Emily Noel, Texas
"Ramadan has such a way of humbling us. It's when we make such a focus to feed our spiritual selves and the result is always transformative. Now the kicker is to find a way to balance that in our lives - not just during Ramadan."1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your journey of how you found Islam One of my all-time favorite children's books talks about how children see the world differently than adults. Adults just see what is right in front of them (like math and business problems) whereas children see what is there, what could be there, and what should be there. A uniting factor I have seen in a lot of the religions I have studied is the encouragement to be like a child - to give, love, imagine and see the world like a child. This time about four years ago, I first began reading about Islam. At the time I was also reading and researching Buddhism and Hinduism. I was not interested in Islam as a religious or spiritual belief at all, rather I just thought it was interesting so I tacked it on to the other things I was reading at the time. During my research I found a belief system that not only worked well with my current value system but was engrained with social egalitarianism, caring for orphans, caring for pretty much everyone, anti-racism, contrary to popular belief loads of rights for women that the women's rights movement wouldn't even begin to cover for over a thousand years after the Holy Quran was written and so much more. Not only that but I was soon shocked to discover a whole host of scientific facts (see fertilization, sun rotation, moon reflecting suns light, earths shape and so much more) that not only eased my curious mind but began to make me realize that in so many different ways, the Holy Quran could not have been the product of human intelligence at the time it was revealed but instead divine. Ultimately, I could begin rattling of the beautiful Surahs that spoke most deeply to me, the facts that drew me closer to Islam but I feel like I would be missing the point entirely and speaking too much "grown up." At the end of the day, the reason I chose to become a Muslim was that listening to the Holy Quran being recited brings me the same amount of peace I felt as a child on the swings. It is because I am just now beginning to see all the different things that hurt me or confused me actually lead me on this path and I am so thankful. It is because I feel like after quite a bit of searching, wandering, and adventuring, I am home.
Sandy Cheng, Singapore
"We are all struggling in our own ways, and have our own challenges that are different from others. When we internalize this, what matters is our heart and the relationship we’re building with our Creator."1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your journey of how you found Islam My heart opened to Islam back in year 2013 when I wanted to try fasting to challenge myself. My fast started from 7.30am until the time for iftar and after abstaining from food and drinks for a month, my perception towards this practice changed. I had always thought that it's impossible to fast, but after challenging myself for a month, I found that it is possible and that's when I started my journey to learning more about this religion. I started by attending the Beginners course at Darul Arqam and I find myself gravitate towards this religion because it aligned with me logically and spiritually. And hence, Ramadan has always hold a special place in my heart because it was my starting point to becoming a Muslim. 2. What's the most valuable lesson you've learnt during Ramadan? The most valuable lesson I have learnt is to never take anything in life for granted. We can have everything we asked for now but we would have everything taken away from us in one day. I learnt to treasure and cherish intangibles more, like love, friendships, happiness and contentment in life.
Kaiji Kadir Wada, Japan
"Fasting during Ramadan is a precious chance to look at myself and re-realize that I am a Muslim."1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your journey of how you found Islam.My name is Kaiji Kadir Wada, a Japanese boy who is 24 years old. I converted to Islam Oct 2017, alhamdulillah. The turning point was 2015 when I was in Brunei to study as an exchange student. It was my first time meeting Muslims and the Islamic culture. By then, I only know about Islam through the media but I knew the reality was in Brunei and that made my eyes open. When we have happy moments, we praise Allah. During difficult moments, we seek Allah. And for painful moments, we trust Allah. During quiet moments, we worship Allah. Moment by moment: we thank Allah. This is the base of my Iman for now. I explain my journey in detail in this video!2. What's the most valuable lesson you've learnt during Ramadan?This is my first year as a Muslim, but last year I tried fasting for the whole month although I was not a Muslim yet. But at that time, I felt it was really tough. Now I realize that niat (intention) is really important when it comes to religious practice. For example, stopping alcohol was easy because I had enough niat to do so. This is not just for fasting but for everything - niat (intention) is key to practicing Islam, like memorizing the Al-Quran or performing prayers. This is how I spent first Ramadan as a Muslim! 3. Living in a non muslim-majority country, how has this shaped your Ramadan experience?Unlike Muslim-majority states, people around me are mostly non-Muslims. So, of course, when time for lunch comes, they go out to eat and I am only person who stay in the office. But this moment is the time when I strongly re-realize that I am Muslim. Praying during working hours, fasting, joining the Friday prayer - these remind me that I am really a Muslim.In short, practicing fasting during Ramadan is a precious chance to look at myself and re-realize that I am a Muslim.
