "thought" :

"i thought a thought that i thought i had thought but the thought that i had thought wasnt the thought that i had thought i had thought so maybe if i had thought the thought that i thought i thought i wouldn't of thought so much"

with a random smile,
ali

ps:
if you're random enough, count how many times did i write the word "random" and "thought" :-))))))

Monday, September 18, 2006


Hi,my name is Ali, i'm an Indonesian who's now staying in a beautiful and "not too hot" country, Iceland.
I'm also an AIESECer (surprise!). I was MCP of AIESEC in Indonesia for the year 0506, and for the next 1 year I will be working for AIESEC in Iceland.

This blog has been a looooong time coming, but i really have to say thank you to some people that have been "reminding me" for the last one week to really make me finally writing these words. To Grace for making her blog, to Erica and Marie Claire that told me to check out their blogs, and to Jingwei for being an amazing person to talk to and encouraged me to finally did this.

Now,that picture above represent who I am for most of you now, and that is someone whom you don't even recognize the face, or someone whom you know nothing about (like why the hell did i take a stupid picture like that).

I truly believe that every person in this world is influencing others no matter they realized it or not, in both good and bad ways. And every person in this world should be "somebody" for "somebody else", or else you have no use being born in this world.

Through this blog i hope that i will find people that will be "somebody" for me by giving their comments and inputs for me to be a better person,....and who knows i can also be "somebody" for other people by sharing my experiences.

And by time, maybe you will start to know more about me, my life, and why the hell did i take that stupid picture :-).

with a smile,
ali