What New Muslims can do in Ramadan when Not fasting
Fasting and Ramadan are synonymous, aren’t they? Those who are not fasting during Ramadan don’t exactly broadcast the fact. Sometimes it can seem like if you can’t fast, there’s no point to celebrating Ramadan. It can either be due to illness, or the monthly break Muslim ladies will have from the prescribed ritual devotion due to the menstrual cycle.
Good news! There is much more to Ramadan than just fasting! Don’t think about all that you can’t do, and take a look at the list of the things that you can do this Ramadan:
Realize that this condition is something that God decreed. His plan is perfect and His timing is perfect. Don’t feel sad, but try to be content that God has allowed you this time for you to explore other areas where you can draw near to Him. Here’s an amazing thought: you are worshiping God by NOT offering the prescribed ritual. You are obeying God’s command to refrain from offering the prescribed ritual devotion and fasting while on your menstrual period.
Pray anyway. No I don’t mean offer the prescribed ritual devotion, I just mean pray to God. Prayer has no prerequisites or conditions of ritual purity. You simply talk to God when you feel like it.
Keep your connection with the Quran. Continue to listen and read the translation of the Quran during your period while you refrain from the ritual devotion and the fast. If you set aside the time of each prescribed ritual for Quran, you might even read more than usual!
Learn and say the daily supplications for different occasions: going to sleep, waking up, eating, leaving the house etc.
Prepare some food to share with others. Perhaps your family or neighbors would appreciate something you’ve made for yourself. Ramadan is a month of charity!
The self-control and patience that fasting helps develop should be kept up during the time when you refrain from fasting. Continue to guard your tongue from saying bad things, and protect your ears from hearing bad things or being silent when someone is saying something evil.
Donate clothes, food, toys, money etc
God decreed this time as a mercy for Muslim women. You are relieved of the burden of offering the prescribed ritual devotion and fasting, so that you can concentrate on other ways to worship God. May God help you be consistent in your worship through the whole month.
Battling Loneliness during Ramadan
Although Ramadan is known for those who are born Muslim as a time of community and family gatherings just like any typical holiday season, for the new Muslim it’s just not.
When you’re going through a test alongside someone else, it’s a bit easier. So, what can the convert to Islam do, on their own, to make Ramadan special?
The New Muslim Academy forums are busy with activity all year. Why not join the discussion? Great pains are taken to ensure that all students are converts to Islam, so you will be discussing Ramadan, breaking fast alone, predawn meals in secret and other topics with people that are going through the same struggles that you are experiencing.
Break Fast with a Lecture
Plan ahead, and look for a great lecture to watch or listen to while you eat your break-fast meal. You will really benefit from listening to someone’s voice so it may as well be someone who is teaching you something new! Here are some recommended lectures:
“The Prophet’s Ramadan” series
“The Prophetic Day” series
“Building the Foundation” series
Be the Host with the Most
You could get rewards multiplied by hosting a dinner at your home, at which you break your fast with your family, co-workers or fellow students. Everyone loves to eat! If you invite people to come and eat when you are having dinner, it will be a great way to introduce your new faith.
The charity that you spend on your family and neighbors is also greatly rewarded. Consider inviting a few non-Muslims, who are close to you, love you and accept you for who you are, over while you break your fast.
Have mercy on yourself and make it a potluck, explaining your dietary restrictions, and the time of day that you will be breaking your fast. The fastest way to a person’s heart is through his/her belly!
May God bless your heart with gratefulness and satisfaction in your chosen faith and Way of God, and may He ease your emotional hurt of loneliness this Ramadan.
What Fasting Does for You
When the doc says no to fasting: some rulings for the New Muslim
Covert Fasting for Converts
Dear New Muslim
Even though you feel alone, and this Ramadan is a struggle, we are proud of you and praying for you.
Every pain you feel and every challenge you face we increase in your love. We support you and wish to provide you with some tools to help you at this trying time.
Keep in mind that each circumstance and situation calls for a different course of action. The following are only suggestions and you are best suited to implement what works for you.
Muslims around the world share the bond of fasting as a brotherhood around the world. A big part of the difficulty of fasting is relieved when everyone around you is also fasting, openly.
But what if no one knows you’re Muslim? Many of us, New Muslims, have not disclosed the decision of embracing Islam to our family and loved ones.
Here are some creative ways that you can use to avoid the awkwardness of being the only one in the room not eating:
6 Tips for Fasting in Secret
1. Deflect and Avoid
If invited to a dinner or a party, excuse yourself out. No one can force you to attend a gathering, like a birthday, where partaking in food will play a central role. You can opt out of that cake and ice cream by simply telling your family, friends, or co-workers, that you “don’t feel like it”. You can soften the blow by asking for a rain check and promising to make it up to them at a different time.
2. Excuses, excuses
If getting out of the gathering is unavoidable, simply refrain from eating. You may opt out at the table, and join in the conversation. There is no need to lie or make up a false excuse. It is doubtful that you will be pressured to eat if you refuse, and unlikely that someone present will force you to eat. If you are physically forced to eat, you would be excused and should not feel guilty.
