It has been several years since I converted to Islam. And I have come a long way since my first Ramadan, which was a disaster. I had no idea what fasting was or what the spiritual requirements of the Holy Month were.
Finding Islamic books in English was next to impossible and I was not even connected to the Internet. I made so many mistakes my very first Ramadan and I shudder when even remembering it.
I had absolutely no preparation. My in-laws just assumed that I knew what to do and did not take into account that I was a new revert to Islam and didn’t know what to do.
I actually only found out that I had to fast, abstain from food and drink, the night before Ramadan was to commence. This was a huge shock and I was more than apprehensive.
To make a long story short, my first day was a mess. I thought I would die of thirst and my belly was growling all day long. When it was time to actually break the fast, I remember grabbing a huge pitcher of water and just chugging away.
I was in misery and could not understand how I would get through an entire month of this, and then I just happened to open up the local newspaper that evening and see an article written by a man named Dr. Hamid.
He had written a massive article about what Ramadan was and what Muslims should do throughout the fasting day. I was amazed that I finally had some guidance and best of all it was in English. My second day went a whole lot better than the first.
I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Dr. Hamid. This man was a regular contributor to the newspaper for a few years. He taught me so much about Islam.
I actually filled 3 scrapbooks with almost all of his articles that appeared in the paper. These scrapbooks were the only “books” I had. The only books I could find, at the time, were all in Arabic.
One week I noticed his articles stopped appearing in the newspaper. I searched in vain for months upon end but found nothing. Fortunately, I was hooked up to the net by then and had a plethora of Islamic knowledge at my fingertips.
But I have always wondered what happened to Dr. Hamid. He was my teacher without even knowing it. I have always wondered if perhaps he left Kuwait or if he could have even died. I certainly hope not and I hope this article finds that he is well.
I plan to save my scrapbooks and pass them on to my children. The newspaper clippings are now yellow and the glue is loosening up, but the information inside is invaluable.
In retrospect, I should have learned more about Islam before reverting. I took the Shahada with my heart thinking that the rest would fall into place right after that, but it didn’t.
I have traveled a long path to increase My iman and level of Islam. And I can safely say that my relationship with Ramadan today is far better than it was on our first encounter.
I love Ramadan. Truly, it is in my heart. A time to increase acts of worship and do things for the sake of Allah and humanity. An occasion to deny physical needs like hunger and thirst in obedience to Allah.
Ramadan is like an irresistible breeze of faith. There is no other time in the Islamic calendar like it where Muslims stay awake all night worshipping Allah and begging for salvation.
It is also an extremely fun time of the year, waking up to eat sahur in the middle of the night. I can always smell the scent of warm bread floating about in the air and when I look out the window I find that everyone’s homes are lit up and bustling.
My children don’t mind being awakened in the middle of the night either, they enjoy the hustle and the bustle of an early morning breakfast!
Ramadan breezes in and out of our lives every year. It passes quickly. Just as you welcome Ramadan with a hearty hello it is time to wave goodbye. Don’t miss a single second of this glorious Ramadan season. Live each day of Ramadan to the fullest by engaging in acts of worship and acts that are pleasing to Allah.
By Sumayyah Meehan