By Traci Wells
Being a Muslim for nearly two years has been a life altering, spiritual, soul searching experience.
I have felt an awakening in so many ways. I have learnt so much about the world and myself at a time of my life when I thought I already knew my purpose when I clearly didn’t!
I’ve laughed, cried, grimaced, hung my head in frustration and dropped to my knees in gratitude to Our Lord for guiding me to the true path of life.
And I’m only just beginning my journey.
Then along comes Ramadan.
The time to really connect with Our Lord, Our Creator.
The approach to Ramadan feels starkly different this year to the previous year, as last year I was breastfeeding my son, Mashallah, I sustained from the fasting. This year I can join in with the month of worship to Allah (swt) and marvel in the knowledge that this holy month symbolises so much more than just fasting.
A time to rejoice with gratitude to Allah (swt) for revealing the Quran during this sacred month to the prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and reflect on all that he has blessed us with.
As the date of Ramadan approaches, which I enthusiastically circled on my calendar at the start of the year, I can’t help thinking of the challenge that lies ahead.
For a revert embarking on her first Ramadan it creates a whirlwind of emotions in my body and mind.
The thought of fasting is what initially springs into the forefront of my brain…
“A month without food?!” it screams…
“Not completely without food…it’s fasting – not starving!!” my logical mind argues back.
My whole adult life I have done almost every diet there is and some have been downright ridiculous, but as hard as I know fasting will be, I also know that it is beneficial to the mind, soul and body.
Unlike fads and trends in the dieting world that are mostly for a quick fix and for the purpose of vanity, this is a request chosen for us by Our Creator.
Allah (swt) knows best. I fully believe and trust in that.
To cleanse our bodies of the toxins pumped into them.
To rid ourselves of gluttony that tempts us around every corner.
To feel what it’s like to go without food and other luxuries that we have become so used to, and take for granted.
To have a short lived insight of the feeling of real hunger, yet still safe in the knowledge that it will soon be satisfied.
To remind ourselves of the importance of the forever therapeutic practices of patience and gratitude at all times.
This won’t last forever. Stay positive.
Iftar is soon approaching.
This won’t last forever. We are blessed to have so much within our reach whenever we want or need it.
Be thankful to God for all he has given us.
I know the fasting will be tough and something my mind, more than my body, has never had to endure. My practice of gratitude has already begun with the daily reminder of all that we have been given on a shiny clean plate, literally. The pun is intended!
Beyond the anticipation of how I will find not being able to eat or drink for 18 hours, is the feeling of excitement for the benefits that fasting will give my mind and body, and the long awaited detox it so needs!
However, I know I will need to remain strong and focused if I am able to get through the days without the usual fuel of coffee, water and sugar, and not succumb to the temptation of overeating once Iftar has arrived. The next day needs to be a constant reminder that I will need to do this all again, and by eating too much of the wrong food the night before, I will regret it in the morning!
Fasting aside, there will be so much to focus on during Ramadan other than suppressing the “hanger” ( anger +hunger !) that will no doubt, rear its ugly head.
It will be a month of deep spiritual connection; to really zone into what Islam teaches us.
It will be a month of awareness that although the majority of those around me are not Muslim, that I am blessed to have been guided to Islam and the truth about our time on this complex earth.
It’s often a surreal feeling when you’re still living the same life you always have, adjusting the necessary elements accordingly to fit that of Islam, but unable to avoid the constant reminder that those you know & love for the most part of your life don’t quite see things the way you do, and sadly may never see it that way.
Ramadan will be my time to find peace with that. And inshaa’Allah to deepen my faith so that I can continue to be guided through the challenges I will face.
Counting down the days until Ramadan arrives I am filled with apprehension at the thought of my daily tasks and looking after 2 small children whilst not eating or drinking all day.
Once again I am reminded of the reason I am partaking in this blessed month and feel a surge of pride and joy that my life is different to those around me and that I have something much bigger than anything or anyone to guide me through it all.
And then there’s Eid to look forward to!!
The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of the heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained.” (Imam Bukhari) …
And now the real test begins about the lessons we have learnt in this month…
About the author: Traci Wells-Ali