Celebrating hari raya far away from home

KUALA LUMPUR: For Malaysians working abroad, the festive season is usually the time they feel the sharp pangs of separation from their families.

Nordiana Arshad, who is working as a nurse in Saudi Arabia, is getting used to celebrating Hari Raya Aidilfitri alone as this is the fourth time she is not able to return home to be with her family in Klang, Selangor, during the festival.

Nevertheless, it gives her a great deal of satisfaction knowing that she is serving as a nurse – a noble profession by all accounts – in the city of Madinah, the second holiest city for Muslims after Makkah.

Nordiana, 35, who is still single, is currently attached to the haemodialysis division at Madinah Hospital where she has been working since 2015 after serving at KPJ Klang Specialist Hospital for eight years.

“Working abroad has been beneficial for me as I have grown more mature in my thinking and have also learned to be more independent and make my own decisions.

“What is certain is that we gain a lot of experience when we work in other countries. As Imam Syafi’i himself has said, ‘Wander! People who are knowledgeable and civilised do not remain in their village. Leave your state and live in foreign lands’,” she related to Bernama in a WhatsApp interview.

Sharing her experience of celebrating Hari Raya in Saudi Arabia, Nordiana said usually she would be at work on the morning of the first day of Syawal.

“This is the fourth year I am unable to celebrate Aidilfitri with my family. Anyway, I regard it as a sacrifice I’ve to make as it was my decision to go abroad to work and broaden my horizons,” she added.

She said if she is given a day off on the first day of Hari Raya, an hour before the dawn prayers she would head for Masjid an-Nabawi in Madinah where she would wait for the start of the Aidilfitri prayers.

“After performing my prayers, I would return to my residence to celebrate with my colleagues here.

“I would also visit my friends in other cities like Riyadh, Taif and Jeddah,” she said, adding that she would also prepare Raya delicacies such as nasi impit with peanut sauce and serunding and cookies which she would share with her friends there.

“Of course, I feel sad but then who wouldn’t feel sad if they are far away from their families? But I’ve responsibilities to fulfill and anyway, I consider myself lucky that I’m able to hear the strains of the call to prayer from Masjid Nabawi, which is just a 10-minute drive from where I stay.”-Bernama

Source: TheSunDaily