We've reached the mid-point of Ramadan, and we hope that you've been having a meaningful Ramadan thus far. We started a segment called Ramadan Experiences, where we share people's stories and experiences in Singapore and all over the world during this special month ? We're continuing with the fourth part of the series, with Ibrahim Low, a 23-year-old Singaporean who converted to Islam 6 years ago, and how he treads through the oft-lonely but fulfilling path of being a Muslim.
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P.S. Here are the previous Ramadan Experiences stories if you missed them out!
- This Singaporean Student Shares Her First Time Fasting In Melbourne
- This SG Chinese Muslim Hopes To Help Fellow Converts Navigate Through Their Journey In Islam
- Our Non-Muslim Colleague Tries Fasting For A Day And Here's Her Experience
Coping With Loneliness Through Faith: Ibrahim Low's Story
1. What motivated you to convert?
I was quite sick and unwell and that pushed me to look for a higher purpose in life. I approached Islam thinking that every faith has some wisdom to offer. I was going to learn whatever that I could and then move on to another religion. However Islam offered me peace and wisdom, I was drawn to it with my heart but also was so engaged intellectually ?
2. What are some initial personal challenges you faced when you first converted?
One initial challenge that I faced was adapting to praying, trying to find places to take wudu when I'm outside to pray, to slot in prayer times, to wake up early in the morning to pray. My whole lifestyle had to adjust to revolve around my prayer.
But one of the main struggles that I faced was that I didn't really have Muslim friends when I first became Muslim, so practicing Islam felt like a individual pursuit. It felt even more difficult to practise the faith, because I lacked the support and the push from people around me.
The Prophet (p.b.u.h) said in a hadith, “A man is upon the religion of his best friend, so let one of you look at whom he befriends.” When I grew to have more Muslim friends through classes at Darul Arqam or mutual acquaintances, I found some things which I struggled with becoming so much easier.
3. Despite these challenges you face, what gives you strength to keeping the faith?
A teacher in a class once shared a story that I still hold on to till today. One of the greatest thinkers in Islam, Ibn al-Qayyim said:
“The heart, in its journey to Allah سبحانه وتعالىis like that of a bird: love is its head, and fear and hope are its two wings. When the head and two wings are sound, the bird flies gracefully; if the head is severed, the bird dies; if the bird loses one of its wings, it then becomes a target for every hunter or predator.” I've learned that I must do my best to balance my hope and my fear by doing whatever I can to nurture love for my creator. One way I build my love for my creator is through the knowledge of who Allah is and what He has done, is doing and will do for us. It really propels us through the darkest of times ?
4. There are many converts and reverts around the world who may be going through Ramadan alone for many reasons. What advise would you like to share to them?
Keep your relationship with your Lord strong! Seek Him in all of your affairs, ask Him for the smallest of things, there's never a thing too small that we are not in need of Him. Additionally, it is very important to seek our companions and people who support you in this journey, Converts Central welcomes everyone with open arms, converts and born-Muslims alike! So please do not hesitate to reach out! ? Ibrahim also has shared a video on his experiences, so stay tuned! ?