Ramadan Musings: Mecca Convert Community Reflections
Steps for the Sake of Allah SWT
By Irene Kapustina
My first Ramadan left a lasting impression on me. I was about a week into fasting, I was going to work, which was right in the heart of Times Square in New York City. And as I was rushing through the crowd, people pushing and shoving all around me, I slowly descended into a state of hyper awareness (which was probably induced significantly by my total lack of knowledge about proper nutrition during Ramadan and the importance of suhoor!). The world around me slowed down, it felt like I was walking in honey: every movement became a conscious effort. And as I was moving through the crowd I looked at my feet and thought, “I am taking these steps for the sake of Allah SWT.” I looked at people’s faces concerned with their daily tasks and thought, “I feel so special, I feel so grateful, because I, at this moment in time, know why I am here and Who I am doing it for.”
In my mind, I go back to this episode often, because it truly is a metaphor for how I, as a Muslim, hope to move through the world. Isn’t every move we make and every step we take for the sake of Allah SWT? I frequently measure my non-fasting self to the hyper aware Irene during that first fasting week of my life and remind and challenge myself to do better every day.
By Leana Kalinchouk
My first truly special Ramadan happened after I got married. I will never forget it. Being able to stand in salah with my husband and in-laws, and hearing the collective ameens radiate throughout the house is something that still gives me goosebumps to this day. It was the first Ramadan where after breaking fast, I did not immediately get back to work, instead I finally broke my fast with family, prayed with them and had the most rich discussions about Islam. I had finally felt a sense of belonging. Before marriage, it was just me on my own, everyone was with their families and friends. And not to take away from the uplifting Ramadans I’ve had on my own, however being with family is a whole other experience.
This coming Ramadan, will be another really memorable Ramadan for me as my mom had converted to Islam this last Eid and it will be my mom’s first Ramadan as a Muslim, alhamdullilah! Being able to pray and worship Allah SWT with my mom during Ramadan is something I have never done. I cannot wait to break/start fast with her, to pray, to read, to discuss with her and see her reaction when she finds out just how special the rewards are during Ramadan especially with the last 10 days and Lailathul Qadr.
Recharging Spiritual “Batteries”
By Debbie Mageed
Ramadan has the effect of recharging my spiritual “batteries.” I feel Allah’s help in getting me through fasting by quickly answering my du’a when it’s difficult for me. I feel His Guidance to be a better Muslim than I was before. Since I started fasting before I converted, I can safely say that it’s the understanding that we are fasting for Allah which makes the feeling of hunger so much less important than our closer connection to our Creator, knowing that He is the only One who can reward us for our fasting.
Ramadan created a bond to my religion that I never had as a Christian. This month of fasting is the “glue” that keeps my faith strong and steadfast. It opens my heart to the suffering of those in need and the desire to help them.
To me, Ramadan is all about living my faith as best I can, having the knowledge that it is only in our devotion to our religion that will give us the peace to live in these times.
By Andriana Stratikis
My first Ramadan as a convert, I used to walk slowly as I passed the neighbors sprinklers on my way home from work. It was the super long days in August and I was so incredibly thirsty but the feeling of cold water on my head felt so good. I was so proud of myself like I accomplished something so hard. It was the same feeling that a kid gets when they learn to ride a bike. It was amazing.
By Beverly Thomas
Though I don’t remember my first fast, which was about 30 years ago, Ramadan is the most blessed month for me beyond the obvious glory of this beautiful month. I fasted Ramadan for 10 years prior to taking Shahadah. Then, in 2001 around mid-Ramadan 1422, I took my Shahadah. One year later, Ramadan 1423 brought my first child. Several years later, our family was blessed with twins born one week into Ramadan 1429.
The rewards of Ramadan fasts, praying Taraweeh and spending time worshipping with family and friends are unparalleled by any other time of year. I’ve always felt a special closeness to Allah SWT during Ramadan and I pray that our newest brothers and sisters in Islam feel that special closeness too.
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “(Allah said), ‘Every good deed of Adam’s son is for him except fasting; it is for Me. and I shall reward (the fasting person) for it.’ Verily, the smell of the mouth of a fasting person is better to Allah than the smell of musk.”