Ryan Johnson, England/Malaysia
"If you have just reverted, just try your best. Remember that you’re essentially like a little baby when it comes to Islam. If you find fasting too much, fast what you can first then gradually try and build on that."1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your journey of how you found Islam I am 27 and from Cambridge, England. I am married and have one son (13 months old) alhamdulillah. My wife is Malaysian and we currently live in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. I am a teacher at an International school and my wife owns her own little business that we set up after we got married. I was offered to go to Malaysia as part of my degree to do a year abroad, and I accepted the offer. By chance, when I first arrived in Malaysia to start my course it was Ramadan, so my first experience of being in a Muslim country was seeing how everyone fasted. This instantly made me curious about Islam and what fasting was all about. During my year in Malaysia, I made some fantastic friends who were able to teach me a lot about Islam through all of the questions I kept asking. After my year abroad had finished, I returned to England to finish my degree. I joined the Islamic society at my university and made Muslim friends. I learnt even more and was beginning to fall in love with Islam. After I graduated a year later, I was searching for a job, but I wasn’t successful, even with a first-class degree in Biomedical sciences. Then, one day, out of the blue, I received an email from the university I did my year abroad at and they offered me a job to teach English. I took up their offer and started living in Malaysia. I became more serious about Islam and asked for help to learn all about it in detail. I asked my friends to put me into contact with religious teachers who could speak English. Alhamdulillah from that moment onwards my path to Islam opened and it wasn’t long before I took my shahadah. 16th May 2014 is the official date of when I became a Muslim, but I had been learning about Islam since 2011. Coincidently, my son’s birthday is 16th May 2017, so it is most certainly a special date for our little family.
Alyssa Teo, Singapore
"Follow your heart. Don’t be afraid of people opposing you and judging you. If they are true to you. They will still be there with you no matter what religion you believe."1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your journey of how you found Islam I am 33 years old. Married for 8 years, with 2 boys and a little girl on the way. I have to say that I found love before I found Islam. Love led me to discovering Islam. I met my husband in 2001 while we both worked part time at McDonalds. We knew we were interested in each other but we took it really slow as both our families were conservative. We dated quietly for 6 to 7 years. During this time, we went to Darul Arqam for talks and lessons. After a long talk with my husband, he asked if I am ready for this “new” life. I will need to start fasting during Ramadan, I can only consume halal food. I have to do my prayers and etc. When I told him that I was ready, he introduced me to his family. I reverted in 2009 and we got married in 2010. 2. What has been your greatest struggle during this month? In 2011, I gave birth to my 1st child in the month of Ramadan. While I was still in my “pantang” period, I needed to wake up at to prepare Sahur for my husband. It was our 1st Ramadan together, my 1st time preparing Sahur for him and a new mum waking up every 2 hours for my new-born. It was a real struggle, but allhamdullilah, we made it. 3. What's your advice for other Muslim reverts? Follow your heart. Don’t be afraid of people opposing you and judging you. If they are true to you. They will still be there with you no matter what religion you believe.
