Ramadhan, the Month of God (9)
Welcome to the 9th special episode of “Ramadhan, the Month of God”.
We start with the special supplication of the day:
“O Allah, appoint me a portion this day of Your all-embracing mercy; guide me therein to Your clear and bright proofs; and draw me with my fore-lock towards Your all-around approval, with Your love, O Hope of the ardent!”
Today, you'll be hearing some of the comments of neo-Muslims about the blessed month of Ramadhan.
Yvette Baldaccino, an Australian who embraced the truth of Islam, says: "For me the month of Ramadhan is the best and ideal holiday, a holiday with God. This is the only month in which we have the opportunity to get rid of worldly materialistic indulgence and be engaged in worship and spiritual acts days and nights."
The blessed month of Ramadhan is the best time for worship and supplication in the divine court, recitation of the holy Qur'an and attaining proximity of God. For Muslims who live in Islamic countries, it is simple to become familiar with Islam and the special rituals of Ramadhan. But for those who have newly embraced Islam, it is a different issue. They experience the spiritual delights of Ramadhan with no early information; hence, some of them have apprehensions in the beginning whether they can fast.
Samantha Kesnich, an American lady who recently embraced the truth of Islam, says, "I was very excited at the advent of Ramadhan. I had studied extensively about it and couldn't wait for fasting any more. I consider the month of Ramadhan a time for proximity to God."
Zainab Karen, a German lady describes her first experience of Ramadhan: "When the month of Ramadhan arrived, I decided to take the first step by fasting. First, I thought that it would be difficult for me, but there was a strange form of energy in me and I fasted without any difficulty at my workplace. I was exhilarated that I could worship God and become close to God and I didn't feel even the heat of summer."
Like Samantha and Zainab, other new Muslims have understood that the blessed month of Ramadhan is a proper opportunity for worship and proximity of God.
A'zam Naseem Johnson, a fresh American convert to Islam, says: "In my first month of Ramadhan I am engaged in reading the holy Qur'an and reciting supplications. As a matter of fact, I don’t know if I read the Qur'an and supplications correctly or not. I have a booklet containing the rituals and supplications of Ramadhan and I do according to it. I feel spiritually well and enjoy performing prayers and reading the Qur'an".
Iten Gottschalk, another new American Muslim, pays much attention to reading the holy Qur'an and performing prayers. He says, "When I feel thirst, I open the holy Qur'an or perform more prayers to spend my time with my Lord. I can feel how Ramadhan brings human beings closer to God and specifies his goal in this world."
For sure, fasting causes hunger and thirst; but, as these hardships are for God's sake, they become easy to endure and even bolster man's will and spiritual power.
Chris Duffy says in this regard: "Fasting is invigorating for me. At first, it was not easy but the body adjusts itself and then you will feel an increase of energy. Fasting helps you concentrate on what is necessary."
Gatzchak, who takes care of patients, says: "I try very much to hold my fasts, but sometimes, it is really hard; yet, Ramadhan has helped me a lot in self-restraint."
Many new Muslims pay attention to the socio-political aspects of fasting. Zainab Karen says, "During the days of the month of Ramadhan, the sense of solidarity and unity among Muslims has absorbed me intensely."
Halimeh Khan from the US comments, "If you feel hungry it means that you have thought of many hungry people across the world."
During Ramadhan gatherings are arranged for worship and recitation of the holy Qur’an. This reinforces the sense of brotherhood. For instance, in Romania the new Muslims consider Ramadhan as the best opportunity for building bridge with other Muslims and further understanding of Islamic concepts. One of the problems faced by the fresh converts to Islam is the opposition of their families, relatives and colleagues.
Haleem Abdullah from China says, "My family was strongly opposed to my becoming Muslim and expelled me from the house. But my new Islamic family strongly supports me. They help me in learning the methods of Islamic life, performing prayer and reading the holy Qur'an."
Some other neo-Muslims are upset at blasphemous behaviors of their family as they find no Muslim friends in their neighborhood. Of course, some of them like the mother of Gladis Lim Yen Yen from China, support her and her sister and even help them in preparing Sahari and finding halal food.
But the problem of Tanzimeh Khan, is her job as a cook. She says, "Everybody in the kitchen eats and drinks with laughter and entertainment. I tell them, 'It is not important. I will attain spiritual reward with controlling my gastronomical desires. You are drinking in front of me while I am fasting. But I control myself. Thus, it is not hard for me."
Many who have freshly embraced the truth of Islam, attend Islamic gatherings, especially in mosques where congregational prayers are held, in order to overcome their loneliness. Johnson says, "I count the moments to go to the mosque and perform my prayers with more attention and understanding. I am happy and wait for fasting in the rest of the month of Ramadhan. At noon, I feel a lump in throat and my eyes are filled with tears."
Some other Muslims are not able to attend mosques and Islamic centres. Nour ud-Din Lim Siasia from China is such a Muslim. He says, "As a student of medicine, I have a compact schedule. Although I may not be able to perform all of my prayers in the mosque, fortunately, I have good friends who come to me and we perform congregational prayer at home. In the blessed month of Ramadhan, we hold small and intimate circles to worship God."
Anyway, neo-Muslims face problems for performing their acts of worship and practice the divine commandments in non-Islamic countries.