When Allah swt planted the intention in my heart to start this blog, little did I know that it'd reach many Muslims and wanna-be Muslims. Alhamdulillah for His blessings and guidance, for many have written to me and from this blog, I have the opportunity to know many who intend to revert to Islam. Some have already recited the syahadah but are in the process of informing their families.
Here's a letter from a new brother, a young man whom Allah has chosen to be a part of our large family.
In about two weeks time Muslims all over the world will welcome the Holy Month of Ramadan. Depending on where you live, you'll see people getting prepared for Ramadan, be it spiritually or physically. In Muslim-majority countries the streets will be filled with people selling food for iftar and sahur, television programs will show more religious programs, mosques crowded with a lot more people, and in some cases work schedules are altered. Ramadan is a month long festivity filled with food and gatherings and worship. It's a month where all your good deeds are multiplied. It's the highlight of being Muslim. Spending Ramadan in such places is very nice since you are surrounded with the atmosphere, but let's remember our brothers and sisters who may not be as fortunate.
Let's remember our brothers and sisters who live in non-muslim countries. There are no celebrations whatsoever, except in some Masjids/Islamic Centers. People around them mostly don't fast, and they have to just deal with people eating and drinking all day. They might need to break their fast alone, at work, at school, or even in the car. There are no adzan telling Maghrib time; you need to check the time yourself. They might just pray Tarawih by themselves at home since mosques are too far from where they live. They just wake up early to eat sahur, all by themselves, with no special programs on TV to accompany.
Let's remember our brothers and sisters who live in conflict areas. Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, and other war-struck areas. Burma and other countries hit by disasters. Those who live by less than $2 daily. Those who have accustomed to hearing gunshots and bomb blow up. It may be that going to the mosque to pray is dangerous, for we all know that even mosques become targets of attacks. Mothers who have to provide meals for the family with the little money they have. Those who have had to fast all year long because food was just not available. And you can even find these people within steps of where you live.
Let's remember our new brothers and sisters. This might be their first time experiencing Ramadan. Those that are considering of becoming Muslim may want to use this time as a "test-run", to see and feel what it's like, even for a few days. For the new Muslims going without food and drink all day is very challenging since they weren't trained to do so since they were little kids. They may have to fast without the support of their non-Muslim family. In the early days they might feel lonely if they don't have any muslim friends to spend Ramadan with. So if you see a new brother/sister, please do invite them to the activities. Invite them to your house/masjid for iftar, invite them to do prayers together, invite them to celebrate Eid together. It is also good to invite non-Muslim friends/relatives (It's NOT haram for them to enter the masjid).
Lastly, but most definitely not least, remember the new brothers/sisters who still have to deal with the hardships of being Muslim. Their surroundings might not be conducive to fasting. Their family might not approve them fasting and praying and doing whatever a Muslim is required to do. Some may still have to practice Islam in secret. Some may not be able to fast, since it's very hard to conceal not eating and drinking for half a day. Whatever their reasons, Allah knows what they deal with, and nobody has the right to judge.
Remember them as you fast, as you have iftar, and as you pray. Pray to them that Allah gives them the strength to cope with whatever situation they are in. Thank Allah that you might be far more fortunate than they are."
Thanks for the letter and the permission to post it in this blog, my brother. May Allah swt make your first fasting month a wonderful experience. I know that it won't be easy for you, being a 'closet Muslim' and having to spend your first Ramadhan as a Muslim with your non-Muslim family members, but rest assured that every little effort will sow a seed for you in Jannah. May Allah swt bless you.