Paulina Rivera, California
"I've learned that my strength comes from my Lord and my Lord alone. I've learned that my knowledge of deen (faith) is my only company and most effective form of solace when times get tough because it helps me push through."1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your journey of how you found Islam My journey to Islam was a long one. I feel that my coming to Islam was a beautiful process that was perfectly orchestrated by Allah (azawajal) Himself. To make a long story short, I converted to Islam after reading the English translation of the Quran in my undergraduate studies. I was raised a practicing 7th Day Adventist Christian, then I later converted to an Apostolic Pentecostal Church and was very active all throughout my youth. I sang in the choir, organized youth group activities, volunteered at our bi-weekly food pantry, and was your all around good Christian kid. Unfortunately, even with all of the church activities I was involved in, I never felt completely fulfilled in the church. Christianity was too confusing and incredibly ambiguous. The analogies never made sense. I never connected with the idea that Jesus had to die for me in order to save my wretched soul. Why did God have to humiliate and kill himself to save me? I thought to myself 'couldn’t He just save my should without going through all of that if He was truly an almighty God'? What about the people before the time of Christ, were they doomed to an eternity of fire and brimstone just because they lived before the time of Jesus? How is that fair? How is that just? Moreover, I never connected with the Trinity, and in all honesty, it never made sense to me. I was told, "God is three in one, and one in three that is the holy trinity!" My logic, my fitrah (natural inclination) told me that this theology is non-sensical. As I grew up in the church I continued to press more and more for concrete answers about God's nature. I remember when I was preparing for my baptism we were required to read cherry picked verses and memorize them before our baptism. Being the inquisitive teen I was, I took it upon myself to read the entire chapter because I wanted to understand the context of the verses I was memorizing. One day, as I was doing my reading for Bible studies class, I came across a verse that stopped me in my tracks, it said; " Every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven.For if a wife will not cover her head, then she should cut her hair short. But since it is disgraceful for a wife to cut off her hair or shave her head, let her cover her head." 1st Corinthians 11:5-6 The first image to pop into my head after reading this verse was of The Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus (peace be upon him). I wondered why we took some parts of the bible literally and others figuratively. I didn't understand how to discern between the two and at my very next Bible class, I brought up this verse to the pastor and asked him why we don't cover our heads like the Virgin Mary? His response was disappointing. "That was an old law, that doesn't apply to us anymore because we are a modern society." Needless to say, that didn't sit well with me. Mainly because he had repeated over and over that the Bible is the literal word of God, but then we cherry-picked the parts we wanted to implement in our practice and which parts to disregard. I was only 12 years old at the time but I remember thinking to myself "This isn't right..."
Throughout my youth, I continued to ask questions at church about the nature of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit and was continually given ambiguous answers. I was told things like "Christians walk by faith and not by sight," and "faith is the substance of things hoped for and evidence for things not seen." I had many questions about God, His nature, and how exactly we achieve salvation through Jesus Christ. Christianity was just plain confusing, and I felt like even those who were learned in the faith didn't fully understand themselves what they were saying in their responses.Shortly after graduating high school I learned about the Council of Nicea, and how Christian bishops came together to form a consensus on Christianity theology, only to change and alter the sacred texts to their own benefit. It was then that I decided that Christianity wasn't for me. I didn't want to follow a faith orchestrated and manipulated by man. I was an agnostic until I found a religion that answered all of my pressing theological questions about God, His nature, salvation, and His unadulterated laws towards mankind. So I searched for God, in Hindu and Buddhist temples. I searched for God in various churches. I looked for God in synagogues, but He wasn't anywhere to be found. So I became frustrated and had a conversation with God one night and said to Him “God, I’m looking for you and can’t find you anywhere I look. If you exist show me and I will follow you.” I decided then and there that if God was real, He would find me since I couldn’t find Him. Eventually, He did, in the oddest places of all - at my job, at the gym. I won’t go into the details of how an elderly Muslim gym member gifted me a Quran, but it was through that Quran he gifted me that lead me to read it cover to cover, and eventually lead me to take my shahada. "And will provide for him from where he does not expect. And whoever relies upon Allah - then He is sufficient for him. Indeed, Allah will accomplish His purpose. Allah has already set for everything a [decreed] extent." [Quran 65:2-3]
عَجَبًا لِأَمْرِ الْمُؤْمِنِ إِنَّ أَمْرَهُ كُلَّهُ خَيْرٌ وَلَيْسَ ذَاكَ لِأَحَدٍ إِلَّا لِلْمُؤْمِنِ إِنْ أَصَابَتْهُ سَرَّاءُ شَكَرَ فَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَهُ وَإِنْ أَصَابَتْهُ ضَرَّاءُ صَبَرَ فَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَهُWondrous is the affair of the believer for there is good for him in every matter and this is not the case with anyone except the believer. If he is happy, then he thanks Allah and thus there is good for him. If he is harmed, then he shows patience and thus it is good for him. [Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim: 2999]I feel that this test is a means for me to strengthen my faith and increase me in workship. This test is a means of raising my ranks. This test is a means of making me thankful for my innumerable blessings. This test is a means of coming closet to my Lord and I "complain about my suffering and my grief to Allah alone" and Allah is sufficient for me - alhamdulillah.
