(This was re-published from a 2012 post, with dates changed to reflect 2017 Ramadan.)
CONSIDERING OBSERVING RAMADAN?
From the National Helpers and Office
CONSIDERING OBSERVING RAMADAN? Below is a compilation of information about it, “Subud style”, and also there is information at the bottom about where to order tapes of Bapak talks in various formats.
Note to all: we are not sending out this information because we are urging people to do Ramadan, or because Subud espouses one religion over another. Bapak recommended that fasting has value for us individually, and we know that some members observe Lent or Yom Kippur instead of Ramadan, or do their own private form of fasting.
(See Bapak’s letter to a member on this topic, at the end of this message)
GETTING SUBUD MATERIALS ABOUT RAMADAN:
1. To print out Bapak talks,or listen to or download talks, go to
You can do a search,using key words, so you can ask for Ramadan Talks.AUDIO TALKS ARE MARKED BY TOPIC,SO ITS EASY TO FIND THE RAMADAN TALKS
WHEN DOES Ramadan start this year?
Ramadan in North America, begins on the evening of Friday, May 26, 2017, so that the first day of fasting would be May 27, 2017.
For those observing the fast of Ramadan
Explanations of the Ramadan Calendar
Compiled from explanations given by Bapak, by Mas Sudarto and by Mas Prio
Eve of Ramadan: The way to observe Ramadan is to take a full bath, including hair washing, and also cutting the hair and the nails, the evening before the fast. Then, after you are clean, to state your wish to observe Ramadan as a sincere expression of your worship of Almighty God. Then stay up at night, preferably spending the night together with other Subud brothers and sisters, in the home of a member who is also observing Ramadan.
Around three o’clock in the morning, you should take breakfast and you should brush your teeth no later than 4:30 in the morning, and after this, no more smoking, not even gargling till 6:30 PM or 7:00 PM – along about sunset. (The local mosque can clarify as to the hour for breaking the fast.)
To break the fast, start slowly by drinking warm tea and a light snack; you can eat your dinner about half an hour or an hour later. Bapak also recommends no sexual union during the whole month of Ramadan. It is also beneficial to sleep as little as possible during Ramadan, not only on Nights of Power.
During the month of Ramadan: it is not permitted to have sexual intercourse, and our fasting must also include abstention from the following:
a) We must not use our ears to listen to gossip, quarrels or bad words.
b) We must not use our mouth to say anything wrong or unkind.
c) We must not use the emotions to reach the emotions or passions of others.
d) We must not use our eyes in a way that is not good or nice.
e) We must not use the heart and mind to imagine or think about unhappy things, fantasies or unrealities.
f) We must not eat or drink or smoke anything between dawn and sunset each day.
During the month of Ramadan, we have to fast thirty days, and during the thirty days of fasting we go through three important periods:
The first ten days (ending evening of 9th day Ramadan):
This is a period of putting the passion in an inactive state. During this period we are made aware that our passions become weaker and weaker day by day, and on the 9th day of fasting, it is felt that our passion is completely inactive.
The second ten days (ending evening of 19th day Ramadan):
This is a period of becoming aware that in general our attitude and actions are guided by our inner-self and the guidance day by day becomes stronger and stronger and on the 19th day of fasting our actions are as if in a complete latihan state, but in harmony with our daily activities.
The last ten days (ending evening of 30th day of Ramadan):
This is a period of receiving the lailatu ‘lkadar (the Nights of Power), and this is sent by God on the 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th and 29th days of fasting. This lailatu ‘lkadar is not something that falls from above, but it forms a certain power which can change our state.
Most of the Subud members who fasted felt, after completing the fasting, that there were changes to their inner. Mostly, their spirit to worship became stronger and stronger and also the intention of doing ‘prihatin’ became stronger and stronger.
LAILATUL-QADR (The evening preceding 27th day Ramadan): Although it is generally accepted in the Moslem community that the last ten days of Ramadan are days of receiving, this particular evening is celebrated with special prayer, in the Moslem community, because it is thought that this is the day upon which the Messenger Muhammad received the verses of the Qu’ran.
TAK-BARAN: (30th day Ramadan): The last day of fasting. Sundown marks the end of the month.
