Sahur, Qiamulail for KUPU SB students

National 3 minutes, 18 seconds


PARTAKING in sahur (pre-fasting meal) is an exciting and memorable experience, especially for first-year students at the Seri Begawan Religious Teachers University College (KUPU SB) hostel.

Having just begun their first week at the students' hostel a few days after the start of Ramadhan, jointly partaking in sahur and sungkai (breaking fast) meals is a wholly new experience for them.

While Muslims always attend to sungkai, not many necessarily wake up before dawn to take their sahur.

For female students and staff living in the Seri Begawan Religious Teachers University College (KUPU SB) hostel however, sahur is not optional; rather it's a part and parcel of the hostel regulation to build community spirit and foster wellbeing.

As early as 3am, the hostel's canteen room is lit up to accomodate female students and staff in their baju kurung or jubah (robes) and headscarves, already buzzing about to take their sahur meal.

"We used to prepare the dishes ourselves," Hjh Mariah Hj Kamis, KUPU SB's female dorm warden for almost 17 years, said in an interview with The Brunei Times at the hostel yesterday.

"But now, it's easier as we have cooks coming in to cater for us," Hjh Mariah said.

"I usually wake up about 2.15am during the fasting month to oversee the preparation for sahur."

"This includes making sure that the raw ingredients used are fresh, that the cooks are doing their job smoothly in the kitchen and with the dishes ready to wake the students for sahur," she said during the interview.

"Only when all these get done, would I go back to my living quarters close by to wake my family for sahur," she said.

Hjh Mariah said that she has grown accustomed to the schedule that it feels "like second nature to her".

"The girls here at the hostel are like my family, whom I look out for and take care of."

As soon as they finish their sahur meal, the girls who are first-year students undergoing their orientation week together with members of the student committee proceed to the surau (prayer room) for females to participate in Qiamulail (staying up at night to perform religious activities).

Hjh Nurul Izatulnasrah Hj Md Kassim, a third-year student undertaking a Bachelor's degree course in Syariah and also surau chairperson, said that for the qiamulail, they would spend their time performing sunat tahajud, sunat taubat and sunat hajat prayers.

"If we have time before the subuh prayer, we will also watch a short video clip titled "Tomato" that delivers the message on the significance of strengthening ukhuwah (solidarity)," she said.

"I find that staying here at the hostel during the fasting month has given me more opportunities to organise and participate in activities like the Qiamulail," she said. "It's also a process for me to prepare myself towards becoming a religious teacher."

Fatimah Zahra Hj Hanifah, a first-year student undertaking a Higher National Diploma in Syariah, meanwhile related her sahur experience at the hostel over the last three days.

"At first, I was really sad and moved because it was my first time being separated from my family," Fatimah Zahra said.

"(But) from the second day onwards, I started to feel like these are the moments when we are beginning our lives at the hostel and our learning (at KUPU SB)."

"Spending our sahur here, we have to be at the canteen at 3am sharp and wait in a queue for our meal," she said. "It's not like at home, where we can just grab our meal."

Despite this, she said she has been enjoying herself. "It helps us train ourselves to become disciplined and punctual."

"Being punctual is very important here," she noted.

The Brunei Times