We have to go out of our way to dig up old Ramadan decorations for the little ones, order Christmas lights on sale via Amazon.com and bake crescent-shaped goodies in order to give our homes that that little extra Ramadan pazzazz in the same way other Abrahamic faiths do. For those reasons, I think living in a non-Muslim country makes preparing and celebrating Ramadan extra special.
Ana Farhana, Japan
"Actually, I can fast only Saturday & Sunday every year because of my job. I feel really sad and so guilty but I've got to stay strong, and I believe only Allah can understand me.1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your journey of how you found Islam I'm Ana Farhana, I'm a Japanese muslimah. I'm 23 years old and I work in a Japanese daycare. I reverted to Islam in 2016. 7years ago, when I was a high school students, I joined a Japan-Malaysia interaction project. It was my first time getting to know Islam & how Muslims are. After joining the program, I became friends with many Malaysians on Facebook and sometimes, some of them taught me Islam. 2. What's the most valuable lesson you've learnt during Ramadan? "Sabar" (patience) is really important for us, Muslims and we can grow closer to Allah swt if we fast. We could be grateful for the little things too.3. What has been your greatest struggle during this month? Actually, I can fast only Saturday & Sunday every year because of my job ( "to eat the lunch with teacher" is also our education. ) So I need to repay many of my fasting days. I feel really sad and so guilty but I've got to stay strong, and I believe only Allah can understand me.
Eneza Iman, United Kingdom
"I was simply searching for truth and alhamdulillah, I found it (Islam)"1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your journey of how you found Islam I took my shahada at the age of 17 not long after Ramadan, alhamdulillah. I grew up in a Christian household so a lot of what Islam taught about Prophets was very similar to what was in the bible. At one point I really started to question my faith and I couldn't find the answers to what I was looking for. At that point, I was very lost but wanted answers. I started looking at Islam and what it taught and luckily I had two very good friends who I still have to this day that taught me about Islam. I believed in the Oneness of Allah and it took a really deep conversation that I had with two revert brothers for me to take my shahada. I was simply searching for truth and alhamdulillah, I found it. 2. What's the most valuable lesson you've learnt during Ramadan? The most valuable lesson I learnt from Ramadan is just how short time is. The last 10 nights are upon us and I feel as if it's gone by too quickly. 3. What has been your greatest struggle during this month? My greatest struggle has been waking up in the morning to have suhoor by myself. 4. Living in a non muslim-majority country, how has this shaped your Ramadan experience? Living in a non-Muslim country, I find that Ramadan provides an ideal opportunity to clear up the many misconceptions there are about Islam and the fast in general. Each time someone asks, I see it as an opportunity to explain to them what certain things mean within Islam and teach people why we fast.
"I got very worried awhile after I converted. I was afraid that I won't be a good Muslimah because I don't know how to recite the Quran. I don't know if I am pronouncing the words in the surahs properly or if I'm praying correctly."1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your journey of how you found Islam Assalamualaikum! My name is Safura and I reverted to Islam back in 2014! I'm a mix Eurasian/Indian/Chinese. and will be 26 this year☺️ When I was younger, my neighbors were a very lovely Malay family. They always invited my family over to their house during Ramadhan/Raya to celebrate together! One evening, as I was playing in their house, I heard this "song" from the radio. I did not understand the words but it just sounded very inviting to me. I was too shy to ask what that title was, so I just kept quiet and listen to it quietly. I was only 8 at that point of time but I remember that moment vividly. Masha Allah, the feeling was so soothing. Part of me wanted to know so much what the meaning was. Then again, the little me was so shy. I ended up leaving for home and told myself, I MUST find the title of this song one day. Years pass and I was in Secondary One. I became friends with a Malay girl and started learning more about Islam from her. She then invited me over to her house one day for dinner and that was when I heard the same "song" I heard years back. I remember the tune was quite similar but most importantly, the same feeling came again. I told myself I have to find out more and asked her what it was. She said it was not a song but rather a call to prayer, the Adhan. Since then, I have always felt interested in the religion. I would ask around or google more information about Islam. Due to personal reasons, I only had the courage to convert in 2014. Alhamdulillah, it has been 4 years and I have never regretted this decision. 2. What's the most valuable lesson you've learnt during Ramadan? Being grateful. As Ramadhan is a month where blessings are multiplied, we tend to do things that can help us earn more rewards such as zikir, solat sunnat (voluntary prayers), reciting the Quran. This is also the time we reflect on what we have and be thankful for it.
