A convert’s first fasting and Ramadhan experience

Noora’s 14-year stay in Oman has been a ride full of trials and tribulations but after recently converting to Islam, this Filipina domestic helper has found renewed hope that things will be okay with guidance and mercy from the Almighty Allah.
When she arrived in Oman decades ago, she didn’t know what Oman was all about except that it is a Muslim country with its unique customs and traditions.
By then, she was just observing how things are done and how people go about their business. She already noticed though that people are seriously religious and have a high reverence for their faith. Her conversion to Islam started from this curiosity.
“It all began some years ago observing my ‘madam’ doing her prayers on this beautiful and classy mat brought from the holy land of Mecca. In the beginning, I just grew curious about the mat and how comfy and beautiful it was that I also started holding my prayers using the mat,” she shared.
“When I was working for my third employer, I was praying the Christian prayers wearing my madam’s prayer robes and on her mat. It went on for a certain period until one day, my boss found out and was surprised. She thought that I was praying the Islamic prayers and she hugged me and exclaimed, ‘Oh you know how to pray Islamic prayers, Masha Allah, so you are a Muslim! I was so touched by that hug,” she said.
“I told her [my boss] the truth that I was not praying the Muslim prayers but was in fact saying a different prayer. Seeing me on the robe and the mat, she just told me, “MashaAllah you are a Muslim.” She then arranged all facilities for me to study about the religion and bit by bit I fell in love with Islam and the more I studied and it, the more I was convinced. It was never too late to embrace the religion that I studied and understood,” she added.
This year is Noora’s first year to fast for the whole duration of Ramadhan.
“I was excited at the beginning of the holy month to do fasting. Even after 20 days, I am still able to keep up — this grand act of showing to Allah Almighty my dedication,” she shared.
“The best thing I like about Ramadhan is that people gather together to pray and praise Allah (SWT) and to show their love and devotion. The brother/sister-hood in Islam is so different. They share food with each other and remind each other when its time to pray, especially the Taraweeh prayers, the special night prayers,” she said.
Noora is also head over heels for the cleansing process called ‘Wudhu’ before each prayer, the ‘Dhikr’ and ‘Du’a’ (supplications) and proper clothing of praying.
“These are the things that attracted me the most well before I embraced the religion,” she said.
Asked what her family’s reaction was to her conversion, she said, “Well, I’m separated and my parents, siblings and all like my decision. They respect my choice of embracing Islam.”
Noora feels that ‘Hidaya’, the inner calling is a rare thing for most of us and those who have received the same are the lucky lot and one should not let any such road to inner peace go.
This Ramadhan, Noora is very happy to be able to make different varieties of Arab specialities for her employers. To be able to join them for Iftar gathering also make her first Ramadhan experience a truly memorable one.