3. Get busy
If you are at home and there is an event that will put pressure on you to eat or drink, you could make yourself busy in the kitchen or elsewhere in the house, preparing for the guests. You can stay busy while the meal is served, or start cleaning up.
4. Home away from home
If you predict that when you return home at a certain time, you will be caught fasting, then stay out. Go to the library or to a museum or another place that will occupy your time until you imagine the meal at home is over. Your alibi can be reinforced if you take up a class that brings you home after the sun has set.
5. Time for Eating
If invited out, or to plan an event where you will feel this pressure, plan it so that it extends past the time the sun sets. You can duck out to offer your prescribed ritual devotion and come back to the event to break your fast. If the choice is there to decide between a daytime or night-time gathering, choose the late one so that you can eat and drink along with the rest of the group.
You are reading this online, which means you are already aware of the programs that the New Muslim Academy offers for new Muslims. We have a forum to which you can contribute your conversion story, introduce yourself, and take part in discussions.
The most important step to building your faith in Islam is finding a trustworthy, empathetic and qualified teacher. The teachers at NMA specialize in your service and are wisely aware of the struggles you go through. Continue to come back to the site to voice your concerns. Chances are, other converts to Islam are wondering the same things that are of concern to you.
With NMA, your knowledge base is covered. You can also find an avenue for social interactions with others going through your struggles.
What we find when we look into building faith in Islam is that it is a solitary activity. Our relationship with God is an intimate one which takes dedication and consistency to build and strengthen. Consider the following acts which can help you strengthen your faith in Islam on a daily basis:
The biggest mistake made with prayer
Interesting history tidbit: prior to Islam, the Arabs used the word ‘Salah’ which merely meant prayer. It meant the casual, any-time talking to God that has no rules or prerequisites. After God sent down the Quran, however, this word took on an entirely different meaning. The new meaning of ‘Salah’ is prescribed ritual devotion.
Translating ‘Salah’ as prayer is a mistake and causes confusion for many reasons, especially for new Muslims.
While a person maybe used to just talking to God and asking Him for things, some people tell the new Muslim that prayer cannot be offered without ritual washing first, and facing a certain direction. This results in many new Muslims not praying to God outside of the prescribed ritual devotion.
The supplications that the Messenger of God said and taught were all in Arabic since that was his language. The new Muslim gets the impression that as a Muslim one must talk to God in Arabic alone. This creates an invisible language barrier in our relationship with God.
Offering the prescribed ritual devotion is a struggle for new Muslims. Having the wrong impression that Salah and prayer are one and the same, many feel very depressed as they feel that their worship has no meaning or is completely useless due to lack of punctually.
Most new Muslims (and born Muslims for that matter) are not Arabic-speaking. The offering of the prescribed ritual devotion begins as something mechanical, involving body movements and foreign words. Making sure to make this devotion on time each day is hard enough. If the new Muslim has been told that prayer is “Salah”, they become frustrated as they are not communicating with God intimately and can not find spiritual fruits in their devotion.
Here is the good news for everyone, especially new Muslims:
“You don’t need to know Arabic to talk to God, nor to communicate with Him!
You don’t need to know Arabic to learn about Islam, or to pray to God.
Speak to God in your own language with your own words.
Prayer is something very important in Islam and is something we should do at all times. “
Shaykh Ahmad Al Kurdy
Of the simplest science lessons offered to children is deciding whether a thing in the creation is living or nonliving. Observation tells us that non-living things do not move, grow or change. Change is the primary way that we can judge whether something created is living or not. Having accepted Islam, you have changed something inside your heart. You have decided to concern yourself with devotion to God and to prioritize your life for His worship. Although there may not be any physical change that people can notice about you, the most important change has taken place: a change of heart.
While you may go about your business throughout your day, you feel a renewed sense of purpose. You may still attend work or school, prepare food, and groom yourself like before, but you may feel like you are doing these things for the first time. A secret identity that you had has now become public. The real you is before the world.
What’s hard about embracing this new identity, is that those who knew you before you accepted Islam do not expect things to change. You may find friends and family members who appreciate the ‘new’ you, but you will encounter among your contacts people who want everything to stop changing, to stagnate. It will be challenging to pull away despite their wish that the motion of life should stop. Life is all about changing, and the best changes are those that facilitate growth. At times you feel ten feet tall, and other times you may feel smaller than you have ever been. Don’t let your past mistakes define who you are. Whatever bad decisions you made prior to accepting Islam, God will forgive you for doing, and reward you for changing for the better.
Stories abound from Islamic history of those with terrible pasts accepting Islam and erasing their sins by achieving excellence as Muslims. What did these people possess that caused them to excel? What secret, what key component did they have that allowed them to rise above their dubious pasts and reach levels of greatness among Muslims? It was guidance.
Guidance was also the reason that those with good character and behavior as non Muslims were drawn to Islam, as they are shown the right way to God.