Mathieu Garvi, France/Dubai
"Ramadan has, up to recently, always been a very lonely time. It was a very intimate thing that I couldn't share with anyone else but Allah."1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your journey of how you found Islam I'm Mathieu, I'm 27 and I'm french. I converted to Islam when I was 21. My mom is a Catholic and my dad is an atheist. My mom gave me a Catholic education though, I went to Sunday school for years and I've even been an alter boy. As I grew older I grew detached from the practice but i still believed. In my late teens, I started leading a shallow lifestyle of partying where all that mattered was how I look, what party to go to on the weekend, social media... By my 20's, I started feeling a void in my life - I realized that despite how hard I was committed to this lifestyle, I wasnt truly happy. There was always some sort of emptiness in my heart. At the same time I started college and I've became friend with one student from Morocco who happened to be Muslim, but he was a different kind of Muslim. I've had Muslim friends before but apart from Ramadan and not eating pork, there wasnt much special about them. They were going out to clubs with me, drinking, hooking up... This friend was different, he was committed to pray 5 times a day, never lied, never drank... I was intrigued. Seeing his religiousness and serenity made me question my life, could it be the answer? I started reconnecting with Christianity and started reading the Bible, only to find many incoherences between what the Bible and Jesus preaches and what the Church tells. I wrote down all my questions as I was reading the Bible then after months of research I went to my local church to get answers from the priest. Most of his answers were very evasive and he seemed unease as he was confronted to the Bible and could not deny. I left him realizing that my issue wasnt with God, not Jesus but with what the Church did with his teaching. I started looking for another religion. I studied Judaism, buddhism and ended up reading the Quran. I was very prejudiced against Islam or Muslims before reading the Quran as, unfortunately, most Muslims I've met in the past had the worse of behaviors. After I was done reading the Quran I was amazed, I was convinced that I've found the truth and decided to convert alhamdulillah. 2. What has been your greatest struggle during this month? Ramadan has, up to recently (I'm now married and living in the middle east), always been a very lonely time. My family is non Muslim, my environment was 99% non Muslim and lowkey anti islam (if you know a bit what life in france is like), and the nearest mosque was a good 40minutes drive. So it was a very intimate thing that I couldn't share with anyone else but Allah. It definitely strengthen my relationship with Allah as He was truly the only one to understand the struggle. 3. What's your advice for other Muslim reverts? Be strong and never forget that when you feel lonely Allah is by your side. Never forget the reward you will get for the struggle insha Allah. And try to make it a bit fun and festive for yourself. Even if you are lonely for ramadan treat yourself once in a while, get your favorite ice cream or something. And don't forget that it will get better when you'll get married insha Allah.
Ola Bora, Korea
"I mostly like how Muslim fast together as it strengths the bond of the community"1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your journey of how you found Islam
Hello, my name is Bora Song. I converted into Islam about 11years ago and am currently working in the Korea Muslim Federation. I've encountered Islam through studying world history, especially Arab history since I was young.2. What's the most valuable lesson you've learnt during Ramadan?
Many Muslims think that they are awakened or impressed through the spiritual part, and I look forward to that expectation. However, I most like how Muslims who fasted together as it strengthens the bond of the community.3. What has been your greatest struggle during this month?
There aren't much of a struggle during Ramadhan. However, it is a bit cumbersome for us to explain every year to foreign Muslims who ask questions such as "How is Ramadan in Korea" and "What kind of food do you eat in Ramadan" because a non-Islamic country like Korea has no any fasting atmosphere going around the community. So not having this kind of atmosphere and explaining it to Muslims that are from a totally different environment is quite hard and time consuming to explain.
