A Blessing from Allah: My First Ramadan

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As a new Muslim revert, becoming accustomed to new ideologies that are distinct from your original means of conducting your life seems to be both infusing and exciting. Whether it be learning prayers in English and making your way to properly enunciating the Arabic or having a new basis for your actions and thoughts, the guidance of Allah that I felt could not be ignored. It seemed that my Arabic was improving at a fast rate and my thoughts, manners and actions became more in synchrony as the days passed by. I felt that my knowledge and practice of the fundamentals of Islam was progressing systematically in ways that I never believed possible. Before I could even realize, it became months since my reversion to Islam and I began to hear whispers with regards to the approach of the sacred month of Ramadan.

Ramadan was not a new notion to me, but I never truly knew the reason for what seemed to me a ritualistic action. In fact, an old friend of mine, back in the 7th grade, was a Muslim and fasted for the entire 30 days. I had asked him the purpose of his fast and he replied, “For self-discipline.” I was fascinated that he had an explanation for his action. Being Hindu, I was accustomed to following certain rituals merely because my parents were doing it. I never truly had a concrete reason for my actions or even if I did I could never share it with anyone because it was either embarrassing or didn’t make sense to me. Nonetheless I had respect for Muslims for their dedication in fasting and their reasonable explanation for it.

As the month of Ramadan was approaching, I started to watch various scholars of Islam on the topic of Ramadan and question my Muslim friends about this month. I knew that the Qur’an was completed in this month but I was not aware of the link to fasting. Then I was exposed to stories about the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and how he struggled and strived in order to propagate this way of life that was given to him by none other than the Creator. Their thirst and hunger in the harsh conditions of the Arabian desserts was astonishing. This drive and passion truly gripped my heart and forced me to realize what I have to be grateful for.

The rules of fasting were so logically laid out. I could ask any Muslim and they would have the same ruling which truly demonstrated the struggle of the ummah (Muslim community) for universal brotherhood. It was a month where a large majority of Muslims would come together and strive to be the best they could possibly be. The mosques would be filled and the humble characters on every Muslim’s face would be evident. It gave me a sense of hope and need to be a part of it rather than just merely following the rules of fasting. I wanted to benefit from this month.

Having a large appetite, a habit of eating frequently, and never fasting in my life, I was a little unsure whether I would be able to do it. Nevertheless, I gave it my best since it is a pillar of Islam. I intended to be a better person by helping others whenever I could, praying at the appointed times, and trying to read the Qur’an in an attempt to gain guidance and build reward for the hereafter.

The first few days were spent looking at the clock and wondering when it would be time to eat. Then after about a week, I didn’t even notice it was time to break my fast. Waking up before the Fajr (morning) prayer to make my fast was a difficult task at first but after praying the Fajr prayer, I felt blessed and this was a reward in itself. There were also days in particular where I was much more hungry and thirsty when, at the same time, food was not so easily accessible. I felt anxious at first, wondering when it would be time for me to get home and dig in to a feast. On the other hand, I remembered the vast number of people in this world who don’t have the luxury to make a fast or even those who do not have food so readily available to them. This further added to my thankfulness for what I have been blessed with and a need to donate and help those who are less fortunate. Instead of eating large quantities at iftaar (opening of the fast) I started eating only that which satisfied me.

Overall, I am grateful to Allah for giving me guidance, health, and resources. I truly have benefitted a lot from this Ramadan and I wish that I can make the best of it in the years to come, insh’Allah (God willing). If there is anything I have to say to anyone starting their first Ramadan, it is that if Allah has guided you to the straight path then Allah will also make it easier for you. Shaitan will try to make your fasts seem like obstacles or difficulties but if you try to focus on the purpose and blessing of fasting then insh’Allah you’ll have a successful Ramadan.