Tayyab Journal / ENG

My first Ramadan. Episode 5

In the series "My First Ramadan, Muslim converts talk about their experiences. We hope that these stories will inspire those who are not yet fasting to join the billions of Muslims already this Ramadan!
When I was seventeen, I had already been a "secret Muslim" for almost a year. It is someone who came to Islam and did not immediately inform his family of his conversion. The month of Ramadan was coming up. During the year I became a "secret Muslim," I had to deny eating at home. I gave non-halal food to my cat (poor cat, luckily he is still healthy).

Beyond Ramadan I could sometimes go days without normal food and eating chips, but I don't think there are any brave people willing to sit on such a 'diet' during Lent. It wasn't just the food that was the problem, but how could I explain that I wasn't eating and drinking at all? My school friend didn't know about my situation, so I asked for advice and told him. His answer made me sad: "Why wouldn't you have an iftar at my house?"

This Ramadan was as fulfilling as possible, I discovered Pakistani cuisine (biryani in particular) and realised what it was like to be born a Muslim. But I also still felt sad; how I wished I could share this experience with my family!

When I first learned about tarawih prayer, my first thoughts were, "All night? But we just have been fasting all day...". Then I also heard for the first time about Laylat-al-Qadr, the night whose mention brings tears to my eyes, the night when Allah brings His creation In my first Ramadan, the Almighty blessed me with a friend and his family who eased my month and took care of my worries and concerns, may Allah reward and bless them. However, many converts do not have that opportunity - many feel they have joined a community that has left them behind. Just recently I was talking to a brother who said to me, "My brother, swear by Allah, if I did not fear Allah, I would leave everything and go back to my family. Many of our brothers and sisters go to the mosque during iftar, but it is no substitute for a circle of friends or at least a familiar face to spend this very iftar with.

It is our common responsibility, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "The best of people are those who are most useful to people, and the best of deeds is to give joy to people, to relieve them from hardship, to forgive debts and to feed the hungry. Help to my brother's matters is more pleasant to me than to perform itikaf in this mosque (i.e. the Prophet's mosque) for a month".

Looking back, I will leave a piece of advice, if you know someone who has converted to Islam, invite them to iftar, make them part of your family. As for my newly converted brothers and sisters, my advice to you is to stick to the jamaat. Do not isolate yourself, force yourself to communicate and make friends, but most importantly, do not rely on any people, but rely only on Allah. This is the only way we can find success!

Material based on a story by Muhammad Ibrahim al-Shafia