Amirah Oligo, Philippines
"One of my greatest struggle during this month is reading the Quran. We all know that Ramadan is the month of Quran and I really wanted to memorize more surahs but we don't have a madrasah where women can learn and read Quran."1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your journey of how you found Islam Assalam alaikum warahmatulahi wabahrahkatuh, All praise is due to Allah the most gracious the most merciful. Alhamdullilah that Allah guided me into the straight path of islamic monotheism and I am now a Muslim. I was born in Iloilo City, Philippines and I was raised in a Catholic family. Growing up, I have been seeking for the right religion because I have always believed that there is only one God because even the first commandment says though shall have no gods before me. Islam was first introduced to me by a friend who I haven't met and lives in Canada. At first I was adamant and I always tell this brother that I was born a Catholic and will die as a Catholic. Astagifirullah..Alhamdullilah he gave me a Qur'an and this is where my journey begun. By the grace of Allah I was able to finish reading the qur'an and there was one ayat in the Qur'an that really struck my heart. "Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of unbelievers, for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority: their abode will be the fire: and evil is the home of wrong-doers." [Surah Al-Imran: 151] I was really scared to die associating partners with Allah and I told my mother I want to embrace Islam. She was hesitant and told me to revert when I get married to a Muslim man but I ignored her and reverted to Islam. I asked Allah for signs if Islam is really the religion for me because during those time I have been meeting Muslims. Alhamdullilah I was on my way home and I took a taxi and the driver was a Muslim. I asked him if where the Masjid (mosque) is in my city because I want to learn more about Islam. When I was in the masjid the sister told me about Prophet Isa and that he is a Muslim. Alhamdullilah I took my shahadah and became a Muslim. 2. What's the most valuable lesson you've learnt during Ramadan? The most valuable lesson that I have learned during the month of Ramadan is to have taqwa of Allah. I have developed self-discipline by controlling my hunger pangs and most of all my tongue, my desires, hormones, my gaze and do much more ibadah. 3. What has been your greatest struggle during this month? One of my greatest struggle during this month is reading the Quran. We all know that Ramadan is the month of the Quran and I really wanted to memorize more surahs but we don't have a madrasah where women can learn and read Quran. 4. What's your advice for other Muslim reverts? My advice to Muslim reverts is not to give up in Islam. It is our ticket to jannah in shaa Allah. You are already on the right path and we must strive to follow the Quran and sunnah of Prophet Muhammad SAW. We are more than blessed enough that Allah opened our hearts and give us guidance to the true Islamic monotheism. Always make a dua because this is our weapon as believers and dua can change qadar (destiny). Alhamdullilah. Remember that whatever struggles you have as a revert, it is one way of Allah to test us and purify our sins. Alhamdullilah. 4. Fill in the blank: my hope for this Ramadan is ________ My hope for this Ramadan is that Allah will accept my fasting and ibadah. I pray for all the Muslims around the world who are struggling from poverty, war and whatever their struggles that Allah may make it easy for them. May Allah grant us to reach Eid and unite all Muslims during this celebration for His sake. Ameen. We hope these inspiring stories remind us of how blessed we are to even meet with this beautiful month of Ramadan. We pray that these last few nights of Ramadan will be good for you ?
Lixin (Nur Jannah), Singapore
"Always have faith in Allah. Take care of Allah’s religion and surely, He will take care of you."1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your journey of how you found Islam Assalamualaikum! I am Lixin and often go by Nur Jannah as well. I am happily married for 2 years now and we have a little happy family of 3. I first met my husband back in 2014 when we were both working in Night Safari as animal keepers. Through him, i got to know about Islam and I actually started to sign myself up for the beginners class with Darul Arqam. As i learn more, i began to take up the solat class to learn how to pray. But the turning point that made me decide to convert was when we met with stumbling blocks when we wanted to register our marriage. Because of that, i was so stressed out every single day until my husband told me to try to pray and supplicate. Since I started praying then, issues started to resolve one by one. And then it struck me to convert as soon as possible, so I went to book an appointment for conversion in early 2016 myself. I only informed my husband-then Boyfriend after I booked the appointment. My journey to Islam was not a tough one like some other reverts faced, so i am always thankful for that. 2. What's the most valuable lesson you've learnt during Ramadan?Sabr. I spent my first Ramadan in Bali back in 2016 where i moved there with my husband for 7 months. Back then, i felt that it was the biggest challenge for me as I am a foodie and it would be ridiculous to give up eating and drinking through the day. Bali was sooooo hot as well. I would try to find all stupid reasons to want to break the fast and my husband was always patient with me and told me to “Sabr”. He would tell me about how people from the third world country be having only one meal a day or even none, and we get to enjoy suhoor and iftar. Plus it was only for a month, imagine others out there facing this on a daily basis. He also explained to me the benefits of fasting. And from then on, I always tell myself - “Sabr, Mahgrib will be coming soon, it’s just another few hours to go.”
