And no, not because I am fasting. Unfortunately (no that’s not the right word!) as it happens I am expecting a baby later this year inshAllah and my ever expanding stomach does not react well to being empty! Probably as a sign of things to come (my unborn child needs a steady supply of burgers and fries it seems) I am experiencing terrible sickness if I feel even the slightest bit hungry, and have come close to fainting at random times over the last 5 months. So, this said, I made the decision not to attempt fasting this year and to focus more on getting a sound spiritual experience instead through other means.
But, am I getting the full experience? I think not. I never thought I would say I felt envious of those who are able to fast but I do. My husband fasts regularly anyway and isn’t really into going all out for a month of religious learning (he likes to keep things simple and practice his religion quietly) so I am left at a bit of a loose end.
This got me thinking – how much are we affected by the piousness of those around us? I have set myself a target of a few things I would like to achieve this month – memorize five sura’s and numerous supplications that I haven’t completed yet, work on two articles on Islamic A-Z basics for new Muslims, re-read the stories of the prophets of Islam, attend Taraweeh – being the primary ones. But given that I can’t experience the joy of Ramadan in full and that my family are all working from 5pm daily, how much self motivation do I need to have?
I have never classed myself as someone who “needs” to have a lot of friends in order to feel inspired, but at times like this I do. Alhamdulilah I have some very supportive sisters who are feeding me a wealth of knowledge and tips to keep me inspired. But if I am honest it wasn’t always like this. As I have posted in my revert story, in the beginning I didn’t
know any supportive Muslims and I found many to be unapproachable. With perseverance things have changed, but it does take time and strength to get to this stage – something which I feel many people still don’t understand.
To all the new Muslims out there, if you do break your fast early, or you feel emotionally drained, or you feel that the whole experience is just too much, just remember – its not the end of the world. The most important thing is that you keep trying. You may get the feeling of fear that because of one slip up you’re doomed forever (which believe me, some people will try to make you think!) but this simply isn’t the case. Talk to those around you, watch inspirational videos, approach your local mosque – basically just do whatever it takes to feel motivated again. MashAllah I am envious if you are a new Muslim who has managed to get into the swing of things with regard to recitation, dhikr, fasting etc – but if you haven’t it does not make you a failure.
InshAllah those who are alone or are experiencing the holy month for the first time remain strong in their faith. Sometimes being a revert can be the loneliest experience. As more experienced reverts or born Muslims, I hope that we all take the time to congratulate and support anyone who may be struggling in their faith, even if all they can manage is a simple sura or a day of fasting. Ramadan Kareem.
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