Sawm, one of the pillars of Islam. It took me a while to turn and come to Islam, to actually understand the essence of every religious act that we do. My heart fills as I see my journey step by step. It is an overwhelm of emotions.
As a sixteen year old, Ramadhan, for me was fasting of the stomach. I was ignorant enough to corelate it with the fasting that pagans do- fasting by stomach only, fasting without having God in the ambit, fasting in exchange for something or partial fasting. I remember being excited about it as if it was a new adventure for me. I never woke up for suhoor. Yes, never. My days would be as any other school going day. During break time, I would give away my tiffin to my friends. My mother was an attorney. Hence, it was easy for me to skip lunch whilst alone at home. I would neatly pack a small portion lunch and hide them in conspicuous locations such as my wardrobe, under the bed, behind books, on top of almirahs etc. The remaining would be given to street dogs. Their sudden flocking outside our bungalow, often irritated my mother. Little did she know the reason behind it. Then at iftar, I would lock my room, sit alone and relish the packed meal.
It was always an uphill task for me. There was this constant feeling of being a man on mission! Tuitions, classes, television, evening hangout with friends, telephone, internet etc., were never compromised on. Neither did I analyse or learn about the spiritual aspect of Ramadhan. Just like that were my first few Ramadhan.
Come, college days. I moved to a different city. Alhamdulillah, I was in charge of my own meals and it was a lot easier. Sometimes I could wake up for my suhoor, sometimes I missed it. Call it lack of discipline or of a Muslim mother to push you to eat. I was learning Quran from a teacher and for the first time was invited for iftar meals. To explain the experience and emotions are beyond the ambit of my limited vocabulary. It was a simple one roomed house, and the invitees were a mere ten girls. The meal was a light gravy, rice and fruits but there was barakah. Barakah in food, happiness, content and peace. Fasting, yet, was for my stomach alone. Those five years in college, I did not miss any fast by the mercy of Allah (subhana wa ta’aala).
My real journey as a muslimah began last year. It has indeed been a journey for my soul and from the last Ramadhan till today as Ramadhan ends again, I know I have changed. Sometimes when you are drifting too far, Allah turns you to him the hard way around. Sometimes you turn to Him only when you have nobody but Him to turn to. I understand I was trying hard to please people and as time passed, I was one amongst many ‘moderate Muslims’. It took me a while to understand that, perhaps nobody ever told me or perhaps I never tried to search or perhaps I didn’t want to see my lifestyle being disapproved.
The people I tried to please, moved on after college. Somehow, by the will of Allah, I was stuck behind. Last year, I was all alone with Allah (subhana wa ta’aala). It was then I realised that He indeed is the best companion to have. A Ramadhan away from the world, made me live through it in its true essence. It was indeed the toughest and the best I have experienced so far. I experienced so much pain, sadness, guilt and love. I was thankful to have been guided towards the truth. Even though I owned a handful of things, I felt thankful for what I had.
Everyday as I read the magnificent Quran, to understand it and ponder upon it, it felt like a revelation. I was overwhelmed at what I was learning. It was a parralel of guilt and relief that I was experiencing. Guilt of being guided, yet being distant from Allah all these years and relief of finally coming back to Him. My sins burdened me but the mercy I found in His words, gave me hope. My nights were sleepless. Reading about infidels ran shivers down my spine to relate the verses with my family. Every revert will be able to understand this feeling.
Every morning as I would sit alone for suhoor, I would remember the narration where the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasallam) comforted an orphan, on the day of Eid, and asked him whether he would be happy to have the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasallam) as his father and Ayesha (radiallahu anhu) as his mother. In the darkness, much as I detest eating alone, I was swallowing the morsels for there is blessings in suhoor. When standing for Tahajjud, I would plead Allah (subhana wa ta’aala) to soon make me a part of a Muslim family. Tears would stream down as I would hear the adhan from a distant mosque. Holding the grill of my window, I would stare out to absorb every word of it- the words calling me to Allah.
I used to try to spot the houses that would turn on their lights in suhoor time and assume them to be Muslim households. Distant houses, with light emitting from their windows. The same house I would stare at iftar imagining a family opening their fast together. After adhan, I would see a few people walking out of houses, assuming them to be going to mosque. The same people must be going for taraweeh too.
It was last Ramadhan that I started writing. I often get asked why did I start writing or what inspired me to write. It was this Ramadhan that inspired me to write. With the hope of having just one sister by me. I don’t know at what moment my dua got accepted. One after the other, through my blog I met some beautiful sisters from all over the world. Some share my mind, some motherly, some are my creepiest friends and with some my soul is simply bonded. You know it that you can trust a practising muslimah. She will always be your mirror. I felt the love which twenty three years of my life hadn’t given me, for it was the love for Allah’s pleasure.
For the first time I was not counting the days of Ramadhan. For the first time I felt an old friend leaving me as the month ended. Suddenly I was scared, perhaps because Shaytan was free. The Ramadhan of 2014, changed me. Every day seeped Islam deep into me. I know something within me changed, for I was closer to Allah. I was now on the field willing to give my best against Shaytan for Allah’s pleasure solely. Audhubillahi minash shaytanir rajeem.
This year, I am with my family. I told them about my reversion a few months back and Alhamdulillah, they are trying to accept it. This time there is no hiding meals or giving it away for they have retired and are at home with me. This time when Ramadhan approached, they knew and kept an eye. It is the peak of summer season here and much as my parents care for me, they were worried that I would dehydrate. Perhaps, they also worried that I wouldn’t be able to study for my upcoming exams in Ramadhan. To fast in such delirious situation appears a form of extremism for them. Yes, I was nervous but I knew that He (subhana wa ta’aala) would take care of me. In Shaa Allah, I put in my best. After all it is all a part of His plan!
About the author
Misha is a twenty four year revert to Islam from India. She graduated in law and shares her passion for her deen by way of her blog, theindianrevertedmuslimah.wordpress.com. She writes with the intention to motivate new Muslims and also those practising Muslims who find themselves at various odds on their way to Allah (subhana wa ta’aala). She herself is discovering more of Islam everyday and is hopeful that one day her entire family shall come into the folds of Islam. In Shaa Allah, she hopes to find a practising Muslim to help her complete half her deen.