Guidance was the secret ingredient that made all the Prophets of God stand out, too. Be pleased that you share in that beautiful, amazing legacy of following the guidance that came to you. You can also become an excellent Muslim. You can achieve a high status with God; you have an equal chance with every single Muslim to succeed at practicing Islam.
You can stand, as all amazing Muslims of the past did, in front of God when you pray, and beg for guidance from Him. All the great Muslims prayed with that same prayer in the very first chapter of the Quran: it is a prayer requesting guidance, consistent guidance, an increase of guidance and firmness on the path. You are now a Muslim, and that is the first step. That opens the door. Keep moving, keep requesting the guidance of God, and He will place you on that well tread path.
These Are 8 Habits From The Quran for the New Muslim To Achieve Greatness
Greatness! We seek it, but often times in the wrong places.
God tells us in the Quran, “When guidance in revelation comes to you from Me, as it certainly will, there will be no fear for those who follow My guidance nor will they grieve.” 2:38
As new Muslims, we’ve made a lot of changes. Let’s try to really transform ourselves in 2017, let’s take inspiration from these 8 habits from the Quran to achieve success and greatness in our lives.
- Spend time consciously listing what you are grateful for in your life
“Remember that your Lord promised, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you.” 14:7
It’s that simple. If what you seek is more of something, then consciously thank God for what you already have. Make a daily list of 3 things you are grateful for in your day.
- Stay focused on your target and race towards it
“Race toward your Lord’s forgiveness and a Garden as wide as the heavens and earth, prepared for those who believed in God and His messengers. That is God’s bounty which He bestows to whomever He pleases. God’s bounty is infinite.” 57:21
In more than one place in the Quran, God reminds us to race and be among the first towards doing good. To be a competitor in any race, one must have a target and a direct path towards it.
Make it a habit to take immediate action toward your goals, rather than delaying and procrastinating.
- Find your burning desire and motivation
“God does not change the condition of a people (for the worse) unless they change what is in themselves.” 13:11
We procrastinate or struggle with consistency when there is a lack of burning desire and motivation to achieve a goal. The more passion for a goal, the more persistent we should be.
Seek what excites you, take the steps, have a sense of self-responsibility, and God will magnify your results.
- Ask God for every need, no matter how minuscule
“I am near. I respond to those who call Me” 2:186
Muhammad the Messenger taught us to ask God for our every need, even for salt or for a sandal strap when it breaks. As converts to Islam, we may think that asking God for small things is not correct, yet we have this wonderful report from the Prophet.
We should convert our goals, milestones, and resolutions into supplications and prayers. Let’s ask God to help us achieve our dreams and greatest desires.
- Ask God for good in both this world and the next
“There are some who pray, ‘Our Lord give us good in this world’ and they will have no share in the Hereafter: others pray, ‘Our Lord, give us good in this world and in the Hereafter, and protect us from the torment of the Fire.’ “2:201
God teaches us to ask for goodness of both this world and the Hereafter. It is encouraged to ask for worldly needs (like career, marriage, health, or even leisure), so long as we are also asking for success in the next life.
- Structure and plan your day around the five daily prescribed ritual devotions
“When the prescribed ritual devotion has ended, disperse in the land and seek out God’s bounty. Remember God often so you may prosper.” 62:10
Our first priority of the day is to perform the five daily prescribed ritual devotions on time. This will first, ground us and increase blessings in our day, and second, result in productivity and consciousness of time. As new Muslims this can be the most difficult change in our lives to make, but it is also the most important.
- Sleep early and start your day at dawn
“Did they not see that We gave them the night for rest, and the day for light? There truly are signs in this for those who believe.” 27:86
“Perform the prescribed ritual devotion (formal prayers) in the period from the time the sun is past its zenith till the darkness of the night, and recite the Quran at dawn. Dawn recitation is always witnessed (by the angels).” 17:78
Even the most successful people in the business and academic world start their day at dawn. Seek blessings from the words of God by reading from the Quran soon after your dawn prescribed ritual. You will find that your most productive work is in the morning, and your most restful sleep is at night.
- Stop and smell the flowers
“Those who remember God while standing, sitting, and lying on their sides. Who reflect on the creation of the heavens and earth: ‘Our Lord! You have not created this without purpose–You are far above that!– Protect us from the punishment of the Fire.’ ” 3:191
“In the creation of the heavens and earth; in the alternation of night and day; in the great ships that sail the seas with goods for people; in the water which God sends down from the sky to give life to the earth when it has been baren, scattering all kinds of creatures over it; in the changing of the winds and clouds that run their appointed courses between the sky and earth; there are signs in all these for those who use their minds.” 2:164
“It is He who spread out the earth, placed firm mountains and rivers on it; and made two of every kind of fruit; He causes night to cover the day. There truly are signs for people who reflect.” 13:3
It’s a busy, hectic world we live in. Make sure to take time out for self-care and reflection. Pause and reflect on your direction and purpose in life, while seeking inspiration from nature and scripture.
God bless you and grant you success.