Be Together, Not the Same

Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International Airport

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Mumpung suasana Ramadhan sedang kuat2nya, aku pengen sharing soal pengalamanku "umrah" di Arab Saudi.

Di tanah haram, which is Makkah dan Madinah, ada dua destinasi utama di masing2 tempat: Masjid Nabawi dan Masjidil Haram. Di situ, ribuan bahkan puluhan ribu umat Islam dari seluruh penjuru dunia berkumpul untuk beribadah.

Arab, Turki, Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Jerman, Inggris, dan masih banyak lagi.

Saat aku ke suatu tempat baru, yang suka kulakukan adalah mengamati sekeliling, tak terkecuali di dalam Masjid tersebut. Banyak hal baru yang aku temui — salah satunya adalah banyaknya ragam cara ibadah Muslim di sana.

Ada yang shalat mengenakan mukenah, ada yang hanya menggunakan baju mereka sehari-hari. Ada juga lho Muslim dari India yang sekedar mengenakan selendang tipis dan memakai Saree dengan tangan, dada, perut, dan kaki terbuka. Gaada tuh yang pointing out soal aurat ke mereka.

Ketika takbir, ada yang telapak tangannya menghadap ke depan,
Ada yang menghadap belakang,
Ada yang menghadap samping.

Ketika berdiri, ada yang tangannya seperti bersedekap biasa,
Ada yang tangannya seperti memeluk diri sendiri,
Ada yang tangannya dibiarkan jatuh di samping tubuh.

Ketika ruku', ada yang tangannya masih bersedekap,
Ada yang tangannya memegang lutut,
Ada yang tangannya memegang paha,
Ada yang tangannya masih terus dibiarkan jatuh di samping tubuh.

Ada yang hanya bungkuk sedikit,
Ada yang bungkuk 90 derajat sempurna,
Ada yang bungkuk hingga kepala hampir menyentuh lantai.

Ketika sujud, ketika duduk di antara dua sujud, ketika takhiyat awal dan akhir. Semuanya berbeda, semuanya tak sama.

Tapi satu yang sama:
Mereka tetap memuja dan memuji Tuhan mereka, meski dengan cara mereka masing-masing.

Tidak ada yang saling menyalahkan, tidak ada yang saling mengkafirkan, tidak ada yang saling melabeli masing-masing dengan predikat "sesat". Yang ada hanyalah satu: Islam.

Kalian Islam, mereka pun Islam.

Mengapa takut akan suatu perbedaan? Mengapa harus menganggap semua hal yang berbeda sebagai suatu ancaman atau kesesatan?

Jadilah Islam dengan cara kalian masing-masing, tidak ada yang lebih baik maupun yang lebih buruk.

Be together, not the same.


I remember the very first time I entered his bedroom, only a week after our first date.

The first thing that I immediately noticed was a scent; a scent so strong that it pierced through my rather sensitive nose, yet strangely I didn't mind — I, to my biggest surprise, loved it; even when I could very easily get annoyed at any strong smells. Turned out it was the very similar scent that sticked on his body and his clothing.

The more I inhaled it, the more it came to my consciousness that I only breathed in deeper each and every time. It was fairly easy of me to immediately associate that scent to him.

When the midnight came, I realized that I didn't want to go home. We then lied down side by side in the dark, with our faces so close to each other that we might as well just kiss — yet we didn't; we didn't do anything more, we were only inhaling each other's breath. The only thing that came to my mind was how intoxicating his breath was to me.

At that moment, I swear I could feel my heartrate rising ever so quickly and thumping oh so rapidly, I was worried that it might break apart.

The next week, I decided to tell my mother that I'd like to breathe around this one boy only, and so did he to his mother... and the rest is history.

It's been more than a year now, yet a whiff of his breath never fails to still make my stomach full of butterflies.


I have always wanted to get into a fight with God. Preferrably a street fight with bare hands. I was eight years old when I was first exposed to the phrase "God is dead". Back then I did not immediately believe in that phrase because he —the one I perceived as God— was sitting on the pavement right in front of me. I then challenged him to get into a fight with me and he refused for he thought I was too young.

"Too young for what?" I asked.

"Why do you assume that I am the embodiment of God?" he asked back.

I could not answer.

"Then come back when you have matured enough to realize whom should you fight. Maybe I am not the one you would want to get into a fight with. Maybe I am not your epitome of God. The concept of God comes in different ways and forms to everyone", he then said.

And he flew away.

And so time went by and I started to seek the God in everyone.

Age 13; I found my first love. At first he did make me feel like the sun; the ruler of his altar; and his heart was an incendiary— it burned mine. So I decided to believe that he was God. But I didn't just stop there. I found ways to fight him; I tried to fight him out of my head. I fought against his principles; I told him that he made me lost amusement way too fast; I did try to make him fuck off from my head and he left. And I won. Turns out he wasn't God.

Age 15; I was blessed with two godbrothers, namely Moonhawk and Fuzz. I thought they were gods. They shielded me with the faint light from Valhalla. But nothing gold can stay, and thus they didn't stay for long. Fuzz left for the army to fight in the wars I did not know of and Moonhawk was just gone too soon because of pills and needles. And so I was alone again; there were no battles but we were all defeated. I lost. And so did they. And for the second time I failed to find God again.

Age 17; I was fond of believing that drugs were my God. Once I woke up on a hospital bed with IV tubes hanging around and I thought I got defeated by what I thought was God. But one year later I stopped using them which made me grow the realization that I have defeated them and they weren't my God.

Age 19; I always managed to win all those street fights and I was always ranked first in all those speed races and no one has ever defeated me in all those first person shooter games. I was God to my friends and I wanted to believe that I was God.

And so I approached that being again and I then asked him "am I God?"

He sat there and asked me back; "All these time who are you trying to fight?"

And the truth was upheld; all these time I have always tried so hard to fight myself. It wasn't a fight on the streets;  it was a fight in my head. It wasn't a speed race; it was a race against myself. It wasn't a first person shooter game; it was the urge to shoot me down. And when I finally got the might to declare out loud; "I am God!" it was a loud sound of a revolver that I heard— lifeless and dethroned, indeed, I am God.

And God is dead.


A beautiful piece by Ralka F. Skjerseth