The Night of Forgiveness. At the end of Ramadan, we again take a full bath and put on new clothes, and then we should go to our family and our friends and ask forgiveness for whatever sin we have done. This is a time of special celebration and thanks to Almighty God.
With thanks to Leonard Dixon for the compilation of the info from Bapak, Mas Sudarto and Mas Prio.
Lent and Ramadhan
Letter to a member in England
Pewarta, March 1970
Copyright © 2007 the World Subud Association. All rights reserved.CodeNumber:70TJK3 ProvisionalTranslationForSubudMembersOnly
To a member in England In reality, Lent and Ramadhan have equal value. Christians feel that fasting in Lent is very important for them because it is derived and adapted from what was done and experienced by Jesus Christ.
You say that Jesus Christ carried out the religious observance of fasting in the wilderness for forty days at the time of Lent. This may be taken to mean that Jesus Christ fasted during this time so that his inner feeling might be swept clean of the influence of the nafsu causing darkness (wilderness) within.
For Muslims, the religious observance of fasting in the month of Ramadhan is the same. This too is derived and adapted from what was done and experienced by the Prophet Muhammad.
It is told that the Prophet Muhammad fasted in a cave at that time (this too means in darkness ). He carried out the religious observance of fasting in the cave so that the inner feeling could be swept clean of the influence of the nafsu causing darkness. It is therefore said that the revelation that he was to be the Messenger of God came to him in the cave. In other words, it was then that he received the first command of the One God.
This is Bapak’s explanation concerning these two religious observances of fasting, as seen from the spiritual point of view. So Bapak feels that Lent and Ramadhan are of equally great and high value.
Furthermore, any individual Christians, or Christians in general, may follow the religious observance of fasting during Ramadhan if they wish to do so, because, although this is not usually customary for Christians, if the fast is observed it is also a method whereby the influence of the nafsu, which always constitutes a temptation and a hindrance to the quiet of the inner feeling, can be separated and swept away from the inner feeling. Conversely, it is the same for Muslims who wish to carry out the religious observance of fasting during Lent.
Now, of course, you ask: how is it for us or for Subud members?
Bapak would like you to know that, because our brotherhood of Susila Budhi Dharma consists of members of various nationalities and religions, it is best for each member to observe the fast of his own religion unless he wishes to observe another as well.
Concerning the explanation you may want about prihatin: This actually is cutting down one’s pleasures in eating, sleeping and other enjoyments. For, if one practices prihatin, the heart is accustomed not to be deceived all the time by the nafsu. If the nafsu, which arise in the heart and mind, are not given their way so much (that is, if one restricts the pleasures of eating and sleeping and restrains the nafsu of anger and greed which drive away all contentment) then the nafsu will automatically weaken, and a feeling of patience, surrender, trust and sincere submission will become manifest.
Prihatin may be practiced by anyone wishing to do so, anyone who hopes to become a person of patience who surrenders with trust and sincere submission to the Will of Almighty God. Usually when a person can really carry this out his situation will be one of well being and happiness.
This kind of prihatin may be done by way of fasting every Monday and Thursday, without saur (that means without eating in the middle of the night) or by cutting down on one’s food every day; for instance, if one is accustomed to having beefsteak and potatoes, then one eats only potatoes and vegetables, provided one does not take too much of these either. One can also cut down on sleep; not sleeping often with one’s wife and not sleeping before midnight.
This is done in the hope that one’s life situation, or one’s lot in life, may improve; also so that one’s inner feeling, which still continues to feel dark or hindered by the influence of the nafsu, may become calm and quiet and the influence of the nafsu, which always interferes with the calm and quiet of the inner feeling, may be avoided.
This is why Bapak always says that a good and noble life can be achieved only if one really practices prihatin beforehand. It must be remembered that even Jesus Christ and the Prophet Muhammad did this. How much more does an ordinary person need it. One should not be quick to complain so often, or to feel despair just because one lacks things in life, nor should one feel overjoyed if one happens to have unusually good fortune.
This is Bapak’s answer to your question. Bapak gives praise and thanks to Almighty God and hopes that you will accept the above explanation in a good way.