A year ago, the pandemic struck, placing us in uncharted territory and bringing with it the period of lockdown which left us with time on our hands. Of course, with this spare time spent alone, for many, it became a time of personal evaluation or introspection.
Who would have known that my life would take a drastic change during the year 2020? It uprooted me from my stagnant, mundane life onto a path of positive enlightenment.
Growing up, I learnt about the religion from my parents but not really about God. My brother and I never practised any religion, we just knew about them. This worked for me and I never questioned the way of my parents.
But then, in August 2020, I was on the brink of losing my job as businesses suffered from the lockdown and people close to me began dying from COVID-19.
Each day, I woke to a restless, as if I were missing something. And more often, than not, I found myself praying. But how does one pray when you do not believe in God?
And so, my search began, first with books and internet searches and then asking friends who I knew to be religious. Fatima was the Muslim girl in the office who prayed diligently and who was mocked often about her headscarf and regular praying.
But as I watched her pray each day, I realised she exuded a sense of serenity, a gentleness with people even when they laughed at her and her kindness with those less fortunate. As I watched her day after day, I felt the need to find out more about her. I had never really attempted conversation with her before and this sudden need made me a little uncomfortable.
I eventually plucked up the courage and asked Fatima about her daily rituals, and I was soon hanging on to every word as she took me into the world of Islam. Within a month, I took my Shahadah and I never looked back.
Before long, I was learning the salah with Fatima who shared with me the beautiful names of Allah. Al Ba’ith, the Raiser of the Dead, had entered my heart and gave it life.
My name is Sam, and this is the story of my first Ramadan.