Samantha J Boyle, Australia
"I don’t notice just how much I am consumed by the pleasures of this life until Ramadan comes and I refrain from food and water."1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your journey of how you found Islam I grew up as a Christian in a single parent home with 6 siblings. My oldest brother died when I was 11 and that caused me to become lost in the abyss of this world. When it came to the age of me questioning my purpose, I didn’t find the answers I was looking for in Christianity. My older sister accepted Islam more than 15 years prior (she learnt about the religion from a friend in school) but that was something that no one in the family spoke about. I reached the point where I just wanted to learn, and so she taught me a little bit. She never taught me unless I nagged her and so I had to research it a lot on my own. Accepting Islam didn’t feel special for me like it does for a lot of other reverts. Instead, it just felt like home. It caused me to feel distant from the rest of my family because they weren’t Muslim, but I realised that I had been given a gift from Allaah and I wanted to share it with them. I began teaching my siblings about Islam and alhumdulilah Allaah has turned majority of their hearts towards Islam too. We currently have 1 sister and my mum who have yet to accept Islam, but the rest of us are Muslim now. It’s the biggest gift. 2. What's the most valuable lesson you've learnt during Ramadan? The most valuable lesson I’ve learnt during Ramadan is that Islam is a religion of unity and that’s so important. It’s easy to get caught in this mindset of thinking that religion is individualistic but the reality is, community is accentuated so much because we are meant to help each other and enough each other. I’m really lucky because even though I’m a revert, I have my siblings now who I feel at ease with and who encourage me towards good and want the best for me, but they have definitely taught me how important it is to lean on others for stability.
Hui Qin (Qisya), Singapore
"Don’t be afraid. Keep in mind the reason why you started this journey and whatever happens, He is there for us. Never stop seeking. If you seek for the sake of Him, He will not forsake you."1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your journey of how you found Islam Assalamualaikum ? I am HuiQin / Qisya. I officially converted to Islam on June 2016, 1 day before Ramadan. My previous religion was Taoism and I am rather quite involved in it compared to my other peers of the same age group. I first got in touch with Islam in 2012 where I met my then boyfriend who is my husband now. Alhamdulillah :) I did not dive straight into Islam or decide that I want to become a Muslim just because I knew I want to be married to him. In fact I was rather stubborn that “No I am sticking by my religion, I am not converting. If we really going to get married, I am sure there are ways to work it out and I can stick to my religion.” On the same year, I decided to try fasting together with him with the intention to lose weight! Haha. I started with progressive fasting and eventually fasted the whole day from Week 2 onwards till the end. It was amazingly easy for me and I felt different. Masya’Allah Alhamdulillah ☺️ That Ramadhan was a turning point. I remembered that I was met with a challenge at work and I am unsure why Allah was the first that came to my mind to seek help from. That’s when I started asking my husband a lot of questions about Islam due to my curiosity and he is the only few Muslims I am close to through my entire life. One question led to another till the point where I am struggling internally - where my heart is fighting with my mind. Deep down inside, I had actually accepted Islam. One night while debating with him on certain things about Islam, I broke down. I knew I can’t avoid it anymore and I accepted it wholeheartedly :’) Allahuakbar! Alhamdulillah ❤️2. What's the most valuable lesson you've learnt during Ramadan? Other than realising how precious water is, the most valuable lesson for me is realising how insignificant or small we humans being are on this temporary world and we are so dependent on the Creator. There is no other better support than knowing that He is always with you and answers all your prayers.3. What has been your greatest struggle during this month? My greatest struggle when I first started on this journey was to hide the fact that I am seeing a Muslim guy and I am fasting! Haha. The other challenge is to be patient and to abstain from false talks & deeds. For now, spiritual struggle amidst the busy daily life is the greatest struggle for me. 4. What's your advice for other Muslim reverts?