ABU DHABI // The celebration may go unnoticed by others but today the Indonesian community will commemorate when the Quran was first revealed to the Prophet Mohammed.
Nuzulul Quran, marked on the 17th day of Ramadan, is a national holiday in Indonesia.
Arab Muslims celebrate the revealing of the Quran with intensified worship during Laylat al Qadr, which falls on the 27th day of Ramadan.
“Nuzulul Quran is not common in the Middle East, but it is a Ramadan tradition in Indonesia,” Joko Priatmoko, 40, a senior engineer in Abu Dhabi, said.
“As Muslims living in another country, we continue to celebrate this day as it reminds us about the importance of the Quran to our life and the value of teaching the Quran to the younger generation.”
Members of the community in Abu Dhabi will gather at the Indonesian embassy tonight to celebrate.
“We will have iftar together, offer taraweeh prayers and participate in an Islamic lecture,” said Mohammad Riko Runizar, 43, a business planning engineer at an oil company in Abu Dhabi.
In Indonesia, there will be an official celebration led by the president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and diplomats, at the Masjid Istiqlal (Independence Mosque) in Jakarta.
Mr Runizar, who is the chairman of the Ramadan committee, said his children used to participate in the parade of youngsters from Quran institutes. “The atmosphere here is different from our home country, but the spirit of Ramadan remains the same,” said Mr Runizar.
Since the start of Ramadan on August 11, the Indonesian Muslim community has marked the holy month nightly with taraweeh prayers and Islamic lectures at the embassy.
“These activities help strengthen our ties with the community,” Mr Runizar said. “We are able to share as well as refresh our knowledge of Islam during the holy month.”
On Thursdays and Fridays during Ramadan, more than 50 men and women regularly attend Islamic lectures after taraweeh prayers at the embassy.
The community is also looking forward to the first day of Eid al Fitr next month. The Eid celebrations will also take place at the Indonesian embassy, where Wahid Supriyadi, the ambassador, is expected to hold an open house.
“We will have Eid al Fitr prayers at 7am to be followed by a khutbah, or sermon, which serves to remind us about the significance of Ramadan and Eid al Fitr,” said Sam Soedin, 40, an engineer in Abu Dhabi, who is also a member of the Ramadan committee.
“It will be a good chance for our Muslim brothers and sisters to greet and hug each other on this special occasion after the fasting month,” he added.