The experience of fasting for a new Muslim may present a number of challenges. This blog post will look at some of those challenges:
Fasting Around Non-Muslim Family Members
Muslims refrain from food, drink, and intimacy during the hours from dawn to sunset throughout Ramadan. Muslims also stay away from sins and unlawful desires during Ramadan. This is not something many non-Muslims will be familiar with. When surrounded by people who are eating and drinking or committing sins, the new Muslim may feel some discomfort.
It is important to have a place in the house where you can focus on your worship and spiritual well-being. You should plan and try eating the pre-dawn meal, as food is most tempting when you become hungry. It is a good idea to start fasting in the month before Ramadan to make your body accustomed to fasting, as after a while the body adapts and you feel less hungry.
It is your personal judgement call to either involve your family in your experience, if they are accommodating to your Islam. Or to keep your experience private, if they are hostile.
Fasting in a Non-Muslim Society
In non-Muslim countries, most people will be continuing their normal routine during Ramadan. This may mean that you sometimes struggle to find the spirituality you hear about from Muslims in Muslim majority countries associated with Ramadan. A good way to overcome this is to see if there are other Muslims in your area whom you can meet up with, read the Quran or study with, or do a charity project together. Attending your local mosque for a short while is a good way to help you focus and get you in the communal spirit of Ramadan. If you can’t do any of the above, spending time at home praying, reading the Quran, listening to Islamic lectures, or doing general readings on Islamic topics could all be good ways to spend your time during Ramadan. Tune in online to the nightly prayers in any mosque around the world, especially the grand Mosque in Mecca and the Messenger’s Mosque in Medina to get a glimpse of the Ramadan experience.
Fasting & Work
Most Muslims continue to work throughout Ramadan. There is nothing wrong with this, in fact, it is to be expected. However, this may require better time management in Ramadan. If you are spending most of the day at work, the evening time should be divided into times for worship and rest. If you hydrate well, have a good portion for your pre-dawn and sunset meals and rest, you can combine work and worship and make the most of Ramadan.
Muslim families often break their fast together and attend the mosque with other Muslims. However, you may not have any Muslims around to do this with or a mosque that is local to you. In this case, perhaps your non-Muslim family members may be willing to change their evening meal time to coincide with sunset to accommodate your meal schedule. You can make a part of your bedroom a place where you sit and focus on worship. This can be where you pray to God, read the Quran and other Islamic books, and offer your daily obligatory devotions, Salah, and the nightly optional devotions.
Fasting for the first time is hard for most people. Your internal clock and entire system will be thrown off if you aren’t used to waking up in the last part of the night to eat the pre-dawn meal. You may experience some or all of the following in various degrees: headaches, fatigue, lack of patience and annoyance (“hangry”), brain fog/mental slowness. These physical experiences generally lessen the more you fast.
You will feel the burning pain of hunger and the strong yearning for even a drop of cool, fresh water. The good news is that these feelings subside. Hunger and thirst are like waves that come and go, and if you are prepared, you can ride the waves and enjoy the journey of struggle, discipline, and endurance, recognizing that you are capable of more than you thought, and experience the sweetness of turning to Allah for help.
You will likely experience many challenges of all sorts while fasting – physical, social, emotional, psychological, and spiritual. Remember your intention and turn to Allah when it gets hard. Stay busy with planned acts of worship and other beneficial activities. Prepare yourself for the worst and hope for the best, and most importantly…….DON’T GIVE UP!
Assalamualaikum everyone!!! I am Dua NaviL, a revert for 2 years (2021) from Philippines. Since I embraced Islam, I already practice fasting in Ramadan so Alhamdulillah I did great and enjoy it. It’s my 3rd year of fasting this year and I am still grateful for everything… I did try to practice fasting during Mondays and Thursday of a week and the 13th,14th and 15th of the month too so I think it is very helpful that I adjusted so fast. In shaa Allah, every new reverted sisters in Islam will be motivated with my experience. Jazakallah Khairan
This Ramadan felt a little bit different this year since I’m a recent revert. I was feeling kind of down because my husband is long distance and he gets to enjoy Iftar with his family. Other Muslims enjoy Iftar with friends family or the Masjid and I don’t really have that yet, so I’m staying positive and inshaallah will have more brothers and sisters next to me at the time of Iftar, it would be really nice instead of eating alone with my two cats lol. Alhamdillilah for everything
May first time my fasting im sick my head pain but not alhamdulillah im good for 3 days fasting
I embraced Islam 3 years ago, Allamdullila am enjoying the religion. I believe Ramadan is a month of blessings and giving, am I going to get the blessings when am unable to give, just this morning, I was beneficiary of a Ramadan humper for my Iftar.
I have found the most difficult part of fasting is thirst.
A trick that has helped me is to put water on my lips. I find it tricks the body into thinking it got something to drink.
Day 3 I crashed. Couldn’t concentrate at all. Highly emotional. Was worried about driving.
I don’t live in a traditional environment and must work all day. My boss expects better peformance. On the verge of losing my job. I cracked. I ate and drank in the afternoon 🙁
I will try again another day. I paid the “fine” for the month just in case.
I don’t live in a home. No fridge. No icebox. No blenders, microwaves, etc. I was dehydrated to the point where sentences were coming out backwards and I sounded highly disorientated. Symptoms of delerium and depression that night.
I track my water intake carefully — all night and into the morning and again at night. 64 oz or more. It wasn’t enough to prevent this crash on day 3.
This morning, I learned from my father, that he gets dehydrated very easily. As I age, I think this is what’s happening to me. I normally drink water all day. Switching it to night did not stave off things with the heat and then sleeping in the heat.
I tried and felt SOOOOO baddddd for failing. ☹️
It is ok.. Allah would not be happy seeing you in the said situation. Im a convert for 2 years but only started my first fasting this year. Im a fulltime social worker also and i find it very difficult to achieve but Allah makes miracle at all times. Focus on HIM, when u feel crashing, pray more..
As a revert it was good to see this