بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ
In the name of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful
Yes, it’s true. My life fell into place. Not that everything became super easy and glamorous just of a sudden. But the foundation of my existence became clear, and I found my inner peace. Alhamdulillah. The thing of the matter is that the religion of Islam is perfect, and is giving us everything we need to live a harmonious life. This is about my journey to Islam and how everything fell into place.
Ramadan is around the corner, and it was on the fourth day of this holy month almost 9 years ago that I reverted to Islam. Yes, I use the word “reverted”, because we were all born as Muslims. I was living in Qatar at that time. As the time for Ramadan approached, the rota had to be changed, and I was naturally asking many questions and became curious.
Being a fitness professional I was really against fasting, and couldn’t understand how people could fast. Especially as it was 50 degrees celsius hot outside. But people were so calm. I was stunned. I had seen my employees praying in the staff room, while I ran around in my high heels. I was also looking for that inner peace. I mean, the true inner peace.
Yoga had taught me a lot about mindfulness, inner peace, love and care and all that. But my soul was never satisfied. I knew something else was to be found.
So when Ramadan was approaching, I was really curious. This was after having lived in Qatar for 1,5 years. My Director had also told me that I had to improve my cultural adaptability. So when Ramadan was approaching, I decided to fast to become a better manager. I had to understand. I was curious. I was searching.
I was really confused about the hijab as well. Couldn’t understand it. Why did women have to cover? So I went to the fancy store, and bought my first hijab… It was an absolutely beautiful long, lose black abaya with beautiful flower decorations on the lower sleeves, with matching scarf. I felt fantastic. I can still recall that feeling. I felt so beautiful. I felt so strong. I felt something in my heart.
The prayer had obviously been something that I saw regularly, as I had passed by the staff room. I thought that must be something important, so I started to follow a tutorial on YouTube, and started to pray, without knowing so much more. Then one of my employees, Ahmad, brought me two bags of Islamic books. SubhanAllah. MashaAllah, one of them was the Swedish translation of the Qur’aan, in Qatar! #food for thought.
On the third day of Ramadan I went to the Islamic Center. I was curious. Sister Sara, a revert from the Philippines met me. She showed me the mosque and her warm character blowed me away. “I have to go back”, was what echoed in my chest after that first meeting.
I was already fasting and I was wearing hijab. People must have been like surprised. Or maybe not. I was suffering from extreme head ache however. From having drunken coffee excessively to fasting for the first time in my life… but subhanAllah what a feeling it was…
So I went back there, to the Islamic Center, on the fourth day of Ramadan. When I entered, I met Sara again. She asked me if I was ready. I said yes. Just thinking about this gives me tears in my eyes…. Allahu Akbar. I declared my faith, knowing that there is only One God, who cannot be compared to anything and nothing is similar to Him. He’s the One who created you and me and everything that exists.
Life fell into place, because the foundation of my existence was finally clear to me. I had guidelines to live by, and I knew what I strived for. This, was the help when things were difficult and this was what helped me forward.
Fasting wasn’t easy, but it was amazing. Wearing hijab was different, but I loved it. And I love it, alhamdulillah. Praying was new, but a place to focus and feel at ease. Saying no to some things I was used to was a sacrifice, but became natural.
Just like I started by saying that everything fell into place, I like to end in the same way.
Because, too often I see sisters searching for happiness and searching for something else… Then I’m thinking, been there, done that.
Islam is teaching us how to eat to be healthy. We don’t need intermittent fasting, when we are already encouraged to follow the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and fast Mondays and Thursdays. Ramadan is a whole month of fasting, not feasting, helping us to get on track with our religion. We fast purely for the sake of Allah, may He be exalted.
Everything is there. Health is encouraged. Just like we cannot separate a healthy mind and heart from a healthy body. Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said:
“In the body there is an organ which if healthy, causes the health of the whole body; and if it sickens, it causes the sickness of the whole body; this organ is the heart”. [Bukhari and Muslim].
By this, dear beloved sister, I’m encouraging you to take a deep breath and remember the blessing of being a Muslimah. Say Alhamdulillah. Set your intention for the upcoming holy month of Ramadan, and have the intention to make it a healthy one. A Ramadan that will make us even healthier in our hearts and bodies than we are right now. Alhamdulillah.
What are the things by the way that you’ll make different this year in shaa Allah, how will you make this Ramadan healthier than before? Please share, I’d love to know. Thanks.
Assalaamu ‘Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh (May Peace and Mercy and Blessings of Allah be Upon You).