Tayyab Journal / ENG

My first Ramadan. Episode 1

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!
I was raised in a Christian family and never crossed paths with Muslims. For me, Islam was a mysterious religion. That all changed when I got to speak to a Muslims online. Islam became closer with each new conversation about it and with each answer to my questions. A few months before my first Ramadan, I began to wait for its arrival. My new brothers supported me and gave me a lot of advice, but I began to feel frightened. What if I wasn’t ready? What if I ate something by accident? Will my friends and acquaintances start to put pressure on me and start criticizing me? But when Ramadan started, every piece of the puzzle fell in it’s place again.

The first day went much better than expected. I had an exam, so I focused a lot on that. The hardest moment of that day were the last hours. Just before sunset, I felt tired, although my inner peace wasn't disturbed.The second day began with an upswing. But it was harder, as my friends had warned me. I had never fasted two days in a row before, but somehow I survived. With each new day, I grew stronger. My body got used to fasting, and my connection with the Almighty became stronger as if Ramadan was purifying my soul. Sometimes I felt hungry or thirsty, but that passed as soon as I focused on learning or reading the Quran.

Of course, there were also difficulties. The hardest part was telling my non-Muslim friends that I was fasting. Some even began to be afraid of me because now I not only read namaz but also observed Ramadan. By the way, I didn’t think that someone eating in your presence could be a problem. Thanks to my new Muslim brothers, they often asked how I was and helped with advice. This is especially important during the first Ramadan.

I must admit that I was proud of myself every time it was time to break the fast. I looked back on the past day and felt that I was stronger than I thought. The Almighty is with me, and He will help me as long as there is faith in Him inside. The first Ramadan taught me a lot. Perhaps my advice will be useful to those who are going to fast for the first time.

Firstly, don't listen to people who don't like what you do. Such people will always exist. Listen to your heart and don't give in to pressure. You will be convinced that you are harming your health, that you have become an extremist, and all that. Know that there will be non-Muslims who are genuinely interested in your experience and will adjust their schedules to accommodate you in solidarity.

The second piece of advice is very simple: drink. Drink a lot, but not too fast, otherwise it will be difficult for the stomach. It is better to drink little by little - of course, without soda and coffee (especially to suhoor). Avoid salty foods. They only increase thirst. Eat foods high in potassium. These include not only dates, but also bananas.

Thirdly, remember the Almighty every time you're tempted to eat or drink something. This will give you the strength not to give up. Read the Quran, and you'll feel a sense of lightness.

And most importantly, don’t be too hard and harsh on yourself; the Almighty is with you all this blessed month!

This story by a student from Belgium