Whilst few born Muslims remember their first Ramadan, for those who have recently embraced the Islamic faith, their first Ramadan will be remembered as one of the major steps towards cementing their faith. This week, VOC News met three young reverts who shared the experience of their first Ramadan and their family’s reaction when they decided to embrace Islam.
Currently, Islam is growing more rapidly than any other religion and the global Islamic community is expected to surpass the global Christian community if this trend continues.
For the young people that we spoke to, converting to Islam was not the easiest of choices, but they decided to embrace it whole-heartedly after spending some time researching what would be required of them say they choose to follow this path.
Nicole, 19, Law student
My journey to Islam started at the beginning of last year when I started university and I became friends with two Muslim guys. It was a very difficult time in my life because I had just finished high school and I left high school without any friends because none of my friends were going to my university and I found myself feeling very alone.
I started doing research about Islam and I realised it was the right path for me to follow it came to me at a time in my life when I needed it most.
Last year, fasting was quite difficult fasting because I had fasted even though I wasn’t Muslim yet and during that time I was not staying at home last year. In that respect it was slightly easier because I was staying with a Muslim family. This year I am fasting at home (with my family) and there is no one else fasting with her so I have to wake up alone and I have to break my fast alone
I have attended taraweeh (during Ramadan) and its very tiring and quite different, I have never seen a mosque so full in my life. I remember last year just before I embraced Islam I also used to go to mosque a lot and I did not know how to perform the prayers back then, but I would just go to listen to the recitation of the Quran
I can’t obviously spend Eid with my family because they don’t follow this religion. If I go to other people’s houses, I feel out of place because it is not my family and I don’t actually feel like I belong there because I don’t have a Muslim family of my own so I feel like an outsider.
George, 20, Science Student
From where I come from I wasn’t exposed to a Muslim community as such, but when I moved to Cape Town I made friends with a Muslim and I noticed something about his character and was interested. I eventually found out that he was Muslim and that motivated me to look into the religion and as I studied the religion and learnt more about it. I saw how sincere they are with their worship and how humble and they are it really inspired me.
I went to mosque with my friend the one day and I had this burning sensation inside of me and at that moment I said that this was for me.
Fasting at home with my family is a bit of a struggle in the sense that how do you go about eating and how do you go about making your prayers, but you are able to overcome anything if you put your faith in god.
The first few days of Ramadan were a bit challenging, but I eventually got used to it. There is something different about this month, you feel so much better about life and you appreciate things more. I also learnt how to make and fold my own samoosas to I eat that every night during Ramadan. It is my favourite Iftar treat.
Richard/ Riaz, 32, Auditor
I decided to embrace Islam because I just wanted a change in life, and it was something that I was thinking about for some time. Also, I have two kids that are Muslim so was another motivation for me to look into the Islamic tradition.
Ramadan for me was something different. I expected it to be a bit tough, more of the case that you are so used to eating at anytime during the day and now you have to fast, so it was tough for the first week.
My whole family is still Christian so I will spend Eid with my kids and with my girlfriend who also happens to be Muslim, but my family was supportive of my decision to revert, but how to balance things like religious holidays with my family might be a bit tricky.
VOC (Umarah Hartley)